The Swayback to play Vail |

The Swayback to play Vail

What’s it like to open up a nationally read and respected music publication like Spin magazine and see a picture of your band with a description praising its music?

“It’s awesome, for sure,” said Eric Halborg, bass player and lead vocalist for Denver-based rock band The Swayback.

“We’ve been around for awhile so it was nice to get recognition like that,” Halborg continued.

The Swayback has been playing in some incarnation for about seven years and they’ve steadily been making a name for themselves ever since. Besides the Spin bump, The Swayback have been featured heavily in local Denver publications like Westword, in which readers voted them the Best Rock Band in Denver for 2008.

They’ll be playing a show at the Sandbar in Vail this Saturday with opening act DJ Magic Cyclops.

“It doesn’t sound like any other band out there,” said Dick Dime, manager of the Sandbar. “I saw them at the High Dive maybe a year ago and I thought they were great. I think they’re a band that’s really working on their craft.”

The Swayback’s current lineup consists of Halborg on bass and vocals, William Murphy on guitar, Martijn Bolster on drums and the recently added Shawn Astrom on keys. Denver’s live music scene has been blowing up lately, Halborg said, which has made it easier for The Swayback to get their name out there and build a fan base.

Thanks to the band’s nearly obsessive practice regimen, they’re known for tight chops during live shows and unabashed sonic experimentation ” both of which draws people in, Halborg said. As far as labels go though, Halborg said band members hesitated to define themselves early on.

“We didn’t set out to say we’re a punk band, we’re a rock band or we’re going to be an indie rock band. It was basically we’re these kids that have gigantic record collections … we have this wide palate and I think it comes through our music and we’re not necessarily trying to define it or limit it,” Halborg said.

The band’s broad influences definitely come through in their recordings. The Swayback’s first full-length, self-titled album, sounds more like the Misfits meets Queens of the Stoneage with its rapid-fire drumming and dark and heavy guitar riffs.

Their latest release ” “Long Gone Lads” ” has much more of a spacy, melodic tone with electronic soundscapes in between songs. Their newer style has a much more unified quality all the way through, Halborg said.

“We wanted it to be something where people would sit down and want to listen to the whole record and maybe listen to it a few more times,” he said.

Already looking ahead to their next album, The Swayback have been working with legendary studio producer and engineer Andy Johns, who helped shape some of the most memorable albums by Led Zeppelin, the Rolling Stones and Mott the Hoople. While nobody in the band is too thrilled about handing over creative control, they’re willing to make an exception with Johns.

“Definitely, in the studio, if Andy Johns says ‘let’s try this’ ” let’s,” Halborg said. “It was definitely a different experience for us. We’ve been so DIY (do it yourself) ” keeping people at bay and keeping our art sacred … but then you get in front of a master like that and you listen and you try things.”

High Life writer Charlie Owen can be reached at 970-748-2939 or

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