Jude Gwynaire gives us some insight (and a few fish stories) concerning his single “The Swordfish.”
Skope: I hear a bit of a Velvet Underground chord progression in parts of this single. Were they an influence?
Jude Gwynaire: I love the Velvet Underground’s first album, and have heard the second album a few times, but wasn’t aware of any influence in this track. I like to be as original as possible; though I guess, with so much music around (heard or unheard), every so often a track is going to sound a little like part of something else. I was trying to create more of a Tim Buckley/Joni Mitchell type of mood in this track (without lyrics, obviously). The Velvets would, actually, have been the last group on my mind during the creative process, as much as I love their sound. Would be interested to know which song you mean.[Note: It’s not any one song, but just the chord progression of this song that makes me think of The Velvet Underground]
Skope: Who are your guitar influences?
Gwynaire: I’m not too familiar with many instrumental acoustic guitarists except, maybe, Gordon Giltrap. I have plenty of rock guitar heroes, of course – namely, Hendrix, Clapton, Robby Krieger…well, the list is endless. I have plenty of guitar influences from artists who write songs. Joni Mitchell, Tim Buckley, Jefferson Airplane, Neil Young, Stephen Stills, Dave Crosby, being just a few. Because I don’t sing, or write songs (at the moment), I can only try to emulate such artists in instrumental tracks.
Skope: Are there any particular recordings that influenced this song?
Gwynaire: I think, maybe, Joni Mitchell’s first album, ‘Song to Seagull’ was some kind of an influence. It’s been a favourite album of mine for almost 40 years. It’s imbued, largely, with an overall ‘introverted’ and ‘melancholic’ feel – much like a lot of Tim Buckley’s work.
Skope: Do you do any deep-sea fishing, yourself?
Gwynaire: No, I’ve never fished in my life. I do like the atmosphere of American harbour towns, though. I don’t think I ever would go fishing really. If anything, the track is a song about the life of a swordfish.
Skope: Have you written any fiction about sea stories, and if so, which one(s)?
Gwynaire: No, I haven’t at this point. I did release an album called ‘Captain Salty Takes A Trip’ some years ago (it’s not currently available). I had an idea for a book version, but never wrote it, having received no interest from publishers and agents after presenting the idea.
Skope: Was this song influenced by a particular geographic place?
Gwynaire: Probably somewhere like Maine or Gloucester, Massachusetts. Think ‘The Perfect Storm’ and you’re halfway there. I think the film influenced me, a lot.
Skope: Why did you call the song “The Swordfish”?
Gwynaire: Swordfish have always fascinated me.
Skope: This music has a cinematic quality. Was that your intention?
Gwynaire: Yes, definitely. I wanted to add something extra to the sound above the acoustic guitar. The ‘shimmer’ effect was created by an Electro-Harmonix reverb unit.
Skope: The song reminds me of late-night music. Was it written and/or recorded at night?
Gwynaire: I guess it does sound a bit ‘late-night’. The song was recorded during the day, though. I think I actually composed and recorded it on the same day.
Skope: Being that this is a mostly acoustic recording, were there any folk recordings that inspired it?
Gwynaire: Joni Mitchell’s album ‘Song to a Seagull’ was a big influence.