Melbourne locals Andrew Swift & The Rattlesnake Choir are four men with a passion for music who love doing their thing live. They release a new EP, Up With The Anchor, June 28 and are doing some shows to celebrate. We managed to find out a little about them in this interview. Sit back, put your feet up and have a read.
Hi Andrew, Welcome to Beauty and Lace
When did you know you wanted to be a musician and what can you tell us about your journey to get there?
I’d say it was somewhere between falling asleep during psychology and an accounting exam that I realised I wanted something more than books. I didn’t pick up a guitar until I was 16 on a school camp, 9 months later I had my first gig in a little Italian restaurant for the payment of a large pizza and any tips that got thrown my way. Around the same time some school mates invited me to start a band with them, I played guitar with those guys for a good 5-6 years until I decided to explore my songwriting and vocal ability a bit more. Since then I’ve recorded an album in Texas and just finished a new EP, ‘Up With The Anchor’ with a great band behind me in ‘The Rattlesnake Choir’.
Can you tell us a little about how you all met and became Andrew Swift & The Rattlesnake Choir?
I’ve known all three of the guys for years but they’d never met before this project.
Nathan (drums) was my high school drum teacher for 4 years, when I started working on my album ‘The Way We Were Raised’ Nate came on board to help out, I haven’t been able to get rid of him since.
Matty (bass) used to play for ‘Gus & Frank’, when I was in ‘Race The Fray’ we used to do a bit of touring together. After he moved back from a stint in Perth I basically just told him he was in the band. He didn’t have much of a choice.
Colin (guitar) and I met while we were working together in a small music store, Col was teaching guitar, he’s the youngest in the band but he plays a strat like a 60 year old!
Where did the name come from?
We were trying to think of a band name we liked but nothing was really sticking. I remembered when we were recording in El Paso we were doing layers of a vibraslap for a subtle part in one of the songs, I made the comment that it sounded like a choir of rattlesnakes. I suggested it to the guys and it stuck.
How would you describe your sound?
I think we are a blend of genres, there are some pop rock melodies with sounds of alternative country, rock, there’s storytelling, blues influences, I don’t think we quite fit snuggly into a certain genre, but we’re having a good time doing what we’re doing.
Where does your songwriting inspiration come from?
I’m inspired by my life events and the people in it. In the past I’ve written about my nieces, my desire to travel, the loss of family members and my nostalgic memories of the small town I grew up in. Often I add a little more to the story to make it complete, but I’ve always been told, don’t let the truth get in the way of a good story!
Your new EP Up With The Anchor is about to be released, what can you tell us about it?
‘Up With The Anchor’ is a five track release, the first three tracks are full band recordings from a session at Sing Sing Studios in Melbourne with Matt Voigt. The last two tracks are more stripped back, one was recorded at Clap Of Thunder in El Paso with Gabe Gonzalez and the other is an acoustic cover of Blueline Medic’s ‘Making The Nouveau Riche’ which was recorded in the home studio of Andrew Kitchen of Antiskeptic.
There’s a recurring concept through the EP of being restless, having the desire to move on, and questioning current situations.
You have a launch tour coming up along the East Coast, what can audiences expect from the set?
I’m doing the Queensland shows solo as the guys have other commitments, so those sets are more intimate, stripped back.
The Melbourne shows though are full band, audiences can expect a diverse set, we like to pull out the acoustic guitars and audience banter is a pretty common occurrence during our sets too.
Are you planning to tour more widely in the near future?
I am keen to get to some places I haven’t been to for a while, or even new places. I’m heading back to the states for a few weeks in August to visit family, I’m sure there will be a show or two during that visit too, but I think we’ll be trying to gig more heavily once I get back.
Who has been the most memorable artist you have shared a stage with?
I’m always in awe of Lincoln Le Fevre when we do a show together, he writes the songs you wish you wrote. But the most memorable for me was supporting Jim Ward and Sleepercar in San Antonio a couple of years ago. Being in another country supporting someone you’ve looked up to for years is always going to be a memorable moment.
Have you got a favourite venue to play?
I’ve always been a fan of playing the Republic Bar in Hobart, we’ve had some amazing nights down there playing with great friends. When that room is full there’s such a great vibe in there. It’s been a while since we’ve played it, as we’ve been doing the smaller venues lately, but it’s still one of my favourites.
Who has had the biggest influence on your career?
I think that the friends and family that have encouraged me along the way have been the biggest influence, there have been times where I’ve considered giving it up, the industry can beat you down over time, but I’ve had some amazing people who have been there to remind me why I do it.
What’s next for Andrew Swift & The Rattlesnake Choir?
I’d say we’ll do a bunch more shows, hopefully get another tour together before we head back into the studio for another release hopefully early next year.
Thanks so much for your time and good luck with the launch.
Thanks soo much for having us in for the chat!