Cold Water Swimmers
From Manchester, a folksy trio that are pursuing a decidedly indie ethos and beginning to make their presence known away from their usual haunts. Jon Gordon caught up with Cold Water Swimmer’s Chris Bridgett to find out more :
How did Cold Water Swimmers form? Was there a plan or did it just happen?
Carrie and Selina had a duo called Tuareg and I saw them play a wonderfully chaotic show at The Castle in Manchester back in Feb 2017 I thought they were ace, loads of fun and spirit which I loved. I invited them to play a show with my then band The G-O-D at the Dublin Castle, Camden the night before we opened for The Stone Roses at Wembley Stadium, after that show I told Carrie that I loved their band but they had something missing and that thing was me!
The G-O-D finished 3 months after that show. Roll onto January 2018 I’d spent the previous months writing I asked Carrie and Selina if they fancied giving us 3 a go and they said yes. The first rehearsal was on Jan 24th 2018. I’ll always remember that because at the end of the rehearsal Carrie got a call saying Mark E Smith had died, Carrie was married to original Fall drummer Karl Burns so is kind of in that circle, albeit it a massive one, of people associated with The Fall in Manchester.
Was there a plan? With me there is always a plan, whether it works or not I always have an idea and a plan.
I understand you were involved with other bands before Cold Water Swimmers …
I have been involved with music and bands all of my life it’s what I do. I did retire from playing music in 1998 when my then band Rude Club finished after being dumped and washed out by the major label machine. Left isolated, addicted to class As and struggling with my mental health I stayed away from playing music, not touching a guitar and writing until 2014 when my oldest band Dub Sex got back together briefly for a string of shows and festival dates. That opened up the box for me and I started writing again putting The G-O-D together with my old pal Simon Wolstencroft ( The Fall, The Smiths etc), that was in 2015 and as I say that finished September 2017. The band didn’t work for me. I remember standing on stage at Wembley thinking that I didn’t like the band we’d become with backing singers, keyboards and funky bass, it was absolutely not what I had set off to create. I’d just let it form and Simon picked most of the band members so that’s how I ended up with a band that just didn’t feel right for me by then.
In the long run everything I do I guess is a continuation of my journey but Cold Water Swimmers was and is a totally separate thing from previous creations. Carrie and Selina are incredible women, both have overcome and continue to overcome things that would send most of us under, abuse physical and sexual, being single mothers, Selina’s partner died 4 months before starting this band, she was left widowed with 3 small boys to bring up on her own and still she delivers. They are incredible and I want everyone to know that. I always say you think that you’re rock n roll until you meet and understand Carrie and Selina’s story but you’re not. People have no idea what it takes and for that I respect them more than anyone I have stood on stage with.
If I read it correctly your first gig was in an art gallery. Is this something you continue with?
Cold Water Swimmers first played at a exhibition in a coffee shop / gallery that was in May 2018 4 months after getting together. It’s not a Velvets /Warhol plan to be a group of arty bastards, far from it, like most things it was just .. “do you fancy doing this…” and I said yes why not.
About the current Manchester scene, what do you think is worth knowing about, eg : other bands, venues, anything else?
The current underground scene in Manchester is as healthy as I’ve ever known but it’s also the toughest it has ever been, to make things work is almost impossible. The opportunity for gigs and radio especially are so limited and held in the hands of so few it’s killing bands before they have a chance to blossom, that was never the case in the past. There is no label scene to speak of, there are a number of hobby labels but nothing I’d call a real music industry that taps into any kind of real income. The digital revolution has seen a massive rise in big-time charlie bloggers, small-time promoters and “industry experts” who’ve never been in a fucking band the place is dripping with them and everybody is scared to say boo in case it upsets someone in some ways it’s a fucking mess, a beautiful mess but still a mess!!
It’s D. I. Y. or DIE out there that’s why we called our label that. Without that attitude, you may as well give up. There are some great bands but still, the long arm of Oasis Manc stereotype lad bands with no unique voice proliferate. For the real underground in the band world, look to The Peer Hat; the bands that play, rehearse and drink there.
What are you going to do next?
We have just finished the follow up to Be My Sunshine which is called Breaking Hearts and I’m really happy with it, I think like Be My Sunshine it will surprise a few people and open us up to more people. I’m a bit bored with distorted angry songs at the minute, and every new band wanting to sound like Idles or now Fontaines DC . We’ve gone off in a totally different tangent and I’m excited about that.
Look out for our debut vinyl in the Autumn and our debut album in the Spring of 2021 ( if we sell enough t-shirts!! )
Follow this link to hear Cold Water Swimmers on Spotify :