THEY WERE UNDOUBTEDLY one of the most extreme acts to emerge from the New York No Wave scene, forming in 1982 and remaining productive until 1997. Now, after a 13-year absence, founder member Michael Gira has confirmed that SWANS have returned.
Rumours of his decision to re-boot the band began to surface on January 9 with a posting on the band's MySpace page - SWANS ARE NOT DEAD - which announced the addition of a new song entitled Jim to the playlist section of the site and which mentioned that the band were set to issue a limited edition handmade CD entitled I Am Not Insane in order to raise funds for a new SWANS album.
Gira confirmed the reunion on January 19 issuing an official statement that reads as follows:
"I have decided to focus my energy on Swans once again. I'm reactivating that project. A new album is in the works, and touring will follow in fall of 2010. In order to help raise funds / help defray the considerable costs of recording and promoting the new album, I have made a special CD/DVD limited edition handmade package called I Am Not Insane available exclusively at the YGR website. You can read about the CD/DVD, and my decision to reactivate Swans at this link.
Gira, who has spent the last decade running his own label, Young God Records, as well as performing with his band Angels Of Light, has made a virtue of his bespoke approach to making records, literally creating the artwork himself. He is also keen to distance SWANS from the current spate of rock reformations.
"One thing I want to point out right now: THIS IS NOT A REUNION. It's not some dumb-ass nostalgia act. It is not repeating the past. After 5 Angels Of Light albums, I needed a way to move FORWARD, in a new direction, and it just so happens that revivifying the idea of Swans is allowing me to do that. I'll be using what I learned in the last several years to inform the way this new material develops, while carrying forward from where Swans left off with its final album Soundtracks For The Blind, and in particular, Swans Are Dead. If you have expectations about how Swans should be, that's your business, but it would be a disservice to both of us if I were to make music with your needs in mind, and the music would certainly suffer as a result. In any event, I certainly never thought this day would arrive, but it's inevitable, it's here, it's fate, so I'm succumbing to it."
In celebration of SWANS return, here's two clips - the first A Screw (Holy Money) from 1986, followed by an excerpt from a 1997 Czech documentary, in which Gira shares SWANS' modus operandi...