Published Oct 01, 2010Sad-sack Swans super fans the world over have been re-wearing out their copies of Young God and Filth since the New York proto-industrial act announced their reunion and accompanying new album My Father Will Guide Me Up a Rope to the Sky, but band leader Michael Gira insists that the group's current crop of shows, their first since the late '90s, aren't intended as some sort of nostalgia trip.
In an interview with the National Post, the brooding rocker explains that while reforming Swans has got him back in touch with his dark side, his intent wasn't to rehash the past, which explains why beloved co-vocalist Jarboe isn't in the current incarnation.
"I love her. I think she's tremendous," he said, "but â¦ I think to bring her into the picture would be some kind of nostalgia thing."
He continues on to say that people's expectations of the group had him unsure of the concept of reforming, delaying Swans' return for several years.
"I resisted it for a long time, my own impulse, because to me, finishing Swans in the first place years ago was such a tremendous relief. It was like taking a hair shirt off. But now I want to face my demon brother. I want to embrace an aspect of myself which is very true, but try to do it in a way that's maybe not so self-destructive, and try to use that as a way to move forward in my music and my life."
The long-evolving act's current blackened mix of arcane Americana, dour goth and occasionally ethereal moments of beauty sways from a so-called Swans purist's point of view, but Gira doesn't care. He believes his vision has always been well ahead of what the crowd wants.
"The first five years of Swans, whatever tiny audience we had would leave. Right away, too. We started playing and they'd be, 'Good God, what is this?' And then when people started catching onâ¦ I was already over it and moved on to something else."
Catch Swans' Canadian dates, as listed below:
10/1 Montreal, QC - Le National
10/2 Toronto, ON - Lee's Palace