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Stagnant Swamp finds new life
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Stagnant Swamp finds new life
By Grant Donaldson
There comes a time in every musician's career when they must spread their wings and set themselves free. For DJ Swamp, it's now or never and Never is Now.
DJ Swamp, a turntable wizard for 17 years, is best known for his spectacular American DMC championship win in 1996. After a four year run as Beck's official DJ, Swamp has finally found his own voice literally with his new album.
"I needed a vehicle to vent my creativity through, so that's what Never is Now is," he explains.
DJ Swamp was glad to leave his job driving a street sweeper in Cleveland, Ohio to become a full-time DJ.
He is famous for scratching tunes like "The Beverly Hillbillies" and "Smoke on the Water," while smashing his discs and playing the pieces. His noteworthy physical performances have given Swamp a few cuts and scrapes. He even cut himself with a record shard during his memorable championship battle.
Swamp's lightening quick hands and carnivalesque stage show won him both the DMC and the respect of the DJ world.
His unique and sometimes masochistic antics as just a way to keep things interesting, he explains. "The crazy stuff that's just keeping myself from getting bored 'cause if I'm not having fun, I don't think anybody's having fun," he says.
Swamp has spent much of his time working for others backing up Beck and producing tracks for movies and artists like Kid Rock, The Crystal Method and even teen sensations, Hanson.
Though these opportunities added to his wallet and his portfolio, working for others hasn't been satisfying enough for Swamp. "[Working with other people puts you] in the situation where you don't really have any control over what you're doing, you're just being told 'I want you to do that,'" he explains.
Although his creative efforts for others have not given him much of a solo voice, DJ Swamp has had some interesting opportunities.
He was asked by filmmaker Kevin Smith to produce a track for Dogma and star as an extra in the film. Although Swamp made the track, he thought the idea was kind of stupid and was glad when it wasn't included in the film, even though he regrets missing out on appearing in Salma Hayek's stripping scene.
Swamp's new album is an opportunity to try things he has been unable to do under the shadow of others. Never is Now is a combination of the 'turntablism' that brought him success and the unveiling of his rapping ability.
Swamp also hopes his album has helped him get a foot in the door, so he can achieve another goal: to produce other groups.
"[I haven't] really found anybody that's completely original. Everybody seems to be trying to be somebody else," he explains.
With his new-found freedom, Swamp finds himself able to focus his energy on regaining his identity and bringing his career full circle.
"I was always DJ Swamp, then I became Beck's DJ and now I'm DJ Swamp again," he says.
And DJ Swamp plans to remain DJ Swamp for some time to come. He wants to continue producing, performing and making records as long as he can.
"As long as people wanna buy them, I'll keep making them," he says.
That's what it boils down to for DJ Swamp: as long as he's happy and has something interesting to work on, he will continue being one of the most unique and talented DJs on the scene.
DJ Swamp plays at The Embassy with The Arsonists tonight at 8 p.m.. Tickets are $18 at the door.