More of a casual RE-introduction, this – as you will read below, How To Swim have existed in one form or another for most of this millennium. Despite that they still exude the youthful enthusiasm (new lyrics excepted) that many bands lack – throwing everything including the kitchen sink into their more exuberant chamber-pop pieces, while retaining a strong ear for a sharp lyric and a telling melody.

Ever-present frontman Ink / Gregor gave us a bit of a history lesson…


Gregor Barclay / Ink Wilson: Guitar / Vocals
Paul Kelly: Guitar
Nicola West: Cello / Keys
Ian Cronan: Drums
Dave Gillies: Bass


The first HTS gig was in September 2000, but (other than GB) it was a completely different line-up. At the time of writing, there have been upwards of 40 people in the band throughout its lifetime – this current five have been together for about six months, part of a conscious effort to ‘slimline’ the band so we can play gigs further afield without bankrupting ourselves…

Where / What?

The band that formed in Glasgow in 2000 shares so little DNA with the current outfit, it seems odd to mention how it came about. Where we are now, though, is about to release our new album, Niagarama, which we’ve recorded over the last year and a half at Green Door Studios. It’s our first full-length since Retina in 2010, and it’s sonically similar to that record, but thematically more personal. A lot of the subject matter comes from my hitting 30 since Retina came out, and kinda taking stock of where I am, and where I thought I would be at this point. It’s almost a break-up record but one that’s about maybe three different actual human break-ups as well as my break-up with my twenties. It’s more personal – there’s fewer songs about pirates.


I’ve always thought that the band is something I’ll keep doing until it stops being fun. 14 years down the line, I guess the fact that we’re still playing regularly and making new music is something to be proud of. There’s something to be said for remaining in the shadows – we’ve been able to evolve in our own wee corner, and there’s no longer any pressure to do a particular thing at a particular time; there’s no longer a constant push towards getting ‘signed’. (Do bands still get signed?) I think the music we’re making is better than ever because of that. The only downside to doing everything ourselves is that the music doesn’t get heard by as many people as we’d like…

As far as the future is concerned, I’m aiming to make a feature film in 2015, which HTS will be providing the score for. Before that, we’re hoping to put out the follow-up to Niagarama – working title: FrigHTS and DeligHTS – hopefully before the end of the year. We’re also recording an EP in Barcelona in May, a follow-up to the Midnight Steak mini-album we put out last summer. (I toyed with the idea of calling it Midnight Steak II: The Resteakening, but thought better of it.) Then in September 2015 we’re going to do a special show, celebrating the 15th anniversary of the band. We’re going to see how many of the 40 former members we can lure back for one last score…

How To Swim launch Niagarama at Glasgow’s CCA on Friday 21st March 2014. More at their Facebook page.

How to Swim – Bacterium from How to Swim on Vimeo.