Interview: Swine Tax | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Newcastle alt-rockers and DIY music scene figureheads Swine Tax return with a thrilling new single, Relax, produced by none other than The Futureheads’ very own Barry Hyde.

This latest energetic offering, which chronicles a night on the tiles, sees juicy, throbbing bass, crunchy, punked-up guitar and bubbling carnival-esque synth all vie for attention in two and a half minutes of savvy indie songsmithery that engages and entertains with it’s shifting dynamics and dry, relatable social commentary.

We chat with the band to find out more…

How are you and how would you summarise your year so far?
We’re all doing as well as can be expected thanks! It’s been a funny one, obviously, and we’ve had a lot of plans cancelled – but luckily we set some things in motion at the start of the year, before all this happened, so we’ve managed to keep ourselves busy in the meantime.

Have you missed performing live?
Absolutely – it’s very strange to think we’ve only played live twice this year so far! We had some tour plans we were all excited about, so it’s a real shame to have had to put all that on ice, but we’re excited to get started again with some socially-distanced shows.

Are you hopeful or apprehensive about the DIY music scene, once some level of normality returns?
I think it’s fantastic how well the local DIY scene has managed to weather the storm – from venues like Little Buildings collaborating with Tyne Bank Brewery to bring back live music to NARC continuing to publish right throughout the pandemic, it’s really reassuring to see how resilient a lot of our DIY institutions are. On the other hand, it still feels like a big question mark is hanging over how “viable” we all are, and it’s even more impossible than usual to see what the future holds. But as long as we can all stick together, support one another and get through this, I think we’re going to see a real explosion in creativity and events once it’s all over.

Tell us more about your new single, Relax.
Relax is a song we’ve been working on for a while now, so it’s great to finally put it out there properly. It tells the story of a heavy night on the town and all the ups and downs that usually entails. The song encapsulates both the rushes of euphoria and the sitting-outside-the-club-with-your-head-in-your-hands-at-4am sort of vibe.

How does it differ to past Swine Tax releases? 
Whereas some of our earlier releases could be considered more in the mode of college rock, Relax shows us refining the direction our last few singles have been pointing in – featuring synth up front, frenetic guitar work and a pounding rhythm section. The specific idea for this song was that it would be like a warped club banger with a disco house-inspired bass line and bittersweet pop chorus. 

Barry Hyde (The Futureheads) produced this track. How did that come about and what was it like working with him?
Last year, The Futureheads very kindly asked us to open for them at their album launch in Sunderland. We’ve all been big fans for years so it was a really cool thing to do! We got chatting with Barry there, and he mentioned he’d be interested in producing us, and it all just went from there. It was great to work with Barry in the studio, he brought a real energy and direction to the session and I think that really shines through in the recordings we made together.

This is the first track from your recording sessions with Barry, what can we expect from future releases?
We have another single recorded with Barry coming out before the end of the year. It’s got a bit of a different vibe from Relax, and I think you’re all going to love it.

Anything else in the pipeline?
With gigs able to start up again, at least for the moment, we have a few live dates around the North East which we’re really looking forward to. We’re also hard at work writing and demoing stacks of new material. Watch this space!

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