On October 16th, The Swellers released their latest EP, Running out of Places to Go. And while the Flint, MI four-piece hasn’t experienced the best of luck in recent years, the band has been able to push forward and is now looking to build off the momentum of the new EP. Lead singer and guitarist, Nick Diener, recently took some off to talk with AA about the EP and discuss the newfound challenges that have come with the territory of being an independent act.
It could certainly be said that the writing of the EP served as a cathartic process for Diener; for the new release, the lead singer utilized writing sessions to reflect upon his frustrations regarding the lack of recognition his band has received despite all the hard work they’ve put in over the years. Though the group has released 4 LPs and 2 EPs since 2003, The Swellers have yet to achieve any legitimate mainstream success up to this point; consequentially, the band departed from Fueled by Ramen (a subsidiary of Warner Music Group) earlier this year and is currently making music independently. “As far as melodies and arrangements, they’re definitely classic Swellers songs. A few things here and there are changed up but lyrically they’re all very much involving what we went through over the past year. With being a band and basically living on the road, things aren’t just handed to us – we have to work for everything and sometimes you just get sh*t on. It was kind of us feeling like we put a lot into this and really didn’t get a lot out of it. And you can liken that to a relationship outside of music…the songs can definitely go both ways and people can get a wide spectrum in terms of, ‘what does this song mean to me?’”
As most music fans recognize, The Swellers aren’t the only group that has found themselves without a record label in 2012. Due to the poor state of today’s music business, many talented bands have been dropped by labels in recent years and it’s become quite common to see groups releasing music on their own. When discussing the topic, Diener was candid about how circumstances have changed significantly over the years and how the band has adapted in order to combat monetary constraints. “We’re actually finding way to cut corners and save money because we’re realizing we can’t keep doing things the way we’ve done it in the past if we want to keep doing this for even longer. We’ve been touring for six years, but six years ago gas was a lot cheaper; the drives get longer, the plane tickets get more expensive, and now we’re doing this tour we’re on without a trailer because we couldn’t afford to get it fixed. But it just so happens that because of that, we’re now saving a lot of money on gas…unfortunately we couldn’t bring out our manager or our merchandise guy that we normally take on our tours either because they had other tours and other job obligations lined up. So we just had friend come out this time to sell merchandise.”
And while some fans may be disappointed hear the band’s new EP is only comprised of five songs, Diener was confident that the quality of each track more than makes up for the lack of substantial material on the album. “As soon as we got the five songs we wanted in the bag, that was it and we were ready to record them and put it out. We weren’t really writing too much more than that but there definitely are some other songs in the works and there were also some other songs that just didn’t make the cut…an EP is kind of a smaller deal; it’s just five songs so a lot of people look at it as a teaser but we want it to be like an actual established release. We feel like the songs are that good and can make that big of an impact on our fans and the people who understand our music.”
The Swellers recently returned to the states after playing a short stint of shows in Australia; the band’s current U.S. tour wraps up on November 10th in Detroit, MI.