Star Scene: Adam Franklin


Adam Franklin’s scene involves full on immersion, whether in music, the cinema or in the water. The singer-songwriter of 90s shoegaze indie group, Swervedriver, states: “My scene is cinema and swimming. I like going to the movies and watching a movie and then coming out and feeling like you’re in that movie. I watched High-Rise recently – that movie with Thomas William Hiddleston in it, directed by Ben Wheatley, from the James Ballard novel. I love being in a dark room. And also I like go for a swim or so and I just bought these underwater headphones so now it’s up to the ante. So now I can listen to music and swim underwater.”

Swervedriver, the band and the sound, was created with ease. Franklin states: “It wasn’t thought out, we kind of fell into it, and around that time we drove around to pubs or parties or gigs and listened to music, cassettes, in cars. And that influenced the name of the band, Swervedriver and the sound, and then there were all these songs about driving. Escapism … there are songs about driving; songs didn’t explicitly mention driving in the desert, the song titles and lyrics mixed with the imagery; the imagery being shots of desert and American cars. It’s funny that that was our initial calling, and 25 years later I think back and think it was cool to have that kind of vision, in a way, and people latched onto it.”

Creation Records, who signed Swervedriver in 1989, may have foreseen this vision. Franklin states: “There were other labels who were interested but we went with Creation Records. People were interested in that label, with every release, and in the letters part in the back of NME, it was always: ‘Who is this new band that Creation has signed?’ and people were listening.” Franklin continues: “I remember, in the back in the NME they’d write about how people were always stage diving at our shows but then it became funny when we were playing larger stages, where stages are elevated higher, and then it became crazy. [pullquote]It was like a fun fair ride: people were lining up, queuing up, on the side of the stage to jump off and the bouncers were there saying, ‘Okay, wait a minute’ and ‘Okay, you can go now’.[/pullquote] It was kind of a routine thing. It’s strange looking back on it now. And our guitar techs, Gaz and Darren, had to leave the guitars for awhile and go and shove people off. At the back of NME there was always complaints about stage divers and it was always at a Swervedriver show, it was like: ‘I was at a Swervedriver gig last week and I must say I got a face full of Dr Marten boots…’ It was like a sort of side show to the music, and it was just something that went on and we took for granted and when we went to Brazil and Chile recently, it brought us back to 1991 with people were crowd surfing again. It was great. If it’s the right situation, it’s great, but once someone starts being an asshole, the fun stops.”

The ease in which the origin of the band and their sound fell in to place, is just how the new album, I Wasn’t Born To Lose You, occurred. Franklin explains: “We got back together some time ago, we didn’t have any intention of recording new material for all that time. We got asked to play in Australia and England. We hadn’t really thought about it. I was doing records myself anyway so for me I didn’t want to scratch that itch as it were.” Franklin elaborates: “The time seemed right and when we did make a decision 2013 and 2014 we were writing and recording in. Actually we recorded half the album in Melbourne after we did the shows down there. Not only was it cool to be playing during a bunch of dates, which was probably good for the recording, Lindsay the manager of Birdland, was great, and it sort of just fell into place. We didn’t really think about it, we had done our groundwork before hand. It was more exciting to do it that way.”

The new album, released in 2015, Swervedriver’s first since 1998, has received critical acclaim. Not only does it explore new ideas, it keeps the signature Swervedriver sound. Franklin states: “[pullquote]I’d like to think it’s timeless music, you can’t alter it that much really. You can change it around a bit and change some of the elements but not that much. With Swervedriver it has been constant, I suppose, with the guitars and the vocals. [/pullquote]It has influences, which weren’t around when we recorded in the early 90s. Everyone carries on listening to music and getting excited about things. So if we wanted to go back to do Swervedriver, we had to go back to the source. So we listened back to the stuff we were listening to back then.” Influenced initially by his parents’ music, Franklin was brought up on early Beatles’ albums and then glam rock, such as T-Rex, The Sweet, Slade, and whatever was “happening in England in the 70s”. Then punk rock happened which, Franklin states: “Influenced myself and Jimmy’s guitar playing”. Franklin continues: “By the time we got the band together the influences were more contemporary like the Stooges, MC5, Sonic Youth, Husker Du, Dinosaur Jr. Guitar rock around that time became slightly more exploratory, there were Spacemen 3, Cocteau Twins, My Bloody Valentine. It was an exciting time for bands, they were doing things that sounded new rather than a retread.” This music, revisited, reflects in the new release. Franklin acknowledges: “Also because we’d been playing Raise in its entirety, live, the day before we recorded half the songs, that kind of rubbed off in a way. I don’t think it sounds that similar but certainly more than the others.”

However, even with all the others, “always mostly the music comes first.” Franklin explains his music writing process: “If you write the lyrics first you have to kind of set the music to the words. I write things down on my phone; it’s kind of like an endless stream of words, and I sort of go through those and I go ‘oh yeah that could be the start of this song’. And you sort of see where it goes from there really without thinking about it too much and then later on you kind of listen to it and you then realise that things are connected. I don’t know, it’s weird, you find that things are connected in there.”

Definitely there were moments of synchronicity with some of the songs on I Wasn’t Born To Lose You. Franklin explains about interesting connections: “A chain of events, with a recording of sound check in the US in 1998, I had a listen back and there were some really good with spec there so we had the producer of their album to digitise them for us and I listen through and I found this melody that I’m playing in between became the intro riff to the song Lone Star. That song came out because of a spontaneous once of a kind of moment during sound check in the US would’ve been a moment that would have drifted off otherwise but because it’s been recorded we could collect it a few years later. When we did that song, we were trying to work out how to end it, Steve had an idea and sent it to me and I said ‘This is amazing what is it?’ and he said ‘It’s basically just that part of the song reversed’. And I said, ‘Shit, this doesn’t have to be the end of this song, this can be a new song altogether.’ So we changed the key one fret on the guitar and it became Everso. So Everso was the song that came out from the backward version of a song that came out of a little melody in 1998. Experiment a bit and you never know where you could go.”

Catch SWERVEDRIVER on their Australian Tour.

SELECT TOURING PRESENTS SWERVEDRIVER “I Wasn’t Born To Lose You” Australia Tour June 2016

Wednesday 22nd June 2016 The Triffid,  Brisbane QLD

w/ Ultra Material and Kellie Lloyd (Screamfeeder)


Thursday 23rd June 2016 Corner Hotel,  Melbourne VIC

w/ Grinding Eyes and EXEK


Friday 24th June 2016 Cambridge Hotel,  Newcastle NSW

w/ East Coast Low and Holy Soul


Saturday 25th June 2016 The Factory Theatre,  Sydney NSW

w/ Sounds Like Sunset, Grinding Eyes and Holy Soul


Tuesday 28th June 2016  Amplifier Bar,  Perth WA

w/ Childsaint and Dream Rimmy


About Mary Boukouvalas 1576 Articles
Mary is a photographer and a writer, specialising in music. She runs where she endeavours to capture the passion of music in her photos whether it's live music photography, promotional band photos or portraits. She has photographed The Rolling Stones, KISS, Iggy Pop, AC/DC, Patti Smith, Joe Strummer, PULP, The Cult, The Damned, The Cure, Ian Brown, Interpol, MUDHONEY, The MELVINS, The Living End, Foo Fighters, Smashing Pumpkins, Rage Against The Machine, The Stone Roses –just to name a few - in Australia, USA, Europe and the Middle East. Her work has been published in Beat magazine, Rolling Stone magazine, Triple J magazine, The Age Newspaper, The Herald Sun, The Australian, Neos Kosmos,,,, She has a permanent photographic exhibition at The Corner Hotel in Richmond, Victoria Australia.