Introduce us to all of the members and your musical history.

Dave MacKinnon: I’m Dave, I write all the music.

Essex Moorcroft:  I’m Essex, I write all the lyrics but I don’t play in the band.

DM: We have an Elton John/Bernie Taupin-style writing partnership.  When we first started it was just me on acoustic guitar, a double bass and bongo player, with us doing three-part harmonies. The live line-up changed many times over the years depending on who was around but the skiffle element and harmonies were always a constant.  We were like Steely Dan with a revolving door of session musicians.  If you were local and any good, you did time in the Swerve.  We currently have Bill Snowden on drums, Jay Toomey on bass and are occasionally joined by veteran Swerver Ant Cochrane on backing vocals and cajon.

What made you decide that music is a thing for you?

DM: Eagar to disappoint my Asian parents, I went rogue.

What was life like for you before music?

EM: A liminal state. The beat was an awakening.

What was the first song you heard that steered you into a music path?

DM: Probably something by the Beatles or Simon & Garfunkel.  I’m a sucker for good melodies and harmonies.

Tell us Two truths and a lie about you.

DM: I have a phobia of balloons.

DM: My favourite bread is the tiger variety.

EM: Sometimes I get lonely and find myself drifting around shopping centres disguised as Morph.

If you could wish for one thing to aid your career what would it be?

EM: A hippo

DM: and a shotgun

Do you ever worry about people taking things the wrong way or cancel culture? Discuss….

EM: I’m not sure there’s a right or wrong way to take anything. The most interesting interpretations of our stuff are almost completely defined by the conditioning of the interpreter. We can be curious about that or we can be in contention and pain. The only thing I can observe as far as cancel culture is concerned is that everyone who claims it doesn’t exist seems to deeply wish it did.

Do you sign up to any conspiracy theories? If not, why not?

EM: The conspiracy is in open sight. It’s called hyper-capitalism, and it kills people including little children every day. It’s almost impossible not to participate and more and more wealth and power is concentrated in the hands of fewer and fewer people. Also – the planet is dying, and the rich are insulating themselves against the consequences already being experienced daily by the poor. Maybe someone should put it on YouTube.

What was the worst experience on stage?

DM: We were once mistakenly booked for a children’s festival.  We didn’t realise until we got there.  There were a variety of acts on the bill that day.  We were stuck between a puppet show and a belly dancing group. Our lyrics did not go down well with some of the parents.

Tell us something about you that you think people would be surprised about.

DM: Essex can eat a whole lamb in one sitting. 

What makes you stand out as a band?

DM: We’re the world’s only Gangster Folk nu-skiffle band.

I hear you have new music, what can you tell us about it.

DM: Our first single We Take Our Time is out now!

EM: It’s a song that knows the drinking don’t stop the thinking and admits that the betting only yields brief forgetting.

DM: The single is one of ten songs we recorded last year with Ed Deegan at Gizzard Recording in Bow, East London.  We’re aiming to release the album independently, but the plan may change if we get label interest.  Either way, we’re aiming to drop it later this year.

What was the recording process like?

DM: I normally hate recording, but I found working with Ed an absolute pleasure.  Ed specialises in analogue recording and being a vinyl geek, I wanted to go fully analogue to get that warm vintage sound and to have the experience of recording using 1960s recording techniques.  We added other instruments like piano and I got to work with a string quartet which I’d never done before.  I worked closely with a cellist called Romain Malan who helped me arrange the strings.  I’m really happy with how the whole thing turned out.  

Would you change anything now it’s finished?

DM: My haircut. 

Is there anything else you would like to share with the world?

EM: “When we remember that we are all mad, the mysteries disappear, and life stands explained” – Mark Twain