Richard Swift (solo artist and Starflyer 59)
by Jason and Brent
Can you please let us know what you have been up to recently as far as your music is concerned?
I’ve been playing a fair number of shows in LA and in Orange County, as well as writing & recording at Frank’s place. In the next few weeks, we’ll be recording a new Lenz EP, a SF EP, and a new PonyX EP, maybe LP. Andy just finished mastering the new Map record, and I think I’m producing the next Other Desert Cities EP, which we’ll start soon I think. I have some shows coming up in May as well as SF.
I have a copy of the Novelist and, frankly, it floored me. It is a great piece of work. What were some of your influences for this disc? Would you say that this disc represents Swift’s signature style, or do you see your music going in different directions on future projects?
Thank you. That record is the purest record I’ve made so far. I think most of the stuff I do is based in classic American music, and I’ll continue to write like that for now. It’s hard for me to nail down what influenced me on the record musically. I know I kept telling Frank that I wanted it to sound, fidelity-wise, like Sly & The Family Stone’s There’s a Riot Goin’ On. There’s another record we were really into by Cole Porter called Cole Sings Porter. It’s a comp of a bunch of his demos. I think there’s a little Margo Guryan in there as well.
What was the recording process like for The Novelist?
Well basically, I would take Dooley’s four track and record until the wee hours of the morning, then go to frank’s, and mix the tapes into his computer, we would then add compression or delays, then mix it back into the four track, I’d disappear for a couple of days, come back, etc. It was a little different than the way we would record my stuff before, because I was alone for most of it. Frank saved that record though. He helped me stay to the original vision, he also gave me the room I needed. We didn’t want it to sound 2003 lo-fi, but we wanted it to sound 1938 hi-fi.
You have recently been working with bands like Starflyer 59, Pony X, and with Wayne Everett. Please tell us what it has been like working with all these bands. Do you have some favorite experiences or stories to tell?
It’s good to be involved with not just your close friends, but your close friends that make great music. I’m proud of most of the projects I’ve been involved with this last year, especially the records mentioned above. No stories, but I will say that touring with SF is a lot of fun. We’re all kind of grumpy guys, so it makes conversations really interesting and funny.
Why do you like the pressings of your discs to be released in such limited numbers?
This question will be answered soon enough. Basically, I’ve got some other people that might put out my records on a “larger scale”. But, Cloud and i wanted to get this stuff out to a few people in the meantime. That’s all I can say about that one for now.
What kind of musical training did you receive?
I’ve worked on records with Frank Lenz. Enough said.
Could you clue us in on what you are doing with left wing recordings?
Leftwing is the brainchild of Steven Melrose. Leftwing is a record/production/management company. Melrose is my manager, and he’s putting out some side projects for Frank and I. Namely, “The Sons Of National Freedom” and “Instruments Of Science & Technology”. Steven’s dealing with all my major-label junk.
Will “company 2” ever see the light of day?
Unfortunately, probably not. Frank and I are trying to work that out right now. It’s really good, and we want people to hear it.
What do you think about all of the “Richard Swift” hype?
I don’t think there’s that much hype really. It’s nice that we’ve had a good response to the records and live shows.
Explain to us the whole Ochoa/Swift thing.
Sneaky bastard. What would be the fun in that? I think most people have it figured out anywho. It was a lifetime ago, ya’know?.
Any other comments (contact information, etc.)
Thank you and goodnight.
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