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Silver Swans “Secrets” (Influenza)

Published in Blog Archive, Culture Bully. Tags: , .

What was originally meant to be a single collaboration between vocalist Ann Yu and DJ/producer Jon Waters sparked something between the two, a rare sense of chemistry which ultimately led to the formation of Silver Swans. Whether their sound be explained as a combination of “dance floor energy, a laid back lounge refinement, and a nostalgic nod to 80s-style synth pop” (The Examiner) or simply dubbed “electro pop” (The Owl), the cooling blend of Yu’s airy vocals and Waters’ electronic backdrop unveils itself as a refreshing contrast to the vocalist’s other act, the relatively guitar-heavy San Francisco-based group, LoveLikeFire. This bubbling contrast between the two is no more evident than on their new single, “Secrets.” The track, which will be released on the duo’s forthcoming EP of the same name, progressively swells with synth as Yu skims the surface of the rumbling song with her angelic vocals; RCRD LBL‘s Kev Kharas recently described her as having “the sort of voice you’ll feel on your neck.” In this edition of Influenza the singer further explains the lyrics behind the track while also delving further into the unusually efficient songwriting dynamic between herself and Waters.


Jon and I try to keep our song making process as new as possible—trying to challenge ourselves by never sticking to a formula that has worked in the past. Sometimes he’ll shoot me an idea and I write a melody to it. Other times I’ll write a guitar part and melody and he’ll take that and transform it, changing everything about it but the melody. Other times we’ll just get together and work on it from the ground up, part by part based around a melody alone and then change everything about it including the melody. Jon is an insanely talented and prolific producer, he can transform anything into something I connect with.

“Secrets” was one of the quickest collaborations we’ve had for the EP and is also the nearest to my heart lyrically. I was at home in San Francisco one night, having come back from an uninspired day at work, thinking about where I was five years ago and where I will be five years from now. So I wrote “Secrets” to myself, like an honest letter to me. That night, I recorded a demo of the vocals and guitar part and I remember being in my cartoon puppies snuggie sweats, recording it just like I wrote the lyrics, just for myself really, ’cause I’d never wear my hideous snuggie sweats for anyone else. Writing and recording the way that I’d do anything when no one else was watching me behind closed doors. Maybe that says something about me. I sent this to Jon and he sent me back something beautiful and I loved it immediately. That’s why we called the song “Secrets,” because it started off that way; but I guess it’s not much of a secret anymore.