We have a chat with Jamie and Andrew, who make up the Canadian duo, better known as SwAy. With a splash of mulitiple genres and an upbeat tone, they create a truly addictive sound that is truly EaRiE. Check it out:
SwAy, tell the EaRiE audience a little about your group and what sets you apart from the crowd. As we like to say here, what makes you EaRiE?
SwAy: SwAy is a 2 man operation consisting of a Producer/Keyboard/Dj and a Producer/Guitarist. There are alot of Live-Tronic groups on the rise, however between the two of us we manage to cover alot of ground on our own. What I mean by that is all the guitar, piano, synths, bass, scratching…every instrument really….is recorded by us. The only samples we use are the Vocals, except for remixes of course. I guess another thing that sets us apart, is we don’t pigeon hole ourselves into any specific group of genres. We just make music, whatever we feel like. Don’t be surprised if we one day come out with an accoustic EP. We have such a diverse musical background between the 2 of us, so anything is possible.
How long have you two been a group? How did you meet/start?
SwAy: We started the idea for SwAy March/April of 2012, but didn’t realease any music until September last year. The two of us were in a band previously called “Know Tommorow”, and we played a mix of funk/reggae/jazz/folk/rock. Andrew played lead guitar, and I (Jamie) played piano and DJ’d. That band was around for awhile and had alot of different members come and go, but when I (Jamie) started with them would have been about 6 years ago I think.
Being from Canada, have you had the chance to do any shows in the US, or are you staying local in Canada?
SwAy: Canada is great! But not for musicians, we want to play all over the world. We have performed locally and have upcoming oppertunities to play in the US. Most of our fanbase actually isn’t from Canada. Our good friend Tass Nata once wrote something along the lines of “If you have a great product, are you going to just sell it to local stores?” That applies to our music, although it is free.
Your musical style is very soulful with a splash of modernism thrown in for kicks, which leads to an addictive sound…What are some of your inspirations? What did you grow up listening to?
SwAy: I (Jamie) listened to alot of classic rock and “oldies” growing up, my dad never played an instrument, but he was the biggest music head I knew for sure. In highschool I listened to everything….Punk, Hardcore and Hip hop. Andrew grew up on Rock&Roll, Funk, Metal and Gangsta Rap.
While listening to your music I hear samples from all over the place, from oldies soul, to country & Western, to Martin Luther King, to hip hop (I even heard some DMX thrown in). So when you look for samples and crate dig, what do you look for? Also who are some of your favorite artists to sample?
SwAy: We look for vocals that will resonate with your soul/relevant to the message we are tying to get across.. Something you can grip onto and relate to. If its a hype part, then something loud and aggressive. If its a slow part, then something peaceful and melodic. Whatever it is, it can’t just be forced, I find the sample usually chooses itself. We like to add in vocals, like the Martin Luther King one for example, to educate. Nas is also great for that! I’m pretty sure he’s in half of our songs. He has alot of wise and inspirational things to say, and we try to incorporate that into our music as much as possible. Oh yeah, I have 2 records that are on heavy rotation for sampling, Scratch Roullette Vol.1 &2
Without giving away too many of your secrets, what is your process when you go in to make a song from scratch? Do you look for samples first and get inspired that way, or do you just start with a riff and go from there? Give us a brief description of the process…
SwAy: To be honest with you, we just do whatever. Sometimes we’ll start just jammin together and be like “Lets record that”. Sometimes I’ll sit around for a couple nights and come up with somethin basic with vocals already in it and we’ll add to that. It has never gone down the same way twice, I know that much haha
How long, on average, does it take for you to complete a song?
SwAy: Easy question, anywhere from a couple days to…..we still have tracks sittin on the back burner from 18 months ago that might get finished one day.
Do you two ever have battles to see who can come up with the best music parts or try to challenge and outdo each other?
SwAy: We actually battle for the last note of the song. This has gone on since Know Tomorrow. Luckily we can usually look past this when playing live.
When you’re not making music, what are you doing?
Jamie: Playing piano, guitar, organ, synths, scratching records….haha I like cooking, being outdoors, learning about stuff that Andrew reads.
Andrew:The Great Work.
If you could not make music anymore and you had to replace it with another artform, what would it be?
Jamie: Some form of visual art. ie. drawing, painting, photoshop even.
Andrew : Drawing,Writing
At the end of the day, what would you like fans to take away from your music? How would you like them to see SwAy? An overall message?
SwAy: Git down with your bad self (in a positive way)
What is the best part of being a part of the up-and-coming group SwAy?
Jamie: Hey, I’m just making music with my bestfriend. Its a bonus people like it.
Andrew: Same just making music with my bestfriend sharing my soul with the world.