Brighton four-piece SAFE TO SWIM have been kicking up a storm in 2017 – and are we even in spring yet (maybe)? Their debut track ‘Struggling’ quickly grabbed them a following and propelled them forward in the notoriously competitive music scene down in Brighton, and it is hard to deny that it is well deserved.
‘Struggling’ itself is a bouncy ear-worm of a track, with punchy vocals, riotous drums and gripping guitar work; it’s a start that many bands would dream of, debuting on DIY’s Neu segment and quickly playing right-of-passage venues like Old Blue Last. We’ve got out eye on this lot. Luckily Jim Filippides of the band was more than willing to shed some light on their music, what makes them tick and what they have in store next…
We loved your energetic debut single ‘Struggling’; can you tell us a little about how the track itself came to life? What inspired it?
Thank you! Like most of our songs, the track came together when I was probably in the shower, out with my friends or simply walking down the street. I can’t quite remember the exact situation, but it’s usually these random and sacred moments when the good stuff comes to life, starting with the first scribblings of lyrics or chorus melodies beatboxed into my phone. The actual lyrics were inspired by the collapse of a relationship and life crisis which I was experiencing around that time in my life.
You describe your sound as heavy pop, a hi-octane blend of indie with big guitar hooks and laced with beachy tones. How did you find your signature sound?
Well, in the very early days we were just very noisy surf grunge with a synth, if that’s even a genre? It’s been about three years since then so I guess overtime this newer sound has just kind of creeped it’s way in.
You all met whilst at university in Brighton. What drew you to each other and made you want to start a band?
As soon as I moved down there, that was one of the first things I wanted to do! I met the boys at various points during freshers week, minus George I (bass) who joined the party a bit later on. But it all started from me needing to find a group for a university related project. I reached out to the only people who I thought might be interested in the music I was writing and luckily they actually put up with me and the project! One rehearsal led to another and I guess here we are today!
You’ve previously stated a mutual love of bands like The Strokes, Pixies and the iconic Lou Reed. What is it about these artists that make them so great?
Amazing songs, period.
Do you draw upon the previously mentioned influences in your songwriting? Is there anyone else who you are inspired by musically?
Of course I do, but I think in more of a subconscious way. I don’t sit down before I write a song and say to myself ‘Right, I’m going to make this sound like a blend between the Strokes, Pixies and Lou Reed.’ Usually its after I’ve written the song, it’s then when I can hear what may have inspired the track. As a band I think a lot of our influences are quite different so I can’t speak for the others. I’ve been listening to a lot of 80s pop classics recently so maybe we’ll be able to hear some of that in the music I’m writing at the moment.
How did you incorporate yourself and gain a following in the infamously competitive Brighton music scene?
I think it’s quite difficult to gain a live following in Brighton because it seems as if there are about a million other bands playing about a million other gigs on the same day as your show. And from a fan’s point of view, there’s only a certain number of times one can stand being bombarded with Facebook invitations to their friend’s shows all the time. I think because of this the live music scene in Brighton is becoming a bit overcrowded, stagnant and a less special experience for gig goers. It’s a bit sad but it’s the truth and it wasn’t always like this, I promise!
Last year you played The Great Escape, Y Not and Truck. Festival season is just starting to get its gears going again for 2017, are you looking forward to hitting some festivals again this year?
We’d love to! We’ll actually be quite busy in the studio working on some new material around then but who knows.
What do you love most about festivals? Do you particularly prefer festivals to you own gigs?
I love the madness of a festival. I think it’s the hustle, bustle and the fact that we’ve only played three or four that makes it such an exhilarating experience!
You recently played the Old Blue Last, what was the experience like?
It was really cool! We love that venue and it was the second time we played it. It was our first show in about four months so it certainly felt great playing live again. We were also able to try and test out some new material for the first time which is always scary, useful but fun!
What can people expect from your live show?
Blood and screaming with glitter sprinkled on top.
What is in store next for Safe To Swim?
We’ll be heading off on our first ever UK tour with the mighty Night Cafe in May! We’re all very excited about this as we’ve been dreaming of going on tour for the longest time and now it’s finally happening! Particularly pumped for the Dingwalls show in London and the date all the way up in Glasgow! I don’t think any of us have ever been up to Scotland before so that will be an interesting experience, hopefully we don’t die.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
IT’S SAFE TO SWIM HERE BABY. You really really don’t have to add that though haha! (We did guys #sorrynotsorry)
Safe To Swim’s new track ‘Struggling’ is available now on Soundcloud.