Published Jun 21, 2017Ottawa's New Swears have been crafting their notoriously energetic live show and authentic brand of jangly, party-punk anthems for the past four years and are dropping their new album, And the Magic of Horses, on Dine Alone Records on June 23. The quartet of longtime friends — Sammy J. Scorpion, Scru Bar, Beej Eh and Nick Nofun — make music to have fun to, because that's exactly how it was made. Beej Eh, Sammy and Scru Bar got on the phone with Exclaim! to offer their perspectives leading up to the album's release.
1 And the Magic of Horses was recorded primarily on acoustic guitar; they play no acoustic guitar live.
Sammy J. Scorpion: "We like to keep the live shows pretty high energy."
Scru Bar: "Acoustic is a good percussion instrument to keep the beat going on in the background. It's like a rhythm. You kind of forget about the acoustic after a while and then you're like 'Oh wait! It's actually a really sick sound.'"
Scorpion: "I think the vocals probably show, because we wrote a lot of the songs on acoustic. Just one guy with a guitar, trying different harmonies and vocals and stuff when we were writing."
Bar: "We definitely suffer from a severe case of the harmonitus — it's always about the harmonies. It's nice to hear the different octaves."
2 They've got ideas to make performances even bigger and better.
Beej Eh: "We try and kick it up a notch. We have a new sign in the works. We try to make something special, try to keep progressing and make the show better."
Scorpion: "It's fun to make a spectacle out of stuff. Music is a huge part of it, but it's also fun to watch something exciting. You gotta make it sonically and visually appealing. Maybe next we'll get a massive water diffuser and get some Echinacea scent, tangerine, second-hand smoke…"
Beej Eh: "We should bring smells to the performance. Just get all the senses going."
Bar: "What are we gonna do for the sense of touch? We gotta have all the elements."
Beej Eh: "We gotta have furry walls."
Bar: "And coat the whole floor in skateboards. They only move a quarter inch back and forth, so after we're done with the set, everyone is going to have abs of steel."
3 The Dine Alone Records family are a great fit.
Bar: "There's no way we would have gotten into their sightline if they didn't like what we were doing, so there's no reason to [force us to] conform [to] something else. We're not going for commercial radio and it's cool that they're supporting that kind of stuff. The way I see it is, sure, we could go and make generic music for radio. It'd be the [path] to moderate success, but that only lasts for so long and then what do you have to show for it after? It's better to do it organically."
Scorpion: "Just be proud of yourself, eh?"
Bar: "You've gotta be authentic in what you want to do."
Beej Eh: "If we make songs and they're fun to make and one of them happens to be on the radio, sure, but we're not directly trying for that."
4 They're here to stay.
Bar: We quit our jobs because we're going to be gone for that amount of time. We're continually going to be going out on the road, playing shows and building the New Swears brand. Not to sound like a businessy dude, but that's kind of what it is. Every step of the way has been more motivation to work harder — practice more, be more professional, more dedicated to the craft. We don't contain ourselves to music. We do all of our own videos. We just like creating shit. It never stops. It sort of comes with the life but you've just gotta continue creating and have fun."