posted by Staff
December 2021

interview by Pete Domville AKA Headphone Activist (Twitter / Instagram)

If you grew up watching Adult Swim with your friends you will remember that one of the highlights from the broadcast was the shorts they would do in between episodes with obscure art / quotes and the shorts would always be mixed with some really unique music. During this time in my life I would hear the music playing during these breaks and think to myself "I wonder what music will come from someone listening to artists artists like Squarepusher, Flying Lotus, Nujabes, Dilla, and Doom."

Now, let me introduce you to Swum - one of my favorite producers of the past decade, His catalog holds one of the strongest discographies I have seen to date. What makes him stand out?  

  • 128 songs spread between 9 albums and 6 EPs since 2016
  • From lofi and phonk to 4x4 influenced dance and minimal house, his percussion work change’s up record by record. 
  • his ability to consistently sample, manipulate, and blend music from opposite sides of the spectrum is mind blowing

For reference, listen to how he blends "90's flav - call me with YBN Nahmir - Rubbin’ Off The Paint, for his record "Rick N Morty". Don't sleep on Swum, he is literally this generation's Flylo.

Hi Swum, first off thank you for taking the time to chat with me about your project. With the holidays here and the year wrapping up, how has your past year been ?

2021 has been fire, just enjoying life, making good music with good people. Been moving a lot between Nyc and Tel Aviv.

Your album Yakuza went live in the fall, can you tell us about your process for putting this album together?

This is definitely the most time and effort I put into a Project. My goal was to bring back the old lofi SoundCloud sound and combine it with my phonk sound. Feel like it ended up fitting well together. I started working on the tracks on the album at the start of the pandemic.

"Origin Story" is one of my album highlights. How did this collaboration with Ben Beal come about ? 

Ben pulled up to my Airbnb in NYC and we made the beat and recorded the song from scratch in like 30 min. It's definitely one of my favorite songs on the album. 

I started taking engineering more seriously this year and have been enjoying recording artists and creating songs from scratch with the artist in the studio. 

"Up in the Sky" has a great mix between a slow love song mixed in with a solid rap acapella for the drop. Can you tell us more about how this record came together?

I made that beat for a rapper and he ended up not using it so I throw a tay-k acapella on it and it fit perfectly. Probably my favorite track on the album.

I have picked up all of your sample packs and they have been a great addition to my sound library for when I need more unique percussion or inspiration for making beats that day. Do you have any plans to roll out a 5th sample pack in the future ? 

Yes I’m planning on dropping a new sample pack early 2022 (you can pick them up here).

Are you still working out of Ableton? What do you like about Ableton compared to using other DAW's like FL Studio when you were starting out ? 

I started on FL and switched to ableton, the workflow was better for me. It’s honestly all the same shit, just have to find whatever works best for you.

Okay so let's talk about the Flying Lotus endorsing you this year! Did he reach out to you before the video showed up on twitter of him playing Rick N Morty @ Pitchfork or was that a total surprise to you?

He started following me on Twitter and tweeted the lyrics to rick n morty, then people sent me videos of him playing my music at his Live shows. That was the craziest shit to me. He's a big influence on me and a big reason why I started producing.

Ya man congrats on that one for real! How crazy  is it to now have people like FlyLo. supporting you and Apple reaching out to use your music for their commercials?

It’s an amazing feeling, but I feel like I deserve it. I've been working hard for it.  

So you have been starting to play more shows. How have you been enjoying playing for an audience ? Do you have plans to focus more on playing shows / Swum Live in 2022 ? 

Yea definitely planning on doing a lot more live shows next year post pandemic.

Your sample archive is pretty insane as I mentioned before. Can you speak on how you have such a deep collection of quality records from so many different genres to sample from?  

YouTube to mp3 converter lol. I honestly just find samples on YouTube for the most part, there’s infinite libraries of music on there you just have to know where to look. 

Lol yes I 100%  agree that is literally the best way to sample now. You have been on a Phonk kick lately, what artists/labels from this sector are you listening to atm.

Yea I’ve been experimenting with new sounds lately. I like the whole dj smokey, yung vamp, soudiere wave and I’m really inspired by the new wave of Russian producers like pharmacist and ghost face playa, they are killing it rn.  

I’m trying to take inspiration from everything and make it something unique to me. 

Can we expect any Swum-made Phonk in 2022? 

Yes a lot of it.