Shwayze Shares with Campus Vinyl BucknellU
Eight o’clock at night on Friday of House Party, I was soundly asleep in my bed when I was woken up by the president of my fraternity turning the lights on. “Hey Connor, Shwayze is here.” This was not how I expected to wake up, so still half-asleep, and now alarmed, I threw on some clothes and hurried down to the basement to meet him.
As I reached the downstairs, I heard a few of my fraternity brothers laughing as well as some unfamiliar voices, so I followed my intuition and found Shwayze in our cramped, dimly-lit kitchen cooking Philly cheesesteaks with five of my friends. We all got to talking, and eventually he agreed to let me interview him in the crannies of our basement while we cooked our pre-party meal.
Connor: So are you excited to be here at Bucknell?
Shwayze: I’m really excited about tonight, you know, because the cool thing about these college shows is that it could be this huge, crazy spot or this crazy, small little intimate thing. They’re all amazing, so I’m really excited about tonight I think its gonna be crackin’.
C: Where does your inspiration usually come from? You were partnered with Cisco for a while, and then obviously Cisco’s not here tonight, so what do you do on your own?
S: The inspiration comes from everywhere, man. Cisco and I had a really strong run, we were together for a good two, three years rockin’ and touring, so I learned a lot from him and he learned a lot from me. But anytime you’re in a group I think there comes a time when you want your own independence, because when you’re in the group you have to worry about the other person and what they want, as well as what you want. I think we’re both excited to be independent though because we’re able to express ourselves artistically and just go as crazy as we want individually, and maybe in the future we’ll get back together. But right now I really draw inspiration from everything, I know that sounds hella cliché, but it’s like as artists we live and then we kinda put it down. Some people go to work and sit down and they’re like, whatever, and do what they do, but I live life to the fullest and I’m very spontaneous and just kind of like to see where life takes me and make music about it.
C: What’s the craziest thing that ever happened to you on tour?
S: The craziest thing is, I don’t really know to be honest. I think just being on tour is crazy in itself. Going on tour for the first time was an amazing experience because before I was on tour I was working at Starbucks and doing construction and then finally for a song to hit, and then for me to be able to go on tour and everyday be able to go to a different city and meet new faces; I think tour itself is just out of control because every day is a new experience.
C: What was the toughest thing for you before you really hit it?
S: Just thinking I was ready to hit it and it not happening because you want it to happen and it just won’t. You always want it to happen before, but everything happens when it’s supposed to and the funnest part is always just the grind, you know what I mean? I’m still in the grind: I’m still not as big as I know I’m going to be. So it’s just every day at a time.
C: What’s the best part of going home and being with your family?
S: That’s just it, you know? Going home and being with the family and being off the road and not living out of a suitcase. When you go on the road you get used to wearing the same jeans for a week straight and when you don’t wear those jeans, you put those jeans in a bag and a week later you come back to those same jeans as if they were clean, like HELL YEAH, and then you put them back on. So going home is great for being able to take a second and relax because hard thing about being on tour, which many people don’t know about, is that we have so many different jobs that we have as musicians and entertainers. It’s not just going out there and being crazy, we actually have to go home a write records. So when we go on tour its kind of cool to see how the record is reacting, to meet the fans face to face, which makes going home cool because now I know everybody, I’ve seen everybody’s face, I know what they like, so now I can go write some new shit for them, and that’s also one of the funnest things is that you meet people, you go home and make some brand new shit for everybody. I got the new record coming out, so it’s just going to be the craziest summer.
C: Last question: what’s your favorite song to play live while on tour?
S: My favorite live song right now is one that not many people have heard, its called “Love Is Overrated.” For me that’s just the funnest because not many people have heard it but by the time I get to the second chorus everyone knows it and that makes me feel good, man.
C: Yeah that just came out underground, which is awesome.
S: Yeah, exactly.
As I walked over to the other side of the room to grab some food for myself, one of my brothers, Bryan, chimed in.
Bryan: Hey, wait can I ask a question?
S: Yeah, yeah of course.
B: If you could play any instrument what would it be?
S: Cool, so I play a little bit of drums, a little bit of piano and I play a little bit of guitar but if I could play other instruments I’d like to really play drums well, play piano well and play guitar well (laughs)
B: So who do you look up to musically then?
S: Over the years I’ve had a lot. One of the first one’s was the Chili Peppers, I love everything by the Chili Peppers, everything by the Keys. When I was in college, one of those short lived things, that was all I was listening to. I love Tupac Shakur, just ‘cause he was a man with a message and he wasn’t afraid to tell that message. And he died at such a young age, he died at twenty-five and I’m twenty-seven so imagine how much he’s done and that’s why he’s a great inspiration. Bob Marley is also a great influence of mine; I saw his documentary, which touched me out of control. And Andre 3000.
I handed Shwayze my phone, still recording, while I started to cook. At this point we were all just joking around and trading stories about the similarities and differences between being on tour and fraternity life.
S: Shwayze back on the mic! So my turn to interview y’all - this is your dorm, right?
C: Yeah, frat house. It’s a little different than a regular dorm.
S: So anybody can just come down here and make food? This is your kitchen? This is pretty awesome.
B: Yeah man, we always have access to food down here.
S: That’s tight man; wish we could bring this with us on tour.
As the interview closed, we began to set up his equipment, sound check and he left with his band to prepare for the show. I ended up in the front row of his hour-long set and he killed it, playing hits such as “Corona and Lime” and yes, we were all singing “Love is Overrated” by the second chorus.
Keep the beat going,