Artist Interviews & Music · What's on Philadelphia

From New Zealand and coming to Philly: Swallow the Rat

Proving that musical synergy is not restricted by geography, Swallow the Rat is a sonic force to be reckoned with. With band members Sam Vercoe, Brian Purington, Hayden Fritchley, Stephen Horsley and Will Waters hailing from Austin, Texas and Auckland, New Zealand, Swallow the Rat offers a unique mix of NZ post-punk and Texan Psychedelia.

In March of 2019, they performed multiple shows at SXSW in Austin, TX, and a self titled 7″ was released in support of the tour. A string of performances across New Zealand followed, including opening for No Age, Sebadoh and Gang Of Four. March 2020 will find them playing at New Colossus Festival in NYC, SXSW as part of a US tour, and Philly at The Grape Room. I chatted with the band to learn more about their formation (and to give them some Philly dining recs). Play one of their songs on Spotify as you read this post!

Swallow the Rat was formed in New Zealand – how did you all meet? Sam, Hayden and Stephen had all played in various post punk/noise/alt bands in the Auckland scene for a number of years, and had shared stages with each-other. Brian moved over from Austin, TX with his New Zealand wife in 2017, and had met Sam on a previous trip. They began jamming, and the band formed from there. 

How did the name Swallow the Rat come about? 

We needed a name asap and Will Waters (our first bass player) came up with Swallow the Rat. It means “just do it”. Which kind of relates to our DIY ethics. If you think it’s bad, you should have heard the names we rejected. 

Haha for record, I think it’s awesome! Soon you’ll be heading to our City of Brotherly and Sisterly Love to perform at the Grape Room on March 13. Is this your first time performing in Philadelphia? 

Yes! This will be our first time in Philadelphia ever. Please pass on an recommendations for places to eat or people watch. 

I got you guys on food recs for sure! So, who are your musical influences? What art inspires you? 

We’ve all been alive on this Earth for a while so our influences are wide ranging and multidisciplinary. Family, film, food, beer, coffee, DIY music scene in NZ, Flying Nun, Late 70s post-punk, early 90s Touch n Go, David Cronenberg, David Lynch, Austin TX, Bauhaus…. 

Follow the band on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and check them out at The Grape Room on 3/13!

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