INTERVIEW: The Swellers

Published in The Music (NSW, QLD, VIC, WA) and, Nov 2014


 All your band needs to do to get attention is break up. With The Swellers going out on a high, frontman Nick Diener runs Daniel Cribb through the band’s final days and what’s planned next.

The last time Michigan punk rockers The Swellers ventured to Australia was in 2012, supporting the release of their first independent EP, Running Out Of Places To Go, after numerous releases on various labels. Just two years later, they’ve announced they’ll be calling it splits after a handful of farewell shows. An odd revelation to some punters, considering their solid live show and the fact they produced a solid record in 2013’s The Light Under Closed Doors, but a closer look at their ‘12 Aussie tour confirms being in a touring band isn’t always glamorous. “It mostly driving once we got there, there were no flights between shows,” frontman Nick Diener begins on their Oz headline effort. “We landed in Sydney and then we had to drive 15 hours to Adelaide after being on a plane for 36 hours in a really small vehicle. The shows were fun, but we were just more used to being babied, I guess. We were pampered by Soundwave-type tours,” he laughs.
With four Soundwave dates and a few in the US, with hopes to make it back to the UK and Europe, June 2015 seems to be the current end date for the band. “Which will be in time for our 13-year anniversary, so we should probably be done before then,” he jokes, before diving into the reasons behind the seemingly sudden split.
“I think it was pretty much trying to get everybody on the same page as far as some tours and some opportunities we had coming up, and we were like, ‘Yeah, that’ll be a good tour, but it won’t be great. It’ll be kind of worth it, but it won’t really’, and then we were like, ‘Let’s only do stuff if it’s going to be awesome; if we’re really going to love it’. And then we realised the opportunity to do that stuff wasn’t going to be there unless we did it totally on our own terms, and we didn’t want to be one of those bands that just dragged it out and dragged it out and slowly died. So we’d just got off an England tour and it was awesome, and it went really, really well, so we thought we’d just announce soon that we’re going to be doing some final shows. And it was kind of weird, because all of a sudden we had given a timeline for the end of the band; it was almost relieving. We’ve done a lot of great stuff, and this means that our final shows are all going to be really fun; they’re all going to have a vibe to them. The fans are going to know it’s the last time, we’ll know it’s the last time we’re playing there, so it’ll be pretty intense, but at least we’re going out the way we wanted to go.”
It’s fitting the final track on The Light Under Closed Doors is titled Call It A Night, and although The Swellers is being laid to rest, it sounds like whatever Diener decides to embark on next won’t stray too far from that sound. “That is kind of like my sound. That’s what I enjoy the most, and some of my favourite bands are Weezer and The Get Up Kids, so depending on who I’m writing with, and which direction we take, there’ll definitely be that influence… I can’t really shake that, that’s part of my songwriting.”