Nan and Matt are New York rock duet Schwervon! They write
and record all of their own music in their Lower East Side apartment. I stopped
by on a Tuesday evening and after quickly being warned that their cat, Gummo,
might bite me if I pet him, we all sat down at the kitchen table and talked
about their new album, "I Dream of Teeth." I had a blast talking to
this duo. They both enthusiastically tossed the conversation ball back and forth
while we discussed New York music niches, touring in Europe and the ups and
downs of being in not just a band together, but a relationship too.
How did you guys meet and start recording music together
Nan: We met at The Sidewalk Café in the East Village.
Matt : There wasn’t a sort of preconceived idea. Nan
didn’t even play drums when we started.
Nan: I was in a band called Bionic Finger which was an all
girl band. We learned how to play together. We switched instruments every song.
I played guitar and bass mostly and when I started playing drums I was like,
"this is too much fun. I love it. I have to play drums now in a band!"
How does it work now? What are your rehearsals and
recording sessions like?
Nan: We fight all the time and anyone who says they don’t
– they’re lying. They’re lying! I think that any band that
does stuff together fights a lot. I think they have to, even if it’s just
non-dramatic bickering. Something has to take place because I know it’s
pretty hard to get everyone in a room with one agenda.
So how do you guys make it happen?
Matt: Even with just two people, it’s a really, really
difficult thing because our personal issues enter our musical issues and vice
versa. It seems like really the wrong thing to do. They always say, don’t
work with your partner. We spend way too much time together probably and it’s
not because it’s like so lovey dovey. I mean, we get along but it’s
Nan: (Laughing) Oh great! Don’t write this!
Matt: No, this is the silver lining. I don’t think we
could do it any other way because we do so much of our own booking, we record
and mix ourselves and we learn how to put things together and do artwork and
work with people and all that stuff. It’s good. It’s very easy to
communicate. Schedules are pretty easy. It’s sort of weird. It’s
very difficult but I don’t see how it could be done any other way.
What kinds of specific problems do you encounter when
Nan : It’s hard to separate sometimes. The relationship
and the music it all blends together. Yesterday, for example, we were trying
to record this tour EP that we’re calling "The Gas Tour EP"
and the proceeds from that go toward help paying for fuel on our upcoming European
tour. So we’re covering songs of the guy that we’re traveling with
and he’s covering our songs. Anyway, I didn’t really prepare for
it; for the singing. I just got in the vocal room and I was really mad because
Matt and I were having a fight. Everything got stalled for an hour while I was
really mad. But then I went back in the other room and was like "I’m
really mad at you!" and then went back in the vocal room and some magical
thing happened and we finished the whole recording. It was weird. It was like
a strange breakdown to breakthrough.