Sounding Board: So, David, could you tell me about your relationship with music growing up and what artists you were exposed to?
D. Swick: Growing up, my parents put my siblings and I into music lessons at a pretty young age, 1st grade or so. I was always bored with the pace of the lessons and wished we were playing something different though. I grew up in a private Christian school and I had no idea there was music beyond that until middle school when I heard some friends singing the bass line from Seven Nation Army and had to ask what it was. Towards high school, my older sister handed off some formative records, like Sufjan Stevens’ Illinois, Bright Eyes’ I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning, or Postal Service’s Give Up.
In high school, I began learning how to write songs and play guitar by learning Iron & Wine songs that were given to me on a mix cd from my friend Colin. Basically, I just kept absorbing music from friends, and found a few bands on my own that I really resonated with, and then I would listen obsessively and pick apart the song structures, instrumentation, and arrangements (not knowing the terms for any of that at the time).
Sounding Board: Did you have any particular inspirations, when you were writing your EP “Nothing To Say” ?
D. Swick: All three songs on Nothing To Say were written at pretty different times and had existed in so many different forms. I just wanted to record them in a way that felt current to where my influences were at the moment we pressed record. I was really in love with the earnestness of Lambchop’s last record, FLOTUS, as well as some of the older work from Yo La Tengo, and the ever-present influences of Sufjan Stevens and Jeff Tweedy’s writing.
Sounding Board: Listening back to your EP, I can hear some of those stylistic elements within your record now. Could you tell me a little about what the production and lyric writing process is like for you?
D. Swick: Yeah, so lyrically, once I’ve found a structure and melody for the song, I’ll begin searching for imagery that will create the right mental image. Then, more lyrics might come right away as I continue to play through the melody, but more than likely I have to take the melody and the few lyrics I’ve found on a walk where I sing to myself like a crazy person in the park or in alleyways near my house. Usually I’ll find something that works in that method.
Production wise, I wanted to collaborate with my friend Sam Gidley, who plays drums for a great band called The Lonely Biscuits. He’s worked on a couple projects I really love, one of them being October Tooth, so I really wanted to see how he would interpret the songs I’d been working on. A lot of the sounds, loops, and overall feel of the EP comes from the two of us trading ideas and just trying to listen to our intuition while recording.
Sounding Board: What was your favorite song off the EP to create?
D. Swick: I think the title track, Nothing to Say, was my favorite. It came pretty quickly. Just a lot of layering of rhythmic guitars and strings. Then at the end that trombone, violin duet with drumbeat… It felt incredible to see the arrangement line up like that. That song tapped into so many influences and moments at the same time. Also, that song has the most external input from other players. You can hear Laura Epling on violin (who also did the arrangements for For Weeks and Poster Child), Natalie Mays on cello, and Alex Plasket on Trombone. Three excellent players who have always been so helpful and generous with their talents for my projects. Definitely a gift of an experience.
Sounding Board: You are based in Nashville, so are there any artists from there that you are really loving at the moment?
D. Swick: I mentioned them before, but October Tooth is about to put out it’s 5th record and I’m elated. It’s a project made up of Sam Gidley and Zachary Threlkeld of Aliza Carter Band. They put out an album every October and it always brings in the Fall in just the right way.
Bantug is an indie act with a pop flare. So catchy. So good.
Oh, and I heard Jake McMullen play a week or so back and haven’t been able to stop listening to his last EP. It’s called Dancing On My Own.
Sounding Board: I know of Jake McMullen, he has some good tracks. Is this EP a good taste of what’s to come, regarding a full-length record?
D. Swick: In scope of arrangement, I would say yes. The songs that I’ve been writing recently have been leaning towards a more concise structure. I heard someone say once, “if you only need 20 words to say something, then only use 10 words. Anything after that and you’ll just be repeating yourself.” (Paraphrased!) That has led to some songs that are a minute long, and some that are maybe more comparable to Nothing To Say. I’m really looking forward to the next release though!
Sounding Board: That’s that an interesting structure method, but probably produces some dynamic tracks. Are there any upcoming things people should be on the look out for?
D. Swick: Definitely. In November, I’m going to be releasing a series of digital A-Side/B-Sides over the next few months. The reason being that there too many things that I want to write and record right now. And I want to show all of that in this D. Swick project. So one of the songs will be a little more produced, while the other will be on the experimental to lo-fi side.
I’m releasing the first installment of an instrumental project called Breathing Strings in these first Fall months here. There are 5 songs performed by a string quartet and each player performs the music to the rhythm of their breathing. I’m hoping that they can be a comfort and source of peace for people in this hectic ass world. I’m really excited about the way they’ve turned out. I’ll be making more announcements about that soon.
And I’ll be playing so more D. Swick shows at the end of October into November. Planning some shows for the beginning of 2018, too!
Sounding Board: Awesome, we’ll be on the lookout for your live dates! thanks for speaking with us!
Listen to “Nothing To Say” Here: