Editor’s Note: The rewarding facet of this job is to discover new artists and to have my readers get to know them. I can’t thank my readers enough! Swindy is one of the more unique bands that I have come across as of late. For a band that is establishing themselves, they’ve had a video premiere on Tattoo Magazine and they are making a name for themselves in the Phoenix, Arizona area due to their unique melodies and unique arrangements in their music. Check out Swindy at the following locations:
M.T.C.: Tell us about the song “Reflection” and the music video.
Randall: The song reflection describes the struggle of knowing you need to let go of someone, but wanting to hold onto them. It’s a post break up song. It’s an “I don’t want to give you up, but I know I have to” song. It’s probably the most serious song on the EP I released in 2017. And when I was meeting with Nate and Isa from Originate Designs, we really wanted to try and capture the essence and the meaning with a story, and we wanted to use characters. All things considered it was a low-budget production. So we decided to use Alyson Precie (who also sings in the Swindy live band) to act in the video. We wanted to capture clips of her and I in relationship moments past present and future. Reflecting on what once was. We shot many scenes with that in mind. The video has a present tense where I am lip-syncing. And a past tense where I am reflecting on the relationship. It also features Johnathan Russel as he was a guest on the track. He too has had his fair share of relationship issues. So he could relate to the song as well.
M.T.C.: Describe Swindy as a movie title.
Randall: “Gone with the Swind” or
“They Came They Saw They Conquered”
Or maybe, “Everyone Knows It’s Swindy”.
M.T.C.: Describe Swindy for real!
Randall: Swindy is my family’s last name modified slightly. It started as a solo project for me. I wanted to release new music I had written, and as it turns out, doing that as a solo artist was the appropriate way to go about it. Swindy is a new project, and has evolved quickly into more of a band than solo project. The live band came together very quickly, although I am prepared to perform completely solo and have done so in the past. My set up utilizes backing tracks like any good pop artist. The more members we have playing live with us, the less we need the backing tracks. But in the event that certain band members cannot make a show. The show will go on. The backing tracks will fill the void. Because of this it is easy to bring in new live members, and have them learn the entire set list over the course of one rehearsal day. The cues to the songs are embedded in our click track. This helps tremendously. The sound I am going for as a solo artist is industrial meets pop. I’ve described it as Lady Gaga, Britney Spears, and Kesha, in bed with Nine Inch Nails, Nirvana, and Tool. The sound I love is pop structure, cleanliness, and catchiness but with dark industrial and rock overtones. Especially with a rock delivery. I tried really hard to just make straight pop music. But I could not hide my rock ROOTS. And that is OK!
M.T.C.: What can fans expect from the Swindy sound?
Randall: Fans can expect passionate and authentic music. With pop melodies, but rock delivery. Think of a silver gumball machine, with black gum balls. Goth bubblegum pop… Truth be told I don’t think about it that much. But I know I love pop, and I know I love rock. I grew up listening to 90’s music like Rage Against The Machine, Soundgarden, Nine Inch Nails, Tool, Alice In Chains, Nirvana, and then I fell in love with massive attack. It wasn’t until much later that I realized how bad ass pop has become. Lady Gaga, Kesha, and Britney spear, put that all in a blender. And that’s what fans can expect from Swindy.
M.T.C.: Craziest thing to happen in your career?
Randall: In 2010, I was performing with my band ENSPHERE. We were part of the all souls procession musical finale. This is a large community ritual that takes place in Tucson, Arizona. Along with it is a fire performance. My band was the musical headliner that year. We collaborated with a Taiko drumming group called Odaiko Sonara. During the performance we set up all of our gear on top of a train car and a bus. The crowd was about 50,000 people we had pyrotechnics all over the place, and a 200 foot boom crane behind us. The boom crane lifted one of the drummers on a platform who was connected wirelessly. The drummer performed with us while we played, only they were hovering 150 feet over the crowd, while people were spinning fire, it was pretty crazy in retrospect. We also used the same crane to fly and aerialist who did live silks also 150 feet over the audience. This was also in collaboration with a pyrotechnic theater company I used to be a part of called Flam Chen. That was a pretty crazy performance. We were all covered in body paint, on top of a train car and a bus, in front of 50,000 people, with a drummer 150 feet above us, and pyrotechnics going off everywhere. It was raw, authentic, and anyone who was there will always tell you it was one of the most epic things they have ever seen.
M.T.C.: You cite Katy Perry as a huge influence. Tell us other influences.
Swindy: Katy Perry was one of the first pop artists who started to catch my ear on the radio. This is in 2011 and 2012. Before that, I feel like I was kind of a stubborn listener. I liked rock, industrial, and metal. I was heavily into, Nine Inch Nails, A Perfect Circle, Tool, Nirvana, and bands like that. But I also was exposed to musical acts like massive attack, boards of Canada. And I started to get into trip hop, and electronic music. I started listening to my friends band Alter Der Ruine and that was kind of like industrial electro pop. By 2012 I suddenly had a new found love for contemporary pop music, I saw Lady Gaga live for the born this way ball tour and I realized what she is made of. I started working for a staging company called Rhino Staging, and I gained exposure to a lot of musical acts that I would not have otherwise. That is when my mind blossomed and I realized that I just love the music industry as a whole no matter what genre. When you see someone perform live it’s a completely different experience then when you hear them on the radio. You see them for who they really are, and what they are really made of. It gives you the chance to undeniably respect them, Because you see them for real. Live music is where it is at. And that is definitely my passion. I don’t care what genre. Live music is what life is all about for me.
M.T.C.: Tell us about the music scene in Arizona.
Randall: Arizona is funny. There is definitely a cool music scene going on. Both Phoenix and Tucson are strong. Flagstaff also has a cool scene. Sedona is also a great city, and the music in Sedona is very spiritual. And New Age. Which I love! It also is a strong influence on me as a musician. The New Age movement that is. It leaks out of my music for sure. To me, Arizona has a certain spirituality to it. That you don’t find in other states. There is an earthy energy, clean air, beautiful landscape, and blossoming new cities. Phoenix has a lot of industry, but a sort of dead feel when it comes to the authenticity of music. Of course there are some incredible acts coming out of Phoenix. But the feel of the city is kind of off. Tucson does not have as much industry, but the feel of the city is on. And the musical acts coming out of Tucson have a more authentic and genuine feel. Both cities are very close to each other, I commute between Tucson and Phoenix all the time to perform and check out shows. I believe that Arizona has a strong future and that the seeds for a huge musical movement have been sown and are already sprouting. Many great musical acts have come out of Arizona, and many more will follow. I see a lot of up-and-coming artists moving very quickly.
M.T.C.: What does the rest of the year have in store for Swindy?
Randall: For the rest of the year, I think we want to just generate new art. We have been playing a lot of live shows, and engaging with the external world. Right now, we are going into “hibernation mode“ and for me that means writing new music, and recording, and preparing for 2018. We have a lot of new ideas, and we cannot act quick enough to get it all out. When we get together each session it’s like we generate three new songs. We are writing so quickly, and the music is pouring out. Very prolific. I think for the rest of the year we just want to record, and produce some new music videos so that we can generously give to 2018.
M.T.C.: Craziest story you want to tell us.
Randall: In 2009, 2010, and 2011, my band and I rented out some warehouse space in downtown Tucson. We started throwing these underground warehouse shows. We were working closely with a staging company. So we had all of this excellent equipment. A killer lighting system, a killer sound system, decking, scaffolding, and all of this rigging gear. We started doing these elaborate shows indoors, I would rig a pulley system from the 25 foot ceilings, and we turned the 10 foot loft spaces into a stage. I would jump off the stage and fly around above the audience while wearing a harness and hanging from a rope. After a couple of shows, we started getting way too many people to the warehouse, and we were way over capacity. We moved the shows outside in the back of the warehouse, and built a great outdoor stage. We had scaffolding with fire spinners on top and stiltwalkers. We had a 40 foot school bus that we bought at the auction, parked right next to the stage. People would build bonfires, we had barbecue going, 500 people would come out to these parties, and it was pretty magical. In retrospect I’m like… Wow! That’s crazy! How did we get away with that? People were sitting on top of the bus watching the show, people were hanging out on top of the roof of the building watching the show. People were down in the crowd while stiltwalkers walked around, and we were just doing our thing on stage with video projection, lighting, and fire. It was wild. Of course. ultimately it did get shut down by the police. The parking became a mess, and we did not have the proper permits to do these kind of shows. It just got too big too quick, and the city had to shut it down. But we left our mark. We created sort of a legacy.
M.T.C.: Where can people find Swindy and a message to the fans?
To my fans I would like to say thank you for following me. Your support is my life blood, and I love you for that. I just want you to know that I am here to be as authentic as possible. I do this for the music, and I see that you get that. Thank you for being true to yourselves. Keep tuning in to what is real. Let’s make the world the best place we possibly can together.
M.T.C.: Thank you for your time for Madness To Creation!