Words by Laura Whitters.
Allow me to introduce you to ‘Safe to Swim’, the brilliant new band making a splash (sorry, bad I know) with their debut single ‘Struggling’. Hailing from Brighton, Jim Filippides, George Ingledew, George Rawlings and Joe Dennis have masterfully crafted a unique sound, combining the best of addictive pop and feel good, classic indie. With a vibe reminiscent of The Cure and Jaws, this band certainly has a lot to offer and I for one cannot wait to see what they’ll create next.
I was lucky enough to ask frontman Jim Filippides some questions about the band, records, and festivals. Have a read below:
Q) Tell us a bit about the band; how did you all meet and how was Safe to Swim formed?
A) We all met through gatherings and our mutual friends whilst studying music at university in Brighton. Me and Joe (drums) lived across the road from each other in our first year, met at an open mic night down the road, bonded over our mutual love of Kim Deal and the fact that we came from more or less the same town in Hertfordshire. Me and George R (Guitar) met at a pub through a mutual friend when I found out he was also a musician. Unfortunately we ended up living together and still do to this day haha! George I (Bass) came a little bit later to the party as he replaced another guy. But I vaguely remember meeting him at a house party last year where he was wearing a tiger onesie, equipped with a bottle of gin. Based on that first impression I knew we had to take him in when the time was needed!
The beginning of the band happened when I needed to find a group for a university project. I put up an advertisement on Facebook but I just got a bunch of dodgy replies. So then I thought, “Stuff it, I’ll reach out to those guys I sort of remember meeting! They seemed cool?!?!” After a successful project, one rehearsal led to another and we thought, “let’s give this a shot!”
Q) Who would you say are your greatest inspirations?
A) I’d say that all of our inspirations are quite different so I can’t speak for the others! But I love just about anything with a huge hook. For the last couple months or so I’ve been obsessed with all the 80s pop greats!
Q) How would you describe your sound/style to new listeners?
A)Expect some hooky, self-loathing top lines sitting on top of a layer of giddy synths, crunchy guitars and a little bit of glitter sprinkled on top because we’re nice.
Q) What’s the first record you ever purchased, if you can remember?
A)I vaguely remember being excited about the Now 17 CD I bought when I was a 3rd grader living in America. ‘Let’s Get It Started’ by The Black Eyed Peas, ‘Take Me Out’ by Franz Ferdinand and ‘1985’ by Bowling for Soup were all standouts. 2004 was a great time to be alive baby.
Q) What album would you name as your favourite record of all time?
A)Really difficult question! There’s no way I can give you one answer but I’d say my favourite record at this very moment in time would have to be ‘EP01’ by Dream Wife!
Q) What’s your favourite gig you’ve played as a band?
A)My personal favourite would have to be one of the Alternative Escape shows we played last year at Fiddler’s Elbow in Brighton. Everyone was just feeling it and really going for it. It was probably the first time we actually felt a vibe coming from an audience, so it was an amazing experience.
Q) So, what’s the story behind your single ‘Struggling’? How did you write it and is there an interesting story behind the meaning?
A)Same goes with more or less all of our songs. I’ll write it and bring it to the boys in the form of a demo and then we’ll work on the finer details in the studio together. ‘Struggling’ is an ode to the self destructive endings of a relationship where at one point, things were just getting way too out of hand.
Q) What’re your plans for the next couple of months; any new singles or gigs planned?
A)We’ve got another track up our sleeves which we can’t wait to release and then we’ll be heading off on our first UK tour with The Night Cafe! After that we will have a bit of time to get back into the studio and record some more tracks!
Q) Of course I must ask the classic question, where did the band name come from? Safe to Swim is certainly an interesting choice!
A)It all sounds a bit silly but during the prehistoric days of our career we were called “Neon Beach” lol. Thankfully we decided that name was awful so we decided to change it. We wanted to stick with the whole nautical theme and thought that “Safe To Swim” kind of rolled off the tongue. I also liked to relate it to the risks of going into the music industry and being in a band. It’s a treacherous sea… but it’s safe to swim here! Get it?
Q) How did it feel to work with producer Josh Harrison (The Cure, Royal Blood, British Sea Power) on the new single?
A)He’s great! It was our first time working with him and we all gelled so well musically and as a friend. Looking forward to going back into the studio with him after we’ve finished touring.
Q) Personally, I love your single ‘Struggling’ and I’m certainly excited to hear some more new music from you – do you have any plans for an album? If so, have you thought about how it will sound and what it’ll be about?
A)Wow. It’s a bit of a scary idea but exciting at the same time! We’ve only just put out our first single but writing, recording and releasing an album is something I eagerly want to tick off of the bucket list. But the answer to your question would be no, we have no concrete plans for an album at the moment. But that is something we all plan on doing when the time is right! Maybe lets start off with an EP first?
Q) If you could all spend a day with a musician dead or alive, who would it be?
A)I know my answer would be Julian Casablancas. George R’s answer would definitely be Matt Healy. Joe and George I are both huge Wavves fans so they probably wouldn’t mind having a beer or two with Nathan Williams.
Q) What’s your favourite music festival?
A)I’d have to say The Great Escape Festival in Brighton. I love stumbling onto a new a band I’ve never heard of and absolutely loving it. I see it as another tool for discovering your new favourite band, it’s so inspiring! Also it’s so cool seeing our hometown become this crazy massive music festival for a few days.
Catch Safe to Swim on tour with The Night Café:
Listen to Safe to Swim’s debut single ‘Struggling’ here:
Find Safe to Swim here:
Words by Laura Whitters, you can follow Laura on twitter here.