Can’t Swim have been through a riptide of success and triumphs with their latest album ‘This Too Won’t Pass’ being hailed as their best work to date and charting them almost 100k streams across Youtube, Spotify etc.
But in the lead up to their third album, with the inevitable pressure to deliver on the back two phenomenal full length’s the production hasn’t been an easy road and the future of Can’t Swim might not be what people expect.
Speaking to us about their forthcoming sound, the influences behind it and the pressures of releasing the new album, along with pizza and murder, is Mike Sanchez:
You guys are far from home, first off how are you? Have you eaten yet, are you okay?
Mike Sanchez (guitar): ‘Well we got here three or four days ago and we’ve playing shows around like London, Liverpool and now we’re here! I am great, everything’s wonderful!’
Dying inside but still going?
“When we put out our last album we saw a shift in the band. I think we finally found what sound we were trying to achieve.”
So, you kicked off in 2015 and have done amazingly. Going from basement gigs to festival spots and headline tours, what’s been the most drastic change in all those years?
Mike: ‘Oh wow! You said this would be quick- no I’m kidding haha.
Well when we last put out our full-length album we saw a shift in the band. I think we finally found what sound we were trying to achieve you know? It was a little more cohesive, we all take inspirations from heavier bands growing up on Hardcore and Metalcore so we kind of just applied those things to our strengths.’
Speaking about your influences, I feel like it’s only appropriate to ask whilst we’re at a festival packed with a variety of bands of all genres. Who influences you?
Mike: ‘I feel like we take a lot of influences from all over the places, like heavier music for sure. I loved to listen to Metalcore and Grindcore bands when I was younger but even Pop Punk when I was in high school, I was a huge New-Found Glory fan. But as a I got older I got into more stuff like Radiohead.
Actually, I really love Abba too!’
It’s funny you say that because I interviewed Normandie yesterday who were wearing Abba shirts, there’s a recent buzz in the air for Abba.
Mike: ‘Abba’s amazing! They’re brilliant songwriters and they are so good. They know how to put on a show, they look great, they sound great. It’s the full package.’
Well I asked what their favourite Abba songs are so give me your top Abba bangers?
Mike: ‘Fernando’s definitely up there, the winner takes it all is probably number one. I won’t say Dancing Queen is number three but it’s an honorable mention.’
Let’s not forget the classic Gimme Gimme Gimme.
Mike: ‘Ah yes! Actually, I’m gonna go with Gimme Gimme Gimme for my third one.’
‘I like Abba and I like Pizza, that’s me.’
I’ve always appreciated you guys because you really have a sense of yourself, there’s no egotistical nonsense. But it must be hard in an industry built around your own image and fame to not get big headed?
Mike: ‘Honestly you just look in the mirror once haha, and you’re like I am nobody!
I like Abba and I like Pizza, that’s me. That’s actually what my Tinder profile says.’
What’s New Jersey pizza like? I know there’s this whole debate over New York and New Jersey pizza.
Mike: ‘I will say I think New Jersey pizza is better than New York pizza but that’s only because the original NY pizza makers have since moved to New Jersey.’
Controversial opinions people!
Mike: ‘I’m just sayiiin! It’s not like you can’t get a good slice in New York but New Jersey’s got something special going on.’
So, the latest release, ‘This Too Won’t Pass’ shot you guys into phenomenal success, was there any pressure whilst creating any newer work to live up to the same success?
Mike: ‘You know, absolutely! Aha, I think we’re a lot older in the band now and we’ve approached this band as first and foremost as ‘we wanna have fun’. As soon as we’re not having fun anymore we’re seeing it as taking a route this isn’t necessarily building. As long as we’re growing and having fun we’re gonna keep on doing it.
If we put out a record and it doesn’t do anything for us then of course we’re gonna step back and reevaluate like “alright, well that was fun bye!”’
‘You’re a New Jersey-ish band as I know a few of you grew up in Florida etc, but when you come to places like the UK is there anything in our music scene where you think “oh wow we should really do this back home’ or vice versa?
Mike: ‘Oh no you guys are doing it all right, we’re doing it all wrong haha. No, I think regionally it’s a smaller country which is why the scene here is so strong. Over in America the scene is kinda scattered where you could play shows in LA and they’d be wild but other places not so much.’
‘We’ve approached this band as first and foremost as ‘we want to have fun.’ As soon as we’re not having fun anymore, we’re not building ourselves.’
I’ve been asking bands this all day and it’s been a tough one to answer. In the 2000’s Thriller American Psycho Christian Bale’s character kills someone while listening to Huey Lewis and The News. What’s your murder song? But the catch is it has to be fun!
Mike: ‘You know I see myself as a very calm killer- not that I’d thought about this at all- so it’d probably be a classical piece.’
Are you a big horror fan?
Mike: ‘I’m actually a huge murder fan- no aha I’m a big horror fan, The Shining is my favourite horror film but some don’t construe it as that. I think it’s in the category.’
Finally, ready for the best generic question ever, what’s the future of Can’t Swim?
Mike: ‘Oh wow so unexpected! Well I’m gonna get a doctorate in murder.
I mean we’re recording now and we’re going in a more heavier and faster sound. We’ve got a good reception from heavier stuff so we thought we’d lean into it and it’s more in our nature so yeah.’
Can’t Swim released their second album ‘This Too Won’t Pass’ last year. Stream it.
Interview - Yasmine Summan
Live Photos - Sam Robinson Photography