Band Swim Team’s beach vibes uses synthesizers with skill, creates unique sound

By Caroline Dorey-Stein, Contributing Writer||

This week the LA label Hit City U.S.A. released the first singles for San Diego newcomer Swim Team. Free downloads of the two synthesizer tracks are available on hitcityusa.com after providing an email address.

The first track and probably the stronger, is “Clairvoyant.” Warm guitar tones and keyboards, a funky baseline and some drums with falsetto vocals delivering the lines “So come on won’t you break me down/ You know that I will still keep you around.” An effortless production and even easier on the ears.

Caleb Chial, a San Diego native, spent years playing in collaborative projects around his hometown. After playing guitar or keyboards in bands, the lucky stumble upon a synth in his garage led Caleb down a whole new path of sound. The partly broken synthesizer was the foundation for the development of hazy, sun-soaked beach vibes Swim Team capitalizes on.

But the music captures more than just a care free, lazy sunbathing mood. The composition’s haunting textures depict “trouble at sea” imagery adding depth and body, which parallels the ocean quite nicely. Until discovering the synthesizer, Chial had not intended to pursue another project but not using the guitar or piano was an exciting challenge.

As shared through an interview provided by hitcityusa.com Caleb states, “It was a completely different approach to making music…I was living in this tiny bedroom and I was amazed at how I could create these lush soundscapes without even having access to ‘real’ instruments. I was pretty late to discover the computer side of making music but it’s definitely had a big influence on how my songs are put together and the kind of sounds I use. Most of my lyrics aren’t too personal, more observations of things around me instead of expressions of my own feelings or experiences.” This desire to share reflections of the world around him is further expressed through his photo diary also found on Hit City U.S.A’s website. He shares a trip to the Big Sur from November 11th introducing his collecting as “truly inspiring scenery that could make any of us look up off our Instagram feed for at least a few minutes.”

And that’s what his music does. Whether stuck at the library on a hailing night, with only a thin sweater separating you from the horrific elements of last minute cramming, or cozied up by the fire with a few good friends, the sound of Swim Team immediately transports you to warmer times. But in addition, the soul of the synth inserts an incomparable depth that most other beach music cannot imitate.

It’s summer music that can appropriately be played throughout the year and is a little reminiscent of that Passion Pit brand of indie-pop that has been missing recently. Go grab that free download!

Senior Caroline Dorey-Stein is a contributing writer. Her email is cdoreyst@fandm.edu.

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