UTG Track-By-Track: SWIMM – ‘Beverly Hells’ EP

SWIMM feature

There’s nothing like a change of scenery to get the creative juices flowin’–just ask Chris Hess and Adam Winn, who together make up the psych-pop duo SWIMM. These partners in crime recently relocated to sunny Los Angeles, resulting in their newest EP, Beverly Hells–an eclectic mix of hefty hooks, hypnotic synth, and introspective lyricism. Cool and contagious, it’s the perfect summer send-off as we brace for the brisk autumn days ahead.

We recently chatted with Hess, who was kind enough to give us all the details on the making of the twosome’s latest effort. Check out what he had to say below, and catch SWIMM on tour this fall with Young Empires.


“Beverly Hells”

This song is the most important song of the EP to me. It embodies our time in LA, and now serves as this time capsule of the first year and a half that we have lived here. At the risk of sounding like a yoga workshop testimonial, our move here really had been such pivotal burst of personal and creative growth. There is a lot to take in from LA–lots of good and lots of bad–dependent on the little paths you choose to follow. We have been lucky and have had really amazing groups of people around us to keep our heads above water with some of the perils I observe in this song. Despite the fact that I do wholly believe hell may end up swallowing large portions of LA (mostly the Hollywood regions), it is still an exciting place to be.


“Belly”

Belly is about a few different people in my life, all of whom are really important to me and all of whom have not reached the immeasurable potential they all had due to one kind of vice or another. The last time we played a home show, two of these people were in the crowd, and it was kind of heavy to sing this song with them there, especially the end of the song because the third verse is about one of my best friends and he coincidentally ran up to the front of the crowd for that verse. I remember singing it to him thinking, “Holy shit, he has no idea I’m singing about him,” but it sure as hell felt like he knew.


“Topanga”

We had decided to move to California straight from the first tour we ever did as SWIMM. So, after two months of touring, I found myself in the airport parking lot in Orange Country crying to my dad for the first time in years while binge eating 3-day-old Subway cookies. Lucky for me I had good friends that offered their Topanga Canyon cabin to me for a few days to decompress, and as someone like me in Topanga would say, “center thy f’ing self.” My now-roommate and best bud Spencer Petersen of Sego came up to the cabin for a day and we wrote some music together. This was the first song we did. I think being in Topanga is a great escape from the everyday LA, and I think it put me in the mindset of observing the different ways we as humans be wantin’, wantin’, wantin’, regardless of if it is something we don’t have yet or already do have. Pretty Zen, huh, man?


“All The Time”

This is about Adam and I and the wacky world around us. Playing in bands together as long as we have, there are often times when we felt like everyone is crazy. One time I called him my life partner at an art festival we play, because frankly, more than anyone so far he has been my life partner, and after the show this woman came up to say she loved the show and asked if she could “meet my boyfriend.” That was a great moment. I laughed and told her we weren’t gay but that one time when a group of frat guys called us “fags” we did make out to freak them out. And they didn’t kick our ass–double bonus! Not sure if it helped her believe he wasn’t my boyfriend though.


“Should Coulda”

We wrote and recorded this song at our home, The Cube, near Chinatown; for that reason it is special to me. I also think it is my favorite song on the EP.


“Suddenly”

I wrote this song from the perspective of someone who wants to be and could be a really great lover to someone who wasn’t ready or willing to give it a shot. If this was Maury Povich I would tear up and lament, “Maury, it is just so hard when you lose a great friendship in the battlefield of love,” but this isn’t Maury Povich, so instead I’ll just say, “love–it’s a mother fucker, ain’t it?!”


Kyle Florence

Kyle Florence is a proud Wisconsinite, a dinosaur enthusiast, and a lover of all things weird and whacky.
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