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Sink or SWYM: Long Live Psychedelia

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Ryan Brum and Jesse Holden of SWYM starting playing together when they were teenagers in Massachusetts, and have remained together through various lineup changes over the years. They produce a haunting brand of psychedelic music which takes elements from the past and blends them together in a way that sounds fresh. Almost a decade later, and based out of Seattle, they are finally embarking on their first tour. And on Saturday, Dec. 30, SWYM will be playing at Oberon’s in Ashland.

“We were in a five-piece in Boston, then we moved to Seattle with one of our guitarists,” says Brum. “Officially we’ve been a duo for three years. We got our rehearsal studio in the spring of 2016 and started practicing for gigs and stuff.”

Being a two-man band can have its limitations. But boiling the lineup down to a duo has made the members of SWYM tighter, and more focused.

‘This is our first tour,” says Holden. “First album; first tour. There are so many variables in the band. People come in and out. This is the first time we’ve been stable enough to record an album, and go on tour.”

Their debut album, Mirror Box, was released last month and it is the culmination of many years of hard work. It was recorded in typical DIY fashion, but Holden and Brum utilized some unconventional methods.

“We did it all ourselves,” says Brum. “With a four track recorder and our laptop. We booked a restaurant for a night and did some recording in there. I did some recording in my bathroom; because the tiles sound good in there.”

The members of SWYM are enjoying the moment; but they are already making plans for the future.

“We definitely want to expand the band,” says Brum “We sound full. We make it work, but we want to expand on [the line-up] for sure.”

“We really want to invest in a van, so we can tour the east coast,” says Holden

“That’s our home turf,” adds Brum.

The album release and the first show of the tour were on the same day. The creative energy has built momentum that the members of SWYM will ride until the tour is over.

“We did our kick-off show last night,” says Brum. “We’re not going to leave town until tomorrow. We are a little under slept from playing the show last night, but the energy is still going. The tour is about five or six weeks. We’re not playing a show every day; there’s like nine shows. There’s some time in between, so we are going to find some house parties.”

After laying low and recording the album, SWYM are looking forward to playing their new songs in front of a crowd. And after eight years of pulling it all together, Holden and Brum are eager to get on the road for the first time.

“We played some shows earlier this year,” says Brum. “We were testing out the songs; letting people know we still existed. The tour kick-off was our first show in a few months.”

“Now we’re unleashed,” says Holden.


4 pm Sat., December 30

Oberon’s, 45 N Main St., Ashland

Credit: Courtesy of SWYM

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