Fusing the sounds and vision of 90s rave nostalgia with post-internet electronica, SWIM is a Melbourne-based music producer and video artist. Off the back of his sold-out 2020 debut EP Somewhere, Somehow, SWIM has gained a reputation for the evocative atmosphere of his sound and visuals, weaving together stories of love and loss. We asked him how he got here.
Why and when did you start your creative journey?
I’ve been creating for as long as I can remember, I was always drawing and inventing stuff as a kid. My journey with music production began when I was around 15, but it was a long time before I ever released any music or grew confident in what I was doing. It took me ages to figure out what I wanted to say as an artist and I really had to push myself. The journey led me to where I am now with SWIM which is a music and visual exploration. I’m currently just trying to be as free as possible with what I create and really push the boundaries.
Can you describe the emotion of your art?
For each track I write I always try to start from a place of emotion, I feel that’s how I’m able to create my best and most honest work. So the emotion will always change from track to track. However, nostalgia is a big overarching theme to my work and is something that I’m personally fascinated by. That longing and sentimentality for the past is such an interesting thing and is something I feel everyone can relate to.
How has creative expression allowed you to survive/thrive?
I feel like often when I’m making music it’s sort of like a diary of how I’m feeling. I try to make at least something small each day and see what comes out. It’s weird because sometimes it will bring out subconscious things that haven’t been front of mind but they present themselves to me in a clearer light through my music. In this way, I find making music can be super therapeutic – especially if you’re going through things. I always try and just create music for myself first before I ever think like ‘I’m going to share this track online or whatever.’ And I would say 90% of the stuff I make never gets released just because it doesn’t feel right or it’s too personal. But I’m super fine with that.
How do you get into your creative workflow?
For me, I find it helps to have a really clear mind and be free of all distractions. I like to meditate sometimes before I go in and make music, I feel like it helps me not judge my process or what I’m making. I also always start by making loops which itself is quite mediative (it’s just the same section of a song being repeated again and again) I can listen to the same thing for like half an hour just adding little variations or building layers of sound figuring out where I want to take it. I like to be super free and just let whatever comes out come out without judgement.
What do you hope the observer/ listener absorbs from your art?
I hope that I can create music that people create memories with and that they can take away some of the emotion that I put down into my tracks. I always love music that can make you feel some type of way as soon as you put it on. So if I can create something that people are able to have an emotional connection with, I feel like I’ve done my job.