Brighton is well known for it's great music scene and impressive selection of indie bands. While bands like Black Honey and The Magic Gang are quickly gaining success, there's a ridiculously exciting four piece ready to burst out of the seaside town. Safe To Swim have recently shared their debut single 'Struggling', just under 4 minutes of infectious, edgy indie pop-rock overflowing with confidence. It's one of the strongest debuts I've heard in a while, definitely enough to build intrigue and excitement for the future of Safe To Swim.
We sent some questions over to guitarist George Rawlings, read the interview below and get to know Safe To Swim.
How did Safe To Swim begin? What made you want to work together?
We all met at uni in Brighton; Jim and Joe lived in the same square, I then met them through mutual friends back in Milton Keynes. We had individually messed around in a few other bands when we first all moved down here, but there was a chemistry with this one that we hadn't ever felt before; it was still professional and musically interesting, but overall it was so much fun that we decided to make it facebook official.
Is there anyone or anything in particular that influenced you to start making music? Have you always wanted to pursue a career in music or did you have other interests when you were younger?
We each dabbled in different creative platforms growing up; Joe studied graphic design, I wanted to pursue photography, but music was always a massive part of our lives. Each of us grew up with parents with pretty influential music tastes. My mum was a vocal coach and my Dad had a cracking CD changer in the car; so I think music was always an innate part of existence for me.
I’ve noticed you’ve previously been compared to bands like Peace and Circa Waves, do you agree with those comparisons or do you think you have something completely different to offer?
I can see the similarities in the idea of doing reverb-guitar indie-pop but with a little more of an edge to it. Neither were direct influences on our sound; though it may have been subconscious. We grew up listening to bands like The Strokes, Weezer and Pixies; and they've always had a massive influence on our sound. Peace and Circa Waves are doing well though, so I can only assume it's intended as the compliment that it is.
You’re a Brighton based band, how would you describe the local music scene? Has it had an effect on you as a band?
It's exciting. There are so many bands in Brighton that means there is a booming music scene; however this is also sometimes a bit of a challenge. It's difficult to stand out from the crowd of "Brighton-based-indie-rockers", so it means pushing yourself to be the most interesting one. It's a real double-edged sword though, it's fantastic in terms of the feeling of camaraderie amongst bands with whom you regularly play.
Is there anywhere in the UK you’re particularly eager to play?
Well we've only really ever ventured north of London twice; so to get as far up the country as possible is an exciting endeavour. We're heading out on tour with The Night Cafe in May and all of the locations for the gigs are places we're excited to get to for different reasons. Glasgow will be great; as it's a trek, so will feel like a big deal. Dingwalls in Camden has been one of my bucket-list venues for a while now; so having the opportunity to play on that stage is really exciting.
‘Struggling’ is quite an upbeat song but the lyrics sound quite emotional, what was the inspiration behind it?
It's an ode to a self-destructive relationship that was a constant up and down. I suppose that juxtaposition within the arrangement of upbeat and happy music set behind introspective, emotional lyrics is something that happened as a semi-conscious reflection of the bipolar nature of the relationship. Or something less pretentious to that effect.
Would you say that ‘Struggling’ is a good example of your sound or can we expect to hear some surprises in the future?
We've still got a few tricks up our sleeves. The next release is quite different in some ways to Struggling; it's a little more cinematic and developed in my opinion. You can still expect a catchy chorus and some guitars. But there is definitely a lot more to come from us yet.
Is there any artist in particular you’d like to work with in the future?
In a dream-scenario Julian Casablancas or Rivers Cuomo would be mental. Perhaps some sort of collab that would be a little unexpected. I've always wanted to be friends with JME, so maybe he could lay down a 'serious' verse on a Safe To Swim tune. If we're being more realistic though, then maybe Las Ketchup...or Il Divo.
If you could choose any person in the world (dead or alive) to be a Safe To Swim fan, who would it be?
The obvious answer is the influences I cited above, but outside of the music industry it'd have to be somebody really influential. Nelson Mandela perhaps, or Mother Theresa. I quite like the idea of a parallel universe in which Che Guevara wears a red t-shirt with a stencil of Jim's face on it.
Finally, if you had to sell Safe To Swim to new fans using only 5 words, what would you say?
It's Safe To Swim Here.