Most people watched School of Rock and decided that Jack Black was a gifted comedic actor. Cole Becker and Joey Armstrong decided to start a band. Along with Becker’s brother Max, they formed Emily’s Army back in 2004, a no-frills pop-punk band that put out two punchy albums, both produced by Armstrong’s father—also known as Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong—and which propelled them to two Vans Warped Tours. But with high school graduation and the addition of bassist Sebastian Mueller came the desire to form a new, more evolved project, so SWMRS was born.
Now, after releasing several buzzy singles including the purring Miley Cyrus tribute “Miley,” the Hedi Slimane co-signed Bay Area foursome is getting ready to release their debut album, Drive North, this Friday. One of the tracks off that record (which was produced by FIDLAR’s Zac Carper) is the blowout anthem, “Figuring It Out,” an ode to the uncertainty of transitioning into adulthood and well, figuring your shit out. For the song’s video, which we’re premiering here, the band recruited fellow Bay Area firebrand Kreayshawn, who in addition to her rapping career is an experienced music video director. After this very enjoyable interview with Becker, check out the clip below, which finds the exuberant foursome—with their dyed hair and boundless energy—playing fake instruments like the fate of the universe depended on it.
How would you describe your aesthetic?
Like a grandpa at an outlet store on his way to a Sonic Youth show.
How did your career get started?
I met the Jonas Brothers when they opened for Miley Cyrus and decided from that point on I needed to be a musician, too.
Where do you hope to be professionally in 5 years?
Playing music and having fun doing it.
What’s your next project?
I’m gonna write a novel/film called Death Force Triangle.
What are you most proud of so far in terms of your career?
I liked playing with Juicy J at Beach Goth.
What famous person dead or living do you most wish you could have as a roommate?
Bob Ross (the painting instructor).
What is your favorite driving music?
Probably Missy Elliott haha.
Whose career would you most like to emulate?
Madonna or Ice Cube if we are being totally candid.
If you had to live in a past time, what do you think would be the most fun era and why?
Are the ’60s cliché? My other one is Europe after the treaty of Paris in 1815, but living before pasteurization and modern medicine would be very suspect.
What activities do most enjoy doing alone?
Reading, writing, watching old movies, and alchemy.
How do you wind down before bed?
Reading, writing, watching old movies, alchemy.
When are you most relaxed?
In a bath because it’s Freudian reversion therapy.
What kind of person were you in high school?
I was the student body president and an Eagle Scout haha. But still fairly quiet and always at punk shows.
Can you tell me a quality about yourself that you are genuinely proud of?
My honesty, even when it hurts lol.
Do you have any phobias?
El Pollo Loco and claustro.
What’s a serious side of you that people are unlikely to know about? Either in terms of interests, hobbies, or personality?
I really like to spend time alone either watching movies, writing poems, or reading books.
What are some new hobbies you would like to take on?
I want to learn a little bit of audio engineering.
What are some of your favorite Internet memes of all time?
Dwayne The Rock Johnson.
How do you hope to grow as a creative person?
I want to write more music with other people, and help other people write songs and whatnot.
If there was a phrase that you think best sums up your approach to life what might it be?
No fake people allowed.