I introduce Swmrs first album by their short interview and my long review titled ‘CONCEPT OF THE UNCOOL’.I wrote about Swmrs philosophy , Californian young musicians , Hedi Slimane in this article. 

I hope you enjoy and check their music.


SWMRSのファーストアルバムを彼らの短いインタビューと、’UNCOOLの概念’と題した私の長いレビューで紹介します。この記事では、SWMRSの哲学から、カリフォルニアの若いミュージシャン達、Hedi Slimaneについて語っています。









SWMRS - Figuring It Out (Official Music Video) - YouTube


Drive North








Joey Armstrong

Cole Becker

Max Becker

Seb Muelle


From Oakland California


HP  http://swmrs.com/


Photo By Steve Rowe 

He documents SWMRS.

swmrs | steve rowe



SWMRS Article Archive


On The Road


About David Bowie

About Like Harry Dean and Hedi Slimane



♪Interview with Max Becker♪



What is the most important thing that you want to communicate to listeners through this?


We want people to know that you don't have to live in LA to be successful. Be proud of where you're from.



For that , how did you try to make these songs?


We wrote these songs because of ideas that Cole and I came across over the course of a year or two. From there, melodies come, we finish the chords and words, and then bring to Joey and Seb.



Who inspire you in these days?


I am very inspired by Cage The Elephant. I think they're very successful and they have street cred, that's the dream..



What is the news from you to the viewers?


We're real people and no one will ever be able to control our career except for us.



Max Becker

Saint Laurent Paris Men's Spring Summer 2016




Written by SEI
Translated by Alex Herdman


SWMRS ‘Drive North’ is the most important punk album since the 2002 release of The Libertines ‘Up The Bracket’. The latter’s releases let loose the impulses of their listeners, pressing them to action, whereas the former asks about the values that form the reasons for the listener’s actions.


In the chorus of the titular song of the album, ‘Drive North’, they repeat “I hate Los Angeles”. However, they don’t actually seem to hate LA. In fact, at the end of the song, there’s a shout, “I actually really like LA!”, followed by a denial of that feeling. So why the denial about LA? Of course, they aren’t really in denial about the city or its people. To begin with, is LA something of symbol?


It’s a symbol of success in a capitalist society, and a role model of cool. LA is home to luxurious living, and it’s celebrity culture that most embodies that life. Now young people the world over aspire to LA celebrity life, and to imitating it. However, SWMRS are not attacking the cool that LA symbolizes. They’re denying themselves an easy role model of cool to follow.


They can’t help but claim to deny it. So, instead of denying LA’s coolness, what values are they suggesting instead? That would be ‘Drive North’. It points us at Oakland, their hometown, north of LA. Are they trying to tell the listener whether Oakland is cooler than LA? Of course not. In which case, it’s a different place, but the same values. So what is it then, that Oakland symbolises?


The answer to that can be found in the message Max conveyed through the album.

‘Be proud of where you’re from.’


Oakland represents each listener’s place of origin. In other words, their claim is that we all have a ‘North’ of our own we should aim for.


Max also told me about his fashion style earlier:


‘We started wearing larger shirts and we tuck them in, most of us wear tight black jeans or light 501 jeans. It is a combination of northern / Southern California style that not many people have. We're proud of it.’

In the north you’ve got Oakland, and to the south you have LA. In short, you don’t have to stick with the culture of the place that you’re from. In other words, you can know the north, and know the south, and then choose your own style.


This is a punk album that gets the listener to ask themselves about their own values in a world where the answers to life are presented.


Is the cool that is presented by the market the right answer for you though? I wonder where it is that you came from? (and what your religion is? ethnicity is? or region?)

Beyond those  are there any values in this world that resonate with you on a more global basis?

And beyond time and space, is there any particular era’s ideas that resonate with you?


Then, bringing those answers together, they ask their listeners, what values are you actually going to live by?


In order to draw out the answer, we must each individually consider and think about this. Furthermore, even after desperate consideration your answer, unfortunately, is bound to be uncool. With LA positioned as the center of cool, your answer is then positioned as uncool.


In the lyrics of the song ‘Uncool’, whether they’re saying ‘fool’ or ‘cool’, it isn’t actually a contradiction. We’re not fool enough to accept the values of cool. If you accept this, ‘I’d rather be uncool’ is what they’re really asserting.


The story doesn’t end here, though.


In 2016, this uncool became cool. Conversely, problems with ‘cool’ came to light.


In the Saint Laurent Paris 2016SS Surf Sound Collection, Hedi was able to achieve this paradigm shift.


In the 2010s, California’s youth was making its own culture. They weren’t interested in mainstream modern cool. Instead, they saw it as uniform and inhuman. They instinctively saw through it as a kind of modern day propaganda. Then they set about finding out what cool really is for them. It was old fashioned, like the rock, punk, jazz and surf culture of the 60s and 70s. In their culture, modern cool has been eliminated, and there is a human touch of individuality and community instead.


In new Californian youth culture, the fashion, as well as music, is individualistic. Their thinking is expressed through their fashion.


Rexx buys clothes from vintage shops in Orange County, and wears Forever 21 skinny jeans. Of course, these are the skinny jeans that Hedi invented over a decade ago. Before Hedi returned to Saint Laurent, skinny jeans had become obsolete. Rexx, with secondhand clothing and fast fashion, clothes that are the opposite of cool, expresses a new set of values. He, in combination with those clothes, is representing good old punk and surf culture. Hedi himself said that he was inspired by his fashion. I heard this directly from Rexx.


Also in the California area, Swmrs, Melissa Brooks, Mothership Psychosis and The Dead Beat all use old clothes and cheap clothes to create unique styles that convey their beliefs.


However, the personality of each youth has been alienating by the sophisticated fashion of the mainstream. Youth was just a marketing target. Hedi grasped as a single large movement, the unique and separate actions of youth trends. In addition, this movement is, as Kurt Cobain and Peter Doherty said, not established around any one person’s charisma, but rather, it is each individual personality gathered together that makes it a movement. And so he positioned this movement of historical punk and surf in the flow of alternative culture. This new culture has been established by each person’s individuality. It is the individual thoughts, expression and actions of youths, therefore, that leads to the overall development of culture. In other words, Hedi is redefining the role and position of the individuality of alienated youth.


Furthermore, Hedi, using the Saint Laurent brand, positioned Californian youth’s ‘uncool’ in the fashion mainstream. He has carefully rebuilt the youth style of California with all the craft of a Parisian atelier. However, it wasn’t polished, and it wasn’t modernized. Instead, much like Kurt with sunglasses, it was tied to the culture of the past. As a result, the digital age once again has clothing with a human touch, something previously lost. The outfits are much too expensive for the models who participated in the show. But that didn’t matter. The important thing is that the diversity of youth is positioned as mainstream fashion. Rather than the brand name or its pricing, it was their values that were greatly enhanced. Thus, youth, even while dressed in the same cheap clothes as always, are able to have their values recognised and understood by the world.


On the other hand, Hedi, in the same way as these youths, redefined the position and role of Yves Saint Laurent. Before Hedi came along, the brand wasn’t the target of youthful aspirations, and wasn’t mainstream either. With only influence remaining, it had been buried in the history of fashion. He’s returning to the founder's philosophy with the Ready To Wear brand aimed at youth, bringing Saint Laurent Paris back to life. Old fashioned, traditional industrial arts alongside atelier techniques and culture are once again the target of youth aspirations. Having recognized its value, they began to think that they’d want to get really good things for themselves someday. This has once again brought confidence and work worth doing to those working in the famous fashion house.


The true nature of Hedi is something that has celebrities and idols wearing Saint Laurent outfits in a copycat manner without actual understanding. It can’t be reached by Kanye and Adidas’ rare shoe collaboration, and it can’t be reached by Supreme’s very exclusive clothing. In the end, there is a correct answer to ‘cool’, and there is value in aiming for it. Individuality is the antithesis of homogeneity. What is the creed of Californian youth that counters modern propaganda? Expressed in other words, what is the philosophy that Hedi has positioned at the core of the fashion industry?


It is not new. They are ideas we now take for granted and had started to forget. And it’s a very human and relatable thing.


That thought, backed by a great wise man, Peter Ferdinand Drucker, and placed at the core of the concept of personal responsibility, is ‘freedom’.

Glorification of that diversity of individuality, ‘freedom’, is most strongly set forth in the Surf Sound Collection. Hedi chose the music of SWMRS for that show to embody individuality. The message the show conveys, via the internet to people all over the world, is ‘take the style you have and make it into the next movement’.





Thank you for reading long article.

If you like this, please share.


I was inspired by Californian young band, The Dead Beat , when I wrote this. You can check their interview in archive of my blog


I know who embody FREEDOM besides Californian youth.

Who are IDOL MUSIC . SAP , HIGH TYDE in the UK. I recommend them.


And I really appreciate Max Becker and Alex Herdman who is translated this article.


I had met Alex at Fuji Rock Festival a decade ago when we were waiting the Strokes. He is so talented and my best friend. He understands my thinking and supports me,


I like his essay of David Bowie.

Please check.








♪Max Beckerへのインタビュー♪















Cage The Elephantにとてもインスパイアされている。彼らはとても成功しているように思う。彼らには人々からの信頼がある。それこそが夢だね。









Written by SEI


2002年にThe Libertines’Up The Bracket’をリリースして以来、SWMRSによる’Drive North’は最も重要なパンクアルバムである。前者はリスナーの衝動を解放し、彼らに行動を促したのに対して、後者はリスナーの行動の前提となる価値観そのものに問いかける。


アルバムの表題曲である’Drive North’のコーラスで、彼らは”I hate Los Angeles”と繰り返す。しかし、彼らはLAが嫌いではないはずだ。実際、曲の終盤で、”I actually really like LA”とシャウトがあり、続いてその気持ちを否定している。では、彼らがLAを否定するのはなぜか? もちろん都市や住む人々を否定しないはずだ。では、そもそもLAが象徴するものとは何か?




否定は主張にはならない。では、彼らはLACOOLを否定する代わりにどんな価値観を提示しているのか? それは’Drive North’である。NorthとはLAから北にある彼らの出身地Oaklandを指している。リスナーに対して、LAよりもOaklandCOOLだと伝えているのか? もちろん違う。それでは、場所が違うだけで同じ価値観である。では、Oaklandは何を象徴しているのだろうか?




“Be proud of where you're from. “







We started wearing larger shirts and we tuck them in, most of us wear tight black jeans or light 501 jeans. It is a combination of northern / Southern California style that not many people have. We're proud of it.








あなたはどこから来たのだろうか?(あなたの宗教とは? 民族性とは? 地域性とは?) それらを超え、あなたはグローバルな世界のどの価値観に共鳴するのか? 時空を超え、あなたはどの時代の理念に共鳴するのか?











Saint Laurent Paris 2016SS Surf Sound Collectionにおいて、Hediはこのパラダイムシフトを実現した。






REXXOrange Countyのヴィンテージショップで服を買い、FOREVER21のスキニージーンズをはいている。もちろん、このスキニージーンズはHedi10年以上前に発明したものだ。HediSaint Laurentに復帰する前には、スキニージーンズも時代遅れになっていた。REXXは、古着とファストファッションという、COOLとは対極の服で、新しい価値観を表現していた。彼は、それらの服を組み合わせて、古き良きパンクとサーフカルチャーを表現した。Hediは彼のファッションにインスパイアされたと彼自身に伝えたそうだ。これは実際にREXXから私が直接聞いたものだ。


他にも、カリフォルニア周辺には、SWMRSMellisa BrooksMothership PsycosisThe Dead Beatらが、古い服や安い服を使って、それぞれの信条を発信する個性的なスタイルを作り上げている。




Hediは、個性的であるがゆえに個別に活動しているユースの動きを、ひとつの大きなムーブメントとして捉えた。また、このムーブメントが、Kurt CobainPeter Dohertyといった、一人のカリスマを中心に成立しているのではなく、一人一人の個性が集合としてムーブメントを作っていることも見抜いた。そして、彼はこのムーブメントを、歴史あるパンクとサーフという、オルタナティブカルチャーの流れに位置づけた。この新しいカルチャーは、一人一人の個性によって成立している。それゆえに、ユースそれぞれが考え、表現するという個人的な行為そのものが、カルチャー全体の発展につながる。つまりHediは、疎外されたユースの個性の位置と役割を再定義したのだ。


さらにHediは、Saint Laurentというブランドを使い、UNCOOLの集合であるカリフォルニアのユースカルチャーを、ファッションのメインストリームに位置づけた。彼は、カリフォルニアのユースのスタイルを、パリのアトリエの技術で丁寧に再構築した。ただし、洗練させなかった、モダナイズもさせなかった。その代わりに、Kurtのサングラスなど、過去のカルチャーとひもづけた。その結果、デジタルエイジが失ったヒューマンタッチな服が揃った。ショーに参加したモデル達がコーディネートで揃えるにはあまりに高かった。しかし、それは問題ではなかった。重要なのは、ユースの多様性が、ファッションのメインストリームとして位置づけられたことであった。ブランド名や金額の高さはむしろ、その価値を一層高めるものであった。こうしてユースは、いつもと同じ安い服に身を包みながらも、彼らの価値観が認められていることを知った。


一方、Hediはユース同様に、Yves Saint Laurentというメゾンの位置と役割を再定義し、復活させた。Hediが来る前の、同ブランドはユースの憧れの対象ではなかった、メインストリームにもいなかった。権威だけが残り、ファッションの歴史に埋もれかけていた。彼は創業者の理念に立ち返り、Ready To Wearをユースのためのブランドと位置づけ、Saint Laurent Parisとして再生した。時代遅れな伝統工芸となりかけていたアトリエの技術や文化が再び、ユースの憧れの対象となった。ユースはその価値を認め、いつかは本当に良い物を手に入れたいと思うようになった。このことは、メゾンで働く人々に再び、自信とやりがいをもたらしたはずだ。


一連のHediの行動の本質は、セレブやアイドルが着ているSaint Laurentのコーディネートを真似しても理解できない。あるいは、Kanye Westadidasの希少なコラボレーションシューズを手に入れても、Supremeの限定服を手に入れても到達できない。それらは結局、COOLの正解があり、それを目指すという価値観である。個性とは対極の同質化である。


カリフォルニアのユースが現代のプロパガンダに対抗する際の信条とは何か? 言い換えるならば、Hediがファッション業界の中核に位置づけた理念とは何か? 




その思想とは、現代最高の哲人、Peter Ferdinand Druckerが思想の中核に据えた概念、個人の責任に裏打ちされた、自由である。


個性の多様性という自由への賛美をもっとも強く打ち出したのが、Surf Sound Collectionであった。そのショーのBGMに、Hediは個性を体現するSWMRSの音楽を選んだ。インターネットを経由して、ショーを見る世界中の人々に対して、あなたがスタイルを持つことが、次のムーブメントを作るんだよというメッセージであるかのように。








私はこの記事を書く際、The Dead Beatに影響を受けました。彼らのインタビューもアーカイブよりご覧ください。



イギリスのIDOL MUSIC 、SAP 、 HIGH TYDE です。彼らもおすすめします。


それから、Max BeckerとAlex Herdmanには本当に感謝しています。


Alexとは10年前、Fuji Rock FestivalThe Strokesのライブで出会いました。才能にあふれ、音楽を愛する最高の友人です。彼はいつも僕の考えを理解し、サポートしてくれています。


David Bowieについての彼のエッセイも最高です。







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