Interview: Signs Of The Swarm “We built this bitch in the studio. We were almost done with the record in about a month!”

Deathcore is a genre that can polarize, but done well it can be the most energising of sounds. Luckily there is a breed of deathcore acts continually pushing the envelope in the same way athletes get inspired, through healthy competition. Signs Of The Swarm are one of these acts, continually looking for new ways to evolve their sound. We hooked up with the Pennsylvanian wrecking machine in Leeds on their UK tour to chat over some banging wings and a rare treat, some ice cream with chilli infused sweet sauces!

Settled in at Cult Wing Leeds, we exchange our pleasantries and get right into chatting about their recent epic run through the festivals.

Vocalist David Simonich fills us in on the events of the summer.

“We hit a couple festivals at the beginning of our EU-UK tour. We hit Dynamo, Summer Breeze, Brutal Assault, and Death Fest. Honestly, it was so sick. So many awesome stages. Got to play to so many new fans and fans that have seen us. And honestly, dude, it was just surreal. Summer Breeze, I kind of teared up a little bit, being real about it, you know what I mean? I’ve been dreaming of hitting the EU circuit for quite some time now. So, it’s just like a dream come true moment.”

We ask if the notorious European weather had got in the way, fresh from hearing stories of apocalyptic conditions at the likes of Wacken Festival in Germany.

“Define that because…we experienced your heat waves! Yeah, we had 40 degrees in Italy. Believe it or not, we were blessed with just clear skies and beautiful nights. Like, we didn’t get any really bad weather at all throughout that. It was like, what, like 40 Celsius in Italy that day? It was crazy.”

We remember seeing the weather maps and big red zones.

Michael adds, “It was like we were following it. Yeah, it was really, really fun. We just sat in our green room after our set in Milan and we just kind of, in silence, just. We just sat there, it was so cool.”

We turn our attention to their incredible drummer Bobby Crow as he’s recently posted some awesome drum play through videos on YouTube that really need to be seen! But before that, just to clear up something, are the band uncomfortable with the term Deathcore?

“No, some bands are like, no, we’re Death Metal. But no. We just make music.”

That’s that cleared up, back to the videos, the drumming is ridiculously fast and technical! I refer him to a particular kick drum roll at the end of the title track of their latest album ‘Amongst The Low And Empty’.

“The haters had to be silent.” says Michael, Bobby sighs, “I know what it’s like, I know what metal kids are like. No, no, no one’s that good.”

“It’s like, well, some people are.” backs up Michael, “It’s all quantized.” Bobby mimics, before once again Michael has his back “Tell them, its 2023 and your favourite drummer uses triggers.”

The competitive streak is alive and well, we ask David if this also exists with vocalists since the likes of Will Ramos continues to contort and push the boundaries of what you can do with your voice.

“Honestly dude i just keep trying to do my own thing you know what i mean and i just try to write about stuff that i like to talk about me to get off my chest, you know what I mean? The vocal techniques and stuff, like, it’s really just like, how far can I push myself? Yeah, there’s healthy competition, like, fuck, Boney’s getting real good, fuck, I gotta kick my game up a little bit! Yeah, it’s just healthy friendships, you know what I mean? At least the way I see it. But, I just like pushing myself as far as I can go because I would have never thought that I could push my voice to the new levels that I got with this record. A lot of help with that came from working with Dave Bernice from Extreme Vocal Institute and Josh Schroeder, our producer. They both pushed me to become a way better vocalist and artist as a whole.”

We probe further into the production on this record as it is obscenely good,

David continues,

“We had a great team of everyone, Josh being the head captain then we had Josh Travis adding some additional stuff and then we had Cameron Loesch adding in and it was just like having a great team supporting just our organic ideas Bobby created and then like how it all got brought together it just made it flawless.“

We ask about pre-production and preparation, was there much of that done?

“Well actually we didn’t do a lot of work before we got there.” Bobby states, David agrees “We built this bitch in the studio. We were almost done with the record in about a month!”

We turn our attention to the live show and ask if the band are all using the MIDI click and in-ear systems on stage as is becoming the norm these days? Bobby leads,

“I’ve been doing it my whole life, but for these guys I think it might have been a bit of a change.”

David agrees, “The adjustment for me dude is like the wire yeah you know, yeah it’s like dude I’m too damn tall so like literally always yanking them out of my fucking head!”

We ask if they have gone the whole hog and have their lighting to click too, another way to keep everything in time.

“Yeah, that’s all time coded, it’s all self-contained.” says Michael with Bobby adding, “it’s still a pain in the ass, but it saves us a lot of trouble.” David offers the point,” It cuts out a body inside the van too, just because we are kind of limited on the amount of people we can carry inside our liner. That’s one person that’s less paid. You know, like, well, it’s almost the same amount. I mean, like, the rental, the getting the programming, his time that’s being spent. There’s like a lot that goes into it, which would equal out almost as paying the LD. It’s just kind of more of the complication of having the extra body yeah it’s like ideally like I wish we could have an LD that’s synchronising the actual stage stuff with the appropriate shit you know what I mean because they know it’s coming instead of having the house people just have fun with it. ”

This leads us onto the fact that stage production is something that death metal bands are thinking about more and more since death metal in particular is hitting more people and bigger stages.

“Yeah it is pretty crazy.” exclaims Michael, “But, when one Deathcore band blows up, we all know who we’re talking about right? Absolutely all of deathcore rises with that tide because you have all of these people on TikTok who are being introduced to Deathcore cause of Lorna Shore going viral and they’re going to start exploring that and they end up on bands like Suicide Silence, Parkway Drive, Signs Of The Swarm, Mental Cruelty, Crown Magnetar it goes on and on. So everyone is coming up on this right now as a result. Shows are selling tickets. merch is selling, and I’m calling it a renaissance!”

We totally agree! The same week we’re interviewing Signs Of The Swarm, Trivium are in town which reminds us that Matt Heafy guests on the band’s latest album, how did that come about?

“We just asked nicely!” laughs Michael as Bobby takes up the story, “Well, he actually reached out to us about wanting to do something together? Basically it came down to just like would you be interested in doing this? And he was just like, absolutely. That was kind of it.”

Well, he’s well known for having more extreme tastes than like what he plays in Trivium.

“We just kind of sent him a bunch of like a song and he said, ”I really like this, I think I have the vibe you’re going for.” and he recorded pretty much the whole song and we took the parts we really liked”

We’re excited that our friends Harbinger are supporting you on this tour.

David agrees “They fucking rip yeah, they’re definitely growing a lot, and I think its Dylan finding his footing.”  “Yeah, I mean Joel as well.” adds Bobby, “We toured with them last year. Yeah, they seem to be much more comfortable. So shout out to them definitely, we asked for them on this tour because we like hanging out with them so much.”

We turn our attention to the band’s 2024 plans and get surprise news from David,

“Right after this tour, I am flying to Greece and I’m getting married. “

And then Bobby pipes up, “And then following that I’m getting married as well actually!”

Congratulations all round and we declare this a pre-wedding supper now!

Back to business though,

“And then we’re immediately going back on the tour. We’re literally hitting the Necromanteum tour. Carnifex, Signs Of The Swarm, To The Grave, Last 10 Seconds Of Life, that’s a fucking ripper dude. I’m really excited about that, and then we’re going to come back. Yeah, we’re already booked out through, I don’t know at least spring of 2024. We’ve got plans moving forward pretty much at all times.”

Before we go there’s the small matter of some ice cream sauces to check out, made by Chilli Alchemist and supplied by Chilli Shop Leeds. We don’t have sweet spicy treats with us often so this is a nice change! We get stuck into the Salted Caramel, ”Blaze” sauce and the Chilli Chocolate ”Scorch” sauce.

“It’s a chili salted caramel. I mean, I’m a big caramel guy. Wow, that’s a good caramel!”

It certainly is Bobby! The chocolate is divine too, both of these come highly recommended!

We ask the band if any of the guys consider themselves foodies?

“All of us dude, we cook like crazy. We’re big cooks, yeah” Bobby enthuses.

So we ask the test question, if they were trying to impress with a dish what would it be?

Carl points to Bobby “What have I done? Oh yeah, I make some really crazy beef stroganoff. I make ham and meatballs.” whilst David tells us, “There’s a good handful of different things I can make, like a mean shepherd’s pie.”

Everyone warms to the topic now with Carl adding “Yeah, when I’m at home, I’ll randomly cook the most stupid things. I always end up tasting good, but one thing that I always make the same way every time is chicken francese, a nice lemon chicken Italian dish it’s the best ever.”

“My great grandmother passed down a recipe for eggplant parmesan. “Adds Michael, family recipes are always the best!

Yes indeed Signs Of The Swarm all cook and love their food, perfect guests for us!

And with that, the band must finish their dessert, thank us for the hospitality and return to the Key Club round the corner for a night of cutting edge extreme metal.

We reflect on something we’ve noticed a lot, the heavier the band, the lovelier they are!

Strange that….

Interview & Images By George Miller –

Main Band Promo Image: Andre Giovanni