Max and Cole, Sheffield, England
Though there have been other notable “pop punk” bands in the last few years, few have managed to hit the genre nail on the head or even come close to founders like Blink 182 and Green Day. Maybe what it really takes is a group of kids who were raised on the genre to get it right…enter SWMRS. Dare I say it runs in their blood, since if you haven’t heard by now, these kids have known Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong all their lives. Of course, we cannot attribute their talent only to that, since, well, we’ve seen plenty of kids fail to follow in their rock star parents’ footsteps.
We should throw some credit in the direction of the Jack Black movie, School of Rock, since that’s what originally led lead singer Cole Becker and drummer Joey Armstrong to start a band when they were kids. The group has made its way over to Fueled By Ramen, home to Twenty One Pilots and Panic! At The Disco, where they re-released their debut album Drive North. Their current single is called “Palm Trees,” and it is full of that pop punk goodness from start to end.
From first hand account, I can tell you that a SWMRS show is not for the faint of heart–the first time I saw them play, a fan crowd-surfed his way all the way to the stage and landed straight on top of Cole’s mic, knocking it and a speaker over. I, myself, was kicked in the shoulder and pushed into a ladder with a photographer standing on the top. None of this stopped the show by any means, and it certainly didn’t keep the crowd from bouncing, dancing, and throwing each other into the mosh pit for the rest of the night. And not to worry, no one got seriously injured, and I managed to leave with all my teeth.
Cole and Joey, along with guitarist Max Becker and bassist Sebastian “Seb” Mueller, have been touring with All Time Low, and have plans to continue touring with All Time Low, Blink 182, and you guessed it, Green Day, later this year. Seb is super keen on photographing with old cameras on every tour, and he gave us a sneak peek of some of the film from their Spring tour with All Time Low. “My camera comes with me everywhere, and I shoot on every tour. I usually use an old Pentax from the 60’s with black and white film, but it’s been fun to experiment with these other pocket cameras,” Seb said.
The guys will continue their tour starting at the end of July all the way into October–check all upcoming dates here.
Fans at the All Time Low after party
What has been your favorite moment on tour so far?
Seb: One of my favorite moments touring was when we were in Amsterdam after a show with All Time Low and had to finish up the last of our weed before driving into Germany. Everyone was pretty high by the time we got in the van. Since it was still day time in the states, Joey started prank calling people back home. He was coming up with the most eclectic personas and situations. I remember laughing harder than I had ever laughed before. That night was also when we decided to start giving out this phone number, 415-756-6282. Give it a call sometime and ask the voice on the end of the line, “Are you ready to go to the boardwalk, the Santa Cruz beach boardwalk.” You won’t regret it. Trust me.
Alex and Jack of All Time Low, Sheffield DJ Set
Road-dog Hans backstage
Does anyone do anything weird while on tour that you are surprised by?
Seb: Cole sleeps really hard…harder than I’ve ever seen someone sleep before. One night in Paris, after an all night drive, we got to our hotel exhausted. Cole climbed in bed and immediately fell asleep. He started snoring extremely loudly, so Joey and I decided to wake him up to tell him to roll over. We tried lightly shaking his shoulders, but he continued to sleep. We slowly started shaking him more and more until we were shaking him at full strength. He continued to sleep, and this is when the fun started. We started yelling full volume, lifting his legs up, smacking him with pillows. This all went on for about 20 minutes until he finally woke up and rolled over.
Cole on the drive to Milan
Somewhere on the streets of England
Will Cole wear his polka dot dress that we love so much?
Seb: I think Cole will probably wear his dress this tour. It’s not a thing that’s really planned out. When Cole wants to wear it, he does. He has had a couple different dresses over the years. I am sure he has a different explanation, however, I like it because it explores gender binaries. I think it’s important for people to see other people pushing these boundaries and binaries in a simple way, like a guy wearing a dress. When it comes down to it, it’s a dress, and If a guy wants to wear one, it should not be a thing that comes as a shock. Likewise, if a girl wants to wear jeans, work boots, and give themselves a crew cut, that shouldn’t be a surprise either. I like what Cole does because it shows people it’s okay and “cool” to dress and act however you want. I think it’s these little things, like wearing a dress on stage, that really help get kids thinking.
Cole in the club
Cole warming up in Southhampton
What are you most excited about heading back on tour?
Seb: I’m stoked to go back out in the states with All Time Low. I think my favorite thing is just being on the road together. Everyone in that band and crew is so much fun and so friendly. We all get along and have a good time. If it’s anything like our run with them in Europe, it’s going to be a blast.
Photographer Phoebe Fox on the ferry to Ireland
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