By: Jenny Rodriguez and Tristen Tarp
The Austin-based alternative soul band consists of frontman Joe Perry, drummer Ryan Hannasch, lead guitarist Alec Conte, and Jonny Boy Kerr as rhythm guitarist.
Their sound is “pop and roll,” or more commonly put, alternative soul. Joe compares it to a mix between The Doors and The Strokes.
The guys met by chance at a small liberal arts school, discovered that they shared a common interest in music and started a band for fun.
After graduating in 2012, they fully intended to continue their education with graduate school. But then Ryan surprised the members with a Swimming with Bears tattoo!
After laughing it off, Joe said, “if he’s going to commit to it, I’m going to commit to it.”
The rest of the members followed suit and have been living together for seven years now, focusing on music and practicing every day.
Their initial RAW showcase was in 2012. Joe refers to it as a major turning point, since it was the first time they played for an audience of over 300 people.
He reflects on the experience, recalling that it was more nerve-wracking than the usual gig because the audience was not familiar with their music.
Swimming with Bears say they owe thanks to RAW for teaching them about marketing and branding in their early days. Without the guidance of RAW, the band would not have been able to make the connections that guided them to today’s success.
To bands just starting out, Joe recommends to practice every day and, “if you’re close to a city that has RAW Artists, make sure you get in contact with them, because they’ll help you in the long run."
Listen to the full interview on RAWdio:
Swimming with Bears' newest singles, “Take It Easy” and “French Girls” are available on iTunes and Spotify. The band plans to continue releasing new music throughout 2018 so follow them on @swimmingwithbears for updates.