Strawberry Swing locks us in for their new thrilling, uptempo release, "Bennie (Won't Dance)."
Strawberry Swing (Mark Griffin and Nima Dehghani), the Iranian-born and Sydney-bred duo, fuse their wide range of influences from Billy Joel and Coldplay to the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Gil Scott-Herin. As Mark puts it, “Strawberry Swing is a strange brew of everything Nima and I bring to the table, but, at its heart, it’s pop music with live instruments, the way your mama likes it.”
Self-produced and curated for the most epic listening experience, Strawberry Swing presents Nima’s groovy keys, Mark’s cheeky lyrics, and their modern pop played old-school, with a distinct strawberry flavor. "Bennie (Won't Dance)" is a record not to miss out on, showing exactly everything the talented duo can provide sonically.
Strawberry Swing kicks off their latest single with a suspenseful instrumental drum roll and guitar introduction to lead us toward the opening line. Then, the storytelling begins, and our ears are already engulfed in the harmonic and versatile, meshed sounds displayed. The electrifying vocal presence and lyrics like "Have a groovy time" help enhance the euphoric vibes to match the beautifully orchestrated production driving this record.
'Bennie' (the subject of this record) inspired an entire sonic story about how a woman feels about him and his actions toward her. "Bennie won't dance with me" gets repeated in the chorus in the most upbeat part of this record, making for a catchy dance vibe for your Saturday night.
Time to get down and wild with Strawberry Swing and their new startling single, "Bennie (Won't Dance)," available on all streaming platforms.
We are ecstatic to have you with us today! We love your new record "Bennie (Won't Dance)" tell us what the creative process was like and how long it took to complete it?
So Bennie was actually the first song Nima, and I wrote together. We wrote it even before we were Strawberry Swing, so back in 2019. Nima came around, and he had these stabs and this little groove. I’d just bought “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” on vinyl, so the first thing I thought when I heard the open chord was, “Bennie!”. It didn’t really sound like that, but it was in my head now, so I started riffing lyrics about Bennie and trying to jam in as many classic rock references as possible.
We decided to swing the chorus, so we did this double-time swing thing and then made the vocal hook this old-school simple repetitive thing. When we started Strawberry Swing just after we wrote it, it quickly became one of our live staples, and over time we tidied up the opening stabs to make them hit harder, and the chorus turned into this call and response chant with the audience.
We recorded it end of last year, and it was fast because we’d played it live so many times. Cara (aka meadowhip) had been performing live with us for like a year at that point, so it was a no-brainer to feature her as the singer, and then we got our guitarist at the time, Nate (he’s on bass duties now) to wail at a solo and this was it. I think we had all of the instruments down in two takes, and then it was just doing some vocal stacks, so it was like a day in the studio. We had our mate Ben Cauduro mix and master and through some bass on it, and it was ready to go.— Mark.
"Bennie (Won't Dance)" has daring elements attached to it; what did you want to bring across to your fans in this single, and why?
I think we wanted to bring a bit of old-school production to the track. It’s got a bit of a throwback rock ‘n’ roll vibe, and playing ‘pop’ (in the broadest sense) with live instruments is kind of our thing, so I guess we wanted to lean into that. So it’s played to a click but not quantized (digitally corrected for time, sort of like auto-tune for timing). It sounds how we played it, which gives it a slightly ragged human quality. And then we also added that solo which I guess you don’t hear as much these days, although I think guitar solos are coming back in a little. And then I suppose the other daring element is the vocals, we tracked three layers of vocals which are fairly standard. That way, you can pan one left, one right, and then have one center or whatever, but normally only one is prominent in the mix, but when we sent it to Ben to be mixed, they were all at the same level, and he thought that sounded cool. So he leaned into it and did this wall-of-sound thing with the vocals and then added some Cars style stereo-effects in the bridge, and we just really liked it.
But yeah, we were trying to bring a lot of energy to the track with the recording and production. It’s our big crowd participation song live, so we wanted it to have that energy.— Mark
How has music changed for you over the years compared to when you started out?
We’re still pretty new as an act, but the big thing for us has been starting out during a pandemic. When we started, there were lockdowns, and capacity limits, and all our early gigs were sitting down only. So just being able to have people stand up and dance at shows is a big change.
The other big change is probably TikTok. Even back in 2019/20, when we started, it was all about Instagram, and now everything is about TikTok, so that’s been something new to get our heads around.— Mark
Strawberry Swing is such a cool name! Please tell us how it was chosen and why?
I think Strawberry Swing was one of the first names I threw out when we were brainstorming, but I immediately rejected it because of the Coldplay song. But Nima latched on to the fruit thing, and I liked the swing, so I was trying to do something with peaches for ages. But yeah, Strawberry Swing was just too good a name, so we circled back to it eventually and decided even with the Coldplay song, it just worked. — Mark
What's next for you?
We’re about to record our next single, so that should be out around September/October, and then maybe a Live EP. We’ll see!