Swann is a French songstress who pens hauntingly beautiful folk songs about love, loss and redemption. Lyrically inspired by the likes of Proust and Baudelaire her music has a mystery and depth that goes far beyond what most of her contemporaries can offer, having more in common with the child-like poetry of her hero Syd Barrett than the work of her musical peers. Although she treads a musical territory similar to the one favoured by She & HIm, there is a naked sense of honesty in her songs that shares a soulful affinity with the raw emotion of Cat Power and Scout Niblett. She is currently playing a handful of gigs in London and is a name often to be heard whispered on the lips of industry insiders, catch her at an intimate venue while you still can...
...so special about you, then?
My music ?
...your worst vice?
…the story behind your name?
Swann is one of the main characters in Proust's book A La Recherche du Temps Perdu ("In The Search of Lost Time"). He's a dandy, a very elegant man, who lives what you call in French a 'vie mundane'. He is actually a very tragic character –: he's torn between his passion for art and the will to create his own proper piece of art. He does his best to become an 'artist' but he is unable to be someone else than 'the guy who likes art'.
...the world coming to?
I'd like to be one of those respectable people who want to change the world. But all i can do is write about it, and be a witness to the world's madness. I know it's a very self-centered attitude, and i'm not very proud of that. But i reckon i can do something good out of it. Well, I hope so.
...your worst fashion secret?
I can't keep that kind of secret.
...better, analog or digital?
I love the sound of an acoustic guitar and I also love the sound of a pure voice. When I'm listening to a record, I like having the feeling that someone is playing next to me, with actual instruments. I know I'm very old-school. I may change in the future, but that's what i'm looking for at the moment. This impression of simplicity is very hard to convey, and you've got to be very good at using electronic tools to do it right.
...so great about Syd Barrett?
He's not the big star, he's the outsider. Even in his music, he's an outsider. When i listen to 'Milky Way' or 'No Good Trying', i have the feeling he doesn't really know what he's doing, where he's going, and that's what I love about him. He was completely lost but he was honest, and that's what music is all about.
...at the top of your shit list?
...are you listening to now?
Lately, I've been listening a lot to Townes Van Zandt, Cat Power, Syd Barrett, and The Rolling Stones.
...how would you describe your work?
It's hard for me to describe it... I guess i'm just expressing what i feel with honesty. It's not only music to me, it's like a state of mind, something quite close to what Baudelaire called the 'spleen'. My lyrics deal with several contradictory themes such as the fear and the search of loneliness and love, but also the ideas of 'home' and 'travel'. Singing helps me express all this. But what's most important is to keep everything simple, almost understated.