"You can kind of become your own identity by being true to who you are. That's kind of what being a Swell Kid is. It's about the stuff we enjoy and not about winning over anybody when it comes to what we do."
By now a lot of people have heard about The Swell Kids. Two years after having had started this fun music project, the guys are now set to play at Neon Desert Music Festival in May. With excitement flowing, preparations, projects, and new music on the way, it is no wonder why this duo also caught Khalid's attention. In between a packed schedule, I recently caught up with Alex and Eddie of The Swell Kids to talk about some of the things they have going on as well right now as well as in the future.
The Swell Kids have always had a unique approach to what they do whether it is their clothes, music, and so much more! That's one of the first things I noticed when I saw them for the first time and I know I am not the only one. Meanwhile the guys were sitting on the coach and Frank Ocean playing in the background, I asked Alex and Eddie what it meant to be a Swell Kid and after a pause they said, "It's individuality for sure. It's being okay with who you are and not feeling like you have to be somebody else. It also means not having to follow any trends and being yourself. Instead, it's highlighting who you are in your everyday tasks and highlighting that in general as opposed to feeling like you need to fit in. You can kind of become your own identity by being true to who you are. That's kind of what being a Swell Kid is. It's about the stuff we enjoy and not about winning over anybody when it comes to what we do." What Alex mentioned, definitely reflects on how the two of them present themselves as The Swell Kids. Regardless of their clothing, their personalities still shine through their music. As one can see in the pictures, Alex is wearing all white and Eddie is wearing all black giving it that Yin-Yang effect, however, in a subliminal manner it points to their dynamic and why this duo completes one another musically and in their way of thinking.
If anyone has followed along with The Swell Kids from when they started to now, it's easy to see there has been an evolution in their sound, look, and work dynamic. All for the better of course. In October of 2017, the Swell Kids released an album titled Good Problems: A Collection of Feelings and are now getting ready to release new material. I asked them how their sound has changed and immediately Eddie chuckled, "I laugh because it's a complete 180 with what we are doing right now. We are now doing uplifting "lit" music. It's upbeat!" Alex added, "the last project we put out was something you can study to and drive around the city and listen to. I feel like the stuff we are doing now is upbeat and up-tempo and it will be stuff that people are used to hearing at our DJ sets. The projects we are doing now compliment that as opposed to our past projects which have a lot of feeling. It's a new direction with everything that's coming out." When I commented on why they decided to make this change, Eddie was quick to say "I just didn't want to be a sad boy no more."
It makes sense, as they mentioned, their newer projects are aligned to their DJ sets and as a music duo, that makes it fun for them and the people that go out and see them. It's also exciting to see where this new approach is heading, especially since the Neon Desert Music Festival is in two months. "I think something that we want to express as artists is that you are not limited to one genre. I feel like where we are right now, we can do whatever we want," Alex is referring to the fact that no one should feel limited because of a genre label or pressure of any sorts. It's a way to "push the envelope", but it's definitely working for artist like The Swell Kids.
Going further into how their music process works, the guys said it is random. "Eddie will come up with a beat and show me whatever he is working on and from there we go through all the beats and ideas Eddie has and we will pick whichever ones we like. There is no exact process to creating a track, but there is a process to when we start working on something." They further explained that they will have about twenty beats and they will go down the list picking out the coolest ones and working on them and much as they can. Process of elimination. It's evident that Eddie and Alex have a good communication and that they create what is better suited for them. As artists that take their craft seriously, it shows. They really put their touch on whatever is they are doing.
Additionally, the El Paso music scene has been growing rapidly within the last two years and I couldn't help but ask The Swell kids their opinions on it since they are part of the scene. "Recently, I have noticed that the El Paso music scene has been dedicated and very driven in being better music makers." Alex added to Eddie's comment and said that, "two years ago the music scene was there, but people weren't pushing themselves to make something big. I think that being from El Paso, people like Khalid, is kind of the poster child of saying, " Hey I am from El Paso and if I can do it, you can do it too." I think that's what lit the fire under everyone's butt here in El Paso. They saw that and said, "If this guy can make it, then why can't we?"" Both Alex and Eddie agree that the music scene has been really pushing themselves lately and really trying to make things happen. They talked some more about the local scene and talented people they have met along the way. Their love for it shows in how they expressed themselves about it. They guys are also grateful for those people, including Khalid, whom they recently had a chance to talk to and get great feedback and musical advice from. It's so motivating to see El Paso musicians supporting each other in different ways. It makes it more thrilling to see what the future holds.
If you are reading this keep an eye out for The Swell Kids. This is only the beginning. Lots of new projects are coming and as part of their latest "campaign", the guys have been sporting a shirt reading "Fuck the Swell Kids" and I asked them what the meaning behind it was. Alex answered, "Fuck the Swell Kids is something that I thought about. It's something Eddie and I will tell each other about different artists we look up to that do something that we would never have thought of. Even a simple idea like that of Tyler. The Creator's make us say, "Man, fuck Tyler. The Creator we wish we would have thought of that first" or "fuck Kendrick, dammit this guy is so good." This is more of an appreciation. These artists are so ahead of their time that I have nothing to say but "fuck you."" This further shows how much The Swell Kids are striving for more and thinking outside the box. It's mentality like that that brings the well deserved attention they have.
A big thank you to the Swell Kids! Remember to follow them on Instagram as @theswellkids for more information on their latest endeavors and shows! Catch them at Neon Desert Music Festival this May!
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