Swamp Thing will be playing four gigs in the Queenstown-Wanaka area this week. Grant Bryant caught up with drummer Michael Barker.
Grant Haua and Michael Barker are supporting the release of their second album, Primordium, and will open the Winter Games.
While the duo, who hail from the Bay of Plenty, have toured extensively and played many festivals in Australia, they are only now concentrating on building a home fan-base. The band's propulsive, rhythm-driven, but emotional and energetic sets, promise to leave punters stomping and howling along.
Q So, what's the flavour of Swamp Thing?
Our name is Swamp Thing and we're edgy, swampy, punky, a little funky, energetic and loud! We love to play live, go to new places, rock it out hard and make new crowds fall in love with our swampy sound.
Q What can punters expect to be thinking or feeling, when they walk out the door after one of your gigs?
They'll probably be going, "What the hell was that all about?", but our music is very rhythm-driven, and the rhythms we go for are the ones that really get into people's feet, and get them moving. So our gigs are a physically moving experience - and on some levels emotional - but we don't go much for balladry. We're up and energetic, and I think once the dust settles, people generally take away an experience of feeling moved by Grant's beautiful vocals and screaming guitar.
Q You've been hitting Australia pretty hard, why the big wait for New Zealand audiences?
Over the past two years we've toured pretty hard and played some amazing festivals in Oz. In some ways I think it's easier here to stamp your mark when you have a certain modicum of international success, but it's not something we've really sat down and analysed. We're getting a lot of invites from the big Kiwi festivals now though, which is nice.
Q There are some great examples of "swampy" duos doing some great things, The White Stripes and more recently The Black Keys. Are Swamp Thing more different or similar to these acts?
Those guys are amazing songwriters, clever, and have marketed themselves like masters. We come at it from different angles though. Grant is very much a traditionalist blues listener, whereas I make a point of listening to every new thing that Tom Waits does in his constant evolution of sound.
So we're very different in terms of our influences within the band, but just seem to have met at the same place in our musical output where everything gels. It's an awesome musical relationship and we seem to have developed our own "swamp" language without even thinking about it.
What: Swamp Thing, down south.
Where and When: Wednesday: Cadillac Club at 7pm.
Thursday: Winter Games opening at Earnslaw Park at 6pm.
Thursday: Pog Mahones at 9pm.
Friday: Wanaka's Bullock Bar at 8pm.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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