EXCLUSIVE: Interview with Louden Swain’s Stephen Norton

We’re super happy that they found us and that we found them.

Since 1997, Louden Swain has been rocking stages around the world with their unique, influential, and incredibly written tracks. With Rob Benedict’s vocals, Michael Borja on the bass, Billy Moran on the guitar, and Stephen Norton on the drums, they’ve successfully captivated an audience of thousands. Over the last nineteen years, they’ve recorded seven studio albums, and they’ve shown no signs of slowing down.

Despite them all having a crazy hectic schedule, we were lucky enough to get the opportunity to speak with Louden Swain’s unbelievably talented and inspiring drummer, Stephen Norton. We chatted about the band’s new music, their powerhouse performances at the official Supernatural conventions, how Stephen would describe his bandmates (in only three words each), and much more. Check it out below.

What inspired you to start learning how to play the drums?

It was something that I just wanted to do from a super early age. I would sit in the back of the car, and I would hear songs on the radio and I would be playing them on my legs like I was playing drums. It was just like, a part of me and it was just something I wanted to do. I think it was just all the music that I heard on the radio. My aunt or my older sister would be playing records from Queen, or records from KISS, or all those bands back in the 80s’. That was probably what did it for me.


Were you always set on becoming a professional musician, or did you originally have another career in mind?

No, I always wanted to play music for a living. I’ve been able to do music full time for the last couple of years and that’s been amazing, but I definitely had to do other things along the way. I worked in the music business for a while, like doing sales and marketing and those kinds of things. I worked in the cell phone industry for a little while, which wasn’t a lot of fun. I just did what I had to do to pay the bills, but I always kept playing music throughout that whole thing. Music was always the plan, for sure.


For our readers who aren’t familiar with your band, how would you define Louden Swain’s music?

I would say that it’s indie rock. It’s in the tradition of Nirvana and Pearl Jam, but mixed in with a little more ‘poppier’ stuff, like R.E.M., and certainly influences from The Beatles and more pop music.


With only three words per person, how would you describe your bandmates?

For Borja, it would be Switzerland, because he always tries to be neutral on everything, robot, and what?. For Billy, I would say determined, driven, and talented. For Rob, I would also say talented, passionate, and quirky.


A few weekends a year, Louden Swain gets to present and perform at the official Supernatural conventions. What is that like?

It really is amazing. There’s no other words to describe it. It’s an unbelievable passion and energy that those fans have, and they are so super supportive of everything related to Supernatural, and we’re just really fortunate to have the opportunity to get to play for them. They treat us so, so well and they’re so super nice. They’re very much family for us. Their love, their attention, and their affection is fantastic.


Do the shows at the Supernatural conventions from your regular tour shows?

A little bit. Those Saturday Night Special shows on the Supernatural tour, there’s still the essence of Louden Swain. It’s sixty percent Louden Swain music, seventy percent Louden Swain music, depending on the night and depending on what other actors are going to perform with us. Certainly, it’s a little different. Our normal show, we don’t have other people come up and join us. Or if we do, it might be one person at the encore, like Jason Manns or one of our other musician buddies that comes up and joins us. To work with the actors and finding songs that they’re excited about doing, that works for them, it adds a different dimension to our show. It also pushes us to do songs that we wouldn’t normally play. We do an Eminem song with Osric, we’ve done a Wiz Khalifa song with Osric, and we’ve done songs with Gil McKinney that we would never pick out and say “Hey, we’re going to add these to the Louden Swain set.” They’re songs that aren’t necessarily on the radar.


On top of the performances, Louden Swain does photo ops and autographs at the conventions. Do you enjoy getting to have those direct interactions with your fans?

Absolutely. Those are some of the best things that we do at the conventions. So much of our time at the conventions, we play the actors on and off stage, and then we go back, and we hang out in the green room for forty minutes and read, or work on new music, or we’re getting ready for the show Saturday night. Those times where we get to go to the photo ops, and the autographs, and the meet and greets that we do as well— The meet and greets are fantastic because you get to sit in a room with just ten people. The autograph line, everyone’s moving really quickly, you get maybe fifteen seconds with each person. In the meet and greets, you actually get to sit down and have a conversation. It’s a more intimate setting where you can actually learn about the people that are in the room, and we see a lot of the people over and over again, and so we get to know them a little bit. It’s great. The photo ops are fun because they ask us to do crazy things, and we never take ourselves too seriously, so we’re willing to do almost anything that people ask us to do, up to a certain point. Those things are a blast. We love doing them.


On January 13th, Louden Swain’s seventh album, No Time Like The Present, will be released worldwide. What can we expect from the album?

Hopefully, a lot of great music. I think what you can expect is an album that is very much Louden Swain, but it’s also another step in our growth. We’ve come along each record and listening to this record, I get super excited about it because to me, these are the best performances we’ve ever done. I think the songs are the best songs we’ve written. It’s very much Louden Swain, but it also is a growth for us. And hopefully, fans have had a chance to hear some of the tracks already that we’ve been streaming on our website. We’re going to keep releasing a new one every week up on LoudenSwain.com for people to hear. They’ll have a good idea of what that record is. It’s very much just another step in our evolution, and it’s something that we’re very excited to share with everybody.


If you had to pick a favorite track from No Time Like The Present, which one would you choose and why?

The standout track for me is “Leg Up”. I really love “Leg Up”. Rob brought in the bulk of it, and Mike added a cool piano part to it. We sat down with that song and said “Well we can do it the way that we have always done a song and just sort of blow through it”, where it’s all the same energy the whole time, but we really took that song apart, and we built it up. It starts out very quietly and then it builds up, and by the time it gets to the chorus— I’m super excited for the song. The energy in it is great. I love the lyrics, and for me, it’s a song I keep singing to myself over and over. Hopefully, that’ll be the same for everybody else.


The last Louden Swain music video released on YouTube was for “Bandaged Hand” in 2015. Are there any new music videos in the works?

Yeah, there are. We’re working on piecing together a live video from a bunch of the footage that we’ve gotten from all of our live shows over the last year, and that’s proving to be a little bit harder than what we’d hoped. We’re also planning on doing at least one, if not two concept videos for the album. I don’t want to give away any secrets, but we’ve got some really fun ideas planned for a couple of songs. We’re hoping to film something either in December or January, and hopefully get something out right around the time that the record comes out.


Over the years, Louden Swain has been incredibly successful. You’ve toured around the world, you’ve recorded seven studio albums, and you’re continuing to play the shows at the Supernatural conventions. Is this anything close to what you were expecting when Louden Swain was first formed?

No. I think if you had asked us twenty years ago when we first got together what we’d be doing twenty years from now, I think we would’ve been happy playing for our friends and clubs around town. I always had ambitions for the band, of it being something larger than just a local club band. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but I always thought that our music was accessible and it was something that people could relate to. I’m super happy that we found an audience that’s been able to relate to the music, that’s embraced it so much, and I hope the next year brings us even more shows and even a bigger audience. It’s certainly exceeded what our expectations were.


Lastly, is there anything you’d like to say to your fans?

Thank you. A massive thank you, and we love you. We say it all the time when we’re on stage, and we’re in meet and greets. We always want to take the time to say thank you to everybody for coming out, because it’s so easy for people to not support artists, to not support bands and stuff. We just appreciate every person that comes out, and we’re super happy that they found us and that we found them. So thank you, and we love you, for sure.

Louden Swain’s newest album, No Time Like The Present, will be released worldwide on January 13th, 2017. It is available for preorder on iTunes here. If you’re looking to catch one of their shows, you can check out all of their current show dates out on their website, LoudenSwain.com. There, you can also stream some of the new tracks on their upcoming album. You can find the rest of the band’s social media down below.

FacebookInstagramTumblrYouTubeWebsiteiTunes – ReverbNation – Stageit

Are you a fan of Louden Swain? Will you be purchasing their seventh album? Tell us your response by tweeting us on our Twitter page, @CelebMix.

Written by Jessica Brown

A college graduate who enjoys watching Supernatural, attending conventions and concerts, taking photos, and writing to the masses. Email me at jesslaurenb@yahoo.com.