DJ Rob Swift
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DJ Rob Swift

New York City, New York, United States | INDIE

New York City, New York, United States | INDIE
Band Hip Hop EDM

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APRIL 15TH, 2010
Rob Swift-The Architect

Rob Swift’s approach to DJing is soulful yet intellectual. Sure, he’s technically skillful and he could easily bang out some beats and go on a scratch rampage, but he doesn’t seem content in doing just that…never has. His approach is more likened to a philosophical mad scientist whose brain is pre-programmed to think in musical compositions.

The Architect is perhaps his boldest and most challenging work to date, particularly in support of that above theory. The backbone of the album is captured in the language of song titles such as “Overture” and a series of “Movements”. Both are terms generally associated with Classical or Opera music. The album opens with “Overture,” which ironically leads into the “Introduction,” both serve the purpose for setting the tone of the album. The title track, “The Architect,” is then used to define the album voyage. Using a series of quick-cut methods (which are used to great effect thru out the album) he breaks down the wording, “What you’re about to hear is a unique concept…of interactive symphonic music…”. That in itself describes what is to follow…

The album’s production is generally very moody and dramatic which helps create a visual aspect, leaving me with the feeling I should be “seeing” something while listening. Meaning many of the songs come off like the scoring of a critical plotline in a movie scene. Also, there are several future primitive moments where classic Hip Hop break beats are fused with outer-wordly sounding precision orchestra based cuts. This is most notable in “Rabia 1st Movement” which flips the “It’s Your Rock” drums (one of the all time great Hip Hop beats) with a barrage of “Phantom of The Opera”-ish organ cuts or “Rabia 2nd Movement” which sounds like “2-3 Break” 2010 meets theme song for a “2001: A Space Odyssey” sequel a.k.a welcome to the future. - Soundsetfestival.com


Salute the DJ – DJ Rob Swift Interview
June 24, 2010 by Evan

DJ Rob Swift knows his stuff. He has been turning the tables on people since he was a teenager and is showing no signs of slowing down. Rob has an excellent DJ pedigree – he learned the tricks of the trade from his Dad and later went on to become a member of X-Men/X-ecutioners. Since then, Rob has won the DMC East Coast Title, appeared in the 2001 film Scratch, and been the first Hip-Hop DJ to appear at the Savannah, GA Jazz Festival. He is outstanding at using music from outside the Hip-Hop realm and his new record is the perfect example.
On The Architect, Rob blends Hip-Hop with Classical music as well as Jazz to create an album that “acts as the soundtrack to his vision of where Hip-Hop can head rather than where it is right now.” As in Classical music, sections of the album are arranged in movements and there are reoccurring themes throughout.
Luckily for us, Rob had enough spare time to answer some questions for the Bodega. He was nice enough talk about his record, his past experience, and even answer a few interview questions. He will be appearing live at Salute the DJ on July 8th and is absolutely not to be missed. You can check him out on the web here.
BB: I was looking through your bio and saw that you were on The Tonight Show and ESPN both of which are cool. But what really caught my eye is that you were featured on Sesame Street. How did that come about and what was it like?
Rob Swift: About 3 years ago, Sesame Street approached Scratch DJ Academy and myself about filming a segment that would educate kids about the concept of moving “forward and backward”. The thought alone made perfect sense considering SDA is a school that opens it’s doors to people of all ages. What’s more, a lot of the techniques involving DJing are based on “forward and backward” movements, especially scratching. So it was a no brainer for us to join forces and pass on the art of DJing to young kids while actually helping them learn how the concept of “forward and backward” actually applies in their everyday lives.
We’ve all grown up with Sesame Street in our lives. Thus, I was honored and touched at the idea Sesame Street would want me to represent their show. The actual filming was an incredible feeling. It was sort of an out of body experience. Part of me was in the moment, cutting it up and simply doing what I would do on any stage. But there was another part of me that sort of went back in time during the taping. It’s like that little kid in me was watching and admiring the adult I’ve turned out to be. The adult that made it on to Sesame Street! It floors me when I get calls from friends and family with kids saying “Rob, I was watching Sesame Street with my child and there you were!” It really puts what I’ve managed to accomplish as a DJ in perspective!
BB: Sesame Street is probably an early childhood memory for a lot of kids and it features a lot of music. What are some early musical memories that you have?
Rob Swift: Wow, considering we’re celebrating Father’s day this June, the first thought that comes to my mind when I think about “early musical memories” is watching my Dad make hundreds of his friends dance to his mega mixes of Salsa, Cumbia and Meringue. My father was my first example of what it meant to be a DJ. I owe so much to him. It’s because of him that I’ve managed to turn playing around with records into lucrative career. Jose Aguilar is his name and I honor him every time I touch a pair of turntables!

BB: You started DJing when you were 12. Did you think of it as the career you were going to have even at that age?
Rob Swift: Honestly, no. As a 12 year old kid I had dreams of being a pro football player. I played little league football for the ELMJACK FLYERS [laughs]. As a young adult in college I thought I’d become a therapist after obtaining my degree in Psychology from Baruch College. Throughout little league, High School and even College, I DJed my school dances, toured with Akinyele (I was even forced to take some college semesters off) and I entered DJ battles. But it was only after I got my degree that I decided to go full throttle as a DJ and make it my career. Since then, I haven’t looked back!

BB: Your latest album, The Architect, features Classical music and has some real classical music influenced themes. How did you decide to incorporate that style of music? What was it like to make an album like that and did you ever feel that you were out of your comfort zone?
Rob Swift: That’s a great question. In June of 2008, my girlfriend introduced me to the genre of Classical music. She played “Prelude #4? for me, by Chopin. The piece moved me so much, I was out the very next day searching for more Chopin as well as other composers like Mozart and Bach. About a month later, I started working on my next album. As I began recording, I was subconsciously being influenced by the - BrooklynBodega.com


Discography

X-ecutioners 2005 General Patton VS The X-ecutioners** Ipecac
X-ecutioners 2004 Revolutions** Columbia
Rob Swift 2003 Who Sampled This** Independent
Rob Swift 2003 Under the Influence*** Six Degrees
Rob Swift 2002 Sound Event** Tableturns
Scratch 2002 Scratch, the movie * Palm Pictures
X-ecutioners 2002 Built from Scratch ** Loud Records
The Gap

2001 Gap TV commercial** The Gap
Various 2001 Urban Revolutions** Future Primitive
Various 2001 Turbtablessence** Silva Screen
X-ecutioners 2001 European Tour-video** Strength
Rob Swift 2000 Airwave Invasion *** Independent
Rob Swift 1998 The Ablist ** Asphodel
Rob Swift 1998 Soulchild *** Independent
Rob Swift 1997 Pure Moods*** Independent
Rob Swift 1997 Soulful Fruit *** Stones Throw
X-ecutioners 1997 X-pressions ** Asphodel
Various 1997 Subterranean Hits Vol. 2 ** Word Sound
X-ecutioners 1997 X-ercise feat. the X-men-video** Fat Beats
Various 1996 Deep Concentration** OM Records
Various 1996 Subterranean Hits Vol. 1 ** Word Sound
Various 1996 Altered Beats Compilation ** Axiom Records
Various 1995 Return of the DJ ** Bomb Hip-Hop

On Production and Scratch

ARTIST YEAR TITLE LABEL
EA Sports 2004 NFL Street Game Music
EA Sports 2004 SSX 3 Game Music
Blue Man Group 2003 2003 The Loop Song */Your Attention** Virgin
Lo Fidelity Allstars 2002 Somebody Needs You** Sony
Peter Case 2002 Something’s Coming-remix** Vanguard
Dj Logic 2002 The Projects- remix ** Rope-A-Dope
Ursula Rucker 2002 About Being Black ** Waxploitation
MTV VMA 2002 Scratch tutorial * MTV Music
Konami 2002 NBA 2Night 2002 ** Game music
Cornershop 2002 Wogs will Walk** Wiija
Cornershop 2002 Slip the Drummer One** Wiija
Bob James 2001 Blues for Bob and Rob Verve
Blue Torch 2001 FOX Sports Network show**
Herbie Hancock 2001 My Name is Rob Swift* Uni/Verve
Luke Sutherland 2001 Pink Puppet**
Scritti Politti 1999 Tinsel Town to the Boogie Down
Feat. Mos Def and Me’Shell Ndegeocello
Virgin Records
Brassy 1999 I Can’t Wait- remix ** Wiija Records
Cornershop 1999 Candy Man- remix ** Wiija Records
Lords of Acid 1999 Lets get High- remix ** Caroline
The Controls 1998 Terrified of Nothing- remix ** Smile Records
Ben Neill 1998 Tunnel Vision- remix ** Astralwerks
Rob & Crackerjax 1997 Nickel and Dime- remix ** Fat Beats
Akinyele 1996 Vagina Diner * Interscope
Fat Joe 1993 Flow Joe* Relativity
Fat Joe 1993 The Shit is Real * Relativity
Tablist Titles:
1991 East Coast DMC Finalist, 3 rd place.
1992 East Coast DMC Champion, 1 st place
2002 ITF Grandwizard Theodore Award

Photos

Bio

DJ Rob Swift joined the groundbreaking turntablist crew the X-Men aka X-ecutioners (Roc Raida, Total Eclipse, and Mista Sinista) in 1991. Within a year, he won the coveted DMC East Coast title, becoming world renowned as a master beat juggler (a style of turntable manipulation, which involves manually rearranging actual drumbeats from vinyl in real time).

In 2001, Rob Swift was featured in the DJ documentary SCRATCH (Palm Pictures). He has appeared on ESPN, The Late Show with David Letterman, and even Sesame Street. In 2008, Rob was the first Hip Hop DJ invited to perform at theSavannah, Georgia Jazz Festival. He has collaborated with artists from many genres includingBlue Man Group, Herbie Hancock, Bob James, Linkin Park, Good Charlotte, Dan The Automator, Fat Joe, Cypress Hill and many others.

Whether working solo, in a group setting as part of Ill Insanity (featuring former X-Men Total Eclipse and Precision) or collaborating with other like-minded artists, Rob Swift is always pushing the boundaries and connecting with audiences by all means necessary. Rob Swift's set span Hip Hop, Soul, Funk, Latin, House and more. DJ Rob Swift's mixture of party rocking and turntablism performances are raising audience's energy to an unforgettable high worldwide.

In addition, the X-ECUTIONERS WORLD TOUR | REUNITED | FIVE MEMBERS | ONE STAGE starts January 2011!