Amoeblog

Interview With Rob Swift About New Album The Architect (Ipecac)

Posted by Billyjam, March 1, 2010 11:45pm | Post a Comment
Rob Swift
Released last Tuesday, The Architect by DJ/producer Rob Swift (X-Men, X-Ecutioners, Ill Insanity) has been selling well at Amoeba Music. At the San Francisco store it charted at number three last week on the latest Top Five Chart. Put out by Mike Patton on his Ipecac Recordings, The Architect is the latest in a string of solo releases from the prolific turntable artist, who for this latest release constructed and modeled the album like a classical music composition.

In fact, The Architect is an ambitious project, even for an artist like Swift, who has made a career out of pushing the envelope with his innovative turntable-as-instrument recordings. The Architect, which he dedicated to his former X-Ecutioners band-mate Roc Raida, who died last year, is an excellent recording that raises the bar on turntablist/scratch albums.

I recently caught up with Rob Swift to ask him about the new album and how it came into being. "In June of 2008 I was in my bathroom shaving and my girlfriend, her name is Tess, walked into the bathroom and was like, 'I want you to listen to something. So she set up her iPod and little speakers and played a piece by Chopin for me. I forget what piece it was but I remember being blown away and been really touched and moved by this music I was listening to," he recalled. "So I finished shaving and came out of the bathroom and I was like, Tess you gotta play me more of that music. What is it? And she started to explain to me about classical music. And the funny thing is that all of us have been exposed to classical music at one time or another, whether in a movie or at Macy's in an elevator, or if you're watching commercials. So as much exposure as I have had to the genre of classical music, I don't think my mind and my heart was ready to accept it. But for some reason on that day in my bathroom, my heart was ready to embrace this genre."

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DMC/ITF DJ CHAMPION ROC RAIDA OF X-ECUTIONERS DEAD AT AGE 37

Posted by Billyjam, September 19, 2009 01:29pm | Post a Comment

It has been reported by several sources that New York turntablist Roc Raida of X-Men/X-Ecutioners fame has died earlier today. The DMC and ITF DJ battle champ was 37 years of age. The artist had reportedly been hospitalized for a serious spinal injury following a recent accident while kick-boxing training. Along with Rob Swift, Total Eclipse, and Mista Sinista, Roc Raida rounded out the best known line-up of the X-Ecutioners (formerly the X-Men), whose other members had included Steve Dee, DJ Boogie Blind and DJ Precision.

In addition to performing and recording with his DJ crew (in 2002 the X-Ecutioners dropped Built From Scratch on Loud), he also collaborated with numerous hip-hop artists over the years, including Big Pun, Immortal Technique, O.C., Buckshot Lefonque, and Smif N' Wessun. Above is one of Raida's great turntable routines from the 1995 DMC battle that he won in which he displays his typical playful, fun approach to the art of scratching, incorporating ample use of body tricks. Note that at this time his crew was still named X-Men (they eventually were forced to change it due to Marvel Comics sending a cease and desist) and the DJ was known as Roc Raider (with an "R" at the end). I knew Roc Raida for many years and last interviewed him about two years ago. I will try to find that interview to transcribe for a future Amoeblog. R.I.P. Roc Raida.