Whirling hearts and joyous uprisings: exploring the world of Swirl

Photo by Neil Zlozower

There is an increasingly mighty roar coming out of California and it goes by the name of Swirl. This is a band really beginning to make a vocal name for themselves with their multi-flavoured, hard rock fuelled fusion of rock and metal. Welcomingly given the opportunity to get to the heart of the band with Swirl creator and guitarist Duane “DT” Jones, we talked beginnings, songwriting, successes and plenty more….

Hello and thanks for taking time out to talk with us.

Hello to you too. This is ‘DT” guitarist and founder of the band Swirl out of Southern California. Thank you for your interest in Swirl! We are always grateful to anyone taking an interest in what we do.

Can you first introduce the band and give us some background to how it all started?

I started the band in the Pacific Northwest in a town called Mukilteo, Washington. I had 3 other members than the current line-up; we rehearsed, wrote songs and made plans to record our debut in Santa Monica, CA. About a week before we were to leave I got a call from the drummer saying he wasn`t going to make the trip. I called my brother, Brian “Bam Bam” Jones who was playing in a band in Arizona at the time and asked him to come out to California, learn the songs and track drums to which he was all too happy to help out. That version of Swirl toured the US and Japan on a full length release titled Out Of Nowhere that was produced by former Quiet Riot and now RATT guitarist, Carlos Cavazo with former Rough Cutt bassist Matt Thorr engineering or producing tracks as well.

After those tour dates finished the band parted ways with the original singer and touring bassist. By then Brian had moved to California so I joined him there. I was introduced to current Swirl singer Alfred Ramirez and bassist Shane Carlson by former Dio keyboard player Claude Schnell who was looking to produce a demo for a band they had, however they had parted ways with their guitar player and Claude asked me to write with them so he and I could get into a studio together. After a few writing sessions we decided to go play the songs live and it was there that a friend pointed out to me that Alfred would sound really good singing Swirl songs so I asked him to go into a studio with Cinderella drummer Fred Coury and I. The end result of those sessions were the two songs Mad Disease and Time To Fly with the latter being particularly well received so tour offers followed. The natural choice was then Shane Carlson and we have been together ever since. 2018 will mark the 10 year anniversary of this line-up for Swirl.

Have you been or are involved in other bands?

My only involvement with other bands was the above mentioned writing project that introduced me to Alfred and Shane as well as one other band in California that hired me as one of their touring guitarist for a self-produced disc. That was actually my first ever “bus tour”. Actually it was a converted mobile home, but still I got the rock star treatment on that tour. It was fun, but the band broke up. As that band had already recorded their disc when I joined and there were no writing opportunities I can`t say it had any influence on my writing direction, but it was a great series of lessons on things to not do when running a band.

What inspired the band name?

Usually one look at a picture of the band is all it takes to answer that question, but it goes deeper in that we all have different nationalities and personalities that come to together to create the Swirl music.

Photo by Neil Zlozower

Was there any specific idea behind the forming of the band in what you wanted it and your sound to offer?

No particular theme to starting the band. I just wanted to play in a rock band that wrote songs good enough to share stages with my idols. Some of those goals have been accomplished!

And that same intent drives the band?

Absolutely! At the end of the day we enjoy what we are doing and are hell bent on capitalizing on the success Swirl has had to date. We are not where we want to be, but clearly we are on our way. The crowds are getting bigger, the stages are getting bigger and the bands we have opportunities to work with are larger, more well know bands as well.

Since your early days, how would you say your sound has evolved?

While I am an 80s metal head guitarist at heart I have adapted my playing to a more modern approach when it comes to writing and guitar tones. I guess the best way to think of it is “what if you took a band like Shinedown, Seether, or FFDP and put a guitarist like Jake E Lee, Warren DeMartini or George Lynch in it.

As for the reason for the evolving sound?…The credit for that goes to Brian who wanted to push the music in a more modern direction, but knew I was still going to be me on guitar and have those moments. Our first attempts at this proved very successful with a self- produced EP titled SWIRL that wound up with 3 songs being featured in a full length, 2 time award winning film called Ditch Day. Those songs are Rise Up, Spell, and We Are Alive. That movie is now out in 6 countries with more to follow. Another indicator that Swirl made a smart move in terms of musical direction is the incredible social media success we have enjoyed while being an independent band. We have a very strong online presence.

Has it been more of an organic movement of sound or more the band deliberately wanting to try new things?

The change was very deliberate and I had to do my homework in listening to bands that normally I would not have given the time of day to, just to get a feel for what was going on with the guitar playing and production. I fought it at first, but in the end decided it couldn`t hurt to try. I am so glad I was open to the idea.

Presumably across the band there is a wide range of inspirations; are there any in particular which have impacted not only on the band’s music but your personal approach and ideas to creating and playing music?

Well I already touched on my 3 biggest influences on guitar and yes all four of us have very different influences that we bring to Swirl. Shane is the most “metal” of us all with his influences being bands like Korn and Metallica while Alfred cites David Bowie or Billy Idol as biggest influences for him. For Brian and I we started off as KISS fans, but he went in the direction of Rush and various jazz drummers.

For myself when producing Swirl music I lean a lot on Shinedown or Seether for production and “ear candy” ideas, but since I am not the only one working to produce/ mix the songs I am sure the other guys have their influences well represented in the final product that you hear from Swirl.

Is there a particular process to your songwriting?

Normally we start with a guitar idea that is almost a complete song then I get together with Brian to work on the arrangement before presenting it to Shane and Alfred who then add their influences to the arrangement and of course the vocals. Alfred creates them almost exclusively.

Where do you, more often than not, draw inspirations to the lyrical side of your songs?

I would like to start by saying that when I write lyrics it’s usually tied to a personal experience of mine or one that I have witnessed in the world we live in. I also feel what’s most import is not so much what my lyrics mean to me, but more importantly what my lyrics mean to the listener. I want the listener find their own story within the lyrics. To me that means the listener can interpret and apply them in any way they choose.”- Alfred Ramirez

Give us some background to your latest release.

The Lift is a departure in some ways from the typical writing pattern for Swirl songs and given the new heights of success we are having with it this may become the way we do things going forward. Again I had the basic structure and worked on the arrangement with Brian, before bringing it to Alfred and Shane. However Alfred and I had a separate writing session to make changes to the verse and bounce other ideas off each other. Then we got back together as a band and went from there.

During the final mix sessions Shane Carlson made some more brilliant suggestions to improve the song to let it become what you hear from us now.

Here is the lyric video for The Lifthttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xaBMGg0ACYo

As Alfred is the songwriter he sets the tone for the theme of the songs. If there is one constant I have noticed when I look at the reviews we get it is that the bands “message” is a positive one. A lot of life affirming, motivational and inspirational themes go into his work and I am very happy about that. I am pretty positive person most days!

Here are some samples of reviews we have received whether they are for The Lift single…

“…everything possesses a joyous, downright celebratory spirit…the track positively teems with life”- Skope Magazine

or the SWIRL EP

“An uplifting vibe…” The Happy Headbanger

“After listening to Swirl in its entirety it has lifted me up mood wise!!”- Metal Temple

“…if you are looking for a really sweet hard rockin’ melodic band that will have you humming along and singing with the CD in just a few listens than make this new SWIRL release yours. 9/10 Stars”- The Examiner

Here is a link to our reviews- https://www.reverbnation.com/socalswirl/press/

Give us some insight to the themes and premise behind it and its songs.

What The Lift means to me is that we all need help sometimes, be it an emotional lift or a physical lift. We shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help when we need it. We also shouldn’t be afraid to offer to help when were able to. We are all on this planet together and we are all connected, so let’s help one another.

My personal Lift was given to me by “The Minor Goddess” who lifted me out of a depressed and stressed out anxious time in my life. Thank you MG! “Your words will always stay with me “. – Alfred Ramirez

Are you a band which goes into the studio with songs pretty much in their final state or prefer to develop them as you record?

We like to have the song pretty much done by the time we go into the studio so we can be more efficient with the recording process, but of course we leave room for those “happy accidents” that happen when tracking that are unique to a session.

One of the unique things about the sessions for The Lift is the process we used to get into the studio. We were introduced to producer Emad Alaeddin at Granted Records by Ditch Day producer Megan Waters. He suggested the band use “crowd funding” to cover the cost of the sessions. This was a first for the band and it was very successful. As an unsigned band who happens to be self- managed as well as our own booking agents we wear many hats to make Swirl the known name that is it becoming. Our fans are our record label and they decide how often we make new music and release videos or tour. We weren`t sure what to expect, but with this first attempt and the success of the campaign (we had enough money donated to book our first session in just 48 hours of activating the page at https://www.gofundme.com/launch-new-music-by-swirl-the-band ). The page will remain active. To be clear we are not opposed to record labels, management or booking agencies….we just refuse to wait on one to discover the band when we can get our music and band out to the people who support us!

Tell us about the live side to the band, presumably the favourite aspect of the band?

We are a band that thrives on stage! We love being out there. Swirl is a high energy show with emphasis on the word “show”. There is always “someone doing something”. It`s actually the only way the band “fights”….we fight for the attention of the audience and are quick to let the others know who won the night after our set. It`s all in good fun and ultimately the audience is the winner.. We have been able to tour with established bands like RATT, Cinderella, Extreme, Red Dragon Cartel, LA Guns, Lynch Mob, and Slaughter just to name a few. We also headline shows in Southern California. In fact the first stop on “The Lift” tour will be in Hollywood, CA at the Whisky A Go Go on Saturday February 3, 2018.

It is not easy for any new band to make an impact regionally let alone nationally and further afield. How have you found it your neck of the woods? Are there the opportunities to make a mark if the drive is there for new bands?

We firmly believe that you create your own luck so yes you can make your mark. The real question is how bad do you want it? We are, have been and remain hungry to succeed! We were recently listed by Gerry Gittleson, a writer for Metal Sludge in Los Angeles as one of three local bands that actually draw a crowd when we play.

Another way Swirl has separated itself to a degree is getting involved in licensing our music into movies and television. For example Swirl has 3 songs in the 2 time award winning Ditch Day movie that stars Emmy award winner Bill Oberst Jr. The songs are Spell, We Are Alive and Rise Up (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6_RhbgL5Cv0&t=11s ).  So far that film is available in 6 counties. We are working on more licensing deals for our music from the SWIRL EP as well as The Lift.

 How has the internet and social media impacted on the band to date? Do you see it as something destined to become a negative from a positive as the band grows and hopefully gets increasing success or is it more that bands struggling with it are lacking the knowledge and desire to keep it working to their advantage?

I have no complaints about social media! Swirl is doing very well with it. We also spend quite a bit of time and effort marketing our band globally. Again it`s a how bad do you want it situation. We didn`t wake up knowing what we know and have made mistakes along the way, but we learn, we grow and we apply lessons to the next venture for the band whether its online, in the studio or on stage.

We have been able to reach people that would otherwise have had very little chance of discovering our music so we are very grateful for social media. It is a big part of the music business now and I don`t see that changing any time soon.

See for yourself here-

SWIRL website- http://www.swirltheband.com/

SWIRL Instagram- https://www.instagram.com/swirltheband/

SWIRL Twitter- https://twitter.com/Swirltheband

SWIRL Facebook- https://www.facebook.com/swirltheband

SWIRL Soundcloud- https://soundcloud.com/swirl-dt

SWIRL YouTube- https://www.youtube.com/swirlgtr

SWIRL Reverbnation- http://www.reverbnation.com/socalswirl

Once again a big thanks for sharing time with us; anything you would like to add or reveal for the readers?

Thank you for your time and interest in Swirl. Look for the band to be on tour in and out of the United States in every country where the music making an impact on radio or through movies released that feature Swirl music.

Pete RingMaster 17/02/2018

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Underground Ocean – Get Me Out

Underground Ocean_RingMaster Review

Get Me Out is the debut single from UK rock band Underground Ocean and it is fair to say that the strong and seriously agreeable encounter sets a very potent base from which the band can spring forward from. It is an attention sparking introduction, not a song to set a fanfare ringing in the head, but one easily suggesting Underground Ocean are moving in the right direction to becoming a very viable rock success.

The Worcester quartet began early 2014, breeding their sound from inspirations ranging from Foo Fighters, The Police, and Manic Street Preachers to Stereophonics and Fleetwood Mac. The foursome of vocalist/rhythm guitarist Stuart McDonnell, lead guitarist Matt Beddoes, bassist George Parker, and drummer Lee Evans all come into the band with experiences of playing across the UK with various bands, Evans alone a part of outfits supporting the likes of L.A. Guns (Both), Ratt, Twisted Sister, Poison, Vince Neil, Bang Tango, Skid Row, Faster Pussycat, and Dirty Penny over the years. Experience is always a plus factor and you can feel that kind of knowledge and prowess soaking the new single, its creator’s learning of craft in the field so to speak, bringing as much to the maturity and rich songwriting fuelling the band’s sound and indeed Get Me Out, as the undoubted individual skill and invention of its members.

cover_RingMaster Review    Get Me Out emerges on a sonic lure, quickly unveiling a weave of melodic and rhythmic enterprise ready for the warm tones of McDonnell. With everything in place as the song hits a vibrant and punchy stride, a familiar air washes over the track yet it brings no distinct comparisons, just a general glaze of melody rich rock and quickly enjoyable endeavour. There is also real catchiness to the song which has feet tapping and voices involved in its easy going chorus, that infectiousness enhanced by the great shadowed feel of the bass which bring an opposing and a similarly rounded depth to the song as the vocals.

Recorded with Gavin Monaghan at Magic Garden studios and originally released last December, the re-release of Get Me Out feels like it is in the right place at the right time to awaken greater awareness of Underground Ocean and their persistently engaging sound. The song does not have you sparking into rigorous declarations about the band just yet but ahead of their new single I See Through You in September and their first EP later this year, it inspires definite intrigue to hear more.

Get Me Out is out now on iTunes and most other major platforms.

Upcoming Underground Ocean live dates…

7th August, Worcester Beer, Cider and PERRY FESTIVAL – Pitchcroft, Worcester

22nd August, Boars Head – Kidderminster

http://undergroundocean.com/  https://www.facebook.com/undergroundocean

RingMaster 13/07/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard on Reputation Radio @ http://www.reputationradio.net

 

Silent Jack – Snakebite

SJ

    Silent Jack is one of those propositions where you pretty much know what you are going to get flavour wise but not necessarily the juicy way they unleash it on the senses. Hailing from Birmingham, the British quartet engage and riot with the imagination through a sound bred openly in eighties hard rock and filtered through a glam rock mischief. Their new release Snakebite is an exciting offering which provides all the attitude, endeavour, and enterprise needed to suspect that the band is on a path to strong recognition. The seven tracks which provide its rippling temptation is a mixed bagged when it comes to offering surprises to expectations but an unqualified success in contagiously recruiting thoughts and emotions into the fiery bosom of the band’s captivating presence.

Listening to the release you can easily assume the influences which have inspired the band, the likes of Motley Crue, Guns ‘n’ Roses, Hardcore Superstar, Ratt, Buckcherry, and Black Stone Cherry clear flavours throughout Snakebite. It is easy and arguably fair to say that there is little new or original within the encounter but that cannot take away from the thrills and spills which sparks the real enjoyment it consummately provides. Formed in 2009, Silent Jack has won over its home town tenfold and now it is looking to seduce the rest of the country and beyond, and though it might take more than this brawl of pleasure to achieve that they are easily on course and capable.

The band gets off to a flyer with opener Brand New Start, beats and riffs an immediate potent coaxing before the guitars of vocalist Rich Silent-Jack-Snakebite-Cover-300x300Mason and Adam Carson boil up the air with rapacious riffing and sonic flames. The bass of Dickie Spider brings dark intimidation into the mix next whilst drummer Scott Carson intensifies his punchy raps as the track expands into a stronger feisty stride. The guitars continue to snarl as Mason unveils his appealing vocals, the song already flowing infectiously across the senses as rhythmic swipes and a predatory tone adds to its persistent persuasion. The track has the potential to be a hard rock anthem in so many ways and with the sonic flair and adventure woven into the encounter by Adam Carson it is a virulent enticement which has imagination, appetite, and passions alive.

The following King Cobra is just as addictive, it’s rapping beats and more distant scrub of guitar a teasing entrance which easily leads greed into the heart of another blaze of accomplished rock ‘n’ roll stoked with flailing sinews and melodic acidity. As with the first the contagious call of the song is irrepressible and irresistible, the chorus call alone incitement to listener participation and emotions thirsty for more. Once again individual skills and ideation impress but together the band most light up ears and the continually bubbling promise of the band.

Going Down ensures the impressive start is continued, its salacious lure of guitar from the first breath of the song seducing instant submission which the rampaging rhythms and caustic riffery only accelerates. There is a great raw edge to the track which sets it apart from the first two and a groove which twists rapaciously around the imagination, persistently licking at the passions with its serpentine tongue. Once more maybe something truly different within hard rock is scarce in the songs, as the release, but unleashing such epidemically catchy and enthralling adventure as it does there are no complaints valid enough to defuse the enjoyment of the song.

A scorching fire of guitar sculpting and intense rhythmic pressure opens up the next up Love Factory to make an instant strong impression, the grumbling nature of the bass adding enticing intrigue to the satisfying invitation offered. A heated blues flames joins the blend soon, wrapping every twist and turn of the song as Silent Jack stomp once more with a skilled and confident swagger. Feet and voice are soon enslaved and enlisted by the stroll and infection of the song, its gait a compelling bait and chorus another which only the dead could ignore.

The first four songs are the pinnacle of Snakebite though the remaining trio of tracks still add to the stature and potential of the band as well as the pleasure gained from the release. The imposing ballad Angels Cry is first and easily shows the vocal prowess of Mason and emotive craft of the band’s songwriting within its shapely and flavoursome design. It does miss out on the spark of earlier tracks though to merely satisfy rather than potently excite as equally does Made In Heaven. The song like the previous one, is impressively sculpted and veined by sonic hues which ask for attention as the display of anthemic vocal tempting, but the trigger to make the encounter larger than life is absent. Nevertheless both songs and the closing Hot Luvin’ with its masterful teasing bring the release to an invigorating and pleasing conclusion.

Snakebite is a proposition which hard rock fans should take a punt on as you can see them devouring the release greedily. Certainly originality is low and a wish for some experimentation which would lead to a distinct character for the band would be welcome but it cannot deny that Silent Jack has delivered a very enjoyable encounter and have the wares to become a real force in European rock ‘n’ roll. It may take time but we are not betting against them.

The self-released Snakebite is available now!

https://www.facebook.com/silentjackband

8/10

RingMaster 08/05/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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DAMN DICE ‘Take The Fight’‏

Damn Dice Online Promo Shot

High-Octane London Hard Rockers ‘Damn Dice’ have just released their brand new and riveting video ‘Take The Fight’.

Go Check it out at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KqPqjLBTSZY

 

Playing a hard-hitting cross of infectious Rock and Metal, Damn Dice are standing poised to unleash their brand of high voltage Rock ‘n’ Roll on the masses.

Based in London  and together since 2011, Damn Dice are: Alex (vocals), Wallis (guitars), Marco (bass), and Fransoa (drums). From the get go, the four piece hit the ground running and it wasn’t long before fans were drawn in by their adrenaline-fuelled performances and larger than life stage shows. After an express invitation, the rising quartet successfully supported US heavyweights LA Guns on their UK and mainland European tour.

 

Throughout 2012 and 2013, the energetic rock n rollers continued to play a series of headline shows. By the end of last year, the band played their biggest show to date supporting Tigertailz at a sell out show at the Camden Underworld.

 

Damn Dice then went on to release their debut EP ‘Wild ‘N’ Ready’, which received critical acclaim from publications including Classic Rock AOR, Music Week, Powerplay and Black Velvet, as well as being well received throughout the underground. The band have also notched up praise and glowing feedback from many big names, most notably Vince Neil (Motley Crue), Beau Hill (producer Ratt, Warrant, Europe), and members of L.A. Guns.

 

Damn Dice are currently in the studio recording their debut album, and with the launch of their banging new video single ‘Take The Fight’, the UK rockers are set for another busy year so don’t miss out, and in the meantime, check out the new video!

 

www.damndice.com