THE PRESS RELEASE: “Tasmania’s A. Swayze & the Ghosts have released their debut album Paid Salvation. At a time when some young bands seem more concerned with social media followers than having something to say, Paid Salvation is a refreshingly real breath of fresh air, one that restores your faith in the incendiary, uplifting and subversive power of punk rock.
To celebrate the announce, the band released the addictive, synth-punk flavoured single Cancer along with the video, directed by and featuring the band’s notably charismatic and enigmatic lead singer, Andrew Swayze, who says; “I love this track’s elements of early house music in its Oberheim DMX drum machine, repetitive bass-line and guitar silence in sections.” On the video, he continues: “The images came to me in a dream. As soon as I woke I briefed Olivia and we took it from there. We were locked up at home so had been forced to make it entirely on our own from inside a little makeshift cupboard come production office we’d created. Clown paint doesn’t dry, which is surprising.”
On the band’s blistering debut record Paid Salvation — recorded in Melbourne with producer Dean Tuza (These New South Whales, Stella Donnelly) — Swayze pulls no punches, using the group’s urgent and tightly wound music as a backdrop against which he can purge himself of the myriad frustrations he has with the world around him. Taking aim at social media (Connect to Consume), ecocide (Beaches), tall poppy syndrome (Rich), mob-rule and herd mentality (Marigold), it seems little escapes his ire, even God and the Bible get a good lashing. It’s safe to say we’re not in standard garage-punk territory.
On first listen, it would be easy to take the album on face value, enjoying it purely for its many musical pleasures: energetic guitar interplay, pummeling rhythms, basslines that groove and an infectious shout-along melodic sensibility that runs throughout. But that’s the real power of Paid Salvation. While it’s a hell of a lot of fun, it’s also deadly serious.
“It really shits me off when bands have this pedestal and they have the ability to influence so much around them and they waste it by singing about stupid shit. If you’re given this audience, I think you have to have something to say. And I definitely intend on abusing that right.” Swayze says “I want people to go, ‘I love that song it makes me dance but I also appreciate the honesty. I want the melodies and the instrumentals to be accessible for people from all sorts of backgrounds, but I also want everyone to fucking listen to what I’m saying as well. And I especially want young men to hear songs like Suddenly and It’s Not Alright and think about what they’re saying rather than just listening to them and going, ‘Yeah I’m all jacked up on this rock song!’ ” he laughs. With AS&TG, the music is the sugar that makes the medicine easier to swallow.
Over the last two years A. Swayze & the Ghosts have performed at Falls Festival, Splendour In The Grass, The Great Escape, BIGSOUND, A Festival Called Panama and Boogie Festival — as well as shows alongside Shame, Total Control, Nude Party, Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes, West Thebarton, Jet, The Vines, Batpiss & The Stems, to name a few.