I first chased up this interview and mix with Swisha Sweet all the way back in July. Being the champ that he is, he whipped up a mix the day I hit him. I sent him way too many questions and he was busy (playing shows on both American coasts and slanging a slew of new edits and originals) and I was busy (doing Internet shit with my friends). Eventually we re-linked after the site launch and agreed to get this shared with the good folks (you).
Swisha is uniquely primed as a tastemaker for the Internet generation. Taking pages from the worlds of net art, footwork/juke, tangin’, hip-hop, and so much more — he’s pulling from seeming filing cabinets of genres and styles (visual and audial). Swisha’s facing the near-future with a work ethic and effortless panache that should leave basic culture vultures quaking in their canvas shoes.
Where are you from originally? What is it like? What do you remember from growing up?
Philadelphia, PA. It’s a great city; I remember being around the gritty skateboard and punk scene because of my dad.
What sort of music did you listen to growing up? Do any specific records stick out?
The first genre I got into on my own was metal. That’s all I was into until I got into rap early in middle school.
What drew you towards electronic music in the first place? What sort of music did you start with? How old were you when you first got into producing/DJing?
A friend asked me to play drums for a band he was in and the first time we met up for practice they played through all of their material. They had an intro that was “Love” by Borgore and right before it dropped, we broke into a heavy breakdown. I asked what the song was and went to town on dubstep then starting DJing with another friend soon after that. I was around 13 years old when this happened, then got FL Studio when I was 14.
What was the first club or footwork record you remember hearing that made you go “whoa, ok, this shit is for me?”
The first time I heard club music was at Mad Decent Block Party 2010 in Philly. DJ Sega played and this dude had me questioning life (in a good way.) Once I got home, I began my homework on club music because I could tell this was something I had been missing out on… Sega is definitely the reason I’m doing what I do.
When did you start getting popular/successful with your work? Can you tell us a bit about what that was like? Did you start with DJing or producing or some other type of music?
I started DJing first when I was in 7th grade. Playing house parties became a regular thing and definitely helped me get by, then shows became more of a regular thing for me to play. I’ve been producing since 8th grade but I started Swisha Sweet in 2010. I was putting stuff out on Soundcloud for at least 2 years on various projects before I realized that people were responding to my club tracks. It’s been amazing and I couldn’t ask for anything better! My life was always revolved around music but within the last couple of years I’ve been able to make it into a productive part of my life.
What draws you to the styles of music that you find yourself making right now? What’s inspiring to you?
Hearing somebody DJ music that my friends and I made is something that’s been motivating me since the beginning. Bridging the gap between the people that aren’t familiar/comfortable with club music and the ones that are into it is the goal.
How are you so prolific? You put things out on soundcloud and email blast like its 2006, but where these tactics fall flat or come off spammy from other musicians, the times you’ve done it have been to notable effect. Is this part of a greater strategy or are you really just out here like that?
I guess I’m just really just out here like that. When I make something I want people to hear, I’m going to post it. Dealing with other people to release my music is too much to handle sometimes and I enjoy the direct response better.
Who are you collaborating with these days? Is there more stuff with you and Alfred English coming?
I’ve got stuff with Kush Jones, Bassbear, El Blanco Nino, Albyy, Ase Manual, Spurz, DJ Chap, and much more coming out soon! Alfred and I have some stuff we need to finish up next time we hang lol
What is your favorite record right now? What are your top 5 favorite records to play (all time)?
No lie, I was trying to think of the answer to this for so long and it’s impossible. Lurk my Soundcloud favorites.
If you could go b2b (back-to-back) with any DJ, who would it be?
What are you obsessed with right now?
When and where are you the happiest?
On a fancy CDJ setup with a slappin’ sound system.
How would you describe what you (like with everything) do to someone who doesn’t know you? How would you describe yourself to an alien?
I create cool things for your eyes and ears.
Photo: Jennica Mae Photography