Michael Gira discusses Swans' upcoming live date at the Arches

The post-punk experimental outfit will be touring their latest album, The Seer

Michael Gira discusses Swans' upcoming live date at the Arches

Photo: Beowulf Sheenan

‘I see it all, I see it all, I see it all, I see it all,’ intones Michael Gira on the title track of Swans’ latest album, The Seer. Having carved out a 30-plus year career as a musician, label boss, artist and author, indeed the enigmatic frontman has seen it all.

It is this experience, picked up from a life time on the outside, which informs The Seer, Gira’s second full length release since reforming the pioneering noisemongers in 2010.

The album taps into the rich musical vein that was first excavated on 2010’s My Father Will Guide Me Up A Rope To The Sky, but a rich smattering of hackle raising noise, a hallmark of the band’s early days, also finds its way into the groove.

The cohesiveness of the piece is a testament to the personnel that Gira has employed across the record, the same band the singer will use at this upcoming Arches show.

Having played in Glasgow twice in as many years, the musician is looking forward to bringing his troupe back to the Glasgow stage. ‘It keeps me alive. It’s what I was put on earth to do,’ he says.

‘We are quite a family. We are all good friends, which is kind of a first for Swans, there’s always been big conflicts in the band in the past. There’s six of us on stage and it’s hopefully a very monumental and pleasurable ordeal,’ he laughs.

Determined not to rehash old ground, the key factor that keeps the project alive for Gira, he has promised a unique performance for fans at the Arches: ‘I want to use the recorded material as a starting point to build something for live shows.

‘The set is constantly morphing and shifting in terms of intensity. As we tour the performance constantly changes, I never just want to play a record. Hopefully when we are up there and it’s working, we all get lifted up and transported by the sound. It carries us rather than us making it, that’s what it’s all about. It takes every molecule of energy and will I have – but I think that is a healthy thing.’

The Arches, Glasgow, Fri 16 Nov.


Michael Gira's influential no wave band return with their harsh mix of proto-industrial rock and atmospheric acoustica.

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