New York City is a breeding ground for talented musicians and outstanding bands. If you simply walk outside your apartment and follow your ear, there’s no doubt in my mind you’ll stumble upon a stellar show or even a gifted street performer. This is the reason I live in this city, and this is the reason I’ll never be able to leave. Meeting bands like DeadEye Swagger keeps me grinding each day, and we here at Sound Fix feel lucky to have a platform to support and write about local talent.
What started as a couple conversations at college and a show in Brooklyn has since blossomed into an established group that’s not afraid to get down and dirty with their sound. Nothing detracts my ear more than music that doesn’t even try to be reactionary, and DeadEye Swagger certainly aligns with my tastebuds. Comprised of Andrew Carson (drums), Drew Joia (lead guitar / vocals), Joe Warcholak (lead vocals / rhythm guitar), and Suraj Gopal (bass), this band is one to keep your eye on if you enjoy good music and like to have fun. Ahead of their show tonight at DROM in the Lower East Side, I caught up with Joe to discuss the history of the band, new music, and much more. Tickets here.
Sound Fix: Hey Joe, thanks for taking some time to catch up here ahead of the show. To kick things off, for someone new to DeadEye Swagger how would you describe your sound?
Joe Warcholak: For someone who’s never heard us before I think our sound is what you would get if The White Stripes and Alice in Chains were playing through a wall at each other at a Bushwick practice space. Essentially, we write alternative rock influenced by the 90’s grunge sound and modern blues revival, and we talk about the modern day problems with love, the world, and internal struggles with our lyrics. If you’re a fan of Soundgarden, Kings of Leon, The Kinks, Manchester Orchestra or The Black Keys you’re going to like us. And even with that, we’re still evolving with every song and sharpening our edges to really lay out some stuff that will carve us a place in your Spotify playlist.
JW: Our band was in the works for years. It was a real circumstance and destiny kind of scenario. Carson, our drummer, and I went to college together and met our graduation week. We were introduced by a mutual friend and even then we weren’t sure we would ever actually jam together. Just so happens that in a year we ended up running into each other again and started putting the pieces together. After our first jam Carson introduced me to Drew, our lead guitar/vox, and from the first lick he played I knew he was a good fit. We practiced and played out a few times with a full band but didn’t fully form until I brought in our ringer, Raj, the man on bass. By the time he came in we had solidified our early sound but he brought us to another place sonically that truly made us DeadEye Swagger. When we got together there was never any dick measuring, it was always about what music we loved and how we could brew that into the best sounds for our band.
JW: This gig tonight is going to be amazing. We have always wanted to play DROM and getting the opportunity to headline is like walking into a dream. We’re like puppies on espresso when we get on stage so expect the energy to be through the roof — this shit is just too fun to not be excited about it– and as far as what we’re playing, you can expect that we’ll be playing the stuff you can hear from our first demo (available on Spotify) and new songs that are fresh to the set. I am really looking forward to the reactions our crowd gives us to the new stuff, I feel like there is some new material that will be a nice bridge between our old and evolving writing styles.
JW: As far as new music, there is a lot that we’re working on. We’ve been haunting the studio and plan on releasing an album very soon. No decision on the title yet but we’re thinking about keeping it self-titled. And it’ll be available anywhere that you look for music. We’re really excited about getting the new jams out there too. It feels like we’re pushing our sound to new territory and we’re all just in love with the process of making it. My sincere hope is that people can hear that when you choose to push play.
SF: Looking beyond DROM, what shows or festivals are you most looking forward to?
JW: I am looking forward to Afropunk, The Meadows, and Outside Lands in California. There are a lot of bands there I love and some new ones I’m getting warmed up to. This will be my first concert experience on the west coast and I hear a lot of good things about seeing shows over there. I’m a sucker for any music festival though, I’m there as a fan mostly, but I also just sit in awe of the fact that that could be us one day.
SF: What does the name DeadEye Swagger mean? How did you think of that name?
JW: So the band name is a play on the idea of the way a person carries themselves when they’ve got confidence to burn and a few too many drinks in them. It came to us when we were at practice at our drummer’s house and decided to take a break by going out to shoot a few rounds. We were playing this game where we were trying to snipe a tallboy beer can. We must’ve been out there for 20 minutes and we couldn’t hit this thing no matter how hard we tried, so after a few more effort-filled tries, we decide to go back in and wallow in defeat. But just as we are about to go in Andrew turns as he’s walking, cocks the gun one handed and shoots in a fluid motion without breaking stride and the fucker pings the can perfectly. My first thought was “holy shit, what a deadeye” while someone screamed”swagger!” We looked at each other and smirked — the band was born.
SF: How does the band go about writing new material? Every band does it differently, so what’s the DeadEye Swagger methodology?
JW: So nobody is ever like “the main songwriter” of the band. We come to the table as equals for all music we put out there and so far it led to harmony in the writing process. We all add such nuance to our songs in their final form and without the openness we have as friends we would forfeit all the good we now get from having each other’s backs creatively.
SF: Finally, I like to end each interview with an open forum. Anything else you’d like to share here that we haven’t already covered?
JW: Well thank you again for giving us the forum to do this. I think the only things we want to make sure to get out there are please check us out on Youtube, watch our video from our first single “Cat Got Your Tongue.” Show us some love on the Spotify, add us to your playlists and let your friends know about the tunes you like. And while we’re at it, give some love to the Amatory Murder, Set the Charge, The Yeahtones, Emergence and Andy Prassa. All of those bands minus The Yeahtones and Set the Charge are going to be with us at DROM and they’re all doing some great things with their music. We are happy to have played with some of these guys already and look forward to playing with them for the first time. Keep an ear out for our new album and come see us tonight! If you want more swag connect with us on deadeyeswagger.com.