Swear and Shake – These White Walls

1 Mar

It was love at first sound when I first heard Swear and Shake on the internet. Their sound captured my heart immediately, sending me into a frenzy trying to find every song they’ve ever released. I’ve been following their young career since and have had many fantastic opportunities to get to know this extraordinary band. They’ve just finished up the mastering of their brand new LP, Maple Ridge, which will be available for digital download on April 1, and their brand new video for their first single off the album, These White Walls, is premiering tonight. I spoke with Adam about the video and the work that went into bringing it to life. Be sure to pick up Maple Ridge when it’s available, until then, just keep replaying the video (it’s pretty impossible to not keep hitting play.)

STM: What is the concept behind your new video, These White Walls?

Adam: We wanted to create a video that would showcase the band and the dynamic between Kari and I. It’s something that we’re used to doing at our live shows: screamin’ in each others face and all. It’s a love song, a heartbreak song, so having Kari tie me up and leave me on the railroad tracks at the end helped push that idea along.

STM: I was hoping you would bring the railroad tracks up. You being tied up and her fumbling along with the rope, what would you like your fans to gather from that?

Adam: Her heartbroken character was finally fed up enough with my character’s charade that she had to do something about it. Leaving him for dead seems appropriate.

STM: Which I’m sure many people have contemplated in rough relationships, haha.

Adam: Right! In music videos, you can do all those twisted things you can’t do in real life.

STM: I had the great privilege of seeing your guys’ live show, being able to view the amazing dynamic all of you share together. From this video, it’s so easy to see the chemistry you all share. What was it like filming the video? What was the process?

Adam: Filming the video was SO much fun. We filmed the video while we were on the road playing shows, and that’s always when you feel closest with the band. It’s like a big family vacation when you’re touring, and we got to shoot the music video right in the middle of the trip, so we were all in a really good place with each other, and the chemistry felt just right. Feeding off of one another really makes the live show and we wanted to bring that into the video.

STM: So, who came up with the concept? Was it a collaborative effort?

Adam: Our director, Ben Morse, was really the mastermind behind it. He teaches (among other things) at this amazing art/performance space in Newburgh, NY, The Railroad Playhouse. We wanted to do something there, and things just worked out really well with those big white walls for the indoor shots, and the rain for the outdoor shots.

STM: Speaking of the big white walls in the video, how much fun was it to doodle all over those? Any fun messages that can’t be seen by the viewer?

Adam: Okay. Honestly, the walls were already like that. It’s true.

STM: I’d be so tempted to write even more on them, haha.

Adam: Right, we could have tacked a few things on I suppose. It already said “Adam” really big. We weren’t thinking about adding the other four. Tom sat right next to “Alfonso,” and his middle name is Alberto, so that’s sort of neat.

STM: As I mentioned earlier, you all have great chemistry with one another and some might assume you and Kari are a couple. Is it hard to sort of “act” that way in a song and having to sing to each other about heartbreak?

Adam: It’s so much fun to act. A lot of the songs we write are story songs in which Kari and I take on different characters, and that’s something that I think makes our songwriting special. Kari wouldn’t actually tie me up to railroad tracks (debatable), but those characters certainly wronged one another enough to take it there. That’s why music is so good. You can take it places you can’t go in real life… emotionally, morally, legally… what have you.

STM: Kari totally would tie you up on the railroad tracks!

Adam: Perhaps, haha.

STM: So, your director, Ben Morse, came up with the concept for this video. Did he have any pointers for you guys or advice, since this was your first official music video?

Adam: He did! His direction was really invaluable. He’s done a lot of great work, and a lot of it just has to do with the energy of the performers he’s shooting. You give him your hardest, and then he makes you give more, only this time, in the sleeting rain/snow of Newburgh, NY. Then you have to do it again from another angle, but this time, louder and with more energy. Once more please.

STM: Sounds like it was a lot of work. How long did it take to film?

Adam: Four hours.

STM: That’s impressive. Sometimes it takes days!

Adam: Totally. But we kept things moving. It was very cold.

STM: During the filming process, what was one of the most memorable things that happened?

Adam: I was on those railroad tracks for what seemed like an hour just being hailed upon. We were all soaking wet for that outdoor stuff, but I remember feeling like a champion on the van ride back to the venue.

STM: If you could go back, is there anything you would change about the video?

Adam: Well, I make a couple funny faces, but I’ve come to like ’em. When you get something done like this and you have a director who knows exactly what he wants, it’s easier to let a project be. So I think we all feel pretty content with this one, and look forward to making another one with Ben Morse, already in in the works! You can see some of Ben Morse’s other work here:

STM: One last question (two-parter) and then onto the video! With the release of Maple Ridge just around the corner, what can your fans expect and how do you think you’ve grown since your last release, Extended Play?

Adam: We’ve taken the storytelling component of our songwriting to a whole different level. I play an oppressive boyfriend in The Light, Kari plays a Molly Pitcher-esque character putting the pieces of my character back together in “Moving Parts,” and we play a couple growing old, going through the trials and tribulations of life in “Marbles.”

STM: That’s a wrap! Is there anything else you’d like to say before the premier of the video?

Adam: Thanks for watching, and stick around for lots more to come!


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