London-based singer, songwriter and producer Daniel Armstrong has been playing the capital’s underground music scene fror the past six years, both as part of psyche collective Frankie Teardrop Dead and more recently releasing folk rock album The Town And The City under his own name. His new project, Crying Swells, sees him taking another stylistic swerve, emersing itself in waves of 90s shoegaze and 00s indie. John Clay caught up with Daniel ahead of the release of ‘Lungs’, the first track to be taken from his forthcoming Emotional Progress EP, a collection of songs on the topic of mental health.
Thanks for agreeing to the interview! Keen to know the origin of the band’s name?
You’re welcome John!
I was talking with Nate Tang, a great musician based in Oakland, California, who plays guitar with The Pleasure Routine. He was describing the sounds of the Lap-Steel guitar. This image really stuck with me and I thought it resonated strongly with the aesthetic I’m going for with this project.
Indeed. Tell me more about the difference between this and your previous output in regards to sound.
This set of songs and everything thereafter is going to be more focused on moods and abstract textures in a sonic and visual way. It allows me to write and compose with no limits basically… I want to create entire worlds of sound as opposed to what one person thinks and feels. There’s also no acoustic guitars, so call me Judas!
You described it in a previous conversation we had as being more Stoner rock. Care to elaborate?
I wouldn’t quite go so far as that, but yeah its heavier in every sense and definitely more Psyche / Sadboi pop. You can really feel the weight of the guitars, drums and vocals and I attribute that in part to the mixing skills of Jason Shaw who has also recorded and produced records by Frankie Teardrop Dead and The Kundalini Genie, who also were big influences musically and spiritually while I was making this record.
Obviously playing live is an issue now, but you’ve got the opportunity of playing this thing via video session online. You gonna promote things that way too?
Yeah we’ve obviously got to adapt to the climate but in some ways it’s made life a little easier. Hopefully the model of the business is going to change knowing live-streaming is a legit way of making an income for some artists now.
The song is about combating one’s vices, right? Care to expand on that?
On one angle that could be inferred, but also it’s about realising that deep down you’re always going to be that person with a history… maybe you’ve got sober, or you’ve moved to another city, changed your accent and tried to get away from certain people but it’s those experiences that help you grow and move on as a person. To ignore your own previous failings is a curse.
And you’re referring to yourself here?
…and there’s an E.P that will be available too? It’s all happening in your end of lockdown isn’t it?
Yeah there will eventually be one but I’m just taking my time with releasing the tracks individually. It was all meant to happen in March / April but things got a bit mental at that point didn’t they? There were times I genuinely thought civilisation was going to end promptly so I was in no hurry to release music at that point.
Fair enough. You are however releasing music on Friday. Where can one find and purchase ‘Lungs’?
Nice one thanks for talking to us!
Thanks John. Always a pleasure.
Interview by John Clay