This post is contributed by Benjamin Goodman, marketing director for Crush Mobile.
Swear and Shake are a “Big Hook Americana” group who first started out at SUNY Purchase, moved to Brooklyn, and are now based in Nashville. The band’s members are Kari Spieler (a member of the Tribe) on guitar and vocals, Adam McHeffey on guitar, banjo, and vocals and Shaun Savage on bass.
Swear and Shake have released EPs “Extended Play” and “Ain’t That Lovin,’” an LP “Maple Ridge,” as well as variety of singles. The group has opened for acts including The Lumineers, American Authors, Delta Rae, G. Love and Special Sauce, and ZZ Ward.
For their latest move, Swear and Shake has partnered up with JCrush, a Jewish dating app available for free on iPhone and Android, to help spread the word about each other. Users of the app can share four of Swear and Shake’s songs (via Spotify) with their matches (also known as Crushes).
We spoke with Swear and Shake’s Kari Spieler and Adam McHeffey about the band’s history and plans for the future.
When Kari and Adam met at SUNY Purchase, were you both studying music?
Kari: I was studying Studio Production at Purchase, but Adam was doing Arts Management… Whatever that means.
Adam: It’s the stuff that keeps your band afloat: merchandise, scheduling, publishing… all that good stuff.
Tell me about your songwriting process.
Kari: You would get a very different answer depending on who in the band you ask. My favorite songs are the ones that just sort of, happen. I mean, most music takes a lot of work and arranging of course, but sometimes you get an idea and it all comes together very naturally. That’s a pretty incredible feeling!
What musicians have most influenced your sound?
Kari: Lucky for you, we JUST discussed this in the van while on our most recent tour. My biggest influences are Fiona Apple, Dashboard Confessional, and Ray Charles and Margot and The Nuclear So and So’s.
How are shows opening for national acts different then headline shows of your own?
Adam: When you’re headlining a show, you have a closer connection with the concertgoers. You’ll see them singing along, you might recognize them from previous show… that’s awesome. Supporting a national artist is a blast because the majority of people in the crowd won’t know your music. You try and give them a great first introduction to your music. It’s exhilarating.
What led you to relocate from Brooklyn to Nashville?
Adam: Overhead, mostly. We were spending so much time touring it didn’t make sense to keep paying our Brooklyn rent. Nashville is ideal for touring. It’s centralized in the states, and more importantly, it’s cheap.
How would you compare and contrast the music scene in Brooklyn to Nashville?
Adam: Nashville, from what I’ve seen, has two worlds: there’s the honky-tonk bar scene that most tourists visualize when they think of Nashville. You know, cowboy boots and sequins and neon lights. Then there’s the independent music world. Songwriters and bands trying to create something cool and get it heard. That’s the world that we’re in, and it’s not terribly different than Brooklyn for us.
What band or musician would you most like to tour with or open up for?
Adam: Cage the Elephant. Love their music, and the live show is intense.
What are Swear and Shake up to in 2016?
Adam: Writing and recording! We have another full-length album on the way!
For more on Swear and Shake, go to www.swearandshake.com.