10 Questions with | Romain Swan
Romain Swan is a singer and guitarist, author, composer, performer, discovers music at the age of 14 by learning to play the guitar, an instrument he will never leave. Cradled by the rock and metal of the 80s/90s, it is finally in the pop/rock style that he will evolve by releasing his first album "All These Things" in 2019 produced by the independent label Hit The Tone Records. After having been supported by Michel Drucker and Gérald Dahan and having played in many Parisian halls, Romain Swan will sign his first publishing contract with Ducosphere, another independent label which has notably produced Bonnie Tyler, Les Forbans, Génération Boys Band, Charles Dumont, Whities, Disco Bitch, etc. National newspapers such as the Écho Républicain and Paris Match will honor the artist on the occasion of the release of his single "Au Singulier", title taken from his EP "Singulier" released on all streaming platforms. on February 4, 2022 and acclaimed by many radio stations including Virgin Radio, Villages FM and Centers Leclerc radio (3.7 million listeners/week). At the end of 2022, the New York agency Beyond Management joined Romain Swan's team as part of the programming and promotion of his concerts. On March 24th, Romain Swan release the opening song for his 2nd album as a single. This is a collaboration with one of Romain's idols Samer Elnahhal (Ex Lordi - Eurovision 2006 Winners - Finland). Romain was a huge fan of this band and Samer had always been his favourite musician and character within this heavy metal monster band. Indie Boulevard managed to connect with Eomain Swan, and find out more about the Swan’s creative path, how did he meet Samer Elnahhal, new single 'Call Me The Devil' and much more.
IB: Hello Romain! Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with us. Let's talk first about your musical career. How did your musical path begin and what events in your life influenced your decision to dedicate your life to music?
ROMAIN: Hello there, thanks a lot for having me today, it’s a pleasure to talk with you guys. Well, as a 28 years old French dude, my musical path started at my 14th birthday when I tryed to play my first notes on a very old classic guitar upstairs at my grand parents house. Few monthes later, my parents bought me my very first electric guitar, a metal one with an agressive look. Then, I decided to start a metal band with friends to try to be like the band I loved (and I still love) the most and which was giving me the need to play the guitar : Metallica. We did some kind of songs, but we were youg and it wasn’t so easy to work together and this adventure came to the end before 2 years practicing. At this time, I decided to make music alone until I saw in a live gig the singer Murray Head who gave me the envy to try something more folk/blues. That was the beggining of my pop rock style. I was doing my first steps in studio around 2015 and my debut album «All These Things » arrived in 2019 after the release of a little EP to take the temperature and to see if what I was doing could exist for the audience. My whole life seems to be a mysterical musical travel because I’m always hearing some melodies or crazy guitar riff, sometimes when I’m driving my car or riding my motorcycle on the highway. Also, I’ve a side activity : I’m a director and film maker, I have my own audiovisual company called « By The Eye Prod » and it’s also a superb opportunity to me to create movies with some original musics on to increase the emotion on screen.
IB: On March 24, your new single "Call Me The Devil" from your second album will be released. The song sounds very, I would say, brash and dirty, a real rock song. Tell us about the new single? Do you play a guitar solo yourself?
ROMAIN: Yeah, you’re right. In fact, « Call Me The Devil » is a symphonic rock/metal song (back to my first music love story) which is talking about the things I hate the most and are unfortunately well present in our society : harassment and injustice. I wanted to talk about a kind of new Purgatory where The Devil is not a bad guy but maybe more an antihero. I wanted him to be this guy who avenges the people who are the victims of harassment and who no one cares about. The inspiration for this song came to me after seing a Ghost show in Paris on April 18th 2022… The strange and mysterious pop metal universe of this band and the way the singer push melodies at their best was really talking to me. Then, on April 20th 2022, literraly two days later, the whole song (lyrics and music) was recording as a demo on my computer. The instrumental part of this song is composed by myself by assembling loops of guitars and violins. After, I composed piano/synth lines and I wrote the lyrics. My friend Samer Elnahhal put an incredible dirty and violent bass line on the track for my greatest pleasure and sent to me the files for making it real in studio. When I came to the studio to record the song, Enny Harlan, my sound ingeneer re recorded the loops of guitar, including the solo, by himself with some variations to make something original. We wanted an epic song, with strong heavy metal vibes, a powerful chorus but also the sweetness of a blues bridge to calm down before the final part where everything’s exploding ! When my producer listened to the song, he said to me « Damn, we have something… ». Then I laught ! Maybe I’ve the Devil in I… Who knows ?
IB: You collaborated with Samer Elnahhal on the new release, WOW! Romain, how did it happen? For our readers, Samer Elnahhal is a Lordi Ex bassist who won the Eurovision Song Contest in 2006. So, how and where did you guys meet? How did you get along with each other?
ROMAIN: Damn, this is a long story!! Okay, back it time right now! When I was a teenager, Lordi, Finnish heavy metal band composed of 5 monsters won the Eurovision Song Contest in 2006. Even if later Metallica made me loving the guitar playing, Lordi made me fell in love with metal music. Plus, it was a shitty period in my life, because I had health issues at this time and listening to Lordi made me feel better. I remember Ox the bassplayer with his beautiful costume. He was so incredible as a big and strong Minotaur from Hell with a so precise and powerful play of bass! He really was my favourite character in the band and I had pictures of him into my bedroom. So, Lordi came for a concert in Paris in October 2019 and I see the band in live for the first time ever. What a blast! I also lost my car keys in this concert by the way, but I found them back after, fortunately! Few days later I sent a private message to Ox (Samer) on Twitter to congratulate him and the band for the performance and he replied to me with kind words, it was so cool. 2020, Ox left Lordi for new musical adventures and really became the true Samer Elnahhal with a solo project. August 2022, about 4 monthes after I composed « Call Me The Devil », the algorithm of Instagram offered me Samer’s personnal profile… I thinked that it really was a sign and I send him a private message. I first took of his news, I wanted to know how was his new musical life and if he was happy whithin. Then, I decided to ask him, that as he wasn’t be part of Lordi anymore, if he would like to put a bass line on my new song and guess what : he wanted me to send him the demo! I was so exciting, but not even more than when he texted me after listening to it to explain how he loved so much the energy of the song and my vocal interpretation. A wonderful Summer day to me, I swear! Samer came visiting me in Paris in late January and we decided to make other stuff together… In fact, he will create all the basslines for my next album, so be prepared!
IB: How did you record the track "Call Me The Devil" and design the cover for the single? After all, you are separated by different countries!
ROMAIN: Like you already know, the recording of this track was a super cool distancial work between Paris and Helsinki (Finland). After received the demo, Samer sent me a bass line try. I was stoked as hell just by the heavy notes he just played before on my song. I told him «Wow it sounds so good, but is it possible for you to make it more dirtier? He replies that it wasn’t a problem… and he sent me back the same bass line with the a fierce distortion. At this point, that was just perfect! Soon as I had all the demo elements plus this strong bass line, I sent everything to my sound engineer and the recording work began in Fontainebleau (Paris’s area). Concerning the cover of the single, it was simply an unexpected picture of us two while we were in the music video production studio. We both loved the picture, because it looks like a dark knights movie visual so we decided to use it as the cover of « Call Me The Devil ».
IB: Can you tell us about your upcoming second album? What will it sound like? Should fans expect more surprises and interesting collaborations?
ROMAIN: I’m still working on my upcoming second album, it’s not totally finished yet, but one thing is obvious : it will be heavy musicaly and it will deal with what I’m thinking about many shits that happens in our society. You know, I’ve many things inside me to express, many words to tell and certainly no time to lose for anything in my life. Artisticaly, I wanted to come-back to the music I loved to listen to, but also to the music I loved to do ! Rock’n’roll is my life, I have to assume it and to play it as much as possible ! That’s the reason why this next opus gonna reveal something darker and nothing but the truth in totally different topics I feel personnaly concerned about. I also want this new album positive, that’s why I’m bringing the light inside the different songs with a way to look after the bad times. Also, I don’t like so much the term « fans », but all those lovely people who’re following me for years in this musical trip are totally gonna be surprised because meetings and collaborations will be on the fire to rock it that way!
IB: So, are you planning a music video for the new single?
ROMAIN: Of course I do ! Nowadays, the music is also listened through the eyes. To me it’s an other kind of musical consumption and it’s good to! My dear friend Romane Baudry directed this project and By The Eye Prod edited the music video. So, believe me, this next video will rock your ass ! I think you’re not ready to face this evil realisation ! I can’t wait for that! The official music video for « Call Me The Devil » we’ll be available on March 31st, exactly one week after the released of the music on the streaming platforms. Also, a documentary was shot during the project, so, stay tuned!
IB: You have been making music for a long time and you have a lot of experience in this field. What was the most difficult stage in your musical career for you?
ROMAIN: Relationships, definitely! I do music for 14 years now (yes… 50% of my own life… already…), for 8 years as a professional and I still have troubles to find reliable and respectful people. I have the beautiful chance to have an incredible band by my side, called « The Raindrops » composed of Oriane Lanoizelet (bassplayer), Julien Benedet (Drummer) and Benjamin Bras (guitar player). We’re together for years now, but before finding those musicians, believe me, I worked with some difficult people, like… really! So, that was the first difficulty, the second is maybe more important than the first one : French Medias deconnexion with their own local artists. As a French rock artist, I already knew that it would be hardcore to find out a place into the French musical market, but the problem remains the total disrespect of these medias. No answer to me, but also to my label manager/producer, to my editor, to my booking agent (US based). We’re all professionnals and they don’t give a fuck to any artists unless you’re not already pushed by French mainstream medias. The main point is that some mainstream medias are telling with the biggest hypocrisy ever, that « we help emergent artists, because it’s the future »… Come on bitch, we all know who these guys are coming from and by who they are supported… Don’t fake me anymore! So, those two diffculties combined leads you to have a steel mental to learn to be self confident but also, you have to know that if something works, then it’s all because of you and your team by these times!
IB: Were there any stressful situations? How do you deal with difficulties in general?
ROMAIN: Yes, to me stressful situations appears especially when you’re confronted to an audience. Indeed, you want to be at your top level, always. But I will tell you something. This requirement combined to simply the stress of life leads me to a burn-out in 2018. I needed 4 monthes to have my legs and my muscles « back to action » and 6 monthes to beging to be back on stage. This experience cancelled all my self-confidence and each part of my mental strenght. 5 years later now, I deal with my anxiety like it was this weird friend who pokes you on your shoulder to say « hey, something is not totally normal, but… Now… you know !», so you can anticipate things and all become good. The energy of the crowd and the vibrations on the instruments, sounds, stage, are the best medics ever to me. So now, I can give you an advice, do the best you can, but don’t do to much, you can’t do everything, you can’t be everywhere to see what it looks like or whatever. In fact, you can’t be the transmitter and the receiver at the same time. Just do what you like to do the most, like you think it’s good to be, and everything will be okay!
IB: This is one of the most important questions for me. When and where will be your next concert? Is there a tour planned soon?
ROMAIN: Oh yeah, this is an important question for me too because my team is hardworking to find new dates everywhere! Some gigs are upcoming but I have to wait a few times before announcing it, but one thing is already sure, I’ll be the special guest on two parisian dates for the upcoming Wildstreet (USA) European Tour in May. This is gonna be a super moment of rock’n’roll, I’m so exciting about it!
IB: And the last question. You are one of those artists who have an incredible creative energy with which you charge people around you. Doyou have a recipe for inspiration and strength to make more and better music?
ROMAIN: This creative energy comes with emotions you feel and things you live. I don’t know how to really explain my inspiration, but sometimes I have like an impulsion deep inside me that means « bro, something is ready to get out, so, it’s up to you ! ». At this time, I look at my guitar and I know the song is inside. I’ve to extract the melody and the words from this ! And well, it works! At least but not last, working with incredible people like Samer looks like a dose of adrenaline. I can do anything for and with the people I work, because there’s a mutual trust between us and we know that the best is completely yet to come!
Single ‘Call Me The Devil’ by Romain Swan, Samer Elnahhal available on all digital platforms. Read our ‘Call Me The Devil’ review.
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