Sunday, February 03, 2008

Interview: DJ Mike Swing

DJ Mike Swing... you've seen him at Prague (Thursdays), Union Park (Fridays), and Six Lounge (Saturdays) doing his thang. You've wondered to yourself, who is this guy? Why does he recommend good dental hygiene? Now you know...

AHHS: Can you give your fans a quick bio of yourself?

Mike Swing: From rocking parties in the most well known clubs in Austin to running the most successful record pool in Central Texas, DJ Mike Swing has been one of Austin’s go to guys for Hip Hop/Urban music since 1995.

His musical beginning started in the early eighties while listening to his father’s vinyl records of The Gap Band and The Sugar Hill Gang. From there he continued to learn more about the upcoming and hip culture that stemmed from New York City called Hip Hop. In the mid to late eighties, Mike Swing began purchasing and collecting cassette tapes and vinyl records of music he found to be influential and uplifting. In middle school he was always known as the guy who had the latest music. After high school, he relocated to The University of Texas at Austin where his DJ career truly began to take shape. While looking through a Vibe Magazine that contained the chronological order of Hip Hop, he noticed that the year 1987 had the Technics 1200 turntable labeled as, 'The Industry Standard' for the Hip Hop DJ. That was the spark that set him on his journey that still goes on today. He found a way to purchase two turntables and the necessary equipment to begin 'spinning'. This new found way of sharing his music led him to five years at college radio for the University of Texas at Austin called KVRX 91.7FM. The radio show called Urban Concepts was born and was the first Hip Hop radio program at The University of Texas at Austin to play modern R&B and to obtain the number one spot for a college/community radio program in the Austin, Texas market according to the Arbitron rating system. During his career at radio, Mike Swing found time to build contacts within the music industry by going to conventions and starting his promotion venture and record pool called Moodswing Urban Entertainment Group. From this point, he started a promotion team that had clients such as Calvin Klein, Spin Records,, Loud Records, Bad Boy Entertainment, Warner Brother Records, Def Jam

Records, KMX Energy Drinks, Church's Chicken, Mountain Dew, and Sony Pictures to name a few. The record pool has supplied the top DJ's in Austin with music on vinyl records since 2001. In 2003, an article and interview was placed in Feedback Magazine. Both ventures continue successfully to this day.

In 2004, Mike Swing decided to get back into DJing for the people again and started playing out for the masses again. Since then he has DJ'd at Hot Shots, Firehouse Lounge, Oslo, Red Fez, Six Lounge, 219 West, Buffalo Billiards, Paggi House, Barcelona, Davenport in San Antonio, The Maxim Magazine Austin, Texas party of 2005, Dave & Busters Austin, Tambaleo, Antone's, and various corporate parties and functions.

These days you can catch DJ Mike Swing playing for the best clubs/bars in the downtown area of Austin, Texas, being the director of Moodswing Record Pool, and being the lead consultant and president of promotions for Moodswing Urban Entertainment Group. Always looking to be innovative and different, Mike Swing will take DJing and Turntablism to the masses by incorporating it into his live club sets and party functions. His love for the music will never stop and neither will his drive. With countless ideas and projects in the works, it will only be time before he's back on radio again and playing at a venue near you. Always be on the lookout for Mike Swing being heard through a speaker near you.

AHHS: How did you get started in DJing?

Mike Swing: I got started DJing because I saw a picture of a Technics 1200 in a year end issue of Vibe Magazine in 1995. I thought it would be easy and cool to give it a try.

AHHS: Which artists inspire you the most and why?

Mike Swing: I get inspiration most from turntablist and R&B singers. I know from experience how hard it is to scratch and play an instrument so I can relate to the hard work to get certain scratches and tricks to sound right. As for R&B artists, I've always liked most of them because of the harmony and melodies they use with they're voices. Rapping has nothing to do with any of that and even though I respect MC's, singing is a talent you’re born with.

AHHS: What are you spinnin' these days?

Mike Swing: Right now I'm spinning a lot of party stuff on the weekends for the mainstream party crowd. It's fun and full of energy. I wish I could play way more hip hop from the early 90's.

AHHS: From past experience, which song gets the party hype?

Mike Swing: I can't say that one song will always get the party moving because it changes all the time. Michael Jackson almost always has people sing along.

AHHS: What gives you inspiration and how does that transpire into your music?

Mike Swing: I get inspiration from hearing mix tapes and mix cd's. The good DJ's always tell a story with how they program the music and I like to do that in my DJ sets. My Saturday nights at Six Lounge are always like that. I've been there for over two years and I still get nervous every time before I play. I feel like I'm performing because the crowd is so big and they wait to hear 'my story' and how I put the music together for the night. I try to make the music come together either by artist, a story, by producers, or even by songs that have the same theme or title. I guess my inspiration is kind of like me imitating other dj's at times but with my own twist.

AHHS: How do you see the scene locally, and where do you see it going?

Mike Swing: The music scene in Austin is constantly growing and changing for the better. I see a lot more types of music penetrating the scene lately but I do wish that more House and Jazz music had a presence here. I think people are finally being able to tell the difference from good dj's and not so good dj's. That goes with bands too. Even bartenders!!

AHHS: What is your favorite venue to perform at, and why?

Mike Swing: Six Lounge is my favorite venue to perform in. See above!!

AHHS: Can you give us 3 of your most favorite local artists?

Mike Swing: Locally, I like a lot of artists, DJ's, and performers. I can't say I like one more than another. I'm not a big fan of going to shows. It's weird but I go to support them but I'd rather listen to them with headphones on. I don't like big crowds of sweaty drunk people.

AHHS: What is the best piece of advice that someone in the industry has given you?

Mike Swing: The industry is not a nice environment but a friend of mine that's a record label told me back in 90's to always be humble. If you don't, it can come back to haunt you.

AHHS: And a more light-hearted question: Have you seen a correlation between your level of success and quality of hoes?

Mike Swing: I wish I could say that the quality of hoes has gone up with success. I've been with my girlfriend on and off since I started getting 'big' so I could really do the groupie thing. Sometimes I wish I could have but I'm happy where I am. Right now, all the chicks are floating in my mind but when I really thing about it, they just wanted to 'chill with the dj' or have me get them in the club. Anywho, the quality and quantity still goes up but I stay in the same place.

AHHS: Do you have any parting words to our readers?

Mike Swing: I could only tell readers to just be patient when requesting a song. I'll most likely play what you want so relax because I'm going to have a way of making it work with a lot of other songs in the night. That's what a good dj does. Also, say no to bad breath!!!

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