Artist Interview: “Suppress” by James Swift

Q: I am a huge fan of the pure instrumental structure of ‘’Suppress’’! Why did you choose to craft the song this way?

JAMES: Thank you, I’m glad you enjoyed it! In the beginning, I just had the guitar chords, which are present from start to finish. I put that on a loop and was just vibing to it, messing around with some syncopated melodies and pads to create an atmosphere that was melancholic, but also caused tension. I chose this particular structure as I felt like I was able to build suspense slowly and tell a story using dynamics and various rhythms instead of spelling out a topic with lyrics. This left a lot of room for the listener to interpret the meaning of ‘Suppress’ for themselves, which I think is cool.

Q: You worked with producer PhaseLESS for this track. What made you want to collaborate with them, and can you walk me through what is was like working with PhaseLESS?

JAMES: Ah, this guy! Stevie Samaniego, a.k.a PhaseLESS is honestly one of the most talented people I know. He’s the jack of all trades, but also the master at many! A brilliant producer, songwriter and all round creative. We always have a lot of fun in the studio and work very well together. He actually recently dropped an album ‘Swallowing The Pride’ which I highly recommend listening to. His style could simply be described as electronic/experimental with elements of hip hop and punk. Definitely one to watch on the South Coast!

Q: You are from Brighton, somewhere I consider to be one of the UK’s cultural and musical hubs. How has living here influenced your sound, and how would you describe the music scene there?

JAMES: Living on the coast has had a huge influence on my music. I always find myself writing about the sea and finding metaphors within the waves. In the summer, I’m on the beach writing and in the winter, I’m in my car at the beach writing! The music scene is great here, with labels such as Tru Thoughts, High Focus and Yogocop operating from within the city. They’ve really got some top artists on their rosters. I can’t wait for live music to return fully! I just hope these venues and artists can make it out of the pandemic unscathed.

Q: To me, ‘’Suppress’’ is a dichotomistic track, evoking feelings of both pensiveness and peace. Was this your intention for the song, and if not, what is the main feeling you wish fans to interpret from the song?

JAMES: That’s cool that it made you feel this way! I wrote the song whilst thinking about how we are all suppressed! Some more than others of course. Whether it’s by a country’s government or by societal pressure to conform, this all affects who we truly are as humans and also the art that we create. The climatic section of the piece is slightly chaotic and bursting with energy, representing the fight against these struggles we face and once it returns dynamically in the ending, this can be seen as a glimmer of hope for the future if we can work through these issues. That’s just what I was thinking but as it’s an instrumental piece, I think it’s cool for the listener to interpret it however they please.

Q: ‘’Suppress’’ blends instruments from the Lo-Fi and Hip Hop genres with elements of Rock. Which musical layer in the track is your favourite, and why?

JAMES: This is a tough question! I think they all have their place in the track and blend together well. I want to say the piano melody after the drums fully open up but I’m going to have to say the viola solo, recorded by Em, another Swift! I’m really happy with how that turned out!

Q: What is one song that all of your fans should know about, either one of your own, or someone else’s’?

JAMES: I could probably spend hours trying to answer this question so I’m just going to make it easier for myself and tell you my favourite song of all time. ‘Little Wing’ by Jimi Hendrix. I just wish it was a little longer!

Interviewed by Sadie Willis-Falkiner







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