Photo by Senay Kenfe
In a landscape where artists often garner acclaim online well before they actually get behind a set of CDJs, dedicated, preternaturally talented DJs are a welcome reprieve from the trainwrecking masses. Born in Philadelphia and raised between Los Angeles and Philly, SWISHA fits that bill to a T, a tireless producer and DJ who has become a go to for a range of American club styles. Now based in the Bronx, we became acquainted with SWISHA (fka Swisha Sweet) at nights in LA where he would invariably blow away every other DJ on the bill, sometimes without even wearing headphones. A member of the Juke Bounce Werk crew and a resident at CAMEO, SWISHA would regularly take over Rocksteady’s Tuesday night haunt and impress across LA’s range of warehouse bacchanals. Nowadays, we can regularly catch him on New York’s Half Moon Radio with Kush Jones and its easy to imagine him tearing it up in New York.
To summarize SWISHA’s sound would be to reduce it to something less than the whole, but in short, everything from Bmore, Jersey and Philly Club, Footwork, Juke, House and Techno are involved. His Digital Space EP, released in May of this year, is the most effective demonstration of the sound that comes across in a SWISHA DJ set, fluctuating between a dedication to American regional club sounds and an awareness of gritty rave dynamics. The EP is an extension of past work exploring similar themes, but coalesces around a singular approach more effectively than any previous SWISHA release.
That’s not to say that SWISHA isn’t offering up some of the most incisive club tracks around on other releases though and in September, he released the third edition of Assorted Flavors, a mixtape series featuring collaborations with the likes of AceMo, BASSBEAR!!, DJ J Heat and DJ Manny. The tracks are accompanied by bright, candy-themed artwork and often recklessly dive into outsized peak time sounds (see “Dat 1 Song Wit Tha Hornz”). Outside of his own platforms, SWISHA tracks and collaborations can consistently be found on JBW releases, as well as Trax Couture and DOMEOFDOOM, where he released his debut full length on cassette in 2016. He’s also recently started collaborating with the Bronx’s Papi Squad, a crew helmed by AMEN, Bassbear!!, Bojaq, El Blanco Nino, and Rainey, experimenting with a range of New York-specific mutations on club music. On the whole, he’s part of a range of contemporary movements offering up a fun loving, distinctly dancefloor-focused approach to regional club sounds that respects the source material, but also effortlessly drives forward.
SWISHA’s production catalog speaks for itself, but you kind of have to see him DJ live to get a sense of the skill and precision involved. His Astral Plane Mix, a breakneck run through the SWISHA sound that comes in at a tight 40 minutes, is a great representation of what he has to offer and will have to do for now though. Legends like DJ Deeon, DJ Slugo and DJ Stringray pepper the track and feel right at home with artists like ABE, K-Shiz and LSDXOXO, while SWISHA originals (and a few unreleased remixes of tracks from Digital Space), provide energy peaks. Blends tend to enter the frame quickly, but stick around as SWISHA bobbles between tracks and draws lines between material that might seem disparate without proper contextualization. More than anything else though, it’s fun as hell and offers insight into an artist who hasn’t let dance music’s drudgeries and hyper self-seriousness get in the way of making bops. Download the mix here and hit the jump for a track list.