The Swiss: Friends first

Having ticked off Stereosonic and Parklife, gigging with Ladyhawke and two European tours, Adelaide groove masters The Swiss are now in the middle of a whistle-stop tour with Flight Facilities, dubbed the ‘Suds, Bubbles and Man Trouble’ tour. With 2010 EP Bubble Bath floating about the ether and their tasty live shows generating heat, the boys from this disco three-piece really do know how to serve up treat or two.

When inthemix interviewed Sid Sidhu, responsible for the band’s nasty bass action, I asked him about how it was to tour with that little blond lady from New Zealand.

“We were quite happy to be supporting Pip [Brown, aka Ladyhawke]. She’s a long term friend of ours and we are both on Modular,” Sidhu says. “Pip has been doing work with Donnie [Sloan, The Swiss’ producer] for some time, and with Pnau and Nick Littlemore. And she was part of that broader family that we grew up working with as well.”

So, was it wild? “No, it definitely wasn’t of the wild variety. I mean, rarely is a tour of Australia that crazy. Mainly because there is less alibi for anyone that wants to misbehave. We had a good time. It was the first time anyone at the label who had signed us had actually seen us. So we were nervous about that.”

When they play live, it seems as though The Swiss’ animal approach to getting themselves and the audience into a backbeat, followed closely by a groove, is quite well-planned. Though according to Sidhu, this might have more to do with years of experience.

“We’ve been doing it for a long time,” Sidhu says. “We’ve been friends for 20 years, so when we get together on stage, or our parents’ lounge room, our studios or a yacht – wherever we are – we always have a good time. I guess that comes across. I try not to look at footage of the shows too often, but looking at it you can see where good friends. We’re playing disco at the end of the day, so we can’t take ourselves too seriously.”

To keep the vibe rolling, Sidhu says the chemistry between band members plays a vital role. “It comes down to what you are like as a person. Me personally, which is all I can speak for, I find it really challenging. I’ve got a young family, and being away from them, it’s a sacrifice,” Sidhu muses.

“We worked really hard to get things moving. And we put a lot of effort in last year, and I guess we’ll put as much effort in this year, if not more. If I was working with a bunch of idiots it would be really difficult. But I love everyone I work with, so it makes it an enjoyable experience. And you know, we push each other creatively, and we push each other as people as well. And we are always trying to improve.”

With a tour on right now and its recent slot at Parklife, the boys haven’t started 2011 with a rest. What else is on the cards? “We came home just before Christmas, after obviously a pretty heavy year; two European tours and an American tour as well. And in between all the other work we are doing with all the other projects, I personally fell in a bit of a heap. But we had to pick the ball up again and record.”

“Tony the drummer and Donnie our producer spent a good part of five days before Christmas doing pre-production for the record, for the drums. We’ve been sketching pretty heavily and working our way though putting the album together.”

At the moment unsure if they will release a full length album or do it as a couple of EPs, Sidhu says they are just concentrating on writing good songs.

“Working with Donnie Sloan, he’s a delicate genius, so it’s always a fun process. We’re trying new things and the sound is definitely evolving,” Sidhu says. “When we do have our down time we’re resorting to different styles of constructing our songs. And I guess it’s certainly going to show a different directing in the next release.”

When pressed to discuss what this direction might entail, Sidhu treds lightly. “Without going into too much detail – because I do know Donnie does guard the secret like the Colonel from KFC – we’re sampling ourselves essentially. And the way we’ve written the structures is pretty avant-garde. We’ve let Donnie direct it really heavily, which is something we haven’t done that much in the past.

“But I think the nature of the project allows us to do that. I think without having those differences we’d end up with a pretty generic flat homogenised disco record.”