Singer-songwriter Andrew Graham, the namesake for his band Andrew Graham & Swarming Branch, is not concerned with making his music with the same crew of musicians at every show or album.
As the name might imply, the original concept behind Swarming Branch was focused on having a consistently shifting lineup, Graham said.
“I feel it’s kind of good to have rotating membership just so that it can keep going, so that lots of different people can get involved, and when performing live, the songs can take on a different character depending on who was playing and always keep it fresh,” Graham said.
As such, with Graham on vocals and guitar and a keyboardist and a drummer to support him, he is scheduled to play as a trio at his upcoming show opening for Destroyer at the Wexner Center for the Arts Thursday.
Graham used David Bowie’s career as an example of someone who “plays with some studio musicians from album to album, but largely his backing band changed from album to album.”
This contrasts with many classic rock bands or super groups, which seem to require a certain lineup to express their music, Graham said.
“When you talk about The Beatles, or The Who or a band like that, people who are big fans know all the names of the players. They have kind of built up a myth, whether it’s true or not, that that magic can only happen with those specific people,” Graham said.
Swarming Branch did not become as “swarming” as Graham had intended at its inception, he said. His live band now consists of the same five to six musicians from show to show, generally playing as a trio or a quartet, he said.
Graham’s tendency for dropping the names of high-achieving, established artists was reflective of Graham’s old love of classic rock. However, it is in Graham’s lyrics he is able to distance himself from these acts, he said.
“The lyrics are really dense. That sets it aside from a lot of the music that it is similar to sonically. I feel like even when the songs sound old, the lyrics are new,” Graham said. “Even when the music sounds like it might be from the ‘70s, we’re not doing the same thing with the vocals that you would expect from a David Bowie album.”
Andrew Graham & Swarming Branch come to the Wexner Center as part of its “Next@Wex” series. These concerts focus “on the best indie bands that we feel match our contemporary art mission: indie rock, electronica, left-field hip hop, world music cross-over, etc,” said Charles Helm, director of performing arts, in an email.
Andrew Graham and Destroyer have a “complementary aesthetic, similar in that they both have a unique, singular idea for singer-songwriter led bands,” Helm continued.
Likewise, Kyle Siegrist, owner of Lost Weekend Records, located at 2960 N High St., said Graham’s records showcase his talents as an artist and lyricist.
“He’s a good songwriter,” Siegrist said. “He has a lot of his friends play on them, too. He’s just a good songwriter.
Andrew Graham & Swarming Branch is slated to take the Wexner Center Performance Space’s stage, located at 1871 N. High St., at 8 p.m. Thursday.