It’s nearly time for Hit the North – taking over various venues in Newcastle, the North East’s largest inner-city music festival returns on Sunday 5th May for a bill jam-packed with household names (Jake Bugg, Tom Grennan), indie faves (Shame, Blaenavon, Ten Tonnes) and buzzy up-and-comers (Easy Life, Sports Team, Pip Blom). To celebrate their upcoming spot on the bill, Middlesbrough rockers Swears introduce their band. Take it away, Joel (vocals) and George (guitar).
Hey guys, tell us about your band – who are you, and what do you all do?
We’re Swears, a fuzzy alternative rock band originating from Middlesbrough. Formed in June 2017, we draw influences from grunge, punk, doom and pop. The band consists of Joel Clayton, Cypriot brothers George and Stephanos Louca, and Craig Hughes.
Where did you meet, and whose idea was it to form the band?
We’ve known each other for years via various bands. George and Stephanos come as a duo on accounts of the whole ‘blood bond’ thing and they’ve known Craig since school – all three were in a first band together ‘Fool’ when they were aged 16/17. Joel joined the party later. Weird fact – Joel lived away for a while and one of the things that convinced him to come back “home” was that he heard George/Stephanos’ then-current band Bi:Lingual, loved it and thought it’d mean there was a scene here for his kind of music. A few years later, the stars aligned and we all ended up in a band together. How romantic.
Has being a musician lived up to the hype so far?
No, not really, there seemed to be more glamour and money in it back in the day. The gigs are great though and we love making music.
Can you remember what the first song you wrote together was, is it still kicking around?
The first song we wrote together was ‘Space Invader’, on the back of a demo George came up with, which was kind of the catalyst for us to form this band. We released it as a single a few months ago, although we recently dropped it from the set. Who knows – maybe we’ll bring it back.
You’re at Hit The North soon, have you played many festivals before?
Our first (or second?) gig was actually at Stockton Stages festival. Since then we’ve played Stockton Calling festival (twice), Music Box Festival; Songs From Northern Britain and Indie Week 2018 in Manchester.
What’s key to putting on a good festival set, do you think?
I don’t think we actually do anything different for a festival slot. In music, as in life, not everyone is going to like what we do, so we just go out there and play our songs the best we can, put on the best show we possibly can, and hope that there are enough people in the audience who get what we’re trying to do!
What else have you guys got coming up over the summer?
As well as Hit The North, we have a few more festival appearances, such as at This is Tomorrow (May, Newcastle) and Heelapalooza (June, Middlesbrough). We’ve got another single to release in the next month or two, as well as a vinyl release a bit further down the line, possibly in August. Aside from that, we’ve just got a bunch of gigs locally, and we’re hoping to organise a tour for this autumn.
Music aside, what do you all do for fun?
For more information on Hit the North, visit hitthenorthfestival.co.uk.