Auckland-based noiseniks Swallow The Rat is a band making big noises on the music scene both here in Aotearoa and beyond, with their delicious slabs of discordant post-punk. Having recently returned from the prestigious SXSW festival in Austin, Texas, the five-piece band is about to tour Aotearoa in support of the release of their debut self-titled EP, and, happily, it all starts in Hamilton this coming Friday, April 26th, with a show at Nivara Lounge. HUP caught up with Austin-native Brian Purington (guitar) ahead of the show.
HUP: First of all, congratulations on a pretty exciting few months! Playing SXSW is kind of a big deal…how was it in reality? It looked kind of hectic…did I read it was nine shows in a week or something?!
Brian: Yeah, we played 9 shows over 8 days. I think we had 6 shows booked when I flew over and added a few more last minute. We closed out the Shifting Sounds party and a band on the bill (Ex-Optimists) invited us out to Bryan Texas (about a 90 min drive from Austin) to play another show with them the next night. So the following day after playing a house party in the late afternoon we headed out there, arriving around 10pm, played around 12:30am, and drove back to Austin after the show ended. I think I made to bed around 4:30am...
HUP: How did you guys go down over there? Were there any stand out shows? Would you do it again?
Brian: Believe it or not all of the shows were good but I would say the stand out gigs were our Official Showcase at Barracuda, the NZ Music day party at the Parish and the Shifting Sounds party at the Hole in the Wall. We were lucky enough to share the stage will a number of great band. Everyone we worked with over there was super welcoming, supportive and seemed to have a genuine interest in what we are doing. I think we would certainly do it again if given the opportunity.
HUP: Congratulations also on the EP! Releasing it on vinyl is pretty special too, what can you tell us about that, how did it come about/where was it mastered/pressed etc?
Brian: Essentially we were invited to play SXSW and didn’t have any merch to sell! So I did a limited run of 7”s, which includes the 3 singles we have released thus far, on a label I co-run with a friend/collaborator back in Austin (Headbump Records). The UK label, Reverb Worship, also did a small run of CDs for the release. It was pressed through A to Z Media, recorded/mixed by Nick Abbot at Northwestern and Mastered by Alex Lyon at the Bubble. All the artwork/design was done by our drummer, Hayden. We have a few copies left that we will be selling at our upcoming NZ shows.
HUP: How do you find the music scene here compared to the one you grew up with back home in the US?
Brian: I wouldn’t say it’s fundamentally any different. It’s just much smaller and you don’t have the same volume of touring bands coming through New Zealand.
HUP: What are the plans for the rest of this year, any more writing/recording/shows etc?
Brian: We just finished our debut LP and are looking to release it later in the year and that will be followed by some NZ/Aussie touring. We are also looking to get back to the USA sometime early next year. In the meanwhile we are working on some new material and hopefully get to recording it soonish.
Catch Swallow The Rat at Nivara lounge this Friday, April 26th, with two amazing support bands – Taurangans Threat.Meet.Protocol, and Kirikiriroans Cartoon Villain.