A “challenge at first” Swamp to Sahara discuss dank tunes, wild gigs and coping with a seven musician cohort

From the muddy depths of the swamp, seven talented young musicians have grown into an undeniably dynamic and gratifying band.

Dank tunes naturally flourish from Swamp to Sahara’s combination of neo-soul, funk and psychedelic rock. Their first three singles have built up a lot of anticipation for their debut album.

Photo by the El Topo Basement
Photo by the El Topo Basement

While they’ve only been jamming since 2015, Swamp to Sahara have already created a unique sound and ample following, accommodated by seven charismatic musicians.

Swamp to Sahara have an effortless rapport which extends throughout each of their seven limbs: Alixx McIntyre plays the “horizontal cello whilst moaning,” Sina Mehrvarz “the hottest key pressing skills” and Ricky “Slick Rick” Prohm brings the “dank sax appeal to the love family.”

Their colourful cohort wouldn’t be complete without drum-slayer Stevo Lee (who doesn’t get recognised unless he “wears a singlet”), lead singer Lucia Capell, bassist Sam Wilson and guitarist Rob Mouat.

The Sydney collective are incredible live, combining auditory vibrancy with a zesty stage presence. They seem to be having as much fun on stage as the audience. Checkout Chick is their first track, a textural medley of balanced vocal harmonies and diverse instruments.

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Their single launch at Brighton Up Bar on 24 November was a huge success. The turnout was off the rails” Lee said, Mehrvarz confiming it was “way rowdier than we had initially expected.”

Organising seven musicians sounds like a hefty task. Even Prohm says “I just sax up and shut up otherwise Alixx will hit me, right after she takes out Sina first. With seven members it’s every man for himself,” while McIntyre confirms, “I am the nucleus of our cell.”

Seven members can seem like a bit of a challenge at first. But if the chemistry’s there, then the fine tunes will still keep on coming. We owe a lot of the initial compositions to Alixx, as she’s the one who comes up with the tasty chord progressions and the lyrics come from both her and the lovely Lucia. After that, the rest of us come to together to add and work on our own parts and completely structure the piece,” Mehrvarz says.

The ideas usually begin with McIntyre, then Lee and Wilson gradually develop the “foundation of the groove,” as Lee says, before everyone else adds their individual “tasty licks.”

While balancing weekly gigs and study, they are also mixing at Grove Studios, where Lee says they “recorded the entirety of our debut album in 8 days.”

Producing their debut album was “a great bonding sesh for the band and an incredible experience,” says Lee. So far, you can plug into three singles, Checkout Chick, Zanahoria and Fever.

Swamp to Sahara are definitely a band to keep your eyes and ears on – maybe even your hands as there’re so many of them. There’s an album coming up early this year, as well as a string of gigs across Sydney.