Silver Swans

March 31, 2014

Silver Swans is Jon Waters and Ann Yu. They are an electronic music duo from San Francisco.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do. We are Silver Swans, an electronic music project from San Francisco. We’re constantly writing new songs, creating new art, and turning feelings into melodies.

Top 3 favorite or most visited websites and why?
Facebook – because naturally I’m addicted
Tumblr – I love being inspired by the poems, pictures, and art others post
Lonny – it’s an interior design site that I love to frequent for the colors and beautiful layouts



How has living in San Francisco affected your music? Living in San Francisco means hazy days, sporadic sun drenched afternoons, and many foggy nights. I rarely like to leave my house for the outdoors except on the rare occasion when it’s glorious out. I would say that both Jon and I are bonafide homebodies and that makes for some intimate songwriting.

Describe your current studio or practice space. Our current studio is Jon’s apartment. He’s renovated his living room into a beautiful recording space. We start, finish, and flesh out all ideas at his place. It’s quite the ritual, beginning with a cup of hot tea, both of us in our habitual chairs, and ending with some lovely new songs.

How long have you lived in San Francisco and what brought you there? Ann: I’ve lived in San Francisco for almost 10 years now. I moved out here to play music and get away from my childhood in Las Vegas. Leaving Vegas for San Francisco was the best thing I could have done for my art and life in general. I am so eternally grateful for having the guts to leave and never look back.



What kinds of things are influencing your music right now? Jon’s recently been face timing with his girlfriend on the east coast and she starts to fall asleep, not because he’s boring (ha) but because of the time difference. So he’s been playing her to sleep with these electronic lullabies. He’s careful not to play anything too loud or sharp sounding so its an interesting experiment in sound. We’re thinking of doing an album of just this kind of stuff.

What are some recent, upcoming or current projects you are working on? We are working on new material for album number 3. Mostly, we are playing around with new ideas and recalibrating.

If you were a drink, what drink would you be? Ann: Warm almond milk, smooth and creamy, very smooth.

How did your interest in music begin? Jon: My uncle gave me an old record player when I was about 6; it was one of those ones that come in a suitcase. We had a piano in our house growing up and my mum sent me to piano lessons.  I wasn’t really into the songs that I was learning in class so I would come home and learn how to play the things I wanted to. Also my grandfather was a one man band; he would play banjo, harmonica and a bass drum with hi hats and sing all at the same time; he was the original Mumford and Son. My brother and I would go over to visit; he would break out all his instruments and we’d have a family jam session.

Ann: My father bought me a keyboard when I was about 9. We went to Home Depot together and bought metal stickers to spell my name and place it on the front of my new keys; I was so excited! It opened my eyes to the world of music, but it wasn’t until I got my acoustic guitar that I learned to play songs and really fell in love with creating music.

Do you have groupies and what are they like? No

What other musicians/bands are you interested in right now? Ann: I am loving London Grammar, Melody’s Echo Chamber.

Jon: The rhythm section of the great Sly Dunbar and Robbie Shakespeare.

What past trends in music do you think should never come back? Ann: Rap Rock, Rap Metal, Rap Country



Who would you ideally like to collaborate with? Ann: Beck; I would love to collaborate with Beck.

Jon: There’s this girl in a band called Silver Swans; her name is Ann I think, great voice!

Tell us about your work process and how it develops. Ann: Normally, Jon comes up with beat and sends my way and I flesh out the melody and lyrics. We then get together and work out the structure and production of the song together. Sometimes, I send Jon the melody first and he works out an arrangement around my parts. Our process has always been incredibly transformative, as our ideas never end up where they began. It’s a very unpredictable but always satisfying process.

Where is your favorite/ideal place to perform? Ann: I would love to perform in a castle lit by candles and sheepskin rugs.

What do you want a viewer to walk away with after hearing your music? A moment of nostalgia.

Tell us about your Best-Of album that will be released in the year 2025. Our best of album will include Secrets, Let Me Know Now, and Actual Pain. The cover will be holographic with a message embedded in glow in the dark text that one will only be able to read in the dark. Hmmm, but we’re wondering what format it will be released on? Will vinyl still be around? Or will there be some new media that finally sounds as good?

What’s your absolute favorite place in the city/the world to be? Ann: My bedroom in all its white and pure simplicity.

What are you reading right now? Emotional Alchemy because we all could use a little emotional magic sometimes.

Most embarrassing moment on stage? Jon: The first time we went to New York our very first show was a disaster. We were having horrible technical issues and I had to reboot the laptop in the middle of the show while everybody just stood around.

Any upcoming shows or tours we should know about? We will be playing with Mr. Little Jeans on 4.3 in San Francisco, CA.

What were you like in high school? Ann: A nerd posing to be an indie queen with short curly hair, Smurf blue sneakers, and a long red and white striped witch dress. Very confusing.

Jon: I was a punk then a mod then a rude boy; I was even a skinhead for a while cause I got my hair cut too short, very confusing too.