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“Tasmania is a beautiful place, but there is a lot of unemployment,” Andrew Swayze tells Clash. “We are detached from the rest of Australia economically and socially. A lot of people don’t expect to do much with their time or their lives, they settle for the mundane. I felt that growing up, I didn’t want that and it became the start of my anger towards the norm. I guess that played into the media and to politics, to all sorts of stuff. I found a home in punk music, as an outlet and as a way of expressing frustration.”

Living in Hobart, on Tasmania, an island located to the south of the Australian mainland, should not hinder you from creating upbeat and honest garage punk-rock, and it isn’t stopping A. Swayze & The Ghosts from pursuing their passion. The quartet has been together for about three years, they have been going at a fast, energetic pace oozing drive and ambition. Being determined to turn this into a permanent project, and keep going for a long as possible, remains a clearly defined objective for the band.

Because the band enjoy a range of different music genres, it can be hard to pinpoint exactly where their influences derive from but “there are definitely things that we all enjoy,” says Andrew. “We are all influenced by The Stooges, and we love The Rolling Stones, Iceage and Idles, music with charisma and attitude, music that has honestly and a conviction to it. They are the biggest things that drive us to other bands.”

Being signed helps. A casual conversation at half-time during an Arsenal game led to getting picked up by Rough Trade, one of the most iconic British independent labels. As a result, the four-piece released two tracks including ‘Suddenly’, a song tackling gender equality and ‘Reciprocation’, a track based on an idea originating from Hendrick Wipprecht, their guitarist.

“He started playing this cyclical riff. We had it written in three quarters of an hour. It was one of these things that just happened, and rather than paying too much attention to the detail, we hooked up the mics and recorded it. There’s something very honest about that song. It’s great to think about lyrics and music in depth, but sometimes it’s good to let it come out naturally. Often that can be the most honest way to create art.”

Due for release later this year, a debut album is on the cards. When they supported Australian rock band Jet, they went on tour around France where they played some big theatres, and they have also played some of Australia’s biggest outdoor festivals. Now it’s about live dates they have scheduled around the UK in May, including The Great Escape. “It’s nice to have a buzz and feel excited about things”, says Andrew, “at the moment not a day goes by without some good news to do with our music, which is a good feeling.”

“We have got a clear idea of where we would like to be,” reflects Andrew. “We want to be recording, touring and constantly writing music as much as we can, until we are burnt out, start writing bad stuff or lose our integrity. We want to keep working hard as a band, that’s the idea. I guess it really depends if you folks like the record we are gonna put out.”

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Words: Susan Hansen

Catch A. Swayze & The Ghosts at the following shows:

May
13 Bristol Hy-Brasil Music Club (Nude Party Support)
15 Dublin Whelans (Nude Party Support)
16 Belfast Empire Music Hall (Nude Party Support)
17 Glasgow Mono (Nude Party Support)
20 London The Old Blue (Headline/Free show)

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