Interview with Duane “DT” Jones (Swirl)

G day Lauren here from Silver tiger Media here thank you so much for taking the time out to have a chat today

DT from Swirl checking in. Nice to meet you Lauren and thank you for wanting to get to know more about Swirl! I am the guitar player. Brian “Bam Bam” is my brother and drummer for Swirl. Alfred Ramirez is our lead singer and Shane Carlson is our bassist. We are all grateful for your interest and will all be involved in this interview.

It’s been a rather good start to the year for you guys kicking off the year with a new song called ‘’The Lift’’ which has reached #1 on the indie rock radio in the US and #4 on banks Radio Australia in just the first 2 weeks Talk us threw what’s going through everyone’s minds right now? did you think that the track would get so much response so quickly?

There is no way we could have anticipated this kind of a reaction to “The Lift”. When we left the Granted Records studios after working with Emad Alaeddin there was a feeling we had a really good song and truth be told “Emo” did tell us we had a “hit song” on our hands, but none of us were too  quick to “drink the kool-aid” on that way of thinking.

When we got the news “The Lift” was #4 in Australia, followed by the string of #1 Top 30 chart reports in the Midwest through the first 9 weeks of 2018, we began to think there was something magical going on with that song.

The validation came when we played our first gig on “The Lift Tour 2018 ” on February 3 at the Whisky A Go Go in Hollywood, CA and the size of the crowd from previous Swirl shows had doubled.  We played that song 4th in the set and the audience reaction from the first note was euphoric. I will never forget the smiles on our faces while playing that song live for the first time.

The song has been getting incredibly positive responses the world over with reviews as well (http://www.reverbnation.com/socalswirl/press/). The press and radio support has led to management and record label interest.

Your latest EP Swirl has 3 songs featured in the award winning movie ‘’Ditch day what was that like for you guys ?

We give “Bam Bam” the credit on finding us that amazing opportunity. He was playing in another project while Swirl was in the studio tracking the songs that would be on the ‘SWIRL’ EP. He took a demo to the singer of the other project. She is married to the writer of ‘Ditch Day’. He liked what he heard and took it to the film`s producer Megan Waters (Water Tree Media). We were hopeful to get one song in the movie which stars horror movie icon and Emmy award winning actor Bill Oberst Jr. By the time the movie was released Swirl became the featured artist for the film with the songs the band co-produced with James Rieger being chosen from our entire catalog. There are some very established names that have worked on songs with Swirl throughout our career so to have the songs chosen that did not have any real “names” attached to them was very inspiring to all of us.  I don`t know that we would have done “The Lift” with Emad were it not for the song selection for ‘Ditch Day’.

Can you take into the writing process that went into bringing us ‘’The Lift’’

“The Lift” started out on guitar before working with Brian on the arrangement then taking it into the rehearsal studio to present it to Shane and Alfred. Instantly Shane created the bass line for the chorus and we all felt it elevated the song. With this song Alfred and I got together independent of the rest of the guys to work on the song. He changed the verse to accommodate the melody we collaborated on and suggested I rework the intro to what you hear now.

When it came time to record the new song we were contacted by Megan Waters. She had been introduced to a music producer that was “looking to record a rock band” and Megan recommended us. Brian and I met with Emad and Tim at Granted Records and immediately hit it off. They brought up the idea of using “crowd funding”. This was not the first time someone had approached Swirl about tapping into our fairly large fan base (for an unsigned band) and the way they approached us about doing it convinced us to give it a shot. They guided us through the process of setting up the account, creating the “rewards” and the content. We had no idea what to expect when we launched the Go Fund Me page at https://www.gofundme.com/launch-new-music-by-swirl-the-band
and were completely blown away when the the money needed to go into the studio was donated by our fans within the first 48 hours.

Emad, Alfred and myself worked on the mix for “The Lift”. We brought in Shane and Brian to hear what we thought was going to be the final version. We all agreed it sounded amazing, but Shane wasn`t satisfied with the guitar levels so he went into the mixing booth with Emad and tweaked the song to his liking. At that point the band was divided with Alfred and I preferring the original mix. I ended up sending out two versions of the song to radio and our PR team in December 2017 with the overwhelming majority choosing the “Shane mix”! I have to say he saved the song! That is typical Shane though. Aside from his bass lines he is always creating a part for a song or making recommendations that are critical to taking our songs the best they can be.

You guys have had quiet the amazing run with being the opening act for a number of North American tours what was one of the biggest high lights for you guys on these tours?

Thank you for noticing! As an unsigned, self- managed and self-booked band for those tours. Whether it was our first tour with Stephen Pearcy`s solo band the Rat Bastards, Bulletboys, LA Guns, Cinderella, George Lynch`s Souls of We or the RATT and Extreme tours I don`t think there is a better word to describe the experiences than “amazing”.

For me personally the biggest highlight is attached to the biggest tour we have been a part of to date. Swirl was the support band on the RATT and Extreme East Meets West Tour. As a guitar player I had the opportunity to tour with 2 of my all time favorite guitarists in Warren DeMartini and Carlos Cavazo. Warren and I are sponsored by Charvel guitars and had matching guitars on that tour. Carlos produced the debut Swirl release, a 13 song CD titled ‘Out Of Nowhere’. Add the incredible Nuno Bettencourt on that tour and I was in guitar heaven nightly. My brother knows how big a RATT fan I am. After our set on the first night of the tour I was standing side stage as RATT played their first song and he asked “how wild is this for you to be on tour with them”? I don`t think I slept and I know I smiled the entire 5 weeks of that tour just trying to soak it all in. The night Warren and Carlos came out to watch our opening set in Cleveland is a cherished memory that I almost missed out on. I was unaware until Brian pointed to them out.

We played Times Square on that tour. I could write a book about the experiences on that tour alone. Amazing indeed.

How would you describe your music to anyone new fans out there?

Bam Bam- We are a straight up rock band. In a day and age where everything is labeled, what makes us unique is that we have crossover appeal and that allows for us to play with just about anybody. Whether its Rock, Hard Rock, Heavy Metal or Alternative, we have a little bit of all of it in our sound. Hence the name Swirl.

Where do you guys look for inspiration when creating new music?

DT- When it comes to writing music I like to go to local area music stores, pick up various guitars and see what comes out. Call me crazy, but I do think that sometimes the song is in the instrument and just comes out through my fingers. Lord knows I have listened to something I have just finished working on and wondered aloud “where did that come from”?

Alfred- When I write lyrics it’s usually tied to a personal experience of mine or one that I have witnessed in the world we in. I also feel what’s most import is not so much what my lyrics mean to me, but more importantly what my lyrics mean to the listener. I want the listener find their own story within the lyrics. To me that means the listener can interpret and apply them in any way they choose.

What’s next?

Shane- We have no less than 4 booking agencies working on tour dates for Swirl in 2018 and there are at least 11 countries where the band is getting exposure through either the success of “The Lift” or the ‘Ditch Day’ including Australia! The passports are ready and the suit cases are packed. It`s time for Swirl to tour. We will continue to write on the road and in between tour dates we will record new music. I am pretty sure there are more licensing opportunities being worked on for the band as well for the songs from the ‘SWIRL’ EP and “The Lift”.

SWIRL website- http://www.swirltheband.com/

SWIRL Twitter- https://twitter.com/Swirltheband
SWIRL Instagram- https://www.instagram.com/swirltheband/

SWIRL Facebook- https://www.facebook.com/swirltheband
SWIRL Soundcloud- https://soundcloud.com/swirl-dt

SWIRL Reverbnation- http://www.reverbnation.com/socalswirl
SWIRL YouTube- https://www.youtube.com/swirlgtr