from SPIN

Swans Leader M. Gira: Say No to Society, Record Labels, Touring With Your Spouse

by Kory Grow

“I don’t know how Kim and Thurston did it for so long.”

Over the past three decades, Michael Gira has established himself as underground rock’s ace of debasement. From the brutal, self-pugilistic caterwauls of sludgy art-rockers Swans to the brittle, American Gothic doom-folk he recorded with Angels of Light, he strips music down to its harrowing, bare-bones essentials. It’s no wonder, then, that his acidic bellowing and post-blues licks resound in the works of industro-rockers like Godflesh and heady metallers like Neurosis as much as experimental folk artists like James Blackshaw and Wooden Wand. Since 1990, he’s applied the same principles to running his home-brewed record label Young God, launching the careers of freaky folks like Devendra Banhart and Akron/Family; running his business with a cutthroat, do-it-yourself attitude a good decade before the rest of the internet followed suit. He is an iconoclast’s iconoclast, so, we asked him to explain his outlook on life on the eve of the release of Swans’ 12th album, the relentless, cinematic, two-hour bludgeon The Seer

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