By Kieran Webber
Bursting out of the streets of Melbourne is the recently formed Swazi Gold, a band that put their groovey, pulsing sound on the forefront. Drawing influence from disco, Nigerian funk and American electronica.
Their most recent single ‘Disco’ caught our ear with it’s melody driven grooves and quirky vocals. It had us wondering who exactly are Swazi Gold and what makes them tick? So we had a quick chat with Sam Cooper to find out!
CLUNK: Thanks so much for taking the time to answer our questions how have you been and what have you been up to?
Sam: I’ve been well. Haven’t been up to much Swazi Gold business as Chris, our bass/guitar player, is traversing around Europe as we speak. So Tim and I have been eagerly awaiting his return so we can play some shows and release our debut record!
CLUNK: How was life growing up in Australia and how did it shape your music and creative processes?
Sam: Growing up in Australia has been great. It’s pretty relaxed here down under and I think that’s certainly informed our creative process. Also being a fairly geographically isolated island with a relatively small population, has imbued a sense of individuality, which I think shapes our music.
CLUNK: What is one common misconception about being Australian?
Sam: Probably that we’re all white, former convicts from England. We’re actually quite multicultural and Australia’s Indigenous population is the world’s oldest civilisation.
CLUNK: How was it that you all met and at what point did you decide to start making music together?
Sam: Chris and I grew up together down the coast, whilst Tim is a country boy. We all met when we moved to Melbourne and were playing in different bands and admiring each other’s work. We started playing together is a band called Dreamin’ Wild, which has a hot new record coming out next year. Tim and I also play in a band called Crepes together and Chris and I play in another band called Sagamore. The three of us are quite incestuous with our music.
Listen to ‘Disco’ here:
CLUNK: How did you come up with the name Swazi Gold?
Sam: Tim came up with name. He happened to encountered some marijuana on his journeys around Africa as a young rouseabout. Sure to say it made quite the impression on him. The particular strand was called Swazi Gold and years later he thought it was a fitting name for the style of music we were making as a three piece.
CLUNK: What was the idea behind your debut release ‘Jehovah’s Whispers’?
Sam: The notion behind the record was egalitarian in nature. This being that each of us would contribute two songs to the record and sing lead vocals on those songs we’d contribute. The rest of the process however was very collaborative. We also tried to keep overdubs and the post production to a minimal, ensuring the scope of the songs stuck to the drum machine, guitar, bass and synth formula.
CLUNK: You have stated artists such as William Onyeabor and Harry Nilsson are influences but what is it about them that draws you to them?
Sam: Probably the energy and simplicity that both artists tend to represent. Onyeabor’s immediate drive into most tracks really drawers you in and keeps you going with his live and quirky presence coupled with long drawn out tunes. Where the lour of someone like Nilsson definitely lies their reflective song writing and interesting story telling.
“Even though there is only three of us in the band our influences still span a massive spectrum” – Sam Cooper
CLUNK: What other influences do you have and how has it filtered into your music?
Sam: As broad as our influences are I think artist like, Amii Stewart, Grace Jones, David Bowie, New Order and even artists like Roy Buchanan or Gary Low would come into play. Even though there is only three of us in the band our influences still span a massive spectrum.
CLUNK: Can we expect a tour after the album release?
Sam: For sure! We are planning on hitting the road and hitting some very flirty destinations around Australia.
CLUNK: What can someone expect from your live show?
Sam: Hmmm….. Well without giving to much away and in only a few words, you can expect Energy, some Pageantry, dancing and a damn good show.
CLUNK: Lastly, we like to end things with a story so is there anything weird/funny or gnarly that you can share with us?
Sam: Nothing we could commit to publication!