Main Stage 12:35 pm
Within the opening bars of SWMRS second LP comes a sea change. You think you’re in familiar rock territory with the Oakland-formed quartet when suddenly an electronic beat kicks in that throws you for a loop. The same thing happens throughout the ten tracks that make up Berkeley’s On Fire – the band’s most urgent, electrifying and groundbreaking record to date. “We always talk about how to make something brand new within the genre of rock,” says co-frontman and songwriter Cole Becker. Cole and bandmates Max Becker (guitar, vocals), Joey Armstrong (drums), and Seb Mueller (bass) spent months deconstructing themselves, their favorite records, and their own process to make this album. From the scraps of what they left behind, a new sound emerged.
In Spring of 2018, the band drove south to Los Angeles to work with envelope-pushing producer Rich Costey (MUSE, Death Cab for Cutie) for an exercise in grand experimentation. Inspired in equal parts by the Breeders, Rage Against The Machine, and De La Soul, the sonic diversity of the album is indicative of a generation reared on streaming services. SWMRS make music the way they consume it, flitting easily from poprock to breakbeat-infused rock to emo punk, and jangly power pop. Hyper-aware of the platform they have, SWMRS make music that documents their own feelings as well as the fears and hopes of their generation. Using their shows to empower their fans to love themselves and protect their peers, the band strives to contribute everything they can to the new progressive world emerging from the ashes of the old one. Berkeley’s On Fire follows the band’s debut 2016 Drive North, which they self-released via their own Uncool Records before signing with Fueled By Ramen after a slew of critical praise (Rolling Stone, Noisey, Nylon, Billboard) and international headline tours.