For this "5 and Dime" interview, I chatted on the phone with The Swear's singer Elizabeth Elkins. It was a hazy, hot, and humid afternoon in June 2006. Elizabeth and I talked about her hot new band, The Swear, and the music scene in hot-Lanta.
Tell me about The Swear, your sound, and introduce your bandmates.
Describing our sound is a tough one because we hear so many things. The Swear is a rock band with a female singer, and we have diverse musical influences. We've been compared to bands like The Distillers and Hole. Somebody said we're like Concrete Blonde's Johnette Napolitano fronting Green day. I always have a hard time with this question because I don't think we sound like anybody. We have an early 90's influence, and we play music that fits in on the Warped Tour.
The Swear was formed in January 2004. Our drummer, Kent Aberle, was in a previous band with me and he brought along our bass guitarist, Kevin Williams. We found our guitarist, Jeremy Zamora, a few months later. When people think of The Swear, they think of solid songs. Right around the time that The Swear started, I won the John Lennon Songwriting Award. That was a big morale booster, and I hope it makes the industry pay attention to what we're doing. It's a nice marketing tool also. It gives me a level of respect as a songwriter. It hasn't opened any giant doors with record labels screaming, but it helped us connect with the Warped Tour.
Where can fans listen to and purchase your album?
Our album, "Every Trick's A Good One," was recorded at Butch Walker's studio and it was produced by Russ-T Cobb. We have song samples at our website, www.theswear.com, and at our Myspace page, www.myspace.com/theswear. There are also links to purchase the CD online through Paypal.
What's your favorite track from the album?
Lyrically, it's "Last Breath," which wrote itself in about five minutes. Jeremy had a layout for the music, and I had to work on melody and lyrics. The words just wrote themselves. I feel that the stronger songs come from somewhere else, they exist and you don't have to fight for them. It's a story of a big rock star who abuses his power and me watching from the outside. It's fun to sing, it has a monster riff at the beginning, and it's a crowd favorite. We close the show with it often.
What's the rock music scene like in Atlanta and do you have any plans to tour outside of Georgia?
There's a quiet buzz building about the Atlanta rock scene, and there are great venues to play. Atlanta, nationally, is probably known for its urban/rap and R&B music scene, but there's a vibrant underground rock scene. All of the Atlanta bands work well together, and we look out for each other. Maybe a band or two will break out, we're hopeful. The Swear hope to find a way financially to play outside of our home base. We hit some of the surrounding states like Florida and Alabama but our goal is to branch out.
What else can I help your band promote and what does The Swear have in store for your fans in the next 12 months?
We have a video for our song "Deadfall" and we have all kinds of merch that we sell at our shows. We also have a weekly contest at our Myspace page where music fans can win an autographed CD and poster. In August 2006 we're recording new stuff with producer Noel Golden. He did a lot of metal stuff in the 80's, and he's worked with The Exies and Matchbox Twenty. Noel relocated down here, and he's been very supportive. We hope that the new material will help us build the right team or find a small label that will send us out on the road.
Please share your thought on the senseless murder of Dimebag Darrell.
We're all Pantera fans and Dime was so influential as a guitarist. It was terrifying and it affected us profoundly. It was mind-blowing to us as a band that it happened onstage. You're in another world while performing onstage, and you're not watching your surroundings.