by Thomas Bedward June 20, 2019
The creative moniker of Welsh art-folk, singer-songwriter Chris Swales, Desert Life has become a seemingly unstoppable force in music, crafting heartfelt acoustic songs that capture the essence of modern-day living. Combining timeless and wonderfully textured folk sounds with a contemporary indie rock edge, Chris has been able to create an emotive sound with a rustic, universal appeal.
While music has always been a passion for Chris, there came a time where he wanted more from life. Turning away from music, Chris started a family, found himself a day job, and moved to the sea, building a new life and finally settling down. It was only when he took time off work to raise his children that the will to create re-emerged, and after singing Nirvana songs as nursery rhymes, the spark of invention soon became a blaze.
In 2018, a serendipitous conversation with poet and lyricist Brian ‘Old Pa’ Mackenzie set the wheels in motion, and the pair soon decided to combine Chris’ melodies with Brian’s lyrics. The result was a number of landmark demos that simply demanded to be heard. After taking his rough-cut sound to Mwnci Studios in West Wales and enlisting his friends to help out, Chris created an evolved musical release that shone with the eternal sounds of Neil Young, Wilco, and REM.
Often laced with a lingering thread of heartbreak or regret, Chris’ music is lavishly evocative, capturing raw human emotion with an eloquence and honesty that few musicians can achieve. Contrasting the emotive nature of his songs, Chris showcases his songwriting abilities with high tempo melodies and jangly, indie rock rhythms, creating unique musical structures like his celebrated single, ‘Not My Girl’.
A multi-faceted artist, Chris’ also creates all the artwork for his releases, leaning heavily on 1930’s graphic design to create a complete musical experience. Building on his success day after day, Chris came runner up for ‘Best Single’ by Radio Wigwam for the brilliant ‘My Darling Friend’, and in 2019 he made the Record Store Day Unsigned long list.
With more singles and live appearances on the horizon, there’s never been a better time to get acquainted with the wonderful world of Desert Life.
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