Premiere: Get SWOLL in the Bright Darkness & Disconnect of “You’ve Gone Away”

Swoll - Swoll
SWOLL’s dark and catchy new song “You’ve Gone Away” puts modern relationships and connection into perspective through a dynamic blend of infectious psych rock sound.
For fans of: Arcade Fire, MGMT, Passion Pit

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Social media is as sinister as it is incredible. You can feel “connected” to others without having a real connection at all, thanks to the miracle of platforms like Facebook and Instagram. There’s something deeply troubling about that concept, but there’s also humor in it. If we can’t laugh at ourselves, then what good is living? SWOLL’s dark and catchy new song “You’ve Gone Away” puts modern relationships and connection into perspective through a dynamic blend of infectious psych rock sound.

I’m takin my life in day to day
I stayed in bed all yesterday
I’ll give you a call when the time is right
A point to what I dream tonight
Listen: “You’ve Gone Away” – SWOLL


Atwood Magazine is proud to be premiering “You’ve Gone Away,” the second single off SWOLL’s upcoming self-titled debut album (out 3/9/2018 via Blight Records). The musical project of Matt Dowling, bassist of various DC bands over the last decade (Deleted Scenes, the EFFECTS, Paperhaus, Joy Buttons), SWOLL takes the shortening for swollen and reappropriates it to reflect the saturation this current cultural moment: “We’re swoll with e-mail, we’re swollwith social media, we’re swoll with real news, we’re swoll with fake news, we’re swoll with TV, we’re swoll with music, we’re swoll with dating websites,” the artist explains.

Swoll - Swoll

SWOLL – SWOLL

Blending electronic, trap, rock and pop elements, SWOLL’s music is an exploration of our modern space, and no better is that represented than on “You’ve Gone Away,” a lilting song with haunting undertones that explores relationships in the age of constant connectivity. SWOLL’s bright darkness sweeps us off our feet with vast melodies and big vocal harmonies. He proclaims in the chorus:

When they would see us all in
They’d call “What do you do?”
You’d tell them “Well, I’m crawlin’
But ballin’ with the truth”

Can we have our cake and eat it too? With so much content hitting us every day and all at once, it’s only natural that we should want things to move fast in other areas of our lives as well. But intimacy doesn’t move fast – it’s a slow-cooker, one of the few things that requires time and constant attentive care to blossom. You often hear folks talking about how broken social media has made us, with lightning-fast connectivity allowing us to engulf ourselves in endless amounts of content. We’ve been programmed to continuously swipe; to believe that the next thing is even better than the last.

Everyone wants to be in a relationship, but no one wants to put in the work to make it last. We hear SWOLL reflect this in his lyrics, lamenting a lost love, but wrestling with the fact that they are still a “part” of each other’s lives thanks to connections through social media and the like. In that way, there’s always the dim glimmer of a future possibility – even if it’s utterly fake.

Things tend to fade
When the moonlight frays
You’d tell yourself most anything
What can I say?
You’ve gone away
You’ve moved into another state
When they would see us all in
They’d call “What do you do?”
You’d tell them “Well, I’m crawlin’
But ballin’ with the truth”

It’s a very catchy chorus line, but the lyrics, I’m crawlin, but ballin with the truth, speak to the wool being pulled over your eyes; the inability to indulge in our overconnected world.

SWOLL © 2018

SWOLL © 2018

“People are more mobile today than ever, and an ability to travel far and fast at the drop of a hat creates an interesting tension for any modern relationship, be it romantic, artistic, professional, etc,” Matt Dowling says. “I tend to believe that most everyone has one foot, or maybe one toe, out of the door on one or all of their relationships, and that figurative appendage pointed elsewhere creates a weird leverage. It’s simply an inherent human tendency to wonder/wander, which is a beautiful thing, but when the wonder/wander becomes very tangible, it really does create leverage. That leverage tends to overdrive analysis of these relationships, often creating cracks that grow slowly, and eventually causes a full-on collapse; we’ve all been there.”

“But sometimes someone just goes away, straight up, and then the conversation stops, because the tension is gone. Or at least it should be. “You’ve Gone Away” is about situations where, even after one party moves away for good, modern technology miraculously provides a basis to believe that a pinky toe MAY still be in the door, kinda forever. Social media, in particular, is the perfect parallel universe to house this kind of dynamic. It’s comical in that it’s a lot like an open phone line connecting two people, but yet they never really say anything; just sitting there, phone to ear, for all time, while doing other stuff. “You’ve Gone Away” is the most lighthearted track on the record because it’s an attempt to poke fun at this tension that we all experience at least to some degree every day.”

I’m killin’ time
In your eyes
I’m killin’ time
Everyone wants things to happen fast
But happenin’ fast just cannot last
If I’m wrong about this
Then my life is wrong
My soul is a Limp Bizkit song

The fact that “You’ve Gone Away” counts as a lighthearted track speaks to SWOLL’s proclivity toward darker sounds, and it’s true: The concept of being SWOLL has both pros and cons, but we are most certainly lonelier and more disconnected from reality than ever before. We feel the veil dissipate in the song’s final verse, the narrator coming to terms with his dour situation:

When they would see us all in
They’d call “What do you do?”
You’d tell them “Well, I’m fallin’
I don’t know what to do”

Eventually, you have to wake up. The sad thing is, some of us don’t; we’d rather live in the dream, than work to make our situations better. You can lose yourself in a fake reality, and pretend everything’s fine for the rest of your life; or, you can take SWOLL’s hint and plug into the real world for a change. Stream “You’ve Gone Away,” exclusively on Atwood Magazine; SWOLL’s self-titled debut album is out March 9, 2018 via Blight Records.

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Mitch is the Editor-in-Chief of Atwood Magazine and a 2014 graduate from Tufts University, where he pursued his passions of music and psychology. He currently works at Universal Music Group in New York City. In his off hours, Mitch may be found songwriting, wandering about one of New York's many neighborhoods, or writing an article on your next favorite artist for Atwood. Mitch's words of wisdom to fellow musicians and music lovers are thus: Keep your eyes open and never stop exploring. No matter where you go, what you do or who you are with, you can always learn something new and inspire something amazing. Say hi here: mitch[at]atwoodmagazine[dot]com