The Swellers

The Swellers – Soundwave Special

Too often in the twilight of a bands journey they try to hang on to past glories, hoping that something magical will revitalize their career, but more often than not it results in them hanging in that touch too long and perhaps tarnishing their past achievements.

Not so for The Swellers, who are going out on their own terms, at a time of their choosing.

“The Swellers have been around for 12 years,” guitarist and vocalist Nick Diener said.

“We’ve been on the road for about 8 years and done all kinds of tours. We’ve played everywhere from small basements in our hometown all the way to small arenas in Singapore. We’ve played with all kinds of bands from Paramore to Propogandhi and this year we’ve kind of announced our retirement from the game! We’re still gonna stick around for another 8 or 9 months and play some final shows and just go out with a bang instead of being miserable. We don’t wanna be one of those bands that just slows down to oblivion and you never hear from again. We wanna leave behind a legacy that we had a good time and put a smile on some people faces.”

“Mostly we just felt like it was the right time. There’s a million little things that kind of came together to make us realize it would probably be a good move. A lot of people are gonna expect us to say it was a big, monumental force that forced us into early retirement or whatever, but, yeah, I just think we happened to write our last song. The last song on our last record was called ‘Call it a Night’ and ominously enough it was the last song we ever wrote as a band! It wasn’t too depressing when we decided to do it. We more looked back and it was like ‘yeah man, that was cool.’ We did pretty well and did things our own way for so long.”

With a band that has been around for so long, it would be natural to assume that there would be a few regrets, but in typical laconic fashion Nick gives an emphatic “no”.

“There’s a ton of stuff that personally I regret doing as a human being,” he laughed, “but I learnt so much from my time with the band. I pretty much went from being a teenager to being a married adult during the time frame that the band existed so of course I lived and I learned but yeah, as for what the band did, I wouldn’t trade that for the world. I think that was kind of the way that everything needed to go and anything we learned, anything that was bad, there was still some good that came from it so who knows where we would be if we changed anything about it.”

Over the course of 12 years, especially in the world of punk rock, much changes. Bands and fads come and go, fashion sense changes and to be a band in the middle of it would be an interesting experience.

“I think I understand the whole music world less now,” Nick laughed again.

“I don’t really enjoy the punk rock world as much as I used to. I don’t know if that’s just because the old drunks got older and then the young kids got younger…… our demographic certainly seems to be disappearing. I mean, our fans are still there but potential new fans are just getting harder to come by. 2007 to 2011 we were having a blast, then after that I think that was kind of when I started getting old and feeling bitter and now it’s kind of like ‘nobody gets us! I don’t get anybody!’, but I’ve come to terms with it.”

Another thing that Nick hints at, without actually saying, is that the music game is trending more and more to the younger generation, perhaps pushed in turn with advances in technology.

“The years kind of go by a little faster now,” he mused. “When you’re younger….. I mean, I got into Nirvana and then Kurt Cobain died soon after and that seems like an eternity ago to me, but to the young kids now that was like a million years ago.”

“The time and space is all screwed up so when we take two years between putting out a record it’s nothing to us but then there’s some new 15 year old kid that’s just getting in to punk rock and two years ago he was listening to the Backstreet Boys or something and they might have not even heard of us and then someone who liked us two years ago, they might have moved onto something else in that time so it’s easy going from being relevant to unknown in a matter of months, especially with the short attention span and the internet and everything.”

For all the fanfare and adulations heaped on a band as their curtain draws slowly down, it is always good to be remembered fondly, and for Nick and the rest of The Swellers, they just want to be remembered as having contributed something to the cause.

“I think that a lot of people have been talking about The Swellers as being this band that deserves more or should have been bigger; that we were better than anybody seemed to think we were – things like that – but I want to be remembered as being part of punk rock for as long as we toured and through all the records we made. When people talk about that era I would love for us to be included somehow, even if it is that we were the underdogs or whatever, just that we were here and did a lot and poured a lot into the scene. That would be cool.”

Kris Peters

The Swellers play as part of Soundwave 2015. For more information or tickets go to the Soundwave web page.

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