Having just released their new single, The Lift, we asked Swirl to tell us more about themselves using our A-Z challenge!
A SONG WHICH MADE YOU WANT TO MAKE MUSIC:
Well I started out on violin in middle school after a classical music introduction from my father. I was introduced to rock n roll by a neighbor through the music of KISS. Anything off the ‘Destroyer’ release especially “Detroit Rock City” or “Shout It Out Loud”. KISS made me want to make music, but I would have played any instrument. All I knew right away was I wanted to be involved in rock `n roll (in fact I started out wanting to be a drummer, but I already had a jump start on finger dexterity so I settled for guitar. I didn’t really develop a passion for the guitar until I saw Ozzy Osbourne‘s live in Salt Lake City concert and heard Jake E. Lee playing “Bark At The Moon”.
BEST RIDER YOU HAVE EVER HAD:
Full catered hot meals for the band, bottles of Amaretto and cranberry juice for Brian and I, beers for Alfred and Shane and desserts in the Midwest. We were on tour with Ratt and Extreme. Kansas City, Mo bbq comes to mind first and is hard to beat, but Dallas, TX is very close.
CRAZIEST MOMENT YOU’VE EXPERIENCED IN THE BAND:
This year will be the 10th anniversary of the current line-up of Swirl. We have toured extensively here in the United states. At one time we figured out that we covered over 50,000 miles in a calendar year using Ford Econoline vans and U-Haul trailers! For me the “craziest moment” is all about winning over a crowd that was not familiar with Swirl and in some cases didn’t even know we were on the bill. Feeling the hesitation from the audience when the set starts and then that triumphant feeling when they are in full throat by the end! A Salt Lake City radio station birthday bash or on the Ratt/ Extreme tour in a suburb of Houston immediately come to mind.
We experienced the same thing in a concert hall in Tokyo, Japan when Swirl was brought over to headline a tour. Not so much the hesitation at the start of the set because they were there just wanting their ass kicked and we were all too happy to oblige. However the energy between the band and the audience was just insane!
DEEPEST LYRICS ONE OF YOUR SONGS FEATURES:
The timing of this interview question is great. It coincides with our new single, “The Lift” which is being extremely well received in large part for the way listeners can connect with the lyrics. Here is what Swirl singer Alfred Ramirez has to say about them- “I would like to start by saying that when I write lyrics it’s usually tied to a personal experience of mine or one that I have witnessed in the world we live in. I also feel what’s most import is not so much what my lyrics mean to me, but more importantly what my lyrics mean to the listener. I want the listener find their own story within the lyrics. To me that means the listener can interpret and apply them in any way they chose.
What “The Lift” means to me is that we all need help sometimes, be it an emotional lift or a physical lift. We shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help when we need it. We also shouldn’t be afraid to offer to help when were able to. We are all on this planet together and we are all connected, so let’s help one another.
My personal Lift was given to me by “The Minor Goddess” who lifted me out of a depressed and stressed out anxious time in my life. Thank you MG! “Your words will always stay with me “.
EASIEST SONG YOU WROTE:
Probably “Rise Up” off the ‘SWIRL’ EP. That one just came together fast and turned out very well. We entered the studio with a virtually unknown co-producer named James Rieger in Lake elsinore, CA and produced a song worthy of being licensed into a full length film.
FAVOURITE SONG IN YOUR SET:
That is impossible to answer since I had a hand in writing them all and for various reasons i like playing them. A song like “Fourth of July” or “Mad Disease” are fun because I get to give the guitar a real work out. “Rise Up” and “Time to fly” are fun as well because they are songs that most of the audience connects with instantly whether they are hearing the band for the first time or are long time supporters. I will be very curious to find out how “The Lift” goes over in a live setting.
GUEST YOU’D MOST LIKE TO FEATURE ON YOUR RECORD:
We are all very different people with regard to our influences so I can promise you this question gets 4 different answers from the members of the band. I won`t speak on behalf of the others, but personally I would be thrilled to have a song where there is a solo with Jake E. Lee, Warren DeMartini, Carlos Cavazo and myself trading licks.
HARDEST THING ABOUT BEING IN A BAND:
With Swirl being an independent band we are constantly trying to handle all aspects of our career with equal energy. We run the record label, book the dates and handle the management duties on top of writing the music. The hardest part is juggling all the responsibilities. It is a challenge, but being in business for ourselves is very rewarding too. We have more music being licensed into movies, tour opportunities to take advantage of and songs to record as we continue on the upward trend the band has been on. Of course we are open to adding to the team as we are by no means near the career goals for Swirl.
INTERESTING FACT ABOUT ONE OF YOUR MEMBERS:
When he is not behind the drums Brian is an avid fisherman. After one session he flew up to Alaska and was on the Kenai river while the mixes were being done.
JOKES YOU HAVE IN THE BAND:
When things aren’t at their peak on stage to the level we expect from each other it`s not uncommon to hear “You look like you were having fun up there”. It`s all in good fun, but it sends the message.
KEY TO WRITING A SONG:
For me it is to stay disciplined in writing, but not force it when comes to parts. I have learned to not allow myself to get too attached to a part I have created until we have all had a chance to figure out how everyone’s pieces fit. “The lift” is the most collaborative song the 4 of us have created. I had individual writing sessions with Brian and Alfred where parts were altered, new parts were created and arrangements were solidified. With previous songs from the ‘SWIRL’ EP I got together with Brian after I had most of the parts created on guitar to work on the arrangement. We would then present it to Shane and Alfred where Shane would add his parts to the instrumentation. Often Shane brings in a new part to add to a song we are working up (the breakdown in “We are alive” for example). Then Alfred would create his lyrics and melody over the music. This was not the case for “The Lift”. Alfred was the most involved he had ever been in the music for the song. Shane was his usual brilliant self when it came to hearing ideas when we were all together working on the song in rehearsals, but it was in the studio while mixing that he actually took the reigns more so than ever before and tweaked the final mix. Every time I listen to that song I hear the individual influence the four of us had in creating that song.
LONGEST DISTANCE YOU’VE TRAVELED TO PLAY A SHOW:
As I mentioned already Swirl has played in Tokyo, Japan but that was a previous line up I had with Brian. The current band has not been out of the country yet so for now I would have to say traveling from Anaheim, CA to Cleveland, OH to join the George Lynch Souls of we tour.
MOST INSPIRING MUSICIAN YOU’VE EVER EXPERIENCED:
I have been around Stevie Wonder and James Brown. That was pretty inspiring.
NEW BAND YOU’D RECOMMEND:
I recently got a new car with Sirius XM in it. I don`t know how “new” they are, but Gojira is new to me and their current single I really dig! Quite the departure from my previous musical tastes I admit.
OPENING FOR THIS BAND WOULD BE IDEAL:
Another great question that is sure to elicit different responses by each of us. For me it has to be KISS. The idea of being on stage night after night, turning around to see our banner and knowing the KISS stage set up was on the other side of the curtain would be amazing.
PLACE YOU’D MOST LIKE TO TOUR:
If I can’t get a full blown world tour out of the deal then get me on tour with Swirl in Europe. I have always wanted to go.
QUOTE THAT YOU’D LIKE TO PASS ON TO READERS:
Swirl “combines the best of the past 20 years of American rock/ Hardrock”
REASON FOR THE TITLE OF YOUR RECENT/FORTHCOMING RELEASE:
While there were other ideas floating around including “what you do to me” or “You Lift me up” ultimately Alfred was very dug in on calling it “The Lift”. It’s personal and we support the decision.
SEE US LIVE AT:
A stage in a city near you in 2018! Swirl is hoping to tour in all countries where either the ‘Ditch Day’ movie is released or our music is being played. The first stop on the 2018 tour trail is Saturday February 3, 2018 at the Whisky a Go Go in Hollywood, CA.
THE OLD DAYS OF MUSIC WERE BETTER THAN THOSE CURRENT, DO YOU AGREE:
I don’t know that I agree with such a blanket statement. “The classics” are classics for a reason and clearly there are some brilliant songs in the history of recorded music, but I would not be so quick to dismiss new music. Now if you are referring to the “old days of the music business then I completely disagree. We are having quite a bit of success as an indie band without and I don’t think it would have been possible in the “old days” where the record labels had so much control over the artists. Things are definitely different, but that is not all bad. Change is good. Music and the music business continue to evolve.
I am still waiting on the Swirl to become a household name big enough to warrant the SwirlGirl clothing line, complete with high heel boots and matching boy shorts or thongs for the ladies of course.
VARIATIONS YOU’D LIKE TO DO ON ANY OF YOUR SONGS:
A completely orchestral version of our song “Spell” definitely!
WHAT DO YOUR FANS MEAN TO YOU:
They mean everything. They are called “Swirl Society”, it is growing daily and because of them I am able to pursue my childhood dream of a music career. The state of the current music business led us to our first ever crowd funding campaign through Go Fund Me in the winter of 2017. The fan base is now the defacto record company for Swirl on the financial end. Our fans were asked to donate money so that we could get into the studio. The idea was presented to us by Emad Alaeddin the owner of Granted Records and producer of “The Lift”. He guided us through how to set up the page and asked us to trust in him that it would be successful. We had no expectations for it, but within 48 hours of starting the campaign we had the funds donated by fans to record the first song which turned out to be “The Lift”. The link is still active and as the fan base grows more people are investing in the bands recording efforts for our follow up song.
X-RAYS OR ANY OTHER TREATMENTS NEEDED FOR BAND RELATED INJURIES:
X-rays? I am happy to report Swirl has suffered no broken bones or injuries to date. “Other treatments”? Nothing uncommon to a life in rock n roll.
YOU’RE LATE FOR A SHOW, WHO’S FAULT IS IT:
Probably my own. I am always wanting everything to be “perfect” down to the smallest detail in all things Swirl. We are all Type- A personalities, but my brothers in the band are a little quicker to accept some things as they are. I am working on that.
ZOO ANIMAL THAT BEST DESCRIBES THE PERSONALITY OF YOUR BAND:
Well definitely some kind of wild cat. Sleek, sexy, more powerful and capable than you might tend to think if you don’t know about them. Not just any cat though, not the obvious choice, A rare one-The Albino Tiger! They are fiercely protective of their own yet for as intimidating or ferocious as they can be, they are equally humble and playful. Of course it doesn’t hurt that they are beautiful to look at.