Hailing from New Zealand, Swamp Thing’s energetic live performances are re-known for inspiring concert goers to dance and have fun while showcasing a wealth of musical experience and engaging their audience at all times. Playing every show like it is their last, Swamp Thing makes a sound that reaches far back into the musical DNA of roots music, and it’s a sound they’ll be bringing to the Bendigo Blues and Roots Music Festival this November.
We chat to one half of the duo, Michael Barker, ahead of his visit to Bendigo.
Congrats on your upcoming slot at Bendigo Blues and Roots Music Festival! Are you looking forward to anything in particular?
Well, we’re just looking forward to playing and seeing some bands, and exploring Bendigo. I think we’re doing maybe, two, maybe even three, shows there. So, we’ll be able to change it up a bit. I play drums and sing and then, there’s a guy called, Brett Adams, who plays guitar and sings, and we really like jamming with people, so we’ll, hopefully we might meet some new friends. I like to invite people up to jam. It’s one of the fun things about festivals – there’s lots of musos to get a round in.
Are you going to be pulling songs from your three albums, or have you got some new things planned?
Yep, we’ve got a whole bunch of new songs planned. I’m constantly writing and jamming. It’s always really good to be able to do a bit of jamming. I just try to have fun; I usually find that’s the best way to go when we’re playing live. That’s usually the times that you look back on and you go, “Yeah, I really liked that because I had fun.”
Tell us a bit about your genre, Swamp pop.
Well, you know, if you think of like White Stripes and The Black Keys, they’re the two most popular Swamp pop bands. So, it’s loose, roots music, but in a more danceable, poppy way. It’s kind of a bit more energetic, bit bluesy and it’s quite wide. If you say you’re a Blues band, then people, kind of, sometimes, they probably get the wrong impression.
When you come to Australia, are you going to be staying for a while on either side of the festival?
Yeah, I’m going to stay for a while. My wife is studying art at RMIT in Melbourne, her home town, and my second home town. She’s having her second life as an artist and I’ve got a son in Melbourne as well, he’s a Tennis coach. So I’m looking forward to having some family time!
What can people expect from your upcoming performances?
They can expect to dance – so bring some well worn in shoes or get their calluses on your feet! I always feel like I’ve done a good job when people dance. I don’t know what it is, I feel happy when I’m playing my drums and people are dancing. I just go, ‘Yep, this is a happy place’. That’s what I consider a good day at work. It’s a good energy. A lot of energy, boogies, grooving, people dancing and having fun.
Catch them at the festival this November.