PHOTO COURTESY DJ SWAMP
Swamp thingHe may have gained notoriety as the DJ behind iconoclastic rocker Beck, but in recent years, DJ Swamp has proven to be a musical maverick in his own right. First, as winner of the prestigious DMC DJ competition in 1996 (on his first try, no less) and then as a solo performer whose wild stage antics earned him a trip to the hospital (he suffered second-degree burns while setting his hand on fire during a show in Phoenix, Ariz.), Swamp has created his own legend as a touring act and recording artist.
A deejay creates his own legend
and quickly goes from driving a
street sweeper to being on the Grammys
But after winning the DMC DJ battle, Swamp said in an interview earlier this year at unpop.com that "I was still stuck in Cleveland, Ohio (his home) driving a street sweeper. I figured that I was not going to wait around for people to find me, so I started to make calls, trying to get with this and that. I got some offers. But with Beck, I lied and said I was a reporter. I got an interview with him. Through that, I got a demo tape to him. He was impressed enough to ask me to go on tour with him. So I went from being a street sweeper to being on the Grammys within a few months." (In fact, Swamp appeared with Beck at his last concert here at Andrews Outdoor Amphitheater on the UH-Manoa campus, as part of the "Midnight Vultures" tour. He toured with Beck for four years.)
And Swamp is nothing if not entertaining. It's been reported that he's scratched up tunes like "The Beverly Hillbillies" theme and "Smoke on the Water," while smashing his discs and actually playing the pieces. He even cut himself with a record shard during his championship battle.
Sporting a long black mane and villainous beard, DJ Swamp projects an image which perfectly complements his unique brand of dark, authoritative beat-making. Through his own label, Decadent records, he has released a series of DJ-only breakbeat records such as "Swamp Breaks," "Skip Proof Scratch Tool," "Neverending Breakbeats" and "Waxcraft," as well as his envelope-pushing debut album, "Never Is Now."
He has appeared both on stage and on disc, as performer, producer and remixer, alongside a wide-ranging roster of artists such as Kid Rock, Devo, The Crystal Method, Kool Keith, Morcheeba, Vanilla Ice, the Bloodhound Gang, Weird Al Yankovic and Save Ferris, to name a few.
No ink has been spared on Swamp either, as national publications such as Rolling Stone, Spin, DJ Times, Mixer, Rap Pages, Rap Sheet and Urb have dedicated precious column space to the prodigious talents of the inimitable DJ. He has enjoyed appearances on the big screen in the feature "Clockstoppers" and the turntablist documentary "Scratch," as well as on television, such as the Grammys, American Music Awards, MTV Awards, Top of the Pops, ESPN's X-Games and ABC In Concert. For samples of Swamp's music, log onto ttp://www.djswamp.com/sckizo/multimedia.html.
DJ Swamp appears this Thursday at B-Side, a hip hop monthly at Wave Waikiki, alongside a long list of local turntablists, such as Slow Daddy, Rise Up, Jedi, Kavet the Katalyst, the Nocturnal Sound Krew, Sub Zero and 4 Elements.
Where: Wave Waikiki, 1877 Kalakaua Ave.
B-SIDE presents DJ Swamp
When: 9 p.m. Thursday
Admission: $10, 21 and over; $15, 18-20
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