"Desert Life from Chris Swales is now considered a mainstay of the Radio Wigwam playlist. His blend of acoustic indie folk captures the essence of a modern day singer songwriter with harder tones of indie rock sure to be on the airwaves for a long time"
- Christian John - Radio Wigwam
Hailing from the serene landscapes of West Wales, Desert Life – the brainchild of singer-songwriter Chris Swales – emerges as a captivating voice in the realm of Alt-folk music. Drawing inspiration from a childhood enriched by the cultural tapestries of Saudi Arabia and the melodic allure of Counting Crows' album, Desert Life's sonic expedition began to unfurl its wings in 2018.
An emotive troubadour, Chris Swales embarked on a musical renaissance, resuming his creative journey after a hiatus dedicated to the pursuits of career and family. Within his poetic offerings, the intertwined emotions of joy and sorrow dance gracefully, an artistry influenced by luminaries such as Ryan Adams and REM. Collaborating seamlessly with wordsmith and confidante Brian Mackenzie, Chris artfully adapts verses into harmonious melodies, weaving narratives that resonate deeply with the soul.
The walls of a local studio bore witness to Chris's artistic evolution, as he enlisted the talents of kindred spirits – former music college companions Steve & Andy Williams (of 'killing for company') and session drummer Jack Beddis. The result was an array of initial releases that graced the airwaves of BBC Introducing, while also clinching a nomination for the esteemed record store day long list. The crowning jewel, the single "My Darling Friend," emerged as a 'best single' runner-up on Radio Wigwam.
Under the Desert Life moniker, Chris embarked on an intimate journey, serenading audiences with solo acoustic performances, captivating support slots, and poignant open mic appearances.
The tides of 2020 introduced multi-instrumentalist Tom Jordan into the narrative, transforming Desert Life into a formidable musical collective. Live performances forged an unbreakable bond, though the global pandemic cast a shadow over the momentum. Unfazed, Chris and Tom orchestrated a symphony across distances, composing and refining their arrangements with unwavering dedication.
Emerging from the pandemic's embrace, Desert Life found itself gracing stages once more, with a newfound fervour. The rhythmic heartbeat of Jason Downes on drums elevated the experience, propelling the ensemble to the esteemed Swansea Fringe Festival and countless venues across Wales.
Concurrently, a creative partnership bloomed with local Producer Nick Swannell (Studio 49), becoming the guiding force behind Desert Life's debut album aspirations. Each month, the studio walls bore witness to the evolution of soundscapes, driven by Chris's desire to capture the poignant resonance akin to REM's iconic 'Automatic for the People.'
The ebb and flow of band dynamics saw Jason's departure in early 2023, spurring Chris and Tom to channel their energies toward the album's completion.
July 2023 marked Desert Life's triumphant return, as "I don't wanna know" breathed life into the world. This spirited Alt-Country-infused composition, co-authored by Desert Life and Brian Mackenzie, recounted the saga of a jilted lover grappling with the reality of moving on. Notably enriched by the expertise of Pedal-Steel guitarist Jon Graboff – celebrated for collaborations with musical luminaries like Ryan Adams and Norah Jones – the single garnered acclaim from critics and airplay on platforms like Amazing Radio.
With singles, "Tangled Light," and "Sphere" a the crescendo of anticipation swells toward the unveiling of their debut opus, "Let It All Pass," which set to enthral audiences in October 27th (Pre-Save here)
They will be performing at the Boia Festival (Gaz Coombes, Katy J Pearson, John Smith), and revered venues throughout Wales.