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Interview with Sworn Amongst

Ahead of recording their latest album, we caught up with SWORN AMONGST whilst on tour with Born Of The Jackal. Here’s what they had to say when we spoke to guitarist, James Cooper and drummer Jonny Harper in Exeter.

Hey man, how you doing?

“Good man, thanks.”

You released ‘Kolim Nem’ just before Christmas, what is the meaning behind the title?

“To be honest mate, it was our singer who came up with it. He saw something in the news, something obscure he saw in the papers, about Papua New Guinea witch trails or something like that. It was a bit random, but that’s basically what it means.”

Is it a good representation of the upcoming album?

“Yeah. I mean the earlier stuff was based, like, much more on the trash side. The new stuff now, we’ve changed the dynamics of the guitars and everything. Most of the stuff were writing now is on 7 strings. More modern, more up to date, kinda ‘tech-y’, but we still want to keep that kind of groove element to it. So you know, it’s just a natural progression for us, and how the band’s changed its sound, and it’s working. We’re playing a new song tonight, which you’ll see where we’re going with the new stuff.

The video fits hand-in-hand with the lyrics. How did you go about finding the footage?

“That was through the filmmaker who was passed on to us from the guy who produced our single. It was all left to him really. Like, the issues that were going on in the lyrics, kinda fit with it. Some of the footage is offensive to some people, but you can’t please everyone, can you? But yeah, it works. It’s a good video.”

Sound wise, you’ve upped the game with this track, compared to previous releases! Do you think it’s natural progression as a band, or is the band more settled and stronger after the line up changes?

“There have been a couple of line-up changes. Obviously, we were a 4-piece before Si and I joined, but yeah, it just lends itself to what I’m doing with Jonny, the other guitarist, as well. We were able to play a lot more off of each other where as before we were kind of restricted with doing the singing and the guitar playing, so now we have more freedom, concentrating on the guitar parts. There’s no boundaries now, were not restricted by anything else, just two guitarists doing it.”

Is there a set date for the album release yet?

“At the moment were still in pre-production. Like I said, it’s been a long writing process. Like, there have been a few ideas that have been thrown out, and what have you. We’ve a good amount of songs that we are going to have on the album, and we’re looking probably to release towards the end of April, maybe May. It’s just about done, then we’ll be heading into the studio. Were looking to record with the guy who did the single, Ben Gaines. He records in Derby. But yeah, he’s the guy that produced and engineered the single, so it’ll flow really well. He did a good job on the single, so we are happy to work with him on a full-length. He’s good when it comes to the production as well. He offers ideas. He doesn’t play what we play. He’ll come in with a fresh set of ears and say this will sound cool. What do you think to trying this?”

You previously released a cassette, do you think bands need to make the most of all formats nowadays, such as cassette and vinyl, instead of just CD and digital releases?

“I dunno. I think it’s like vinyl. They’re starting to make their way back in. We’re looking to do our album on vinyl, or picture disc, because its more collectable in a physical form. A lot of people have CDs. Cassettes are something a bit different. They seemed to be received quite well. I think vinyl and picture discs are going to be the way forward.”

It’s a worldwide release, will you be touring the album this year? If so, are you planning to go further afield than you have done on previous tours?

“Yeah, were looking, now everything’s kinda set on the line-up, at going to Europe later this year. That’s all in talks at the moment. We’ve got something in the pot at the moment which we can’t really talk about at the moment, but there’s a possibility with that talking further afield. Yeah, I think the main thing is get the album out April/May time, and then look to festivals and then touring further afield later on in the year.”

What countries would you like to tour in?

“I’d like to do Europe. I mean, these guys a few years ago on the toured with Annihilator and Gamma Bomb in Europe. They say no matter what day of the week it is, you always get a good crowd, so definitely Europe. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to go to the US, but, you know, looking closer to home, Europe has got to be the place.”

What bands should we be looking out for in your local scene?

“Err, Black Tongue seem to be doing well at the moment… doing quite a lot in the US. You’ve got Demoraliser, The Colour Line, Contours… all of them really. No one really stands out more than the others. It’s just the North East really.”

First date of the mini-tour. What venues are you most looking forward to playing this time round?

“We haven’t done anything for a while, because basically, we’ve been concentrating on the album, so this is like a dusting off… blowing away the cobwebs, for us. We’ve got one coming up. We’re supporting Incite in Camden so that’s cool. It’s kinda worked well for us, because we haven’t done anything for a while, so its good to get out, do these few shows, feel good about doing the shows. So yeah, doing the shows for London, that’ll be good. It’s just all of them I’m looking forward to really. Getting back out on the road.”

Who has the worst bad habits on tour?.. and what are they?

“We’ve all got bad habits! The main reason I carry ear-plugs with me is because our drummer and singer snore like Walruses! Honestly, sometimes I can hear them through my earplugs when we’re sleeping. Five of us sleeping in a van together. Snoring just winds me up. So yeah, drummer and singer cause its just horrendous.”

You said in an interview last December that you want an endorsement from Iron Brew. What would your sales pitch to them be?

“Well, I drink an obscene amount of Irn Bru, so therefore I’m a good advertising tool. I’m a literal walking billboard for Irn Bru, so they should take me on and offer me an endorsement indefinitely!

Any last words for your fans, and our readers?

“Just keep an eye out really. Like I say, we’ve got some stuff coming out, the pre-production of the album is sounding really good. It’s different, and a few people are enjoying it. It is a different take on what we have done previously. You can tell from the ‘Scourge Of The Omnipotent’ that we did, the three tracks that we released was a kind of change as well. Just keep an eye out for the new stuff. There will be a lot more coming, a lot more gigging and touring.”

Sworn Amongst now have one show left supporting Incite in Camden,London on 23rd February, before heading into the studio to record their brand new full-length.

Head over to their Facebook page for updates.

Interview by Siôn Roe

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