Raised By Swans on Dreams and Nightmares
London, Ontario's Raised By Swans are poised to release their second full-length, No Ghostless Place, and frontman Eric Howden has been ready for over a decade. Since he left The Gandharvas in 1997, he's been determined to make his own music in his own way. So after forming Raised By Swans, he's feeling pretty good.
Raised By Swans is having their CD release party at the Horseshoe Tavern on Friday, December 11th and so I arranged a quick phoner to chat with him about it.
Did I mention he played in the Gandharvas? It was his role in this band that drew Howden to London.
"Pretty much right after college I actually moved out here to join up with them and really that's the only reason I'm here really. I ended up leaving them to start this band; I was just not that happy in the band. I just realized that I could write songs. I was just dying to have something all of my own."
Howden suffers from nightmares on an alarmingly regular basis. While I can only remember a few in my life, he remembers the violence so vividly that the band's name, Raised By Swans, was actually taken from an unusually pleasant dream he had.
"I sounds corny but I was struggling for one. And then I had this dream -- which was different from the horrific electrocution-filled violent nightmares that I get all the time -- but I had this one beautifully calm dream where I was in a forest. I was small and there were these twenty-foot high swans sleeping around me. In the end, they picked me up and we flew off into the sky. I like everything associated with swans, the symbolism and the mythology and so on, so that was it."
I was a little concerned about his nightmares. The ones I can remember still scare me, so I kept prodding the subject.
"I've pretty much been having them my whole life. There's no real pattern that I can see. I sometimes marvel at the creativity of my own mind when I wake up. I'm like Jesus! I didn't even consider that angle, how could something that horrific enter my head. It's shocking."
I have yet to hear the whole album, but the four songs posted on the MySpace page are hauntingly beautiful. Howdon's vocals can be chilling to the point of teeth chatter.
Surprisingly, the album was almost not finished for Friday's show.
"We almost committed the worst band crime ever, which is arranging the show and not having the album ready -- and it almost wasn't. But it is."
Raised By Swans did not tour for their first album. But for this one, they have something national in the works, and the band is very excited to hit the road.
"It's actually kind of paid off that we didn't get to tour for the first album, because now we actually have some people who might want to see us, which is awesome."
Photo by KennethMoyle of Flickr