Twinmusix Interview Swirl's guitarist and founder "DT" Jones
How did your fans respond to your new song?
The response to “The Lift” has been nothing short of amazing! That song reached #4 in Australia, debuted at #13 in Scotland this past week, is on the radio in Spain, UK and has not dipped below #7 through the first 11 weeks of 2018 in the United States! Several of those weeks “The Lift” came in at #1 on Midwest Top 30 and Top 20 Charts.
The Live response has been incredible as well which is evident with the debut performance February 3, 2018 at the Whisky A Go Go in Hollywood, CA. Every show since has seen a similar or bigger reaction from the audiences. The size of the audiences attending Swirl shows has grown as well.
From an industry standpoint we have already acquired management and are seeing record label interest due to that song and the buzz it is creating.
Safe to say we have a “hit song” on our hands. We will see what else we are able to accomplish with “The Lift”.
How did you come up with your band name and logo?
The name “Swirl” was suggested by me on the drive from the Pacific Northwest to Southern California to record the music that ultimately became our debut ‘Out of Nowhere’ release. That disc was produced by Carlos Cavazo and Matt Thorr. The initial logo was a modified “Yin Yang” symbol that characterized the half white, half, black make up of the band. The significance of the white dot in the black section of the yin yang and vice versa was not lost on us. We make a statement with our music as well as with our image. There is a synergy within every aspect of what we do and people are responding favorably to everything Swirl encompasses.
What personal advice would you give to someone wanting to pursue this career?
I don`t know that I am qualified to “give advice” because in the overall scheme of things in this industry what have I really accomplished. Perception is everything. You may say that I have “made it”, but that is very much up for debate in my eyes. I am fond of saying I am a lot more “rock” than “star”. That being said, I am willing to share my knowledge and the stories of my mistakes so if something I say helps someone else achieve their goals I am happy to do my part.
What challenges have you overcome as a band?
When you are your own manager, booking agent, promoter and as of late co-producers there are plenty of challenges on a daily basis artistically as well as on the business end of Swirl. I think the biggest challenge for any band is to find it audience. Without the fans there is no career. The web makes it easier in that the world is 3 feet from your face, but it is also harder in that there are so many great artists releasing music online all the time a band really has to pay attention to opportunities to gain exposure for its material and remember NONE of that matters if the music isn`t done right! Sites like Twinmusix really are crucial to “baby bands” like Swirl trying to make a bigger name for ourselves. To be on a site right alongside more established acts helps introduce our music to rock fans that otherwise would not know Swirl.
Please connect with us on your preference for social media here
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
What type of music have you listened to growing up?
Brian and I grew up with a lot of R&B, pop and classical music. I can`t tell you how many times our father would play Mozart or Chopin on fishing trips to the Kenai River or city of Seward. I have no doubt that is the reason I started out as a violinist. Our first rock n roll love was KISS.
Mom always had various R&B artists playing in the house. She introduced me to the music of The Commodores and started my fascination with Lionel Richie and his illustrious career. My first concert was The Pointer Sisters. Mom has a little rock n roll in her as well and proved it when she took us to Rockford, IL to see KISS. She may dis-own me for saying that or the fact that she played the hell out of Barry Manilow too. Love you mom.
What was your experience like the first time you played on stage?
My first performance with a guitar in front of people was frightening! I knew I had practiced my instrument well enough to execute my parts, but that added element of pressure from people watching was the x factor. I had played in the orchestra several times, but there was always more than one violinist. With this band everything played on guitar right or wrong was going to come from me. Having got into rock music because of KISS I was also acutely aware of the importance of “performing” the songs rather than just “playing” guitar parts. At that time I wore glasses so I just took them off which made everything a blur beyond the neck of the guitar. It worked brilliantly until the end when band`s performance earned an applause and I couldn`t see who was cheering.
What do you love about what you do?
I love every aspect of what I do in Swirl! Even during the most challenging times pursuing music I never wanted to be doing anything else. There is nothing like playing a song onstage that started as an idea on my couch and witnessing the reactions of people who were not even a thought when the song was created. Whether it`s smiles, fists in the air, screams, people singing along with or chanting “Rise Up” back at the band it is very addicting!
I have been able to secure tours for Swirl with established hard rock/ heavy metal bands (RATT, Quiet Riot, Cinderella, Extreme and LA Guns just to name a few), headlined a tour of Japan and secured a licensing deal for 3 songs in a now 2 time award winning film called ‘Ditch Day’ (http://thefilmditch.com/music-artists/) that is now available in 6 countries including Italy!
Ditch Day Massacre - A bloody horror film starring Bill Oberst Jr., Katy Foley, Zach Silverman, Brad Potts, Kyle Morris, Lynn Lowry
What’s your proudest achievement so far?
The relationships I have with Brian, Shane (bass) and Alfred (lead vocals). To be unsigned and last 10 years together is not a small feat in this day and age of the music business. Suffice it to say we are not together because of contractual obligation or the enormous amounts of money we have made together. We are in it for the right reasons and that is a large part of why we are receiving the current success.
Do you have any plans for any new albums/songs in the near future?
In 2018 and 2019 unless Swirl signs with a label and changes our path the plan is to continue to rely on the donations to the Swirl Go Fund Me account at https://www.gofundme.com/launch-new-music-by-swirl-the-band to record, release and market new Swirl music in between tour dates. Currently the “Swirl Society” is our record label and we have told them that how often and how fast we get new music to them is partially up to them. The are complete songs written and there is an abundance of unfinished ideas between the four of us. We would go back in with Emad Alaeddin and record the next song, but the reality of it is “The Lift” is succeeding on such a level that it doesn`t make sense to do anything, but tour behind it and the ‘SWIRL’ EP which features the 3 songs that are on the ‘Ditch Day’ soundtrack. The amount of global press we have received in the last year is staggering for an indie artist. We feel very grateful and are even more inspired to pursue our musical dreams. Japan, Greece, Germany, The Netherlands, Canada, France, The UK, Bangalore, Italy, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Scotland and more are all favorably writing about Swirl. (http://www.reverbnation.com/socalswirl/press/)
Do you have any upcoming gigs?
We will continue “The Lift Tour 2018” with what I consider pre-tour warm up dates in California while our newly acquired manager and booking agents set up tour dates in the 11 countries where we are receiving exposure through either the ‘Ditch Day’ movie or direct radio support! Festival season is right around the corner and we have been told to have our passports ready. Hopefully we will be seeing your readers live and in person very soon.
On April 14th we will play The Boiler Room in Temecula, then return for a third show of this year at the Whisky A Go Go on April 28th. We will play in Pomona on May 12th.
Do you have any CDs/merchandise for sale and where can your fans buy it?
We have our raised “I” t shirts, tank tops and of course the ‘SWIRL’ EP for sale in the Swirl store online. Please visit us at the SWIRL website- http://www.swirltheband.com/ and click on the t shirt, CD images or the “Swirl Store” tab.
“The Lift” is available through all of the usual online music buying sites including iTunes- https://itunes.apple.com/album/id/1325371769
As we are promoting your band, is there anything coming up like album launches or tour dates you would like us to promote on our site for you?
We would really appreciate TwinMusix hosting either or both “The Lift” and “Rise Up” (Featuring scenes from the ‘Ditch Day’ movie) videos.
SWIRL "The Lift" Lyric Video- https://youtu.be/xaBMGg0ACYo
SWIRL "Rise Up" Video- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6_RhbgL5Cv0&t=11s
How long have you all known each other? How did you meet?
Our drummer Brian is my brother! We grew up in Alaska and cut our teeth in various bands there and Washington State before eventually deciding we were way better off working together to make music than we ever were independent of each other. I met Swirl singer Alfred Ramirez and bassist Shane Carlson through former Dio keyboard player Claude Schnell after relocating to California to join Brian Claude was looking to produce a demo for a band Shane and Alfred had together who had lost their guitar player. That would give Claude and I an opportunity to work together in a recording studio so I said yes. The writing sessions quickly turned into live opportunities and it was after a gig a friend of mine suggested that Alfred would sound really good singing Swirl songs. I approached Alfred, he was interested so we went into the recording studio with Fred Coury (Cinderella) to record two songs, “Mad Disease” and “Time To Fly”. The latter was particularly well received and led to 5 tour offers in North America. Shane joined the band in time for the first tour. 2018 will be the 10-year anniversary of the current Swirl line-up.