WITH an air of self-assuredness, jovial stage banter and a stage presence that can be hard to come by in the early stages of a career in the music business, SWAY frontman Craig Milroy is one of the most striking things about this immensely talented four piece. As he trades off vocal duties with guitarist Matt Aitchison and swaggers his way through a set onstage, the Johnstone native exudes a confidence that could easily be misconstrued for arrogance by a casual observer but if you take the time to scratch under the surface, this is quickly revealed not to be the case.
As it is for hundreds of people around the world, the act of performance is a cathartic release for Craig Milroy and has been something that has guided him through what has been one of the most tumultous periods of his time on this planet thus far.
In the first of a new series of articles that looks beyond the impersonal interviews thatartists are subjected to in order to give a window into the person that you don’t see onstage or in carefully orchestrated press photos, TTV spoke to Craig about the band’s progression and how creativity helped steady the ship.
From a musical standpoint, 2017 was a year that was typified by massive strides forward for the four ambitious young men from Paisley. With a string of well received gigs and two emphatic singles under their belt, Milroy cast his mind back to pick out a few of the moments that provided them with positive affirmation:
“I think my personal highlight of last year was probably playing your own Tenement trail, it was quite a big moment for myself and the rest of the band. Seeing the likes of The Van T’s and The Vegan leather play it the year previous and finally getting our chance to do it as well was really special as we really look up to the two of them and the festival itself is one we always wanted to do from when we first put the band together. Also even though it’s not 2017, our King Tuts new year revolution gig was a highlight as it was packed with all our really good mates and folk who’ve stuck by the band since we first formed.”
Given all of the strides that they’ve made in the right direction, it’s hard to tell whether the group behind ‘Plane Earth’ and ‘To Be A Man’ could’ve anticipated such a groundswell of support as last year began in earnest. From his own personal perspective, it is just a sign that they’re moving in the right direction:
If I’m to be honest I’m not really sure where I pictured the band to be at the start of this year, as long as we’re gigging and playing music I’m happy but looking at it I’m really proud of how far we’ve came in a short time and think we’re in a good position to get out there and show our music to a wider audience.
As touched upon previously, 2017 was a period of great upheaval in his life that made it increasingly difficult to prioritise the band when everything else was spiralling out of hand. Luckily, the thrill of performing live and galvanising a response from the audience was exactly what was needed to turn things around.
“Last year was a really tough one. I was in a really bad car crash that led to me being unemployed for a long period of time and having to battle mental health problems. Due to the situation I was in, I just became drained and lost all motivation. I no longer wanted to write music or play in the band anymore, I didn’t want to do anything anymore, it was such a horrible way to feel. Thankfully after getting support from some really good friends I started to turn it around, I think it was actually after our set at Tenement trail and seeing the crowds reaction that I realised that this is what I want to do, it was like I had a whole new drive for the band to keep gigging.
After his future was thrown into jeopardy, Craig is very much back on track and for those who know him well, it’s genuinely heartwarming to see how far he’s came. Now that he’s triumphed over the worst of it, has it given him a new perspective on not only music but how it coincides with his life as a whole?
“Definitely. It’s given me a whole new appreciation for everything I do now from just working again to being able to get up on a stage and perform our songs in front of folk. In terms of helping with songwriting, I’ve always had a lot to draw from with events that have happened in my past but it’s made me more open now with my writing where I’m more happy to write and talk about these events that have happened rather than shying away from them and pretending they never happened.”
No longer dwelling on the trials and tribulations of the past, 2018 is looking as though it has the potential to be a seismic year for the SWAY boys and performances such as the SAMAS’ Paisley Takeover, an upcoming Manchester show and a set at Stag & Dagger are sure to bring new eyes to their unique fusion of indie, punk and shoegaze. As far what he’d like to get out of the year ahead, it’s clear that developing on all of the plaudits and advice that they’ve received and striving forward as a unit are of the utmost importance.
“I’m hoping so. We’ve been really lucky to be offered some of the gigs we have and I’m hoping we can capitalise on them along with releasing some new tracks over the next few months and get to that wider audience. The hope is to get to that position where we are able to tour the UK and gig all over the country. So I’ve got my fingers crossed that this year is going to work out well. Just getting the chance to play our music to new audience and release some new tracks would be a success for me, anything else is a bonus.
Watch the video for Sway’s breakout single ‘To Be A Man’ below: