New Band Interview: The Sways

By londonist_mark Last edited 163 months ago
New Band Interview: The Sways

The sun breaks across Monument Valley, piercing through a cloud of dust that approaches steadily closer. From out of the haze appears a horseman, poncho blowing in the early morning breeze, hat pulled down low, familiar cheroot clamped firmly between gritted teeth, weary from many days in the saddle. Spurs rattle ever closer, a Colt six shooter smoking from an early morning encounter. The cowboy leans into frame and


blows a uniquely British, juicy raspberry. Ladies and Gentelmen, welcome to The Sways, the eccentric offspring of folk country blues and, erm, in our humble opinion, Spike Milligan. A band whose album, International Orange (available from here for the moment) we're still trying to work out and yet still playing. A band who in their own words are the musical equivalent of Marmite. Veering between the truly quirky (The Riddle Of Llaslek Mot, sort of like The Goodies playing an English Garden Tea Party and who the hell is Llaslek Mot anyway?), and the gently affecting (The Snare) The Sways have broken out of the same pastoral stable that houses the likes of British Sea Power and The Coral to head for the Wild West. Perhaps you should have a listen to Way I Say and see what you think. We sent a posse out with the Londonist Music questionnaire, the rest is over the jump.


Band Name:

The Sways

Who's In The Band?

Andy Fell – Drums

Max Wilson – Electric double-bass

Neal Dyson – Lead guitar

Mike Fell – Rhythm guitar and singing

What Do You Do In The Real World?

Variously: student, computer developer, transport planner and environmental publishing minion

Describe Your Sound To Us:

At a gig the other day, someone described it as a random cross-breed of gypsy jazz, punk, country and eccentric English folk – we call it Tangerine

How Did You All Get Together?

Via co-habitation, radio interviewing and sharing name.

Who Are Your Influences?

Variously – Dead Kennedys, Steve Vai, Kings of Convenience, Bad Religion, Moody Blues, Art Pepper, Michael Jackson.

What's The State Of Play With The Band At The Moment?

Going well – new album out – but hard to get time to rehearse as we all live in different places..

Where Can We Hear / See You Next?

Playing at the South End Green Festival in Hampstead on September 10, and an Amnesty International fundraiser at the Water Rats on October 1 – this night should be great, up until 2 with DJs, bands and comedy…

What's The Big Game Plan For The Band?

Entertaining more people with interesting music, and enjoying the experiences that this would offer

Who Would You Most Like To Support?

In today’s scene, I am thinking Arcade Fire would be pretty good

What's Your Ultimate Label To Be On?

Not too bothered really, preferably something small and respected like Rough Trade I reckon… Track and Field…

What's the best gig you've ever been to?

Mike: Probably One Minute Silence at Colchester Arts Centre

Andy: Mogwai at Reading Festival about 4 years ago shares the podium with The Bays at The Barbican earlier this Summer.

Have You Ever Thrown A TV Out Of A Hotel Window?

Mike: Once a plastic model of one at a Novotel

Andy: No, but I did leave one on the ground beside a skip about 2 weeks ago, so close then.

Would You Like To?

Mike: So long as there were no humans or animals underneath

Andy: Yes, as long as it was through a large closed glass window above a swimming pool.

Any Great Stories From The Road?

We haven’t done any tours so not as such… although it was always fun trying to fit the band and instruments (inc guitars, double bass and drums) into a small Volkswagon. We can also compact ourselves into a unit fit for the Tube, if necessary.

Recommend One Album To Our Readers You Don't Think They Will Have Discovered.

Mike: Black Nielson’s album Still Life Hear Me – the band just split up but this record (on Truck) is one of the only ones from a band we have played with that I listen to on a regular basis.

Andy: A singer-songwriter called Fiona Bevan, who's just released a very good EP.

Why Should Londonist Readers Go And See You?

Because the music is interesting and odd, but unlike lots of other interesting and odd music we don’t take it too seriously and try to have fun with the gigs


What's Your Favourite:

Venue To Play In London? Troubadour Club, Earl's Court

Venue To Go To In London? Water Rats

Record Store? Essential in Greenwich

Shop (non-music)? Dostlar General Stores, Greenlanes, Harringay - perfect if you need to buy a mousetrap, a sausage and a razor at 4am on Christmas day.

Market? Mike: Borough / Andy: Portobello

Place To People-watch? Covent Garden

Place To Chill-out? Strongroom Bar, nr Old Street

Place To Get Lashed? The Salisbury, Green Lanes

Place For A Post-gig Kebab? Another Greenlanes one I'm afraid (get the impression one of us might have lived there?), it's called Yayla, does the best shish ever and sells putrid lager throughout the night (that's a good thing).

View In London? Mike: From the DLR as it goes past Canary Wharf / Andy: Across the city from Hampstead Heath.

Form Of Public Transport? Mike: Train / Andy: Trams, see below

What Advice Would You Give Ken Livingstone?

Mike: Increase the congestion charge and use the money to improve the Northern Line

Andy: Cheap trams will solve all the world's problems.

What London Place Or Thing Would You Declare A Landmark?

Mike: The Carreras building in Camden

Andy: That oddly large chair and table on Hampstead Heath, I can't decide if it's brilliant or horrific.

The World Is Ending In 24 hours. How Would You Spend Your Last Day In London? Maybe a bit of Kew Gardens, haven’t been there for a while, then along the river in a rowing boat, bit of a wander through the city, up to Old Street, gig, death (possibly from post-gig kebab).

Have You Ever Been Sick On The Tube?

Collectively no

If You Could Lose One Part Of London, Which Bit Would It Be?

Mike: That building opposite Tate Modern that looks like a multi storey car park – has all the disadvantages of mid-20th century architecture and none of the charming merits.

Andy: I think the City, plus it seems to be deserted most of the time.

Greatest Thing Ever To Come Out Of London?

That's a fairly hard one......maybe Chas and Dave?

What Advice Would You Give To Someone New To London Getting On A Night Bus For The First Time?

Mike: Sit upstairs by the window, lean your forehead against the window (if it isn’t too skanky) and turn off all your sensory perception except sight.

Andy: If someone starts throwing chips at you, please just keep quiet.

If You Could Write A Song About London What Would It Be Called And What Kind Of Song Would It Be?

We have – it is called The Call of the Bear and it is about always being under the Earth half the time

and finally

Sum Up London In A Word...


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Last Updated 08 September 2005