In the attic with Swanmeat

Attic caught up with the legend that is Swan Meat we go through her most recent tours. Her highs, her lows, Swan social ettiquate and her likeness to berries. After having released her latest 17th century rococo / metal inspired EP Blood supernova we wanted to go into the inner genius of what makes her tick - which is in fact a beanie baby raccoon. 

Hi swan meat! 

Can you please give us the lowdown of who you are and what you do/ where are you based? 

i'm a music producer (and DJ, i suppose mentioning that's obligatory). and i am based in cologne germany, but im from the great satan aka america. i kid. i mean, america's a hole but it's beautiful also & there's actually so much i love about where im from. i try to write and produce music that somehow draws from all these inspirations i have. i try to think of it as like: bach's well tempered clavier meets psytrance meets math rock or something. ofc im not actually that cool-- haven't achieved the vibe YET-- but i try.

What artists/things/news articles are inspiring you at the moment?

i just spent two months on tour and have barely produced since then -- so, now im back in my little studio hovel trying to figure out what these past two months of (not) rest and (not) relaxation have meant. my biggest inspirations at the moment are the people i met on tour-- crushes ive nursed then discarded in the face of rejection, girls out in texas throwing renegade raves under highway bridges, eating a beignet in new orleans and wiping all this sugar dust off someone else's face, et cetera. very 2022 jaqueline kerouac. basically, im gonna be making a lot of sad happy hardcore.

Best way to kidnap a swan?

u cant. my name's swan meat b/c actually, swans are almost impossible to capture, much less kill, and if you do, you're probably cursed for life. i'd say ask the swan politely if it wants to go on a date with u then take it out to a movie, maybe minigolf. swans love top golf.

“i don't really think about my aesthetic. imagine thinking. ew.”

Please talk us through sludge goa - how did your raccoon help you in pioneering this genre/ movement?

well, the racoon is a beanie baby someone i love very dearly picked up for me at a gas station in germany before i moved here. he said she looked really forlorn, kinda dusty and alone, sitting on the shelf amongst so many bounty candy bars and energy drinks. obviously, love is everything, so she's propped up on my desk next to my ableton push and is constantly generating inspiration waves. sludge goa is a silly name for something even i dont understand. to summarize, i guess i could say the idea is i'm taking all these old (psy)trance tropes and turning them on their head, drawing from a bunch of sonic source material until everything meets in a sort of gooey sludge-- but there's this classic triplet bass throbbing always underneath the flotsam/jetsam.

describe your aesthetic?

i don't really think about my aesthetic. imagine thinking. ew. i just make what i want to make, what i feel in the moment etc, and work w/ artists who i think are talented when it comes to stuff like album art, and then just dress how i'm feeling... im in old navy childrens size L khakis right now and sketchers and a tank top that says 'free piss' and an adidas zip up my friend gave to me. i love cheap perfumes from drug stores, the ones that smell really sugary and chemical. i think someone with a sharper mind could pinpoint and describe whatever this aesthetic is better than i can. i think 'lazy' might be the best term.

You have been turned into a fruit bowl - please describe your components and why

first of all, there are absolutely NO melons. no cantelopes, no honeydew. id like to think im all berries: rasp, blue, straw, etc. berries ripen and go rotten really fast. pretty sure i right now have some blueberries gone white and fuzzy after only a couple days of basking in my fridge's painful yellow light. i get bored easily, you know? this is why im berries.

Artists you grew up listening to?

my darkest secret, which i guess is a secret no longer, is that im a reformed theater kid. so, my musical journey (lol) began with showtunes courtesy of my mom, then i became a classical violinist, then i became a punk, then i became a crust punk (very different), then i got into music production. ive always been a voracious listener of music (no shit), but what's stuck with me from my younger years has always been: chopin sonatas, classical violin songbook scales, bands like fall of troy and mars volta and at the drive in and protest the hero and such. this inspiration lingers where the leftöver crack and operation ivy tunes have fallen away.

What inspired you to start producing and DJING?

honestly i started when i was in college and wanted to practice my guitar and my violin in my dorm room but was disturbing the peace. i had all these ideas but no studio, no bandmates, no i downloaded ableton as it was the closest thing i could get to a band without, you know, actually having a band. and then the gr8 journey began.

“first of all, there are absolutely NO melons. no cantelopes, no honeydew. id like to think im all berries”

What do you think makes people stand out as djs or producers?

oh good question. i think it's not my place to say! musical taste is so subjective and what makes something stand out to me might make something unpalatable to someone else. i can say that my first inspirations as producers/DJs were people like why be, elysia crampton, total freedom, etc-- people who made unique and weird blends and edits and clearly had a love for music that transcended just the club space. it sounds corny, but being true to yourself and producing/playing what you love without giving a fuck about what the rest think or what's trendy makes u stand out. it might not be the easiest route to a meal ticket (u can make business techno if u wanna do that) but real ones will notice and you'll be remembered a lot longer, after so many derivative white guiz in germany playing paint by numbers acid techno have faded in2 obscurity.


“(we get itttt, you like harnesses and hi hats).”

Other producers/DJs influential in the rave scene at the moment?

honestly there are so many ppl out there doing amazing things i cant even put together a comprehensive list. for me, at least, im loving what my friend estoc is doing. i just played with her in vancouver and she just makes the most fun, most creative blends and edits ive ever heard. u can really tell she LOVES music and listens to everything she possibly can, from dad rock to stadium gabber. she's gonna be huge. in berlin i think my friends @ soul feeder are throwing the best parties, they're a spark of bright light in a sea of cut and paste techno parties (we get itttt, you like harnesses and hi hats). stasya in lisbon with her party maythey; my girls in montreal throwing hauterageous who are conceptualizing raves beyond the music, every event is an extravaganza. also, people like directress in austin and 140+ in washington d.c. and this party called werm hole in portland are bringing epic raves to cities that have been starved of that for years. not to mention mnfa in amman, frequent defect in beirut, my favorite dj is my friend renata who throws those parties, al gharib in australia, there's just so much. i love everyone idk. nightcore4sluts is my fave uk label rn...there's a lot.

What emotions would you say you’re trying to convey through your music?

all of them

You’ve recent released a new EP ‘Blood supernova’  can you take us through the direction you’ve gone with this?

in making blood supernova, i wanted to take the 'aesthetic' i kind of carved out on this other EP, 'fleshworld,' and take it to its logical, obnoxious conclusion. id been emerging from a covid-induced depression & listening to so much old 17th rococo music in tandem with a lot of speed metal and power metal (thru the fire & flames anyone??) and was just like: ok, how can i turn all of these fragments (as ts eliot said...these fragments i have shorn against my ruins!!) into epic club music. so i wrung my fingers to the bone in attempt to do that. im really happy w/ how it turned out.

“in my nightmare attic (basement), usually i'm just giving way to fate and letting the crustaceans tear me apart”

Do you have a method for the way you make your compositions?

sort of. i always start with a melody, which i write my midi keyboard then quantize later in ableton. that melody remains the centerpiece, usually, of the track, then i build up everything else (percussion, fx, etc) around it. usually ill get an idea out of nowhere, so i do that obnoxious manic pixie dream girl shit where i run to the nearest corner and record a melody with my voice into my voice notes and save it for later. that's where all my melodies come from, mostly. i tend to work on things one at a time, so once i begin a track, that's ALL i'm working on til its done.

Talk about yor touurrrrrrrr as you just got back from the USA - best moment and worst moment? ;0

best moment : too many to count. but playing sksksk at elsewhere in brooklyn as support for chelsea manning, yes that chelsea manning, who delivered a sick DJ set wearing adorable cat ears no less, was a stand out for me. what a great party. i wore evangelion cosplay and while i was in the crowd ppl kept coming up to me going ASUKA! and pointing. i loved that. plus, my friend danny aka guido aka deli girls came onstage with me and performed our collab, and so did my friend jacob aka tendryl who did vocals on a track we made together!!! that was sew fun

worst moment : hmmm. there was one show i played that ended up kinda empty. it was such a sick lineup but the promo was lacking, the club had to close early, it wasnt during the weekend. blah blah blah. the lineup was SO sick, too, so its a shame! i air this out bc i want everyone whos a producer/dj reading this to know that everyone has to play to an empty room every once in a while, and its ok, and when u do, you still have to give it your all! actually, this wasn't the worst moment at all, because me and my friend ended up going b2b and we played la bouche and acted silly and annoying

UK TOURS / DATES ??? ;0000

im playing in london on the 27th of october! and maybe the 29th also...;) so keep your eyes peeled.

What is your ‘attics’ physical form?

my attic isn't a place so much as it is a whorl of substance: hurricanes, typhoons, tsunamis. i always have this recurring, weird, psychedelic dream in which im at this quiet house playing, like, board games with my friends, who are sometimes cartoon characters, or shadows, or stacks of marshmallows in a human shape, maybe we're tucked away in the hollywood hills in a turn of the century bungalow that clara bow might have chilled in & powdered her button nose (random, bc it's earthquakes over there, not hurricanes), and then out of nowhere this great wave emerges from the bowels of the ocean and sweeps everything i love & know away, and i get pulled down to the depths of the sea, and i can breathe there, so thats cool, but there i am with all these glowfish and crabs that look like digimon, and they're all kind of tugging at my hair and trying to pop holes in my cheeks, turning me into a girl-sea sponge hybrid. the literal basement of the earth, thats where im at.

What are the thoughts in your attic? / if any
in my nightmare attic (basement), usually i'm just giving way to fate and letting the crustaceans tear me apart. this is what its like to transmogrify, im thinking. this is samsara! if i am to be reincarnated as a sea sponge, so be it. but it's a terrible nightmare, you know, b/c sponges are busy with the business of absorption: they don't get to create, which sucks. in the real world attic *OF MY MIND*, usually im struggling with some dysmorphic feelings. im always paranoid i have a lopsided face or that i look bloated. im watching the dj live stream of me being like nooo, my wrists are huge, no one will book me once they see my thick, anglo saxon housemaid's wrists. actually, this is a very serious struggle for me and i dont like talking about it that much. but im getting better, and music has helped a lot.

How do your more abstract and masked/secret ideas influence your creative processes?

i actually think these abstract/masked ideas are the ones that determine my creative process. when im writing music, i always have this nebulous filmy vision in my mind that i cant quite grasp or describe in words; hashing things out in ableton is my way of getting at that dark spot where language fails.

What/who is hiding under your bed(s)?

the wraith of my old violin teacher.

The year is 2050, you are getting attacked by aliens - what record do you play to them to try form a bond so they do not laser you into space dust?

santeria by sublime.