“We’re a rock’n’roll band”, said Greg Mahdesian when I asked him what the ethos of Swerve was. “We all like, listen to, and appreciate other types of music. But rock’n’roll is the only thing that really gets us going”.
What initially began as a solo project for Mahdesian, quickly became a fully fledged band. He had solely composed all of the songs on Swerve’s self-titled debut EP, and hired producer Brandon Duncan to record them. When it came time to recruit musicians in order to perform live, Greg naturally asked Brandon to join on bass, his old college friend, Ryan Berti, on guitar, and Mark Gardner on drums.
It was during the recording sessions of Swerve’s sophomore EP, ‘Dumb Romeo’, that the group truly came into fruition. Instead of Mahdesian dictating all of the songwriting, he encouraged his bandmates to collaborate. But what difference did this make? “Besides the obvious little things like an added dynamism and complexity to the music”, he said, “I think the band helps draw out the real feeling and meaning behind the songs. They hear things that I wouldn’t on my own and can pick up on things in my own writing that I haven’t noticed yet”.
Despite some musical differences, the band have an easy time communicating with one another.“Good rock feels honest, and a bit raw”, Mahdesian adds. “It has inescapable melodies, jagged guitar, and an awesome, driving beat. We take liberally from any era. Whether it’s some of the 50s doo-wap in the backing vocals on ‘Lose Control’ or the 2000s garage rock during the guitar solo. It’s all part of the same story. I think, besides just the urge everyone feels to create, and the thrill you get from playing, we’re looking to add our little contribution, no matter how tiny it is, to that story”.
Today the music video for latest single, ‘Lose Control’, premieres with us. A friend of the band, Alex Gardels, directed the video with assistance from another friend, Hank Fontaine. “We thought it would be fun to tell the story of the song from beginning to end”, Greg Mahdesian said. “Alex came up with the concept of the two versions of me existing in the same space right before we began filming, and then cut in live recordings of our show at the Troubadour to bring it home in the end. We had very limited time and budget, which forced us to get a bit creative, and we’re very happy with the result. ‘Lose Control’ is one of our most light hearted songs, and we think the video is suitably fun and engaging”.
Like many of their songs, this one is a conversation between two people. “I got into a tiff with someone about some really pointless stuff”, he added, “and just wanted to say ‘chill out’. But when I sat down to write the song, it became more about letting go. Going nuts, losing control”.
He explained to that he had always wanted to write a song where the chord progression doesn’t change between the verses and the chorus; “That started as a fun exercise, but then really shaped the poppy feeling of the track”. And, like many of their songs, ‘Lose Control’ began on an acoustic guitar before transitioning to something fuller. “There’s a fun story about the recording of the song, too”, he continued. “For some reason I just couldn’t nail the guitar solo. So on the track I actually only play the first half, and then we cut in with Ryan playing the second half. He added his own flare to it, and made it a lot more memorable. That goes to show how, even on the smallest parts of a song, being a full band rather than a solo project improves us”.