It was a relentless time when Wicked and Wounded by Swim Lessons first came into the presence of my wondrous heart. I needed a breathing moment of clarity and through the lyrics of songwriter Christopher Kenneth-Lee, I found a sense of relief.
It’s a mistful dream to be in the presence of a musician who rises your skin with only their most tender sounds. Christopher’s sonic landscape is both secretive and intimate. Layered with whimsical guitar riffs that leave you sensitively aware, it feels as if you’ve just gazed on a million stars that have sunk they’re way into your skin until they’ve vanished with his low raspy voice. Track by track, you feel as if your being serenaded.
I had the honor of interviewing Chris. We talked about his new album and what got him to finally release it after years of being in the creative oven.
M- There’s that wondrous hat, I guess to start with I’d like to know what was the main subject of your songs?
K: Most of the songs in Wicked and Wounded were created from the subject of love. Track 5 (Five Hours) and track 8 (In The Back Seat) were inspired by death, the loss of a friend and a relative. “Five Hours” was written in the memory of my grandma who I lived next to for most of my years growing up, it was a reflection of time. “In The Back Seat” is more of when one realizes you are immortal, to actually embrace that one day you are going to die. How from there you’d like to live life after life with a consciousness of trials and hardships. It’s all about shedding, the reward of life is shedding and moving, you strengthen yourself through that.
M:From that, how did the making of this album effect you?
K: The songs I chose are over 3 years old, I wrote a total of 40+ songs, the ones that ended in the album mainly represented a time where I was experiencing love and the leaving of it. It was a lot and when I finally put it out it felt really nice.
M: To me I always leave songs unfinished so I salute you for actually pushing through and creating beautiful ones. Through it all, how would you describe your song writing?
I’d like to dive into your mind.
SL: Ha ha, no you don’t.
I usually sit in the corners of bars with a little black notepad and write a couple of lines. I either come home and write a melody for it or let it sit there for months and months, pondering.
M: So at the end of all this, how would you like to be seen when it comes to your art?
SL: I would like to be viewed from the most genuine ways, I am as honest as possible and all of my work comes from a sacred place. I’m not upset if someone does not enjoy what I do, my music is always changing.
M: Have you played any shows at the moment?
SL: Yes I have but to be honest I am horrible at booking shows, I’d like to attain a complete band before playing any venues or bars. It’s not a nice world for someone who lacks a band, for now I am sticking more to living room shows.
M: And why is that?
SL: If you haven’t experienced it before, it is the craziest momentum to sit in front of a room full of strange and familiar faces and perform while they quietly watch you. I play for the open minded, I am not a performer, I like to just sit in a cave and record. I was nervous at first but now I am more comfortable in there instead of a bar, it’s non conventional at all.
M: You produce as well, right?
SL: Yes I do, I enjoy being buried within headphones. Have you listened to the album through headphones? That is how it was intended to be listened to, you could hear every little sound.
M: So I have an idea, what if you had a scene, sort of like a play behind you as you are performing?
SL: Like a sort of party while I am playing for an audience!
M: Yea I agree, good vision!
SL: We are on to something, I’ll credit you for it.
M: Ha ha good. So I believe that is it for now, the main question I had for how your song writing process worked has been answered and I feel very content by it.
SL: Also with that, I have a thousand plus voice recordings, most of those I have never gotten back to. There are drum parts, tapping, whatever I feel in that moment. I kind of abandon songs like you but like any of your best friends you’ve ever had, they proof themselves worthy over time and stick around. Your relationship grows stronger and stronger.
M: Great way to put it, thank you again for this, you were fantastic and this was an absolute pleasure.
SL: A great pleasure and thank you.
Swim Lessons, a solo project by Christopher Lee-Lintner was created in various places from hotel rooms to mountain tops from 2011-2014. Christopher also plays in various bands such as The Downtown Train, Santundra Moon and Pearl Charles and The Pipes. He is tastefully talented at making collages such as the one he used for his album cover and other various flyers. The album can be found in Limited Edition Cassette + Digital Cassette by Blue Velvet Pressing, vinyl coming very soon.