Premiere: Listen to Swami's Live Mix: "Establishing Contact"
Swami’s first-ever live mix was christened with the help of a friend who insists that the first date is prime time to “establish contact.” Miss the moment, and your potential future romance may never blossom…but catch it at just the right time, and you’re straight up winning.
It seems that Swami is finding herself at exactly one of those opportune moments: as the creative director for Icona Pop, a designer for Atlantic Records, and an Aussie DJ killing the game in NYC, she’s got her hands full (to say the least). We caught up with the Milk fam (she’s also been seen DJ-ing at Milk Gallery) to talk inspirations, aspirations, and the exclusive premiere of “Establishing Contact”; peep both the mix and the interview below.
I love that bit from your friend about “establishing contact” that inspired the song’s name.
Oh my god I know. It’s really funny, one day he was monologuing about going on a date and just the way he said, “You have to establish contact,” that just made me laugh so much. So now anytime I’m on a date, I’m like, “Are they thinking about when they’re gonna establish contact?” [Laughs]. It’s just that physical connection.
Yeah, I was thinking more about “contact” as in “connection,” but he literally means physical touch.
Yeah, exactly! [Laughs] But yeah, I thought it was kind of a funny thing to call my first mix because it’s me establishing contact with the music/DJ world basically.
Totally. So since this is your first one, how are you feeling? Nervous or just stoked?
Well I’m pretty nervous because I guess it kind of took me a while to figure out what sound I wanted to have, or what I wanted to play. You kind of go through the ebbs and flows, like I initially started out wanting to play hip hop stuff, but have always loved electronic music, and it’s just kind of this big rabbit hole. I’m super inspired by a lot of disco and play lots of 90s house music now, I love a really beautiful vocal, so just stuff that’s really fun. So I’m excited. I always get really nervous in my head, like, “Oh, what are people gonna think?” But it’s more just about a vibe.
What initially drew you to DJ-ing?
I’ve always loved music so much. So I moved to America because I wanted to work in music, and I loved the idea of being able to play all this music I really enjoy to a bunch of people and curate the vibe of a party. Being able to select the tracks and kind of having my finger of the pulse of new music and going back really far to the old stuff too. There’s just so much music out there, it’s overwhelming. I love researching and listening to everything and digging and finding music that I want to play. I’m not too concerned with the latest release or the latest track; I just want to play things that I really enjoy and that move me and make me feel things.
There’s definitely an infinite amount of choices out there as far as music is concerned.
Yes, 100 percent. And I think that also what drew me to DJ-ing is that I love traveling and I’ve always had a dream of playing festivals and playing outside for people. So it’s exciting to hopefully see that coming to fruition a little bit.
Do you have a standout memory of a favorite event or party that you DJ-ed?
One of my favorite-ever days of my life was when I went up to Detroit last year for Movement Festival, which is a big electronic festival that’s been going for 11 years. I saw one of my favorite DJs play, The Black Madonna, and my friends had been out all night and I had had an early night and they said, “Come and meet us at eight in the morning, we’re gonna go see her play.” So I woke up and got to the bar and it was literally 8 am and I’m all fresh and they’ve been out all night and the sun was shining and everyone was so happy. That was super fun.
And this year and last year, just being able to play a lot—I used to play at Elvis Guesthouse all the time, which was super fun, and now at Baby’s All Right and Black Flamingo and House of Yes. So all these places have been so awesome.
I know that you have a ton of other things going on besides DJ-ing—do any of your creative pursuits intertwine or influence each other? Or are they totally separate?
DJ-ing is sort of starting to infiltrate other areas. I’ve been asked to do a few more gigs through work, which has been really cool. I work at Atlantic Records as a designer and played an after-party with SWEATER BEATS, so that was cool. I also do creative direction for Icona Pop which is really great. I think there’s creativity in everything you’re into so whether it’s music or fashion or art, I think they all just influence each other and it all ties into who you are as a creative person and your style and the ideas that you come up with. Also working with artists everyday is so inspiring on different levels—it’s just such a good learning experience.
What’s in the pipeline for you for the rest of the year?
Well, I’m hoping to do many more gigs. I’ve got the party that I run once a month called “Act Natural”, which I run with a friend of mine. And then I’d love to play on The Lot Radio, that would be awesome, and I’d just love to support some other DJs and start doing some more events around New York. I think this summer I’ll be playing a lot more gigs, especially some outdoor things would be amazing. I’ll be going up to Detroit again for Movement Festival and out to LA this weekend to meet lots of people and get out there. And I’m also going to start putting out a lot more mixes—hopefully one every month, and using the seasons and my mood to influence those as well.
Images courtesy of Nigel Rubirosa
Stay tuned to Milk for more first listens.