Click here to see a complete list of reviews. Click here to see a complete list of interviews. Click here for links to artists and labels . Click here to visit our main menu page. Click here for email address.

MORPHEUS MUSIC INTERVIEW - SEVENTHSWAMI

31.05.09 - on release of Here For Now

    SEVENTHSWAMI - HERE FOR NOW  SEVENTHSWAMI - HERE FOR NOW SEVENTHSWAMI - HERE FOR NOW SEVENTHSWAMI - HERE FOR NOW  
 

SEVENTHSWAMI - HERE FOR NOW  SEVENTHSWAMI - HERE FOR NOW SEVENTHSWAMI - HERE FOR NOW SEVENTHSWAMI - HERE FOR NOW

Q: First off can you give us a bit of background – how did you initially get into making your own music?   I have always been in love with electronic music. I used to make mix tapes of video game music in grade school. By high school, video game music was starting to get really good, and my friends and I would write these cover songs and remixes of them using live drums and cheap keyboards from costco. Then I scored a program called Songwriter for the family Apple IIe and it had the same “piano-roll” view that most music software uses today. I loved writing music like that, visually, but I could tell that it would be a long time before a software program would allow me to make the sounds that I really wanted to make, so I drifted off again. The next time it occurred to me to see what was available, Reason v1 had come out… and that was the ticket. Basically I waited it out until a tool that fit my writing style came around.   Q:  How did SeventhSwami come into being?   That’s a funny story, actually.
I was at work one day (I think it was 2002) and my friend, Rich found an anagram-maker online. He typed in my name “Steve Wishman” and the 1st thing that popped up was “Seventh Swami”. After that, people just started calling me Swami. I never thought it would make a great DJ name (just try shouting it to someone in a loud club… “no not Seven… SEVENTH… with a TH… no not the number… S-E-V-E… nevermind”) but somehow it stuck.
   
             
Q:  For those as yet unfamiliar with your music – could you please describe your sound and style.
  That’s always a tough one… as of right now, it’s evolved into “glitchy psychedelic downtempo”… I tend to write a lot of 90-100bpm tracks with hip hop drum patterns… I use rhodes organ sounds pretty frequently… string instruments… chopped up vocals...
It’s eclectic but definitely within the realm of glitch-hop, albeit on the slower end of the spectrum… for now at least.
  Q: What are some of the music making techniques that you use to get that unique sound?  

I like to take a loop of some melody or beat that I’ve written, pipe it through a kaoss pad and then route it back into the computer. That way I can make several variations on a sound very quickly, then cut those up and reassemble them in new ways… I make a lot of my glitch sounds using kaoss pads… both in live situations and in the studio. There’s something about doing something tactile, in real-time with a piece of hardware, that always comes out sounding warmer and more human. I dig on imperfection… like wobbly bass sounds. I tend to use un-synced LFOs or, in some cases I’ll manipulate the filter by hand instead of using an LFO at all.

             
Q:  What would you say influences your writing?  

I’ve given this a lot of thought actually. I go through these phases where I’m really unproductive for a month or more… like to the point that I can’t even stomach the idea of touching a keyboard… and then right when I start worrying that something is wrong, it comes back hard, and I’ll crank out 2 or 3 tracks in a week. There is an ebb and flow to my creativity, musically and otherwise, that I’ve finally learned to stop fighting. If I want to lay on a couch for a month, so be it. When I force this stuff, it never comes out right. I’m fond of a quote by Hunter Thompson; “All energies flow according to the whims of the great magnet… what a fool I was to defy him."

Something else really important I’ve noticed about my creative process is that I get inspired by sad situations. For a long time this bothered me because I don’t want to have to choose between being happy and being creative… and I don’t, thankfully... I tend to be a happy person by default. but I’ve come to accept that sadness is one of my muses. This realization has actually been really uplifting to me, because when something comes along that gets me down, I get a little excited because I know great things are likely to come spilling out. Honestly, I think this may be why so many artistic types out there have so many skeletons in their closets. We don’t necessarily like the way they make us feel, but we like to keep our muses nearby. Because when we grapple with them, the dance that ensues is inspirational to us. It’s like the clash between light and darkness; there is no victor, but because of the conflict, the universe exists. What we experience as “reality” is the music that is created by this battle.

This is all stuff that I’m only beginning to really understand and come to grips with. It’s taken my whole life to get here but I’m very happy with this theory because it fits hand-in-glove with my spiritual and scientific beliefs.

  Q:  When you set about making Here For Now – what was it that you were trying to achieve?   For the first 2/3 of it, I was trying not to think of the end-goal. Instead of putting that kind of pressure on myself, I figured I'd just wait until I had about an hour of music I was happy with, and then think about it. Of course before long ideas started flowing anyway, and the Here For Now idea happened. And suddenly it became this homage to the temporariness of all things, which I think deserves to be shared. I was lucky to have Paul Villinski contribute such a beautiful piece of art for the cover also... He's done a lot of other butterfly installations but this one, in the shape of a person, was just so perfectly aligned with the "Here For Now" theme… I’m still thrilled to look at it.
             
 
     
Q:  How does the album now feel looking back at it as a completed entity?   It feels like a snapshot of part of my life. I notice different things now when I look at the album as a whole... there are stories in there that I did not plan... sounds that have become part of my "sound"... I definitely learned a lot. Also, it just feels good to finish an art project of this size.   Q:  What do you find to be the most enjoyable part of your musical career and why?   Finding that "groove". When you get that extra burst of energy and things seem to start happening on their own... When you start conducting the show from a higher level and all the lower-level functions seem to be running on auto pilot. Those moments kick ass.
             
Q:  How important is live work for you as a musician?
  I consider myself really lucky to have the opportunity. Playing in front of a crowd is addictive. It's definitely the quickest way to find that groove. Plus part of me really wants to contribute something to this scene that I've been so lucky to be a part of. I've had some of the most transformative experiences of my life while listening to electronic music at parties out here. To be on the other side of that and help another person have that kind of experience is wonderful work.   Q:  What does the future hold for your music – where are you heading next?   I think maybe an EP of some of my older stuff is in order. I have unfinished business with a few of those stories. I'd love to do more remixes too. I've been having a lot of fun with acapelas lately. I'd love to get another side-project going too, but between SeventhSwami and my graphics work, time is always in short supply. I don't know how other people do it. If I make progress on any one path, the others suffer for it.

 

           

Q:  Long term do you have any musical dreams?  

  I'm thinking something philanthropic. I would love to see this hobby grow into something greater than the sum of its parts. I've got an idea or two taking shape right now and hopefully we'll see some of them start to bear fruit. I definitely didn't get into this with dreams of making a career out of it, but I think SeventhSwami could easily be one foundational piece of a much bigger thing.        
 

Thanks to Steve and Dov at Muti Music for allowing us that interview.

SEVENTHSWAMI - HERE FOR NOW  SEVENTHSWAMI - HERE FOR NOW SEVENTHSWAMI - HERE FOR NOW SEVENTHSWAMI - HERE FOR NOW  SEVENTHSWAMI - HERE FOR NOW SEVENTHSWAMI - HERE FOR NOW SEVENTHSWAMI - HERE FOR NOW SEVENTHSWAMI - HERE FOR NOW SEVENTHSWAMI - HERE FOR NOW  SEVENTHSWAMI - HERE FOR NOW SEVENTHSWAMI - HERE FOR NOW SEVENTHSWAMI - HERE FOR NOW SEVENTHSWAMI - HERE FOR NOW