Michael Gira / Swans

Michael Gira (born February 19, 1954) is an American musician, author, and artist. He is the main force behind the New York City musical group Swans and fronts Angels of Light. He is also the founder of Young God Records. Swans was one of the few groups to emerge from the early 1980s New York No Wave scene and stay intact into the next decade. Formed by Gira in 1982, Swans employed a shifting lineup of musicians until their dissolution in 1997. The band was noted for droning vocals and repetitive song structures. In 2010, Gira reformed Swans.


Kristof Hahn is a superman
Berlin is too big now
god is breathing our thoughts


What is the biggest inspiration for your music?
to hear something I haven’t heard before

How and when did you get into making music?
in LA in 1977/8 during the punk days.

What are your 5 favourite albums of all time?
1.  freak out by mothers of invention.
2. strange days by the doors.
3. ummagumma by pink floyd.
4. Henryk Górecki: Symphony No. 2 Copernican; Beatus Vir
5. five leaves left by nick drake

What do you associate with Berlin?
days of total excess in 1985 when swans ran amok there.

What’s your favourite place in your town?
my bed

If there was no music in the world, what would you do instead?
I would rejoice!

What was the last record you bought?
howlin wolf box set

Who would you most like to collaborate with?
I’m not fond of collaborating, but if forced, werner herzog

What was your best gig (as performer or spectator)?
earl scruggs at grey fox bluegrass festival 2003 approximately

How important is technology to your creative process?
it is an aid and an impediment.

Do you have siblings and are they proud or jealous of you?
I have 14 siblings, so there are too many to ask


Photo credit: Anne Helmond | annehelmond.nl
| Interview with Michael Gira / Swans by Digital in Berlin