Seattle’s Nicolle Swims, front person for the grungy rock band Black Ends, has produced a brand new EP, Sellout, which may take over the city. The four-song masterpiece feels experimental, but that’s just the sign of a genius at work. It’s as honed, precise and exquisite as anything produced in the Emerald City this year or in recent memory. It slouches. It knows you. It’s seen you when you weren’t looking. It’s the antidote to a bad night. It’s a fist thrust into air over and over again.
To celebrate the record’s release, we reached out to Swims to ask about our favorite song on the EP, “Maybe When,” and to see what’s next for this rising rock musician, who will soon be opening for The Black Tones April 11th at Chop Suey.
What do you like about grunge music?
It’s honest and to the point.
Guitar tones seem to be crucial to your songwriting. Do you find yourself experimenting with them often?
I guess you could say that. I’m basically just trying to get my guitar to sound like wind chimes for the most part. I feel like the conformist answer would be, “Tone is all in the fingers, man. I don’t really think about it too much.” But honestly that’s what I was going to say at first. I am a fallen man. I definitely don’t have much gear at the moment. It’s all pretty straightforward – one pedal through a Hot Rod DeVille – but the guitar tone is definitely vital and I am hoping to experiment more with sounds in general in the near future.
I heard you say in another interview that you like being different. What about this vantage point do you particularly appreciate?
I guess I don’t really like BEING different. I hate the reason to why I feel differentiated. But looking at it as positively as one can, I feel like there’s a beautiful black wave that is hitting rock music and I’m glad to be a part of it.
The song “Maybe When” on the new EP is a fucking hit. Can you tell me the genesis of that track?
I first wrote that song when I lived in San Francisco back in 2016. The whole six months was kind of just depression and drinking wine in my room all day. It just really came to me like any other song does but sometimes I do think the sunsets there helped me write it.
This may come from left field, but it seems like there’s a real wry sense of humor to your aesthetic. Is this off base?
That’s not off base at all actually, although I never really thought about it like that before until now!
What’s next for you and your band, Black Ends?
I definitely want to tour sometime soon. I also want to sit down and finish old ideas and songs. Maybe isolate in Montana and try to make an album in the future when I’ve got the means. We’re just going to keep playing and having a good time with it.