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.”
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.