The Sway: former stars back on track?

Published on July 17 2008

In the 1990's, The Sway was this close to becoming a staple of britpop of the ilk of Blur, Travis or Pulp. Things didn't turn out that way, but nearly fifteen years on, as the band reunites, they chose Jamendo to get in touch with fans new and old.

« We came across Jamendo surfing the net for a place to upload our tunes, and it's great! » enthuses Paul Hogan, bass player for London-based indie poppers The Sway. Along with David Casson (vocals and guitar), Jim Kook (guitar) and Sean Kelly (drums), they formed the band from 1989 to the mid-nineties. Fast-forward to 2008: a fifth member has been added, 17-year-old Matt Smith, on keyboards. « We're hoping he attracts a younger audience! » jokes Hogan. Before getting on to the more serious business of telling their story.

A lot was going on around The Sway in the 90's. Can you describe what kind of a status you'd acquired?
It was definitely a case of 'so near yet so far'. We had two top 100 singles, « Silk » and « Going Blind », had great reviews in the music press and toured the UK extensively. We even had Travis as a support act around 1994! We built up a solid fan base across the country and could alway rely on a great turn out, be it in Edinburgh or London.

Then what happened, why did The Sway disappear?
It was a combination of things. Maybe success was too long in coming. We verged on making it big for two years whilst money was scarce and relationships suffered inside and outside of the band. Some bad decisions were made by the band and management but you can't live on peanuts forever so something had to give.

"If the internet had been around in the early 90's, The Sway would quite possibly be the biggest band on the planet right now!"

So the band has been completely inactive all these years?
We all got 'proper' jobs. But we all played in various bands during the split, with sometimes as many as three of the four original members, but many reasons, such as distance and probably pride, stopped all four of us being in the same rehearsal room at the same time.

When and how did you start playing again?
We all remained firm friends and often talked about reforming, perhaps for our 20th anniversary in 2009. But fate is funny and David, who has been recording as a solo artist, was booked to play a gig on 5th July 2008. David is a bit of a one man band and had recorded all the instrumentation for his own records but really needed a band to play the tunes live. A few phone calls later and the deal was done, the band were back together to play David's new tunes live and also play some old Sway songs. We hope to be back for good, on a casual basis, recording and playing the odd gig, unless some music bigwig takes a punt on us and the dream is finally fulfilled!

Have you been writing new songs?
We will commence writing new songs as a full band shortly. Our sound today is very much the same, but then, we did always feel our sound was ahead of its time. We hope to experiment more with keyboards, now we have Matt in the band.

What is your view on the state of the music industry today?
I can only say that if the internet had been around in the early 90's, The Sway would quite possibly be the biggest band on the planet right now!

Written by amelie

Published on #Stories, #Features