Sydney bedroom producer Tim Derricourt (Dappled Cities) has been writing and releasing music under his solo muse, Swimwear since his debut EP of 2012. Featuring the head-turning single ‘Easy High’, The Kissing Machine catalysed the first of three Swimwear EPs with follow ups, Low Summer and High Summer building upon Derricourt’s distinct low-fi sound and instantaneous impact both at home and abroad. Four years on and Swimwear is back, recently announcing the imminent arrival of his debut long play Night Air and releasing the first of four “chapters” to be lifted from it, kicking off with his new single ‘Happyness’.
Hey Tim thanks for taking the time to chat with us today! Can you give our readers a brief introduction to your solo project Swimwear? How and when did this project come about?
The idea started a long time ago (sometime around 2012) when I was touring through the US with Dappled Cities. After all that time on the road, lugging gear around with 5-8 people, I decided I wanted to have a side project that was just me and a guitar – but I still wanted it to be wild and fun and not acoustic. I had been listening to stuff by Washed Out and Small Black and, when I saw those bands at SXSW festival in Texas, I was sold – when we got home after a long time going back and forth between the US, UK and Oz, I finally knuckled down and put out my first EP. Now, a long while on, I am releasing my debut full length. Good things take time!
How would you describe your sound to someone who’s never heard your music before, can you liken it to any other artists?
I guess it is a blend of my desire for beautiful, cinematic and minimalist production with a lyrical directness that maybe links back to my love of Bowie or Damon Albarn. I adore bands that sing with passion but keep a low level of intensity in their production. Bands like Beach House, The Blue Nile or Majical Cloudz are huge influences, but on a broader scale you might liken it to Damon Albarn’s solo work or a bunch of Kate Bush B-sides.
Who would you say are your biggest influences, musically or otherwise?
I have always been inspired by great and demanding lyrical writers like Glen Richards of Augie March or even James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem. But musically, I want to create a moody and richly cinematic world of production, so the albums of Beach House, Air, Alice Coltrane are my go-to’s for great music and inspiration.
Your new single ‘Happyness’ is the first in a series of “Chapters” to be released from your forthcoming debut record, and concept album Night Air. Can you tell us a bit about this song, how it came to be, what it’s all about?
It all started as a songwriting experiment that blossomed out into an obsession. I was immersed in Revolutionary Road, beautiful and quite well known 1962 novel by Richard Yates. I wrote a song from the perspective of April, this character struggling within the social and gender expectations of her time. And the song just leapt out of me. So I wrote Frank’s (her husband) response. And it just took off. I took liberties with the plot and the album doesn’t follow the actual plot of the book (too grim for me!), but I found myself immersed in this world of late 50’s, early 60’s suburban discontent and dreams of a wild world beyond – and eventually I had 40 songs!
And can you give us a glimpse into some of your proudest moments on the album itself?
Title track, Night Air, is a life highlight for me. It is just so peaceful but filled with pain. The first time it came back from (mixer) Luke Bertoz, I almost cried – I was listening to it, somewhere around midnight in summer, with a cool breeze blowing through the windows – it’s not often you love your own music but this one I can listen to almost like a fan. I also love It Must Be Love. The most lyrically direct song I have ever written I reckon but something about it just worked for me.
The LP is slated for release a little later in the year and is a slight deviation from your previous three EPs whilst still sticking to that lo-fi dreamy bedroom sound. What inspired you to branch out and decide to create a concept album for your debut long play?
It certainly is a shift. I always wanted Swimwear to be this wild fun dance thing – I imagined myself doing solo shows in Ibiza or clubs and just having a laugh. But then, when it came to writing new music, I had to go with what came to me, and I was just in a more reflective space. With the world in a state of total social and political despair, given the disastrous nature of our global leadership in the face of global crises that will determine the very foundations of life on earth, I just couldn’t smash out a lightweight thing about good times.
You’re an active member of beloved Sydney outfit Dappled Cities, who have performed multiple headline shows across the country plus Festivals such as Vivid Sydney and more. What’s it been like releasing your own music in such a weird time when you can’t perform live?
I adore performing live. So it isn’t easy. But I will just have to work out ways to connect to people in different ways. And when the time comes, watch out!
Do you have any plans for an upcoming virtual performance or live stream to try and remedy this?
For sure. Keep an eye on my facebook/instagram for some things coming along. In the meantime, I think I better just record some things into my phone camera and put them up – I need to sing these songs to people!
And finally, what’s next for Swimwear? Can you give us a cheeky first idea of what Chapter 2 of Night Air might behold?
The first chapter is all about a night out, the promise of wildness, of life, or joy. Chapter 2 is called Funny Bones and is where our couple meet and there is that first spark – alone, in the corner of the room, where it is like everyone in the world has disappeared and everything lies in each other. Can’t wait!