For better or for worse, there’s a strange resentment among the Los Angeles party scene, a melding of individuals from all different backgrounds out for their individual purpose. The results are nights when things get out of control, documented on Swerve’s “Little Rich Kids,” off the band’s upcoming album, Ruin Your Day, out August 13.
The last song the band—consisting of vocalist Gregory Mahdesian, guitarist Ryan Berti and bassist and audio engineer and protégé of Bob Clearmountain (Bowie, Roxy Music, Bruce Springsteen), Brandon Duncan along with drummer Mark Gardner, who joined the band in 2018—recorded before the lockdown in 2020.
A song “borne out of late nights and altered states of mind,” according to the band, “Little Rich Kids” retains it’s raw power in its punk-propelled chants of We won’t give in, to little rich kids.
Self-producing two EPs after forming in 2015, while working on Ruin Your Day, the band called on an expert to flesh the songs out. Testing the waters, after a few attempts, Swerve instantly bonded with Adam Lasus (Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Helium), who coincidently produced some of their favorite records from their teens.
“We self-produced our first EPs and are proud of them,” says Mahdesian, “but we wanted to focus more on the band aspect of the recording rather than the production side of things to both avoid repeating ourselves and to help us expand our sound.”
Lasus wanted to capture the band’s live intensity, which is something they never explored before. Working with Lasus on “Little Rich Kids,” reminded the band why the song inspired them in the first place. “The core of the track is the four of us playing together live, and the energy and lyrics work really well together,” says Mahdesian.
Mostly written between 2018 and 2020, Ruin Your Day is a collection of mostly politically charged love songs, from the title track to “Bush v Gore” and “End of the World”—all exploring connectedness, companionship in a world falling to pieces, the struggle between fear and hope on “Disassociate,” and relationship woes of “Do You Want To Give In?” and “Maybe I Didn’t Do That.”
On “Little Rich Kids,” a follow up to first singles “Escape,” and “My Enemy Is Dead,” is the most collaborative track for the band on the album, says Mahdesian, and was the core of how the rest of the album would play out.
“‘Escape,’ and to a certain extent ‘My Enemy Is Dead’ are kind of politically minded love songs at the end of the world, which seems to be a theme throughout the album,” shares Mahdesian, who is also a progressive political organizer. “’Little Rich Kids’ is very far from that lyrically, but it has a social commentary to it and its raw live energy set the template for the album.”
Written in the band’s old rehearsal space, located across the street from a bar called the Darkroom on Melrose in LA, is where the band observed the social scene inspiring the track. “It was a great place to meet people and see different groups collide and it probably inspired some of the lyrics,” says Mahdesian. “We love our city. Ryan and I are actually third generation Angelenos and have always been interested in how fun, exciting, and toxic it can be at the same time, and we wanted to capture that in this track. It’s fun and exciting, but the subject matter is dark.”
Each time the band played the song, they found it getting more aggressive, bigger and louder, which made it more enjoyable to play, and the faster the song became, the more the audience connected to it. Eventually directing the production of the album, “Little Rich Kids” was the song that initially pushed the band to experiment with sound throughout the entire album.
“The record was written over the past few years and is entirely set in the world we found ourselves living in,” says Mahdesian. “We’re all politically active guys, and realized that while it felt like the world was falling apart and things were genuinely scary, we really started to find even more value in our relationships.”
Mahdesian adds, “Our favorite albums—whether it be The Beatles, Bowie, or the Replacements—have ripping rock songs and very pretty, expressive songs, it’s important to show a full picture of yourselves and your world, no one is one-dimensional, and albums should be representative of that.”