Jul 02, 2020
Cole Becker, Joey Armstrong, Sebastian Mueller and Max Becker are SWMRS. (Alice Baxley/Fueled By Ramen Press)

SWMRS is making waves

SWMRS, pronounced “Swimmers,” is a punk rock band from Oakland that is taking over the punk scene with its fearless lyrics and unique sound.

Members of SWMRS are lead vocalist and guitarist Cole Becker, lead guitarist Max Becker, bassist Seb Mueller and drummer Joey Armstrong.

The band officially formed in 2015, but the members have been playing music together since they were kids.

Cole Becker and his childhood friend, Armstrong, began playing together at age 8 after seeing the movie “School of Rock.” They asked Cole’s brother, Max, to sing and play bass. In 2014, Max would switch to lead guitar when Mueller joined the band.

The history of SWMRS is a long one and can be tough for anyone to sift through. Here are the basics:

  • Some members began playing together in 2004.
  • SWMRS is the band’s fourth name. It previously went under the names The Raining Souls (2004), The Clocks (2004) and Emily’s Army (2005 – 2014).
  • Armstrong is the son of Billie Joe Armstrong, lead singer of punk rock band Green Day.
  • The band signed with Fueled By Ramen in October 2016. Fueled by Ramen is home to bands like Paramore, Twenty One Pilots and Panic! At the Disco.
  • The band released a total of five EPs (extended plays) between 2009 and 2015.
  • “Drive North” is the band’s first studio album under the name SWMRS, but the third album from it in total.

“Drive North” was released through Fueled by Ramen in October 2016 and is filled with songs that are unique, catchy and nostalgic.

The first single from the album is called “Miley,” a punk rock tribute to actress and musician Miley Cyrus.

Becker makes it clear what he thinks of Cyrus from the very beginning of the song when he sings: “They all criticize your latest, but I think you’re the greatest, ‘cause Miley you’re a punk rock queen.”

“I wrote this song about who she is now and how she’s overcome this crazy [expletive], like the body dismorphia that she got from ‘Hannah Montana,’” said Becker in an interview with i-D. “I respect her so much. In the song, I say she’s the greatest, because I think she is.”

The song is fun to listen to, and it is clear that it seems to be a listener favorite with over 1.5 million streams on Spotify.

Another listener favorite is “Figuring It Out,” which has over 3.5 million streams on Spotify. The song is a reassurance that it is OK and expected to not have everything figured out as you are growing up.

“I remember feeling really lost in a sea of so-called identity crises when I saw a TED Talk from Tavi Gevinson reassuring the world that it is normal for teenagers not to have it all figured out,” Becker said to Alternative Press Magazine. “That always stuck with me, and one day I came up with a melody and knew that it was time to write the song.”

SWMRS currently has over 155,000 monthly listeners on Spotify.

The band will play a show in Fresno at Strummer’s on Oct. 24, at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are available online and at Strummer’s during regular business hours.

You can follow SWMRS on Twitter and Instagram at @swmrs.  

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