Swirl’s Duane “DT” Jones Says A Good Swirl Song Has Hooks For Days
California rockers Swirl have kicked off the new year with a new song called “The Lift” which has reached #1 on Indie rock radio in the US and #4 on Banks Radio Australia in just the first two weeks of 2018. “The Lift” comes to you fresh on the heels of a very successful 2017 campaign for the band`s 7 song EP titled ‘SWIRL’, of which the band has 3 songs featured in the award winning movie ‘Ditch Day’.
How did you first get in to music? Who or what turned you onto rock/metal?
My parents got me into music. They each had their favorite styles with my dad being very much into classical music while my mom was very into RnB and adult contemporary. I think that`s why I started out on violin and have such an appreciation for Lionel Richie, The Commodores and Barry Manilow.
A few years into my development on the violin my neighbor Paul Chapman brought over the KISS ‘Destroyer’ release and that was it for me and the violin. I was instantly hooked, by the music, volume and pageantry of it all. I also couldn`t help but notice there was quite a difference between the life the members of KISS seemed to be living off stage and the orchestra groupies LOL
What got you started playing music and how old were you?
I started playing music because I was in Alaska and not the outdoorsy ski or snowboard type. If you know anything about winter in Alaska there can be snow on the ground in September and last through early May. When “summer” did come I had health issues as well with childhood Asthma. Every year was a guaranteed extended stay in the hospital to get my breathing under control. In middle school I took one of those “Allergy tests” and found out I was allergic to every type of tree, grass and bush in the State so I spent quite a bit of time indoors listening to and eventually creating music.
How did the band form and how did the band name come about?
Swirl was formed out of the Pacific Northwest in a little town north of Seattle called Mukilteo, WA. In the initial version I had enlisted a singer from Vancouver Canada to go along with a couple of local areal musicians. There was a serviceable drummer, but could never really find the bass player I was looking for.
I scheduled a recording session in Santa Monica for that version of Swirl and just days before the departure date neared I got a call from the drummer saying he was not going to make the trip. I called my brother Brian and asked him to drive over from Arizona, learn, rehearse and record the drum tracks.
Those Santa Monica sessions were forever altered by a visit from famed Quiet Riot guitarist Carlos Cavazo who heard the songs and offered to produce the band if we would take the recording sessions to Burbank. It was there we met Matt Thorr who is best known as the bassist for Rough Cutt. Together they produced the ‘Out of Nowhere’ release. We toured the US and Japan on it.
When I did eventually move to California I was introduced to singer Alfred Ramirez and bassist Shane Carlson through former Dio Keyboardist Claude Schnell. They were working in another project and needed a guitar player to write with. I pretty much stole Alfred from that project first by recording two songs with him and Cinderella drummer Fred Coury then recruiting Shane to play bass once I received tour offers based on new Swirl music.
It was on that drive from Seattle to Santa Monica for the sessions that would ultimately make the ‘Out of Nowhere’ release the singer and I were tossing out ideas for what to call our band when I suggested “Swirl” due to the physical make up of the band. When you a picture the name makes sense with the half Caucasian, half African American make up of the line-up and our use of the Yin Yang logo when we started out. It actually turned out to be quite the fortuitous move to go with that name as the years have gone on. Though the band still holds the same physical appeal it is much deeper than that now with the different nationalities that are in the band currently as well as our latest producer Emad Alaeddin of Granted Records and the way we all celebrate our differences yet work so well together.
What was your local scene like in the beginning, was there a particular band you aspired to be like, favorite local bands back then, favorite local bands now?
Which local scene are you referring to? Growing up in Alaska I can tell you there is not much of a local music scene that does not revolve around cover bands. I was never interested in being a part of the “Top 40 circuit”. In Washington there was a better scene than Alaska for original music and I met some life long friends who are phenomenal players, but they were not in my age category and the ones who were didn`t get where I was coming from in terms of songwriting or showmanship. I have always been drawn to the bigger, successful bands touring the world, playing their music while putting on a show and there was never really anyone locally that was doing all of that in Washington while I was there and certainly not in Alaska.
I am out in the Southern California scene now and there are a lot of local bands that I really like. Most recently I have been out to see Ninefinger and Motorbone quite a few times. My favorite local band right now though has to be The D-Tease. They put on quite a show, with dancers, swords, a mattress and a completely captivating singer.
How did you become a guitarist? Are you proficient in any other instruments?
I am the guitar player and one of the backing vocalists in Swirl. I am a failed drummer though. That was my first love. I am just terrible at it LOL. That is ok because my brother and Swirl drummer Brian is a failed guitarist. We both made the switch growing up to our best instruments and never looked back. I can play violin, I play a little piano as well. The vocal development started in high school choir and a very brief stint as a lead singer. I was told I was good at it, but I was just not comfortable. I am happy in my role with Swirl.
What makes a good Swirl song?
A good Swirl song has “hooks for days”, dynamics and “ear candy” whether in the vocal or the instrumentation. It also doesn`t matter whether it is being heard live or in recorded form there has to be enough going on to connect with you emotionally which in turn moves you physically.
That is certainly the case in our latest single “The Lift” which was released on January 11, 2018 and has taken off like a rocket for us globally. Whether it is the charting at #1 no less than 7 times in the Midwest of North America within these first few months, peaking at #4 in Australia or debuting at #13 in Scotland in 2018 “The Lift” is a hit song. Currently it is being played in 25 countries and has opened doors to international touring opportunities for Swirl.
The success of “The Lift” has brought attention to our latest EP ‘SWIRL’ which includes 3 songs that are featured in the soundtrack for the 2 time award winning horror film ‘Ditch Day’ (2017). Those songs are “Spell”, “We Are Alive” and “Rise Up” click here.
What artists with a message have made you change in any particular way and what was that change?
I was never into using my music as a platform that way. For me music is an escape and entertainment so while Iove and respects the U2s of the world I never followed suit with my own musical pursuits. At least not so far, but I am far from done as a song writer and I never say never.
Who are some of your influences? Who can we hear in your music?
There are so many and they all came after Ace and Paul. I fell in love with the Sunset Strip era guitar players while I was in Alaska. My favorites are Jake E Lee, Warren DeMartini, George Lynch and Carlos Cavazo. It doesn`t end there for me because I am a huge fan of the dual guitar styles of the Scorpions, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest and AC/DC as well. Neal Schon is another guitarist I admire greatly because for me he creates the most melodic and memorable ride out solos in recorded music . In the case of “The Lift” I had my “AngusEddieAce DeMarSchonLeeVaiLynchStanley moments” in the track!
What was the first music you bought and what have you bought more than once?
I don’t recall the first music I bought with my own money and I have a huge music collection now with music from the Bee Gees all the way up to Gojira now.
Bands you would love to tour with and musician or artist you would like to meet and interrogate?
Interrogate is a great word… I would love to sit down with Lionel Richie. I have so many questions for that man. As a creator of 14 consecutive #1 hit songs I want to know what his daily life was like at that time, his writing process, when and how he would get away from the music just long enough to come back and create more songs that touched so many people. They were all different songs too. I find his career just fascinating. It may not be the rock n roll answer you were expecting, but his career is undeniable. So far Swirl have played clubs, theaters and festivals, but not graduated to the arena level so my sights would be on opportunities to tour with KISS, Iron Maiden, Def Leppard and of course the Scorpions for more old school rock and metal. In the modern music scene I would love to tour with Shinedown, Seether and FFDP. The thing about Swirl is we are a straight up rock band. In a day and age where everything is labeled, what makes us unique is that we have crossover appeal and that allows for us to play with just about anybody. Whether its Rock, Hard Rock, Heavy Metal or Alternative, we have a little bit of all of it in our sound so we could easily transition into support slots with any of the above mentioned bands.
How relevant is Reverbnation and why?
How relevant something is depends on the person using it. As a musician it’s my job to make it easy for you to find my music in whatever platform you are comfortable using. We definitely have a Reverbnation.
We are all over various social media platforms as well with our own website, Twitter, Instagram. Facebook, Soundcloud & Youtube
What can we expect from a live Swirl show?
Swirl is a high energy rock n roll SHOW. We take pride in delivering a performance. There is no “staring at the tops of our shoes” all night with our heads down. We love to engage the crowd and each of us fight for your attention which in turn makes for a better experience for the audience. We very much adhere to the creed of “musician in the studio and entertainer on the stage”.
How would you like to be remembered?
As a genuine, passionate and compassionate person. I would love for Swirl to be remembered as the band that knew they could and did achieve all of their goals through dedication, persistence and passion.
Who have been some of your favorite bands you’ve hung out with and shared the stage with?
Swirl has been fortunate to tour with many of the bands I grew up hoping to one day write songs good enough to allow me to share a stage with them with RATT, Extreme, Cinderella, LA Guns, Lynch Mob, Quiet Riot, Bulletboys, Red Dragon Cartel and Skid Row being just a few.
Do you still buy cds and records or mostly use streaming sites? Which sites do you use?
I still buy CDs because as an artist I feel it is important to support others creative works. That being said Swirl music is available on iTunes, Spotify and all other streaming sites because again it is our job to make Swirl music easily accessible to you on whatever platform you prefer.
Top 5 albums or songs released in the last 12 months and all time?
Last 12 months-
1) Judas Priest “Fire Power” 2) Shinedown “Attention Attention” 3) Seether “Betray and Degrade” 4) Fozzy “Painless” and 5) Nothing More ‘The Stories We Tell Ourselves’
1) Badlands (debut) 2) Michael Jackson- ‘Thriller’ 3) Journey ‘Escape’ 4) KISS ‘Alive II’ and 5) Metallica`s song “Sad but True”
You’re on a desert island and only have three albums to listen to for the rest of your life, what are they and why?
Badlands debut because Jake E Lee is brilliant and I can listen with out skipping to every song!
Def Leppard ‘Hysteria” for the production, harmonies and songs like “Pour Some Sugar On Me”, “Rocket” and the title track.
Metallica “Black album” because the guitar tones changed the game in rock n roll.
What does rock n roll mean to you?
It is my life`s passion, my best friend, my curse and my blessing. I go to sleep with it, I wake up with it. Rock n roll is not what I do it is very much who I am.
Final thoughts, shout outs, dirty jokes?
To the Swirl society a huge THANK YOU for the support. To my brothers in Swirl, thank you for the incredible love and friendship. I am proud to know each of you, grateful for our 10 year run and look forward to another 10 years at the next level. The single greatest Twitter handle I have come across this year is @NidaPeabadly.