The Hoot Meets: Swim Deep on the Otley Run, The Wardrobe and a decade of indie-pop

The Emerald Classics band has been bringing dreamy lyrics and calming pop tunes for over a decade, and they’re show no sign of slowing down as they approach their teenage years.

Chances are if you’ve been hanging out in any of Leeds many (many, many) bars with indie-pop playlists, you will have heard the lyrics “don’t just dream in your sleep, it’s just lazy” at one point or another, and found yourself subliminally swaying slightly and mumbling along the lyrics.

And although this melody encompasses everything Swim Deep have been bringing us, the five-piece band have produced endless tunes since their humbled beginnings in Birmingham.

Naturally they’re all about the music, and the transcendent effect that instruments can have when you plug in your headphones, and their latest album Emerald Classics (first released in 2019) brings to life gospel-like vocals as frontman Austin recalls life as a “paperweight cruiser”.

The band have found themselves up and down the country plenty of times, but hold a special place for Leeds’ concert venues that have hosted the band throughout the years.

Austin told us that the band has “always had good shows in Leeds. Yeah Leeds is cool”, noting that the Brudenell Social Club became a staple stop: “we always used to play at the Brudenell, well a couple of times, it was always really funny because there’s no security, it’s kind of scary.”

Swim Deep at Hyde Park Book Club.
Swim Deep with The Hoot’s presenter Fran. / Image: The Hoot Leeds

The Wardrobe stood out for the band too, known as a rite of passage for any up-and-coming artist and band, Swim Deep have played the 400 capacity venue a good few times in their day- even if keyboardist James Balmont has been known to fall asleep inside the doors.

“James’ party trick is falling asleep places, in a pub, at a rave, with his backpack on.”… sounds like a great way to end the night if you ask us.

Hyde Park Book Club was a first for the band at Live at Leeds: In The City 2022, and sitting down with Austin Williams, drummer Thomas Fiquet and Robbie Wood, most notably recognised strumming the guitar, the band told us that they were excited to play the Hyde Park venue, but were confused about the constant stream of fancy dressers walking past the club, pints in hand.

Of course we all and love (or loathe) this to be the Otley Run, but as we sat down to chat about Swim Deeps monumental journey over the past decade, the boys were intrigued by the local tradition, asking us far more questions about the history of the pub crawl than we could possibly answer.

Naturally, the band effortlessly brought the crowd to life in the Hyde Park Book Club basement with tunes spanning across their discography, and when asked what was their favourite song to date, we got a vast range of answers that brought together the different albums.

Feel-good anthem World I Share from the 2019 album Emerald Classics, the perfect backtrack to a romcom with lyrics like “Love is what we share/ It’s what we breath, it’s in the streets and in the air” was the top pick from Tom, sharing that he felt it was one of the most “euphoric” songs from the band “that’s never played enough”.

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For Robbie, it was Hotel California, a B Side from Mothers that he loved as a fan before joining the band in 2018, whereas Austin, one of the longest standing members of the band the nostalgic tune of King City as his top pick.

“it’s the first single that we record and released its the first time we got somewhere, the first time we got on the radio and talked about so you know it’s a no brainer”.

Released in 2012, this was the bands debut single after signing with Chess Club and re-released on the 2013 debut album Where The Heaven Are We, which was also where Austin’s favourite lyrics to date are, a solid nine years on.

Impressed by his ability to rhyme forever with forever, ‘Was it a day (was it a day)
/ Or was it forever? / ‘Cause I’ve found a place (I’ve found a place) / The sun shines forever
‘, Austin gave a nod to both Francisco and Honey, with the age-old ‘don’t just dream in your sleep it’s just lazy’

” I know it’s just so cheese but […] I’ve see it on posters and stuff from like Etsy moms, you know like live laugh love but I quite like that we’ve had an indent on that market”.

Swim Deep at Hyde Park Book Club.
Swim Deep at Hyde Park Book Club. / Image: The Hoot Leeds

Swim Deep is one of those bands that although there’s such a unique sound behind each track, you can hear influences from the 80s right up to the latest indie hits, so naturally we were intrigued to hear about who they thought were the best bands from Yorkshire.

Pulp, The Cribs and Drenge all made it onto the top list and of course, Arctic Monkeys, after some back and forth about the band’s evolution through the last twenty years.

“[Arctic Monkeys] was was a bit laddy for me at the start” Austin told us “but obviously I do love them but and I really like the first track off this first album Mirrorball, I think they’ve finally got to a point where they’re actually mature enough to sound like that mature.”

“I cant’ believe they’re only 36 though, I feel so unaccomplished when I know that he’s only 36, they’ve had such a mad run like they headlined Glastonbury after their first album.”

Speaking of festivals, if you wanted to know who the band would want to see as their dream festival headliners, they’d be hoping for Lionel Richie playing all of his greatest hits (Austin’s childhood band); Super Furry Animals (Robbies top pick) and they added Swim Deep to the line-up ‘cos, “come on we’re finally getting the big bucks”

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Swim Deep are heading on tour next week with six days across the UK. Unfortunately the boys only just played Hyde Park Book Club at Live At Leeds: In The City Festival so they won’t be making a stop here, but you can catch a glimpse of the band at the Foundry in Sheffield on Wednesday 23 November or over at Rescue Rooms in Nottingham on Sunday 27 November 2022.

Thankyou to Live At Leeds: In The City for organising this interview.

Feature Image- The Hoot Leeds

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