The Giver Series II: Influences, Collabs, Industry, and Touring

Photo courtesy of the artist

Swamburger has been independently releasing music for the past 15 years. With a hustler’s spirit, Swam is a world onto himself. He’s many things; painter, skateboarder, band leader, entrepreneur, producer, rapper is just near the top of the list. As one forth of the group Solillaquists Of Sound, Swam has garnered a global cult following. Most fans know him as the guy who’s always walking amongst the crowd talking out of the box and hugging fans turned friends. Newcomers at his shows are in awe of his stage presence and performance. The closest comparison to a Solilla show would be going to see KRS-One. Its like a religious experience wrapped in edutainment. Before the Internet altered our reality, Swam was selling his music and paintings hand to hand in downtown Orlando.

When I interviewed Swam he was gearing up for a tour in France with Solilla, which is also about to release their third album, The 4th Wall. He talked about his early influences, how the music industry has changed and his collaboration with Dark Time Sunshine featuring Aseop Rock on a song called “Take My Hand.”

Early influences
The first album I bought was Kurtis Blow’s Ego Trip in 1984. It was a tape cassette. I played that thing until the tape popped, Hahah. I used to break to all the tracks on it too, even the singing ones… My favorite song on that album was probably “Basketball.” “Under Fire” was the track that put me in the mode to try new break moves though. Damn, that was a minute ago, huh?

Music industry evolution
The biggest difference I’ve seen in the music industry has got to be the methodology of our distribution and advertising outlets. Both have become so quick and easy to do, it almost serves as a disservice towards the quality of music being released. Anyone can put their shit out with no standard of quality mentioned, no artist development, no label, no street credit or proper promo of any kind. Selling units is no more than a youtube video away. Within the confines of the local music scenes, folks who used to respect the achievement of acquiring a rep through paying their dues, are no longer interested in practicing a craft long enough to earn those stripes, thus, the music industry becomes filled with new artists, mimicking and biting other people’s styles, as opposed to being an original talent.

DarkTime Sunshine featuring Aseop Rock: “Take my hand.”
This track was done via email. I have a personal friendship with Onry and Zavala of DarkTime Sunshine. They respect my writing style and keep me in mind whenever there’s a beat that feels like it needs my touch. (I appreciate the shit outta that.) Prior to “Take My Hand,” Onry asked me to be part of a song called “Instructions to Numb,” featuring: Qwel of “Qwel and Maker.” Once I did that track, Zavala and I got acquainted. So, when Onry asked me to be on another song, I knew I had Zavala’s blessing. In my head I was thinking, “they like me, they like me,” hahaha. Onry sent me the beat and told me that Aesop Rock would be on the track…. I immediately got hype. The concept dealt with guiding the average Joe through what you’ve experienced, seen, heard, learned first hand, etc. I loved it. I started as soon as I got the beat. Once I sent my verse back to them, I heard from Onry that Aesop was impressed… That’s the end of the story for me, hahaha. Earning Aesop Rock’s respect was definitely a career high. 

Cover art by Swamburger

The 4th Wall
The Album is called “The 4th Wall.” It’s a double album but, the process in which we wish to put the album out goes like this… First we hit them with ten tracks, then we hit them with 12 or 13 more tracks, but, we’d then present all 22 or 23 tracks as one package. The people reppin us in France is NeoNovo. They operate as our managers, label, and booking agent right now.  We tour the album in France starting this month. We’ll be out for the full month.

My influences are: Hosea Brooks (Swam’s father), Freestyle Fellowship, Aceyalone’s older solo work, and Sly and the Family Stone. 

Originally posted in September of 2012. Read The Giver Series I, here.

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