Interview with Strawberry Swing
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
Nima grew up in between Australia and Iran, where most music is banned, so I think for Nima music became a source of expression and defiance even, and also a way to connect to the outside world when he was in Iran.
For me music was just everywhere growing up, my mum played piano, there was always music at church and my dad always had records and tapes, and then CDs playing in the house.
If it weren’t for playing music I’m sure we’d both find some other really expensive and time consuming creative hobby.— Mark
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
For me when I’m not playing music I like to read a lot and I end up watching a lot of movies and streaming shows. I also like getting out in the garden and I live in Wollongong on the Australian coast, so we have some of the most beautiful beaches in the world.
I think all these things, but the reading especially, I sort of process the ideas and you pick up on little things that inspire or challenge you to write different things and interrogate different perspectives. —Mark
How long has your band been around?
We started Jamming together in late 2018/early 2019 and Strawberry Swing was founded in late 2019 and then we started playing gigs in September 2020 between lockdowns.— Mark
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
So we’re based in Wollongong which is an hour south of Sydney on the NSW coast. It’s a small city (around 300,000 people) with a bit of a laid back feel and a pretty cool live music scene. So I think it’s a place that relaxes us and offers lots of inspiration in terms of people and natural beauty but also form hearing all the other local bands.— Mark
How did you come up with the name of your band and what does it mean to you?
For some reason we wanted to do something with fruit and I kept coming back to Strawberry Swing. I liked the sibilance, the way it sounded, and the swing felt kind of classic rock. But, I couldn’t get past the fact it was the name of a Coldplay song. Eventually we just decided to roll with it.— Mark
Tell me about your most memorable shows.
A couple really stand out. I put on a gig at the University of Wollongong bar for my birthday a couple of years back that was just stupid fun. There was our first time headlining that was amazing, the first time we had an audience that was allowed to stand up when covid restrictions eased. But I think our last show, we played a local venue in Wollongong called La La La’s for our single launch for Bennie (Won’t Dance) and we had a couple of new people playing with us and killer line up of local bands, so it just felt like a real arrival. The crowd were great and yeah, just really loved that show. We get the crowd to chant Bennie when we play it and when they get in to it it just goes off!— Mark
What is your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
La La La’s is always great and we’ve played a few cool venues in Sydney but honestly there’s so many we want to play at. I’d love to headline a show at The Enmore in Sydney and we’d love to play just about anywhere overseas. But the dream venue would have to be Red Rocks in Colorado. It just looks so magical there. — Mark.
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
This is a dangerous question. But if I’m limiting myself to acts around right now, I’d love to play with Lake Street Dive, The Lumineers, Mt Joy, Gang of Youths, Harry Styles and Franz Ferdinand. I think that would be an unusual but amazing line up. — Mark.
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into playing in a band and some advice that you would give to your younger self?
A few things. One, doesn’t matter how good a musician is, don’t tolerate d*cks. Play with people you click with and enjoy playing with. Also I think don’t be in a rush, things don’t have to happen straight away, you’ve got all the time in the world to build a career.— Mark
If you could go back in time and give yourselves advice, what would it be?
Listen to more music. When I was younger I was a bit more restrictive in terms of genre, so I missed a lot of great music while it was happening that I now have to go back and find.— Mark.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
Of the songs we’ve release, Bennie because it was the first one I wrote with Nima and then Dusk cause it’s the first song I wrote in our catalogue. Of unreleased stuff there’s a demo I’m working on with Nima about my little brother that will be pretty special when we get it out there.— Mark
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
Favourite song to play live is definitely Bennie. It’s got call and response with the audience when we play it and is always just too much fun.— Mark
What is the creative process for the band, and what inspires you to write your music?
It varies from song to song. Sometimes I’ll have lyrics first. Sometimes Nima will have music and sometimes we do it all at the same time. I think we’re both always just listening to music and going to see bands and getting inspired and competitive and wanting to take ideas and put them into our songs.— Mark
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
Some of our songs are just fun and silly and don’t really have a message. But often we’ve got something to say, we’re both engaged politically and we both absorb a lot of news and current affairs, so we definitely want to use music to comment on the world. And not just the big stuff too, little stuff about interpersonal dynamics and behaviour that we want to talk about as well.— Mark
Do you ever have disagreements in your band, and how do you get past them?
Hahaha all the time. Nima and I constantly bicker about songwriting and just other band stuff, but we know it’s always about the music and it isn’t personal and one of us is usually right, so we get through it and when we’re wrong we admit it.— Mark.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
We’re about to record our next single, so look out for Famous, Honey around October.
How can your fans best keep up to date with you, any socials you want people to check out?
We’re @strawberryswingmusic on instagram and @strawberryswingband on tik tok.