Getting to know – swim school

Getting to know – swim school

Born out of a number of previous bands Edinburgh’s swim school are set to take Scotland by storm with their guitar & synth-driven dream pop. I recently featured their latest single ‘Sway’ on the A&A playlists and I saw them live at Mac Arts in Galashiels.

I caught up with the guys last week to get to know them better…

A&A – Hi Swim School, for those who don’t know, tell us a bit about yourself?

swim school – swim school are a 4-piece indie-pop band from Edinburgh. The band consists of Alice Johnson (Vocals/Guitar), Lewis Bunting (Guitar), Nairn Milne (Drums) and Matt Mitchell (Bass). We were all previously involved within other bands which brought us together as we all had a passion for the same genre of music. A few of us are currently furthering our musical studies at Napier University and Edinburgh College. This been an advantage for us I guess, as we’ve been able to apply the knowledge learnt to how we approach situations within the band and writing music.

A&A – How would you describe your music?

swim school – The words which would best describe our music would be dreamy, synth and guitar driven. The vocals have an effortless yet compassionate feel about them which we feel makes us different within the Edinburgh music scene.

A&A – Who are your influences?

swim school – Our influences are Wolf Alice, The 1975, Pale Waves and Peace

A&A – You recently released your debut single ‘sway’. Tell us about the single and the reaction?

swim school – The song is about reflecting on summer which was written in September of last year. We wanted to encapsulate our memories of summer which we feel is emphasised by the dreamy and bright vibe of the song. The lyrics emphasise these emotions as the song opens with “go back to those times, the sun was above us”.

The response so far has been overwhelming, exceeding our expectations as there was hardly any promo for it and not a lot of people knew about us.

So far, we’ve been lucky enough to have the track spun on Jim Gellatly’s show on Amazing Radio along with other numerous radio stations and has also been featured on one of Spotify’s algorithmic playlists. Through the single release, we’ve also been offered a variety of interviews and support slots which has been incredible! We just hope the hype continues!

A&A – The single was recorded with Mark Morrow. How was the recording process?

swim school – We all knew Mark before-hand which made the recording process of ‘sway’ relaxed and enjoyable. We all had a shared vision of the song which was great, and he was able to make his own additions to the overall recording. We’re continuing to work with Mark for the rest of our releases as he really nailed the sound we were going for and we’d like to keep it consistent.

A&A – I recently saw you live supporting Indigo Velvet and I really enjoyed the gig. You are a relatively new band how are you adapting to playing live?

swim school – Thanks for coming! We had a ‘secret’ gig at the Wee Red Bar in January before we announced the band on social media, so we treated this as a practice gig before our show supporting Indigo Velvet. Since we’d been rehearsing as a band since September we became familiar with each of our playing styles, gaining each other’s trust and growing our confidence.

A&A – Where can we see you playing?

swim school – We’re playing our first Glasgow show at Mango for the Queens of Noise event on the 16th March. The event is to celebrate the contributions of women within the music industry which is something we strongly stand for.

We also have a gig coming up at Leith Depot on the 24th March supporting emerging talents, Tranqua Lite from Leeds which will be great! – TICKETS

Keep your eyes peeled on our social media within the next couple of weeks as we have our biggest announcement yet…

A&A – What’s the best live gig you have been to recently?

swim school – 

Alice (Vocals/Guitar) – Even though it wasn’t recent, the last gig that I have been to that has stuck with me was seeing Wolf Alice at the Barrowlands in Glasgow in 2017. Not only did Wolf Alice put on an incredible show, they also invited a girl from the crowd to come up on stage and play “Moaning Lisa Smile” on guitar. The whole night was an incredible experience that I would love to relive.

Lewis (Guitar) – The best live gig I’ve been to recently was Peace supporting Catfish in Glasgow. I really started to get into Peace last summer and seeing them at the end of summer was perfect.

Nairn (Drums) – This isn’t so much recent as it was about 2 years ago now but the best gig I have ever seen was Bring Me The Horizon performing at the Stand Up to Cancer event at the Royal Albert Hall in London. They had a live orchestra alongside them and everything, it was incredible!

Matt (Bass) – I’ve been fascinated with Death Grips for a few years now and was lucky enough to see them at The Barrowlands last August. The energy those guys have is incredible, from start to finish they got the entire crowd going wild, barely even taking a break in between songs. They really know how to put on a show and I’ll definitely be seeing them next time they come to the UK.

A&A – What are your plans for 2019? The summer and beyond?

swim school – As we are all festival goers we’re extremely keen on getting involved with a few small local based ones during the summer. We also plan to work on an EP which we aim to release by the end of the year. We’ve got loads of promotional ideas for it which we will carry out in summer to create a buzz.

There are a few shows already in the pipeline towards the end of summer, but we can’t give too much away about them just yet!

A&A – If you could pick one song to describe swim school what would it be?

swim school – I Dreamed a Dream by Susan Boyle. Na, but in all seriousness although the title of that track is still relevant, In Between Days by The Cure as it fuelled the inspiration behind the synths in our tracks.

An artist who we’ve been loving recently is Lewis Capaldi. Although it’s not the genre of swim school we really enjoy following his journey, putting Scotland on the map.




Freelance Music Blogger/Journalist - Alive & Amplified & BBC. Head of Artist Liaison - Wide Days. Events Manager - Shout! Edinburgh