Vicious Presents: Eden Swan

There is much to say about the beastly, ethereal, alien-like being that is Eden Swan. Much unlike many of the soulless, sheep-like late-teen/early-twenty-something humans that we tend to see follow their peers in hoards – preferring to be one of the majority than the only minority, Swan breathes a breath of fluorescent air. She is unlike anyone that you have met before.

She is a walking hypocrisy – in the best sense. Dark and mysterious, some may even go as far to say that she is intimidating to the eye. Why? She refuses to commit to what are deemed to be “social norms”. Rather, she will wear long Cruella Devilla-esque wigs, only to have her shaved head waiting to be released underneath. She will prance and stomp around in platformed shoes that are high enough to battle a standard ruler. But at the same time, she is beyond adorable. As much as you want to talk to her about alien lifeforms and conspiracy theories, you also want to skip side-by-side with her in the most beautiful of daisy-filled gardens. You only have to talk to her to realise that, behind the exterior, there is a young woman trying everything in her power to make her way through this world doing what she loves and does best, all with great humbleness.

As someone who, I suppose, has sporadically followed Eden Swan throughout the entirety of her career – from Mechanical Animal, through to her project as Noize Bunny, and now as her own brand, the thing that has never changed about this force is her undeniable confidence. A trait which, she says, can at times intimidate people – especially members of the opposite sex. She allows herself to use her body in a way which may deem inappropriate to some, but is seen as extremely liberating to others.

Hell, anyone who is willing to put a massive cross on their vagina and refer to it as a “first aid box” is a-okay in my eyes.

EDEN SWAN LOGO

When observing her character, it would be silly not to think that she is otherworldly. “But surely, if she is from this planet, she must have had the craziest of upbringings?” Ehhh, wrong again. Where Swan evokes this undeniable musical talent and individualistic style, her upbringing was far from “crazy.” Alas, the 23-year-old was raised in the most conventional of ways; “ordinary, middle-class, white Australia”, as she so aptly puts it.

“I don’t have any artistic family members; music was not any part of my upbringing – which is just so devastating. I went to church when I was a kid, and did all of these sort-of structured things. Everything that I’m doing artistically now…I certainly have pushed boundaries to what was expected from my upbringing and what was expected of me. I went to an all girls school, and [living with the social conforms] of ‘ohh, girls don’t do that’ and ‘girls don’t say this’ – so, for me, it is like a no-fucks-given. I’m a strong believer in doing what you want. That’s something I’m going to instil into my children and it’s something I believe in. I believe that, as long as you’re not hurting anybody, you should be able to express who you are.”

Beginning out as a theatre geek years back, and soon realising that perhaps this often staged and forced life was not the path for her, Swan did the band thing. Yeah, look, it didn’t last passed a year and a half, but it was a learning curve. And one which has helped her develop into the multi-talented person that she is today.

“Basically, the band ended itself. I went from having a musical theatre background…which was a really passive experience, it went on for years. And so I went from that and sort of broke out. I didn’t want to do any kind of theatre, or any of that shit anymore. So I thought that a good vessel to continue with music was to obviously start a band and look at writing my own stuff.”

“The band broke up after a year/a year and a half, and around that time was when I started taking an interest in songwriting and started writing for some other people.”


“I [teamed up] with a guy who ended up writing the song for Estonia’s entry into Eurovision,” she giggles. “I [collaborated] with him on a few songs and did a few tracks with Neon Records in Australia…I learnt really quickly about the need to be flexible and not to take things – music writing especially – personally, especially if you’re writing for other artists, because what you think is good is almost definitely not what they’re going to think is good. Because I’d been writing solo, I got in contact with a guy who was looking for a singer to do vocals for this track for this indie film in America…I don’t even know if [the movie] ended up happening, but he and I really had this connection, and I remember thinking in the back of my mind that I’d like to do a solo thing.”

“That’s when I began the evolution of this character that I did in Mechanical Animal, which was Noize Bunny. I explored this commercial tongue-in-cheek weird Japanese hyper-sexual Playboy bunny sort of thing, and then that ended. Throughout this whole time, I had secretly been thinking about doing straight-out Eden Swan, and doing this cool little alien, weird creepy thing.”

“Now it’s just me, completely on my own. I went to uni and studied sound production that’s sort of evolved to a point where now I have all the skills that I think is good enough for me to start doing this on my own. And fuck, I just spoke for half an hour, but that is literally the chronological order of my life to how I am now.”

When asked whether or not she preferred to roam free as a lone wolf or share her stylings with other people, there was no hesitation in her response. If I didn’t know it before, I was certain of it now; this is a girl who knows what she wants, and will move mountains to get there. A work ethic and spirit that is nothing, if not admirable.

“I’m a lone wolf – galloping through the forest. I think it really depends on the project and what you want out of it. But because I am doing this solo thing and it is literally under my actual birth name, I think that every little thing counts. Not my ‘reputation’ – that’s not the right word; but it is really about being me…In my opinion, I just want as much physically possible to be me, and to put as much of me out there as being art over anything else.”

“Along the way, people have been saying ‘do this’, ‘do that’, but the whole point of this project for me is just really taking peoples advice on board and just thinking ‘Uhh, do I really want to do that, or do I really not want to do that?’ That’s the empowering thing about doing a solo project – being the boss of your own work. Any mistake you make is your own. If you fuck up, you’re the only one to blame. I’m preferring to be on my own…I’m just enjoying the process of doing it all by myself.”

Over the years that I’ve been following Swan (in the most non-stalkerish of ways, I can assure you), it is evident that the theme of sex plays a substantial role in her character. Whether on or off stage, Swan‘s persona and mannerisms ooze sex appeal. A trait which she assures me is “just me.”

“Ever since I started being in a band, and in the past five or six years that I’ve been doing music, anything that’s been created by me, for whatever reason, is kinda provocative and sexualised. [Sexuality] definitely does come into my art, because that’s just part of the way that [I am]…It is an interesting topic, and will be for the rest of mankind…I think it gets plucked out more than it necessarily should be, particularly compared to everything else that I do.”

“Last year I shaved my head, I have tattoos…I express myself in different ways. The sex angle is something that has been brought up a lot of times. Most of the people that I’ve spoken and listened to, anyway, get it. I see myself as a drag queen, or like a witch.”

In my ultimate dream, I just want to be a drag queen.

“It’s what all of this is. So anything that I do that is provocative, it’s kind of just me pretending to be a drag queen. Ultimately, it’s not for the purposes of trying to upset anybody or steal anybody’s boyfriend, it’s nothing harmful. It’s just who I am.”

“In the Symbiosis video, I did have a cross on my vagina, and that was meant to be like ‘Lol, first aid ‘box’'; that was the costume, and we were just lol-ing about it for hours.”

“In this country, Australia gets a very limited view of the performance arts, and of art and nudity – there is a bit of a hush-hush thing still going on. And, you know, if you go to Europe, every magazine – even some random shit magazine – has topless women in it. It’s not a sexual magazine, it’s a fashion magazine. I think, overseas, there are things happening in regards to female bodies [where they’re] more liberated than [in Australia]. I feel like, if I was to do some of the live performance art that I do here in places overseas that are a lot more open to the idea of the female just in general, it really would not be made to be such a big deal.”

“Also, men get really intimidated by how confident I am in my own body, and doing these drag queen things…I think there have been times where people have tried to bring me down about that, and sometimes I get lost for words because it’s one of the things that people are interpreting it as. You know, like me trying to get a rise out of somebody, or me trying to offend.”

It’s just one of those things, everyone should be a drag queen.

In case you weren’t able to tell before, she’s a big fan of Ru Paul’s Drag Race. A show that she mentioned a couple of times throughout our chat. The reason being? Besides everyone’s love of at least one “trashy” show, Swan thrives on its beautifying of what society may often deem to be unnatural; individualism. A trait or characteristic which she, herself, thrives upon.

“Ultimately, it’s about appreciating every single aspect that you have and who you are…and certainly not ever second guessing that.”

“By the way, the whole world has evolved because people have ideas and have acted on them. If we all just…listened to the same music, and watched the same art and said no to every crazy idea, the world would be pretty fucking boring for the next few years. You’ve always got to push the boundaries and challenge things. I’m not saying for people to run out onto the streets and stab people and be like ‘Lol lol lol, performance art.’ But in terms of mentally challenging things, obviously fucking challenge them.”

So, what can we expect from Eden Swan‘s future releases? Well, why don’t we let her tell us.

“It’s got a real dance sort of vibe. Like, it’s definitely something you can see that would fit in in a club environment. It’s not all heavy and intense, and people crying or anything like that. It’s dark, synth-pop, art, electronic, a little bit industrial, but ultimately it’s going to be heaps of fun.”

There is a lot to come from Eden Swan. Where she may have been iffy on the future of her career in previous musical escapades; her own name, her own brand is something that she seems to be comfortable sticking with. And although unwilling to release the title of her upcoming LP which is set to be released next year, Swan assures me that we will see some sort of EP release from her within the next six months. And live performances? You bet your sweet ass.

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