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Interview: Swiss Lips

4 min read

Electro-pop magicians Swiss Lips re-released their single U Got the Power on 28th April:  a beguiling mix of slick feel-good grooves and shimmering celestial pop that may well turn out to be one of the greatest pop tracks of the year.

We were lucky enough to get the chance to ask some questions to lead singer Sam Hammond…

Benji Taylor : What’s the inspiration behind the band’s name “Swiss Lips”?

Sam Hammond : We needed a name and it appeared in my head. Choosing band names is pretty hard, and it just felt right.

BT : I think the industry term for the sound of U Got The Power is “dance-electro-pop” but it’s such boring generic term- how would you like your sound to be described

SH : Yeah I guess it is, but although all those labels are a bit boring, they serve a purpose. We just wanna make music that makes people feel something ace inside!

BT : Yeah Indeed! Listening to Danz and U Got The Power I hear echoes of New Order, Hot Chip, Michael Jackson, & Foster The People. Who are the band’s 3 greatest influences?

SH : Too many to mention, but Brian Wilson for his songwriting, all the Ed Banger stuff for production, Abba for the jumpsuits!

BT : What’s the story behind how you met Barrington [the dancer in the Danz video]? What does he actually do on a day-to-day basis?

SH : Barrington is a visual artist/actor/sex wizard.. We met him when he auditioned for our music video. He is an impressive character, we hang around with him as much as we can, he’s a great guy…

BT : What was it like playing Fuji Rock in Japan in July 2012? Will we see Swiss Lips at any festivals in 2013?

SH : It was an amazing experience, none of us had ever been to Japan before so we were like excited little idiots the whole time! The gig was awesome, seeing people sing along to our songs so far from home was incredible.  We’re gonna be at a lot of UK festivals, hopefully we’ll get to leave our dirty little island at some point too!

BT : What’s the funniest Swiss Lips story from your time in music?

SH : Being in a band is a lot of fun, you end up doing some pretty stupid ace stuff. The Union was the most mental thing we ever did.

BT : What can we expect from the album? Is U Got The Power the template for the sound of the album? Any surprises?

SH : It’s pretty varied, there are big pop hooks on there like U Got The Power but we’ve tried to make a solid album full of different vibes.

BT : The Union videos are great – do they give an accurate representation what it’s like to be in Swiss Lips? What was best part of that month?

SH : Everyday is not like that, a month nearly killed us! Things are more chilled at the moment. The kids party was fun, and the last night was insane. Great memories.

BT : Signing to Sony is huge, how has life changed since signing to a major record label… Is the rider better? Seedless grapes instead of seeded?!

SH : The rider is still shit, and we’re still poor, but we make music everyday so we have won!

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BT : The band are marooned on a desert island with one album released from before the year 2000 and one album released since the year 2000 – what would they be and why?

SH : Everybody would probably have different choices. Mine would be Pet Sounds [The Beach Boys]… and currently Channel Orange [Frank Ocean]  just because I still find new things to love about that album. It might be good if I’m stuck there forever.

BT : Are there any other bands you’d recommend people to check out at the moment?

SH : I saw Silverclub last night, they blew my mind. Also Seasfire, Cinnamon Girl…

BT : Will Barington be going on tour with you guys? Is he the Swiss Lips’ “Bez”? Do you ever tell him he looks a bit like Gandalf?

SH : He is a busy guy, so we can’t always get him along but hopefully he’ll be out somewhere with us this summer. He is fully aware of his wizardy looks!

BT : Which actual UK festivals are you going to be at in 2013?

SH :  Loads of them. I think we can’t announce just yet.

BT : What’s the album’s actual release date? Will there be a European tour planned yet to promote it?

SH : July 28th I believe. We really want to get out to Europe – yes!

BT : Who is chief song-writer? Or do you share song-writing duties?

SH : There are 3 songwriters in the band, we try to fix each other’s ideas.

BT : Who gets the most girls in the band?

SH : Barrington!

BT : Who is the Swiss Lips boozing champion/ best at drinking ?

SH : We’re all pretty rubbish at drinking. We just carry on anyway.

BT : What’s the band mantra/ motto/ manifesto?

SH : Never give up!

BT : The Swiss Lips tracks we’ve heard so far ooze energy and fun. Who’s the most hyperactive person in the band? Do any band members have annoying habits?

SH : I think we’re all prob a bit annoying at times, spending hours together in a van gets irritating . Tim [Tim Estherby – keyboards] is pretty special at times.

BT : Thanks Sam. Good luck with the album mate!

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