Outside Left_Nick Soulsby Week_Nov 5, 2018

https://www.outsideleft.com/main.php?updateID=1592

Just posted at Outside Left today – a brief account of some of the incident and amusement of the 1986 Swans tour. So much of what Swans was at it’s peak and was to become was becoming clear at this point – sound palette expanding, interest in dynamics overcoming the pure interest in brutality, the ongoing experiments in the potential of volume as a sonic experience, Jarboe’s arrival as a key component of what Swans ‘was’…

Speaking at the Louder Than Words Festival in Manchester at 10am tomorrow morning so good night and all the best.

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Outside Left_Nick Soulsby Week_Nov 5, 2018

https://www.outsideleft.com/

The charming crew over at Outside Left (https://www.outsideleft.com/about.php) are hosting a week of interviews, book extracts and random thoughts drawn from my mind…Which is nice. I really enjoyed the ‘personal worst albums ever list’ as a thought exercise (yes, I put Mogwai and Foo Fighters on it), and it was fun teasing out another book extract exclusive, plus interviews can be very enjoyable – they just rely on an openness to being an honest and questions that have had some energy committed to them. The nervousness a lot of people have now about being confronted, I’m not a fan, I think everyone reads better and comes across better when there’s a humanity and on-the-spot realness to what they’re expressing.

Hope it’ll entertain and a big thank you to Paul for proposing it!

https://soundblab.com/reviews/books/21112-swans-sacrifice-and-transcendence-the-oral-history-nick-soulsby

This review was loaded with phrases that made me smile – I’m pondering  “Gira is the catalyst and cataclysm” because I think I really love it. Likewise, the spot where Kevin Orton states “…the overall picture painted is as epic and heroic as a Delacroix.” The latter has sent me off to view Delacroix’s work and to get a grip on the depth of meaning there.

What really makes it for me, however, is that – when I’m doing oral history – I want people to ‘feel’ what it’s like to live this kind of life. The fact that Orton can see his own musical experiences in what Swans go through, that really delights me. I don’t write to remove or delete the magic, to ‘lift the veil’ or anything so unromantic, but I do want to make sure the humanity comes across in all it’s glorious, or brutal, or grim, or comical, or majestic, or dull day-to-day hues – all of it. Because, to me, that’s what real life is like.

 

http://www.trebuchet-magazine.com/the-tyranny-of-the-beat-pt-i/

I was honoured to be asked by Trebuchet Magazine (thank you Kailas and Naila!) to contribute a brief article to their website…And I totally failed them by contributing a lengthy rant instead! Luckily they’re kind people and found enough of substance in my growling that they were happy to publish it as a two part discussion piece.

In essence, have you noticed how inescapable ‘the beat’ is? In a world of infinite possibility how limited the possibilities used actually are? I’m not talking absolute rejection but I like the thought that my world might be limitless rather than limited by unconscious design.

http://www.trebuchet-magazine.com/tyranny-of-the-beat-pt-ii/

https://blank-slate-creative.com/2018/10/swans-michael-gira-sacrifice-and-transcendence-by-nick-soulsby-book-review/

Saw this today from Blank-Slate-Creative – delighted the book worked so well. In the end, I don’t write ‘PR pieces’ – but I am looking to give people a feel of what it’s like to be in that band, creative scenario, the overall experience!

Speaking of experiences, had a charming time last night at Rough Trade Bristol: a circle of people who all have their own memories of what Swans is like live – and their own perspectives on why it’s such a unique entity. We watched brief clips from Marco Porsia’s upcoming film Where Does A Body Begin? which simply reinforced the excitement and drama of the band – then yakked on amidst that – I was enthralled by people’s views.

 

 

Interview: Author Nick Soulsby on his oral history of Swans – Sacrifice and Transcendence

Had a good time answering questions and shooting the breeze with Conor  AKA Moo Kid (https://mookidmusic.com/about-moo-kid/) the other week. The resulting piece includes Conor’s link to an interview he conducted with Michael Gira in 2014 as well (bonus!)

Looking forward to showing parts of Marco Porsia’s film on Sunday night at Rough Trade Bristol – should be a good night. Also looking forward to hearing people’s Swans experiences – I’ve been amazed at how most fans have a very direct and personal engagement with Swans, it’s been a pleasure listening to.

 

 

The Door is Open: 10 Songs from the World of SWANS by Nick Soulsby

I was kindly invited by Kevin, the creative mind behind the Void Report (great title which I really need to ask how he came up with!), to try to suggest ten songs that go some way toward capturing the wide span of styles and approach that exist within the entity known as Swans.

It’s quite a task. One of the finest things about Swans is that they’re a band that didn’t just record the same album, or variations of it, over and over again. It was never possible to say “this is what Swans sound like” for more than a couple years – then the sound would shift almost entirely. Better still, many bands, making a stylistic shift, simply wind up sounding like a pastiche or a tribute to styles that others do better: SWANS never did that. Swans always sounded like their own thing – an original.

I always think of Swans as a number of phases: 1982-1987 the gargantuan audience pulverizing era; 1988-1989 Americana years before Americana was back in fashion; 1990-1993 the age of rhythm married to articulate lyrics and layered orchestral detail; 1994-1995 return to rock; 1995-1997 the jettisoning of rock and the invention/ushering in of what would come to be the post-rock era; 2010-2011 the wedding of Angels Of Light to Swans; 2012-2016 the creation of a new hybrid of minimalist composition, pop/rock song-craft and maximalist impact.

So, what did I attempt to pick? What I aimed for was to find ten songs that summed up some central aspect of each of those times – a song that acted as a doorway to each spell before the wheel turned again.

I think the advice stays true: if you don’t like your first taste of Swans, just move two albums down the line and try again – you’ll find a new band that is still, without doubt, Swans.

I also want to thank whichever genius came up with the ‘how to get into Swans’ graphic – it’s a work of art.