Interview With 'Swirl'
Firstly, introduce yourself/yourselves and tell us a little bit about the band and how you came to be?
I am Duane T Jones, but you can call me “DT”. I am the guitarist and founder of the west coast, Hard Rock band Swirl, currently residing in Southern California! I say that because Swirl was actually started in the Pacific Northwest of the United States in a town called Mukilteo, WA in the very late 90s.
That version of Swirl included my brother Brian “Bam Bam” Jones on drums, toured the US and Japan on a release titled ‘Out Of Nowhere’. It was produced by former Quiet Riot and now current RATT guitarist Carlos Cavazo, as well as former Rough Cutt bassist Matt Thorr.
After a hiatus from the music business spurned by the death of my father I was encouraged to once again pursue my musical dreams and was introduced to the current Swirl band members vocalist Alfred Ramirez and bassist Shane Carlson. We have been together as Swirl since 2008.
What were you all up too prior to the band, was this always the chosen path or did you have other dreams and aspirations?
After the vocalist and bassist of the Pacific Northwest version of Swirl left the band I moved to California. Brian has always been the drummer for Swirl, but he pursued other musical projects while I worked my way through my grieving process.
Alfred and Shane were in a local So Cal band that had the attention of former Dio keyboardist Claude Schnell. He was looking to produce a demo for them and suggested I come in to help write as they had recently parted with their guitarist. What was supposed to be only a writing project turned into a live performing band. It was after a live show a friend suggested that “Alfred would sound great singing Swirl songs”. I approached Alfred about it and he was interested so we went into a recording studio with Cinderella drummer Fred Coury. Fred wound up co-writing, drumming on, mixing and producing the first new music from Swirl since I moved to California! Those songs are “Time To Fly” and “Mad Disease”. The song “Time To Fly” was particularly well received and immediately led to the first touring offer of what would become a solid year of touring the United States. Our first tour was with Stephen Pearcy and his solo band. Most people know Stephen Pearcy as the lead singer for RATT. We came off that tour in the winter of 2008 and hopped on a 2009 spring tour with the Bullet Boys, spent the summer of 2009 on the East Meets West Tour featuring RATT and Extreme, did a fall 2009 tour with George Lynch`s Souls of We (most people know George from either Dokken or Lynch Mob) then finished with a winter 2009 tour with the Bullet Boys again. All told we covered over 50,000 miles and had a blast doing it!
We began writing new songs in 2010 and recorded in 2011. It was during the end of that recording process Swirl was approached by Water Tree Media regarding a licensing opportunity for an independent horror movie featuring Emmy Award winner Bill Oberst Jr. That movie turned out to be the two time award winning ‘Ditch Day’. Currently the movie ‘Ditch Day’ has been released in Germany, Brazil, Korea, the UK, France and the United States.
Tell us about your latest EP and why our readers should check it out.
The latest EP from us is the self-titled ‘SWIRL’. We ended up with 3 songs from that EP licensed into the ‘Ditch Day’ movie. The songs are ‘Rise Up”, “Spell” and “We Are Alive”. By the summer of 2018 ALL of the songs on the ‘SWIRL’ EP will be licensed into either TV or films that are available to the public. That puts us in very rare company as the first unsigned, self-produced, self-managed band/ artist of any genre to have 100% of their release licensed into multiple full length films.
As proud as we are for all we accomplished with the ‘SWIRL’ EP so far we are excited to release a new song in January 2018, called “The Lift”. It is being met with strong support as well. We released it to radio on December 4, 2017 and woke up Christmas morning to learn that “The Lift” was #4 on Banks Radio Australia. “The Lift” is being added to internet and FM radio daily! We have seen the first reviews for “The Lift” and if they are any indication we can expect big things for Swirl in 2018.
We finished 2017 with “Rise Up” as the #2 song on Elite 365 Radio in the US and started with “The Lift” at #4 in Australia!
Have you ever come face to face with someone within the music scene who has left you awestruck and why?
I have on a few occasions. I met my guitar idol in Jake E Lee (Ozzy/ Badlands) a few years back. Since then Swirl has shared the stage with his new band Red Dragon Cartel multiple times. I have been fortunate enough to meet Stevie Wonder and a chance meeting with James Brown outside the Whisky A Go Go in Hollywood.
If we were to head out to one of your live shows what can ourselves and others expect?
A damn good time. A high energy SHOW….we stress the word show. Swirl live is an event for the eyes and ears! In the studio we are musicians. On stage we get to let loose and be entertainers.
If you had one artist/band that you could go on tour with tomorrow who would it be and why?
I would love to see Swirl involved with a KISS tour. I started out in music as a violinist and was converted to guitar when a friend introduced me to the music of KISS. So many of my guitar influences I have been blessed to meet and in almost every case share a stage or tour with, but not the band that put me on this Rock n' Roll journey.
You can spend an hour with a musical icon living or dead, who would you pick, why and what would you speak about?
So many come to mind honestly, but I am gonna say Lionel Richie. Since I only have an hour with this person. I want to know what his days were like at that time in his life when he wrote 14 number one songs in a row. I have so many questions about his process for creating songs that resonate with so many people. I find him fascinating.
And finally and most importantly is Die Hard a Christmas Movie?
Absolutely! It's always on in my house over the Christmas season. It's right up there with ‘A Christmas Story’.
Website - www.swirltheband.com
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/Swirltheband/