Interview: Swordfish Vocalist Chandler Lach

Posted: by The Editor

Swordfish band

The state of the modern music scene puts a lot of pressure on artists to set themselves apart from everyone else. With terms like “emo,” “shoegaze,” and “pop-punk” getting tossed wherever they’ll stick, bands are putting much more effort into brand themselves as not that. However, Metro Detroit five-piece Swordfish have decided to go the opposite route, and simply steer into the skid. Earlier this spring, Swordfish unleashed their debut full length, Rodia on Take This To Heart Records. The 23-minute, emotional roller coaster simultaneously rocks like Joyce Manor and digs at “the feels” like Sorority Noise, resulting in a sound that is undoubtedly “emo” yet unarguably infatuating.

Since their start at the end of 2015, Swordfish have released a series of demos and acoustic tracks that tackle themes characteristic of the emo genre. From heartbreak to mental health, Swordfish have covered it all. While they aren’t necessarily reinventing the wheel, the band’s confident brand of emo comes complete with the hearty sighs of a trumpet, fluttering guitar and bass riffs, and gut-wrenching lyrics that you can’t help but scream along to. To Swordfish, this genre gives them the opportunity to connect with people through their shared personal experiences, no matter how similar or different they may be. With Rodia, Swordfish deliver a powerful coming-of-age record, charged with the uncomfortable mix of emotions associated with growing up.

Rodia acts as an open diary of guitarist/vocalist Chandler Lach that chronicles the ups and downs of suburban high school life. Though written when he was still in high school, Lach, now a 21-year-old college graduate, still holds these songs close to his heart as a record of his past experiences and feelings. Lach admitted that it feels strange to be publishing these songs now as their first LP, but is excited by the new life brought to them by the new recordings. “These are the first generation of songs we’ve pushed out of Swordfish,” he said. “As a band, this album is where we’ve started.”

The title Rodia stems from the character Rodion Raskolnikov, the protagonist of critically acclaimed novel Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. The author uses Rodion’s personal experiences in the book to represent a wide variety of themes and ideas. It was the protagonist’s exploration of human experience through impulsivity in particular that stood out to Lach, which he himself addressed on Rodia. “It just seemed like a very fitting title for this record that covered a lot of human themes and experiences that I had,” he said.

Rodia shows off the band’s ability to seamlessly move from energized sing-alongs, to dialed-back croons that send ripples through the listener’s skin. Since the record’s release, Swordfish have found themselves in the hands of a record label that is eager to help them grow  and have caught the attention of places like Pitchfork. Despite this newfound pressure for the band to succeed, Swordfish are eager to continue writing music they’re excited about and playing the music that they love. “Hopefully we stick in this for the long run,” chuckled Lach. “Because it’s been great so far.”

Rodia is available now on Take This To Heart Records.

Yong Los