by Tom Pell
Swim Deep couldn’t be taking any more positive strides if their moniker meant that they were fronted by Michael Phelps.
They aren’t, because that would be super weird. For one, he’d look rubbish in tie-dye, and two, he’s not a B-Town hero, whereas Austin Williams, Cavan McCarthy, Tom Higgins and Zach Robinson most certainly are.
The four sub-22-year-olds make up dream-pop grungers Swim Deep who, alongside mates Peace and JAWS, are flying the musical flag for Birmingham the world over.
Though Cavan is Birmingham-born and raised, the other Swim Deep lads grew up in Worcester, before making the move to Brum later in life. Currently, bands who don’t even reside near the city centre are clambering to be known as B-Town, as the whole term has taken on a life of its own.
Cavan, aged 20, says: “It’s a bit odd really. Me and Harry (Koisser) from Peace were driving back into Birmingham once, and I can’t remember where it came from, but one of us just started saying B-Town as a joke... and then it got on Twitter somehow, and then Zane Lowe said it on the radio, and now everyone says it and we’re a bit embarrassed about it. We’re like, ‘Argh, God...’”
“We tried something else. We tried ‘West Madlands’, but that didn’t work. It’s funny though, it’s just a laugh. Before I was in Swim Deep, I toured with Peace as their merchandise guy, so it’s great to see them doing well too.
“We don’t get to hang out that much any more but over this summer it’ll be good to catch up. We’re all just having a joke, really.”
This go with the flow attitude helped Cavan get into the band in the first place. Needing a bassist, Cavan didn’t let a thing like not actually being able to play the bass guitar stop him from progressing.
He admits: “I’d never played bass before, ever. I’d never played a musical instrument really.
“The first song that I learnt was when Austin taught me (debut single) King City. I’ve found it so hard trying to make up something myself, but I’m picking it up. I still wouldn’t say I’m a musician.”
Musician no, rock star maybe. Swim Deep exude self-belief and aren’t afraid to take risks.
“I wanna be rich, I wanna show off”, is the second line from King City, and therefore the second line of a ballsy musical debut.
Don’t be fooled by their surfer-dude persona – this four-piece have serious drive.
Cavan says: “You don’t expect people to write about you, but then when it starts happening, you’re like, yeah, this should happen.
“You just want to see it more and more. It makes your head bigger. It’s great to read about yourself, and they’re kind words as well. Great words.” Great words aplenty are also expected to be attached to Swim Deep’s recently confirmed debut album.
Where The Heaven Are We will be released on July 29 and sets up a headline tour later in the year. They will play Birmingham Town Hall on September 20.
Before the album is heard, though a clear sun-kissed theme runs through Swim Deep’s released songs, every single or B-Side has a different edge displaying continuing musical growth, something which Cavan charmingly insists is coming from within.
“We like the classics, like The Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin, but we’re not influenced by anyone too much. I think we’re influenced by each other, I’d say. All the guys influence me.
“They inspire me. I don’t know about them lot. But I know Austin’s a massive Elton John fan, cos he never shuts up about him.”
After a heady summer, Swim Deep’s humble B-Town days may be fast approaching their end. Birmingham is only so big, and seemingly cannot contain such sizeable ambitions.
On their latest single, She Changes The Weather, Austin aches that: “(I’ve) seen it all, but I’ve seen nothing yet”, which, along with numerous escapist lyrical references across the current releases, hints at the time left on the clock that their Birmingham adventure has left.
“Me and Austin don’t really live in Birmingham any more, we kind of live in London.
“Austin lives with his girlfriend, I stay at friends’ houses – I’m not really sure how it’s going to pan out.
“It would be good to get away from Birmingham for a while, I’ve spent 20 years there. I just want the album to come out, and then just tour it.
“Tour it for, like, a year.
“I want to see the world. I want to go to loads of different countries, play festivals, and date Alexa Chung.
“I think she’s the dream. She followed us on Twitter the other day. I’m planting seeds.”