Dj Swerve is 20 years old from Atlanta, Georgia. He is a Sports Management major, Strategic Communications minor. He enjoys hanging out with friends, playing basketball, and going to parties as much as he likes djing…if it’s a move and he is actually not djing, he’s down for the turn up. But don’t get it twisted Swerve stays on the move… One of the most humble I know, he is a true example of where commitment and practice to your craft can get you. Catch him swerving through millions real soon!
IG & Twitter:@yodjswerve
COMING SOON! : www.yodjswerve.com
Tierra: When did you start Djing? And who or what were your early passions or influences?
Dj Swerve: Alright, so I started djing when I was like… I’m 20 now… so when I was 14. And one of my influences was my pops and my pops brother. Both of them used to be dj’s when they was in New York a long time ago, and so like I got pictures when I was a baby with turn tables and all that kind of stuff. I was always around music. My family loves music, so growing up I was always inspired by music. And so basically, I always wanted to Dj so I saved up money when I was like 14. I got a job, I saved up for equipment, and then that summer going into 10th grade year is when I just start djing.
Tierra: You were djing for parties and stuff like that?
Dj Swerve: Yeah basically. It’s crazy because I knew that if you’re starting off as a dj nobody is going to really book you to do events so like I threw my own events where I dj’d them. So I started throwing house parties at my house, I started throwing pool parties in my neighborhood and like… I just was djing them… That’s how people started knowing me.
Tierra: So did you always go by Dj Swerve?
Dj Swerve: Yeah. The story behind Dj Swerve… I got that name when… It’s two ways I got that name. First of all, people used to call me Swerve because of how I used to drive. Like when I was young I used to drive real reckless… Like people used to talk about how I be swerving in and out of traffic. And it’s crazy because when I was thinking of a dj name, I just randomly opened up the dictionary and I looked at the word “swerve”. And then I was just like aight this the word that I’m going with.
Tierra: What are currently your main challenges as a Dj?
Dj Swerve: Challenges right now, is just like breaking out of the Howard bubble and going towards like… now that I’m a junior and about to be a senior, it’s time to like… move pass Howard. I do a lot of stuff in like the DMV and away from Howard. But even pass the DMV… I’m trying to be able to go to Cali and dj… be able to go across the world and dj somewhere. Like I just don’t want to be stuck in this Howard bubble. And another challenge is starting to get into producing. And so, you can’t just be a Dj forever… that’s not going to really… I mean you can, but you can’t just dj and live off that… or live how I want to live. So I gotta be doing a lot of different stuff.
Tierra: So have you started trying producing?
Dj Swerve: Yeah, it’s a lot of producers who want to be dj’s, and I’m of course a dj who wants to produce so we work together at Howard with like a lot of producers and teach each other information.
Tierra: What do you usually start with when preparing for a set?
Dj Swerve: Preparing for a set, I probably will look at the audience. Like I would just think what is this set… like tonight I got the King Louie… so a lot of people from Chicago will be there. So I’m like “alright, it’s going to be a lot of people from Chicago… I’m gonna play a lot of Chicago s***”. I do my research, if it’s an audience I never dj’d for before… I do my research. Like say I got booked for something… like I’m about to be in Miami and I have to dj there. So I’m gonna of course see what’s hot in Miami because it’s not the same as what’s hot in DC.
Tierra: How important is building a real relationship with the music you’re playing for your own approach ?
Dj Swerve: I mean, it’s real important like… Music to me, music is really everything. Ever since I was young, I was in the band and listening to music and stuff like that. It’s more of a connection than some people who just listen to music and are like it’s just music. So, I definitely have a stronger relationship with music… when I’m djing like all of my problems are gone.
Tierra: What single night djing has been the most memorable for you?
Dj Swerve: Right now… so far, probably the Future concert, because that was the most people I’ve dj’d for. When I dj’d at that concert I met a lot of good connects… of course I met Future, Esco… Metro Boomin’… everybody so like, I was djing for thousands and thousands of people. That concert was LIT.
Tierra: What is one mistake that you see a lot of up and coming dj’s making? What advice would you give to aspiring dj’s?
Dj Swerve: A mistake would probably be, trying to dj too many events when they are not ready for them. So like, if you coming up or just starting out djing, don’t try to be on every event, or don’t just take events. Because, people are going to try to book you just because they know ” Oh, we can get you for cheap”. So don’t just take everything and dj when you know you’re not good enough. Like really go in like your basement or wherever and practice your craft, and like master it to the point where then, when you pop out and you’re like really nice.. people can say ” Oh yeahhh!”
And the advice I would say… is just to practice A LOT. A lot of people don’t know how much dj’s actually practice. But practice a lot… research, look at other dj’s that you like. Just keep learning. Because you can master a craft… but you can never stop learning. I can always get better. The best dj in the world still practices, and still gets better… so just keep working.
Tierra: Where do you think the scene is headed?
Dj Swerve: It’s tough, because a lot of stuff coming out with all these apps where like, people can dj on their phone… or anybody can dj. There’s even, I seen in an event recently where they don’t even have dj’s… they have aux cords. So like, you go to the party and people literally plug up the aux cords and people are djing. So like, people are trying to get away from djing. But it’s never going to go away because people are always going to want to hear music mixed… So, I mean, it’s definitely going in a smooth direction, people just gotta keep taking it seriously and keep the culture alive.
Tierra: What is one track that never gets old to you no matter how many times you hear it?
Dj Swerve: Mhmm… probably March Madness because I thought it was going to get old to me, but it’s still not getting old. A lot of songs get old to me, like very quick because I have to play them like everyday, like all the time… So any song that’s probably lit now is probably old to me. But March Madness, every time I play it, I still get turnt to it.
Tierra: What is one track that got popular that you can’t stand?
Dj Swerve: It’s a lot of those… but mhmmm.. Probably Dreams and Nightmares the Intro. Because that song is a song people want to hear all the time. But I’ve probably heard that song a million times, and I still play it. And the song is long as hell.
Tierra: In your opinion what values a good mix and master?
Dj Swerve: The timing, making sure… alright, so say you’re doing a Chicago set or doing a Jersey set. Not going from like a Jersey song to a Cali song… It’s a lot that goes behind it, but the timing of it, the beat… just making sure it’s a smooth transition… ya know? I mean as long as it’s on beat and has a smooth transition, it’s cool.
Tierra: What song do you listen to that motivates you?
Dj Swerve: Probably Skrt by Kodak Black right now. I listen to that song a lot. Just on some, “just chillin” or djing or whatever. It’s just a smooth song that just gets me in my zone.
Tierra: So basically, the magazine I’ve recently created is called DYNAMITE! and I’m interviewing and highlighting young African-American people who do great things in their communities… So how do you feel media portrays the lives, struggles, and joys of young African-American people?
Dj Swerve: Basically, a lot of the media that I deal with is like social media so… I don’t really watch the news as much as I should, and I don’t really be into like CNN and news like that. The news I do see is a lot of the Black Lives Matter. I know the thing with that Oscars about Black people. And it’s a lot of the presidential campaigns trying to get the Black vote. A lot of the stuff dealing with Black people right now is about politics and stuff. I feel like it’s good right now, like the way that they are portraying teenagers and Black people in the media is like… kinda good, but they’re always going to portray… say for like, Chicago for example, the gang violence and stuff like that. I mean sometimes it’s us and sometimes it’s the media that’s over doing it. I feel like we can do a better job at showing more of the positive stuff at Howard, or college… like Black people going to college… Black people not dropping out… I feel like it’s good, but it can be better.
Tierra: If you had the opportunity to get across a message to a large group of young people, what would your message be?
Dj Swerve: I would tell a bunch of young people that… For me, one thing I’m big on is just like staying positive throughout everything. So I would tell them to remain positive throughout anything. I know it might sound cliché, but if anything bad happens to me, I ALWAYS stay positive… I might be down in my head but I just try to find a positive in any situation. So like, say I lose $1,000 some how. I just stay positive and I’m like ” aight bet, I’m gonna go get that $1,000 back”. I don’t like being down, and I don’t like being negative. So I’ll just tell them, just stay positive throughout any hardships or any troubles and just keep going… never give up, there’s always going to be a way out of it… God is gonna make a way… just keep going and stay positive.