Swoon Lake Debuts First Single “Narcolepsy”, Discuss Sleep Paralysis And Pistachio Ice Cream

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Brooklyn’s Swoon Lake is comprised of three very observant humans named Melodie, Paul and Lucy. Their names already evoke the sense that all three should be involved in music. While “Melodie” is self-explanatory, there’s the ever-present references to many famously talented musicians named Paul, and while “Lucy” is most commonly recognized as part of a Beatles song, it’s got a flow to it that is almost melodic. Aside from their names, this three-piece is very intuitive, bringing alive the trance-like states we often find ourselves in when we’re lost, be it in a dream or elsewhere.

As Swoon Lake preps for their debut EP, we are hosting the premiere of their very first single, aptly titled “Narcolepsy”.

“Narcolepsy” is an interesting, almost transcendent, song. The blending of beautiful acoustic guitar with the initial, otherworldly, sounds is unique and immediately attention-grabbing. Slow, yet strong. The vocals come in with a gorgeous ethereal interjection, bringing the listener into an almost trance-like state. Melancholic? Perhaps. But something we can see ourselves listening to rooftop, holding hands with the people we love while glancing at the faint dust of stars lingering high and wide above us.

It’s no wonder the song is otherworldly, as the band itself stems much of its inspiration from dreamlike encounters. Take a look into their influence and history in our quick interview with Swoon Lake’s Melodie.

What was the process behind coming up with the name Swoon Lake?

‘To swoon’ / ‘A swoon’ / ‘Being swoony’ – whatever the grammar, or iteration, ‘swoon’ is a word I’ll love forever.  A few years ago while I was on my way to my very first OkCupid date, my iPhone autocorrected “See you soon” to “See you swoon” – and it’s been my favorite word ever since. In Swoon Lake’s earlier lineup with singer and violinist Aviva Skye, Paul, Aviva and I toyed with a number of different band names hoping to combine the sensuous and spooky aesthetic that we were drawn to with themes of nature. Knowing my beloved relationship to the word ‘swoon’ and my proclivity for cheesy dad-puns, Aviva shouted out ‘Swoon Lake’, and that was it!

So you all met through dating sites? That’s so interesting! Can you elaborate on that?

Paul and I were roommates in college my senior year, and after graduation we lost touch until a year later when we were matched on OkCupid.  Though we had lived together for nearly a year, he and I never played music together, so when we reconnected via OKC we decided to meet up and jam – the connection was immediate.  As for Lucy, I met her through a mutual friend whom I met on Tinder. Two months later I was playing synth in her project Fieldings (which Paul now also plays guitar in), and she was playing guitar in Swoon Lake!  So, while OKC & Tinder were not technically responsible for our respective meetings, we hold them dear to our hearts as the connective between our trio.  

You guys are a “ghost folk” band.  What exactly does that mean?

When I was fourteen I started to experience sleep paralysis when falling asleep, which is when a person feels unable to move their body upon waking, and is often accompanied by visual and/or auditory hallucinations.  Described as ‘the devil sitting on your chest’, or used to account for supernatural occurrences, I felt for many years that this transitional state between sleep and wakefulness that I found myself in nightly was a site of ghostly interactions. A prominent lyrical theme of our music deals with the liminality of sleep – the ambiguous space between dreams and consciousness, and the vulnerability of that ambiguity. We try to create a sleepy lulling vibe, while at the same time one that is vaguely nightmarish by alternating between minor chords and relying on dark lyrical imagery. 

The idea of our music as ‘Ghost folk’ was definitely a product of an earlier iteration of Swoon Lake, and has since transitioned to a more ambient aesthetic, while still retaining a kind of ‘ghostly’ vibe.  When Lucy joined Swoon Lake in February we started to move away from the more acoustic vibe that had originally driven us, and began exploring more electronic sounds with the addition of a synth and two electric guitars. 

Talk to me about your single “Narcolepsy”.

I wrote Narcolepsy a few years ago when I first moved to NYC.  My roommates hadn’t moved in yet, so on my first night alone in my apartment I drifted in and out of a sleepy daze playing two chords back and forth on my ukulele – alternating between a feeling of calm from the unchanging lullaby and one of claustrophobia from my inability to move beyond those chords.  Narcolepsy in many ways is about that tension between comfort and stagnation, between letting go and giving in, with the allegory of sleep as the narrative. Paul, Lucy and I developed the song over the course of a few months, trying to push the ‘sleepy’ aesthetic of the song through the addition of the dreamy dialoguing guitars and the ambient synth sound that we later recorded in Lucy’s home studio in Ridgewood.  It was produced, recorded and mixed by Lucy and mastered by Henry Terepka (of Zula).  

If you were an ice cream flavor, what would you be and why?

If I were an ice cream flavor, I would definitely be honey lavender – but whether that is my ‘ice-cream essence’ or just the yummiest flavor remains to be seen.  Swoon’s essence is definitely pistachio though.  

What’s up next for you guys?  

Our EP Like Being In A Mouth is coming out in September, and following its release we are planning to begin recording our second EP. Swoon Lake and Fieldings will be going on an east coast tour together this Fall. Lucy, Paul and I are all super excited to keep exploring and expanding our sound together! 

Like Being In A Mouth is out September 6th.