All Music Magazine caught up to Jimmy Kwong of the band Soulswitch on the heels of the release of their new single “Take Me Under”
All Music Magazine: Take Me Under has been out now for about 30 hours. How is it being received?
Jimmy Kwong: It’s been received pretty well; I’ve been getting a lot of positive comments and actually private messages about it.
All Music Magazine: You did a lot of promotion on this, heading up to it creating a little more excitement.
Jimmy Kwong: Yeah, we put out a couple of teasers and paid for a little advertising.
All Music Magazine; What are you proudest about the recording?
Jimmy Kwong: I would say that the song actually didn’t change as much, actually not at all from when we wrote it. We have a producer, and he liked it as it was.
All Music Magazine: Did you use Michael Baskette for your producer?
Jimmy Kwong: No we used James Paul Wisner, he’s produced Paramore, Hands Like Houses, Under Oath.
All Music Magazine: It seemed a little bit different from your previous recordings, it seemed more vocal front and center.
Jimmy Kwong: This is the first time Paul (Mahoney) has recorder with us. That wasn’t the point of it, but the thing was Paul. This was the first-time recording songs with us to be released, so the songs were probably more vocal than instrumental.
All Music Magazine: Is an EP or LP on the way?
Jimmy Kwong: We are actually going to release multiple singles.
All Music Magazine: Has the (Corona) virus affected recording at all?
Jimmy Kwong: No, fortunately for us, we got finished recording a week or two right before the virus outbreak. So when they did the quarantine, everything was done digitally. We were done and just had to send it out to get mastered after we approved the mix.
All Music Magazine: Are any other singles recorded yet?
Jimmy Kwong: Yes, we have recorded four singles.
All Music Magazine: So those aren’t being released in an EP?
Jimmy Kwong: No, just one at a time and then we are going back into the studio to do more.
All Music Magazine: Sounds like you have a plan.
Jimmy Kwong: Yes, and we plan to have a music video for every song.
All Music Magazine: That’s cool as songs get a lot of play with a music video.
Jimmy Kwong: Yeah, unfortunately our video guy lives in LA and he was supposed to fly in in April to shoot “Take Me Under”. But obviously he cannot fly anywhere. So, the second video is going to be a real music video. Now if he cannot get here in time, we are probably going to find another video guy locally as I know a few.
All Music Magazine: They should be lifting that shortly and I couldn’t see that going on another two weeks.
Jimmy Kwong: Well, you know it’s up in the air, right? So, what’s right or wrong at this point?
All Music Magazine: It’s a whole another debate isn’t it?
Jimmy Kwong: Yeah, we have a whole other interview for that.
(Laughter on both sides)
All Music Magazine: Are you and Matt (Larson) the founders of Soulswitch?
Jimmy Kwong: I’m actually the founder of Soulswitch.
All Music Magazine: You have been carrying on since 2006?
Jimmy Kwong: Yes, actually I formed the group in 2003. But, I moved it to Central Florida in 2006. I like to say it really was 2006, when it was the real start. I did okay in Ft. Lauderdale, but the problem is there is no music down there, no rock music. I saw it coming so I left.
All Music Magazine: How has the band evolved in you opinion?
Jimmy Kwong: For over ten years we didn’t change one member. Actually, we changed the drummer in the ninth year. But we really haven’t changed too many members. We have had a lot of auditions even before I got Matt, Nick, Tom, and Mike the original guys that were in the band. This latest version of the band I have known each member for 10 years or more. To me they were the best of what they were in their other bands.
All Music Magazine: So you handpicked an all-star band in Orlando?
Jimmy Kwong: Well, I wouldn’t say that. I definitely want to play with experienced musicians who have a good work ethic and who can play. You’re not the first person to say it’s a super group, but the point is why would you want to play with people who can’t play? Obviously you want to play with people at your own level.
All Music Magazine: Like the New York Yankees! The best talent money can buy!
Jimmy Kwong: Yes! For what it’s worth, our music and work ethic speaks for itself.
All Music Magazine: As far as song writing, how is that collaborated with the band?
Jimmy Kwong: There are many different ways, it can be the whole band, but the majority of the time I right a song. I structure it, and it takes me quite a bit of time to get it to where I feel it needs to be. Then I bring it to the band and simultaneously Paul (Mahoney) starts writing lyrics on his own. I do help him produce the lyrics a bit. But the band and I run through what I have and then we change together or add stuff that makes it us. Because there is only so much stuff I am going to do to it. I can invest a long time, like for instance “Take Me Under”, there wasn’t much that needed change. But that is almost the first of its kind. Together the band felt that there wasn’t much that needed to be changed. It flowed very well. Most times I don’t like to do that. I like to co-write with a lot of people. At that point it’s really instrumentation the other is changing instrumentation around putting tags in or I might have to write a new verse, or Billy (Rufrano) has a better verse. In this band there is no leader. I’ve thrown songs away that I’ve worked 3 weeks on.
All Music Magazine: So what your saying is there are no egos?
Jimmy Kwong: There are no egos, just very constructive criticism in this band and a lot of positive.
All Music Magazine: So you have been playing music for 17 years under Soulswitch. Jimmy, where do you go from here, is the big question?
Jimmy Kwong: Well, I just keep going. We have had management; different management and the major beef is rock music isn’t the same in the public. Things change, not just the genre, but the business is very, very different. It’s about merchandise and marketing really. If you can make it on Tic Tok or YouTube (laugh). When record labels care more about YouTube than your actual song. Not for nothing, we’re not shaking our ass or titties, that’s not what we’re doing. We are writing rock music. As far as the future goes, we all love playing music and love being together performing and the process. Obviously if something happens that’s fine. If not, my life is still fulfilled as I don’t play music to chase anything else but the fulfillment of my love of music.
All Music Magazine: Sounds very healthy
Jimmy Kwong: We all strive, we all do our thing to move forward but, we’re not doing anything that would be equivalent to selling yourself to the devil now a days.
All Music Magazine: With that I’m going to wrap this up and say thank you Jimmy Kwong for your time and best of luck to your new single!