While his was never exactly a household name, Richard Swift quietly guided the direction of indie rock in the 2010s, working on some of the most iconic dark-horse releases of the decade which include collaborations with Cults, Sharon Van Etten, Foxygen, Damien Jurado, Lee Fields & the Expressions, Dan Auerbach, and Alex Cameron—not to mention a pair of solo LPs to follow up a four-solo-album run in the aughts, as well as his output with The Arcs, Pony Express, and, briefly, Starflyer 59. Unfortunately it wasn’t until Swift passed away in 2018 that his name became known outside of insider circles, with each of these artists and more praising his work in the studio and as a touring musician.
One such band fortunate enough to spend the decade working with Swift was Pure Bathing Culture, who released a new EP last Friday to commemorate the late musician. Recorded at Swift’s studio, Carrido’s songs are guided by the ghost of their peer, with the EP’s three original songs sounding nearly as familiar to the Swift canon as their cover of his track “Would You?”
To further honor Swift’s legacy—or perhaps to introduce curious audiences to his distinctive sound—the dreamy duo of Daniel Hindman and Sarah Versprille put together a playlist of their favorite songs produced by Swift, including several of his own tracks and some PBC cuts that most remind the duo of their friend.
Hear the full track list and read about their picks below. Carrido is out now via Infinite Companion—order it here.
Damien Jurado, “Nothing Is the News”
In 2011, the first winter we lived in Portland, Swift called and asked if we would come to the studio to play a bit on the Damien Jurado record he was working on. We had never met Damien before, but he picked us up in Portland on his way down to Cottage Grove from Seattle. That’s Daniel playing the electric guitars on this track. This record was recorded direct to tape, and the guitar soloing was done in one improvised take while Rich manipulated the space echo to create all that feedback.
Jessie Baylin, “Creepers (Young Love)”
We met Jessie through Richard in 2010 when we still lived in Brooklyn. She was playing a few East Coast shows and we ended up playing in her band. Jessie’s music is beautiful, and she’s a wonderful person to work with and be around. Rich worked with her on a lot of releases—actually, the last time we worked with him in his studio was the summer of 2017 on Jessie’s most recent record, Strawberry Wind. This song is from a record called Dark Place that Jessie and Richard co-wrote together and Rich produced. Such a great jam.
Foxygen, “San Francisco”
Foxygen were recording this record around the same time or shortly after we were recording our first EP with Swift. We remember Rich talking about Sam and Rado (his special little boys) and playing us some early mixes of theirs in the studio—we loved it. We were on tour playing in Jessie Baylin’s band, and Rich called and asked if we could stop by in between shows in Portland and San Francisco and sing a bit on the new Foxygen record. The female backing vocals on this track are Jessie Baylin and me—we just sang those parts one time and got back in the van to head to SF. As Rich would say: “2EZ.”
Pure Bathing Culture, “Lucky One”
This is the first song we wrote together. We recorded a demo on a 4-track tape machine when we still lived on the East Coast. Swift was playing some East Coast shows opening for the band The Fray back in the summer of 2009 and asked us to play with him for a bunch of shows on that tour. One night we were off and just hanging at our apartment and we played him this song on the 4-track. It was the first time we shared our music with anyone, and he was super excited and really supportive. He said we should come to Oregon to record with him at his studio, and when we look back at this moment, it was likely the catalyst that opened the door to our life as PBC and our move to the West Coast in 2011. This recording is just so special to us.
Richard Swift, “Nancy”
Teardrops, “TD vs. PBC”
Teardrops is a collaboration between Swift and the amazing Yuuki Matthews. Yuuki was playing in Swift’s band when we first met him in 2009 on tour, while we were playing in the band Vetiver. Yuuki is an incredible musician, mix engineer, and producer and a great friend. He and Swift worked together in many capacities over the years in music. This whole record is so rad and we were honored they sampled our song “Silver Shore’s Lake” for this track.
Gardens & Villa, “Black Hills”
Gardens & Villa were working with Swift around the same time we were recording our first EP with him, and this track from their first record is so rad. We remember hearing this song for the first time in Swift’s studio—he was always so proud of the bands he was recording. We’re really grateful for all the friends we’ve made through Rich, so many magical people have come into our lives through him.
Pure Bathing Culture, “Evergreener”
This was one of Rich’s favorite songs on our record Moon Tides. He really understood the world we wanted to create and was just so down to get into it. He was such an enthusiastic lover of music, and when you worked with him he made you feel like pretty much all of your ideas were genius. He gave us the confidence to explore the sounds we were hearing.
Richard Swift, “Lady Luck”
One of the most infamous and quintessential Swift jams. Word from a very trusted source is that this track was done entirely on a 4-track cassette machine. It was added to the record at the last minute during the mastering session. Amazing!