Unknown Mortal Orchestra Embrace Club Life on 'Swim and Sleep (Like a Shark)' (Little Dragon Remix) - Premiere

Swedes rework guitar-pop jam into house track

Unknown Mortal Orchestra
Neil Krug
January 9, 2013 9:00 AM ET

Unknown Mortal Orchestra sculpt hazy, minimal guitar pop on the original version of "Swim and Sleep (Like a Shark)," drawing from inspirations as retro as the Baroque period. "I think the influences for this song are the Supremes meets Bach meets Simon and Garfunkel," singer Ruban Nielson tells Rolling Stone. "This was based on a demo I did. I was going to rerecord it but then I realized that the original demo had a certain something that I couldn't improve on, so I just worked on improving the mix."

Band to Watch: The Fuzzy, Flawlessy Poppy Unknown Mortal Orchestra

With the track, Unknown Mortal Orchestra made fans out of Little Dragon, and the Swedish electropoppers reworked "Swim and Sleep" into an astral house cut with deep grooves and airy melodies. "UMO is what we in Sweden call 'grymma.' [Their tracks] have been spinning frequently at our studio," Little Dragon singer Yukimi Nagano tells Rolling Stone. "[We] saw them live in Portland last year at MusicFest NW and their show is amazing."

Little Dragon originally imagined a different remix, and the clubby reworking was an accident. "[Bassist] Freddy [Källgren Wallin] was inspired to make a choir arrangement for the remix," says Nagano, "but got stuck on the first verse and ended up making a house jam."

"Swim and Sleep (Like a Shark)" is on Unknown Mortal Orchestra's forthcoming record II, out on February 5th.

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

New and Hot Next

blog comments powered by Disqus
Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.


We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

Song Stories

“Road to Nowhere”

Talking Heads | 1985

A cappella harmonies give way to an a fuller arrangement blending pop and electro-disco on "Road to Nowhere," but the theme remains constant: We're on an eternal journey to an undefined destination. The song vaulted back into the news a quarter century after it was a hit when Gov. Charlie Crist used it in his unsuccessful 2010 campaign for the U.S. Senate in Florida. "It's this little ditty about how there's no order and no plan and no scheme to life and death and it doesn't mean anything, but it's all right," Byrne said with a chuckle.

More Song Stories entries »