DJ Swerve has already cemented himself as one of the top urban DJs on our radio waves and in the clubs. But last year he showed us all that his production skills are a new an intriguing extra string to his bow. The Street Fighter Riddim featuring D Double was a urban banger that tore up the clubs and radio waves: so what’s next?
Your Street Fighter Riddim ws huge but who would be your character of choice; Ryu or Ken?
Ryu I think Ken is too flashy. I like Sagat as well in truth.
So how did you end up thinking I could make a track out of that 90’smclassic game?
It all started because I was trying to blag a free copy of the game through J Cox. He said to me I have a whole load of these Street Fighter samples, do you want to use them on your show? For some reason I just asked him if anyone has ever done a beat out of the samples and he said that was a great idea?
So it seems like it happened really easily.
I did the beat and put it together. It took a while to get it sit right and sound right for me. I sent it to Laurence at Dirty Stank records and he came back to me and said do not give this to anyone D Double E will murder this.
What hooked you to the art of dj’ing?
I think when I first heard scratching and I just thought it was such a dynamic sound particularly when you go back with the whole scratching with vinyl it just did something and it had energy. So I was just interested in it and that really hooked me I expect.
Who were the old skool djs that inspired you?
The old skool guys like Jazzy Jeff, Cash Money and then later on A-Track and Cubot, Mix Master Mike. There are also a lot of guys that are coming through that are really doing some big things.
So as a guy that started out on vinyl, is it a dead art?
There are pros and cons to everything, I am on Searrato now and so wherever I go I can take as many tracks as I want. It means you can do a track in the studio and you can take that track and use it to dj because you have the control vinyl which is my preference and they have it very close to the whole feel of dj’ng with vinyl.
Do you miss vinyl then?
People that get into the game now I think they will miss out on the whole record hunting and the whole community aspect of being in the record shop when the promos drop. There is always that buzz and camaraderie. Obviously there is friendly competition but it is nice being in the store chatting. DJ’s are not really meeting there in that same way as before.
I always go to new towns and try to find the local record store. I did a couple of parties in Jersey a few years back and they had a massive record shop there and going through there I found an absolutely mint condition of a Rockwell track Somebody’s Watching Me so if you are a dj go there.
So it is now more of a nostalgic hobby.
The thing is the cover the artwork and also if you buy a track you have a certain attachment. There is a less of emotional attachment but there are positives. I think it is a shame if that vinyl is not being pressed anymore. I bought an old Coldtune album In Control Volume 1 which I had but I liked the way they packaged it with slipmats and stuff and so I bought it so there are ways of keeping vinyl alive I think.
And the music scene has it taken a turn for the worse or should we be celebrating our scene?
It is very easy to put music out now. When there was more of a cost to putting music out then there was probably more thought put into the tracks and there was a certain level you would have to get to before you put something out. I think there is a lot of mediocre music just in general not just in terms of the UK but the US or indeed wherever. I think there is probably a lot more music out there which means there is a lot more bad music. This makes it difficult to find the good stuff.
But I expect it is good that there are more opportunities to put out music.
Where you have to pay like a thousand pounds to get out you would have to be confident that you could get your money back. Whereas now where it is more to do with having the time, it makes it easier.
I think it is good because it gives talented people who may not have had the money the chance to go out and make music and eventually get signed and so that is a really good aspect which needs to be embraced as well.
So what’s big for you this year in terms of dj’ing and producing?
One of the big things is the Locked In brand where we go to a bunch of uni’s and clubs, taking graffiti Mystro performing D Double performing a selection of tracks so it is cool. This year we are dropping that again and I want to get P involved in that and we want to do that her and overseas as well. My main focus is the show four times a week at Kiss, Westbury and obviously down town.
And what about producing?
In terms of producing, the beginning of the year has been about setting things up for the rest of the year. I really want to do stuff of a high standard. I would rather wait to put something out that is really great rather than just put something out for the sake of it. You should not have to re-invent yourself every time on a record but you need to make it great.
What’s the best advice you could give to up and coming djs?
Practice and it is an old one but that is it. Before I did the Kiss demos I practised and practised until I got used to hearing my own voice, it was as simple as that.
Words by Semper Azeez-Harris