Interview by Gurvin Dhillon
It was a month ago, 3-days before Valentines Day, when I had the latest signing of L.A’s WEDIDIT Collective, Swan Lingo on the line. Located all the way on the East coast of America, far removed from everyone else in the group, but one making all heads turn his way at the moment. Even Corbin (f.k.a Spooky Black) came out of his shell by leaving comments on Swan’s music over Soundcloud, something that might speculate a possible collaboration between the two in the near future.
When I asked Swan Lingo what I should refer to him as, he openly tells me Shep is what I can call him. Whether that’s his real name or not, you can ask him yourself one day, but what he did disclose to me was his deep involvement in creating music even before Swan Lingo existed. He’s released music under the monikers of ‘Safara’ and ‘Portalboyz’ and included features by WIFIGAWD, Mak 11 and Wavelord.
With only one EP out and some scattered singles since the release of ‘Spirit Plug’, via WEDIDIT. Swan’s unique outlook and ability behind the guitar and other instruments really showcase his talent as an artist. From his heterogeneous musical background and proficiency. Although still young and new to the Internet, Swan has already supported How To Dress Well when he played in Washington last year. After our chat Swan mentions a trip over to L.A sometime this year, and when the time comes be ready for a whole lot of new music. Music that’ll feed its way into your inner spirit while you read our interview below.
Stoney Roads: So you are premiering a song on Valentines Day, what was the main crux and theme that inspired this track?
Swan Lingo: A lot of shit, ummmm, I made this song. It was like one of the first songs I made when I came back to D.C from Richmond cause I was in the V.A For like 8, 9 months almost a year. Basically I got evicted from there so I needed a complete change, so the song I’m about to drop is a rejuvenation song aha I guess ahahaha.
SR: With this new song are you releasing it under Swan Lingo, or Rose?
SL: Ohhh nah nah with that Rose shit it’s like honestly I spoken to my band member and we are still on are Rose for a minute, but we are trying to understand our complexity of our union yah that’s it basically I’m not gonna speak too much on it at the moment. Like I love my bro, like that’s who I started the band with, we are gonna have that one song until further notice but the next Rose song you hear might not consist of my bro, like that’s my bro for life we will always be family. Rose will always consist of him even though we are bros.
It will be a legacy to Rory then. Type shit, he will always be Rose like he will always be there, but you know how life is, life just takes it’s own path. But at the end of the day it’s nothing but love, even if Rose continues without him he’s the reason it began.
SR: How did you meet Rory?
SL: I met Rory just going to Richmond like, just off some rap shit like we used to have shows there when I used to rap as my former alias, and ahhhh you know we became good friends. Then I moved down there two summers ago and he became a good friend and confidant of mine he became very trust worthy, and I always knew he had a knack for playing guitar. We just started that shit, so it just took its path. Richmond was a very like self-motivating place, but I feel like being back in the DMV area is likeeee you’ve gotta be focused on music or you’re gonna be focused on bullshit. Cause there’s a lot of distractions here, there’s nothing here going on so if you are distracted you are fucking up.
SR: How do you keep focused and driving forward with your music if there are distractions around you?
SL: Nothing myself ahah I mean self-motivation sahnnn. I feel like a lot of people, a lot of stuff goes on around you, it’s your choice if you wanna give into it or not. Other self-inflicted positivity or self inflicted negativity. So you know what I’m saying, you can either see a situation as a positive or a negative. What I will say is what drove me to do more, is like I know there may be a window or a ceiling of how far I can go here in D.C because there really isn’t shit popping you know what I’m saying, we got NYC 4 hours away on a bus but L.A 5 hours away on a plane.
SR: Where would you rather go, if you could go to NYC or L.A?
SL: I don’t really give a fuck haha, either one I mean I don’t fuckin' know haha, I look at it on a finesse level because you can finesse anywhere you wanna fuckin' go bro, like New York I guess its fashion week this week, so you’ll run into a lot of familiar faces or. The thing is in New York you’ll run into a lot of fashion heads or music heads, but in L.A you’ll run into a lot of music heads. I’ve never been to L.A so I don’t wanna speak 100% on it too much yet. I’ve never seen L.A like I’ve flown into San Fran once but you can’t count that shit because it was way before this shit, I HAVE NEVER BEEN TO LA SONNNN AHAHHAHA. I don’t even go to Philly and I haven’t been to Philly since 2006.
SR: Apart from Richmond and the DMV, where around the world do you feel your music reaches out to people thanks to the help of the Internet?
SL: Asia as a whole. Not because I think I have Asian fans, but you know what I’m very intrigued at the fact like Asia is actually like very Caribbean to an extent like the fact I’ve seen dark skinned Asians like black Asians like my skin complexion. Like look at fuckin Toro, he’s like a black Asian nigga, even though he’s from Colombia, South Carolina. Hawaiians are basically Asians right? AHAHAHAH I don’t wanna speak too much.
SR: I can ask Mr. Carmack for you?
SL: Haha! I wanna word this right. I don’t know why I feel like I connect with them and speak out to them because I have a lot of Vietnams friends. I feel like people link my music to some tantric shit and the thing is I feel like people don’t know what direction I’m heading in, like these two songs I’m dropping I’d say they’re very poppy. Like there’s gonna be more I’m dropping in March, I don’t even know how to describe them I don’t wanna give out too much.
SR: You don’t have to, you don’t even need to talk about them. Let the people experience them when they drop.
SL: Bet that bet that ahahahha
SR: Before we started this very deep and world exclusive interview for everyone to read, you said your engineer was out of town. Did he help you with these two songs dropping?
SL: Bruhhhh this niggah has helped with everything, first of all his name is Jelani Kwesi. He’s a good dude, a good man, he’s an engineer / song writer / makes his own music / singer / ahahah any other words to describe him? I just want everyone to listen to his music like his music in itself is great, like along with working with me of course haha. Like I’m trying to give this man all due credit, because he helped me add the drums to this song and of course Swan Lingo has a say in all his production I always have say. Jelani is a great man he’s a great man he helps me greatly because he is technically inclined he knows how to work around FL studios.
SR: Moving away from the man of the moment Jelani just then, when you dropped your EP ‘Spirit Plug’ did you feel it would get the attention it did over time?
SL: I still don’t know how much attention it actually got, I mean, I mean I feel like it got a good amount. For what I gave, I mean I gave good amount of ahhh artist knowledge, like effort in that sense but in another sense I mean I have so much more to give like that wasn’t even a scrape off the iceberg bruhhhh like what I actually have to give the crowd that wasn’t even it for real for real haha I'm about to shit ahahahhaa on everybody ahahahhaha. Like that was nothing bruh I’m telling you I’m telling you. Everyone’s gonna get chill boats all over their body, because Spirit Plug was a taste of Swan Lingo. But you gotta understand I’m releasing music that was recorded in the Summer time, the music I’m recording now probably isn’t gonna come out until honestly sadly this time next year. Because I’m in the studio everyday so when I send out songs its like bruhhh it's like honestly at the point where I make two good songs that I gotta love each week, so that’s why I’ll have motherfuckin' 60 songs before the new year come 2018 I’ll have 60 new banging ass Swan Lingo songs. So I’m always ahead of myself for years I don’t wanna get that far ahead of myself but I don’t wanna settle for anything less then great so I mean I don’t really know. The other day my friends asked me “Do you think you’re making music ahead of its time?” I’m making futuristic shit niggah it’s just a blessing.
SR: You say you’re making futuristic music, but what 5 words would you describe yourself as an artist and your music?
SL: Did you say 5
SR: 5 words you got 5 words.
SL: I don’t have 5
SR: 1 then, you got 1?
SR: I’ll start it off and say its Elegance.
SL: I like that one I like that one, thank you very much bruh I would also agree, but if I could add one I would sayyyyy ……. Ahahahahahahhaha my girl said sexy ahahahah
SR: There we go your music is sexy and elegant. BUT how did the name Swan Lingo come about?
SL: You might not even believe this but I was at work one day at my burrito cascadia job haha and like I was just washing the dishes and I was just like mahhh god. I was already making music right like new shit which is the shit I would now consider Swan Lingo, but at the point it was untitled and I was washing dishes one day and I was thinking of different names a couple of odd names came into my mind and I was like this is not gonna stick its not a house hold name its not something that’s gonna stick like glue you know. It literally just came to me bruh I dunno how, maybe I’m pretty sure it was my ancestors. I believe in the spiritual benefactor, a lot of people don’t consider that. It was given to me from a family member that passed from generations ago and they gave me my name when I was washing my dishes at my burrito cascadia job mahahaahaha.
SR: What do you think your spirit animal is?
SL: Hmmmm. A lion, I’m not a Leo, I’m not scared of shit. Some shit makes me, cause I’m from D.C bruh I feel like I’m with a lot of shit cause I’m not scared of shit, but I know you can be put in situations where you don’t seem like you aren’t with your shit but its only because I’m about my music shit so people try to take me off my trap and that I’m not with it. But I don’t give a fuck because I’m not gonna get caught up in this other shit that’s why I’m back in D.C. That’s why I’m on my music shit and I’m not getting caught up on anything. I have a life to live and a future to live out and it’s all about music fuck everything else ever ever before this, fuck everything else before this bruh honestly fuck everything else. It's like I moved over onto another leaf and focused on other shit because music is the only thing that’s for my future.
SR: Well in the past, what were 5 bands or musicians that inspired you to make music to this day?
SL: Selebrities, Beach Fossils, Craft Spells, Wild Nothing and Lotus Father. Nah nah I don’t even wanna give Lotus Father that last spot. Let me think of the last band. Fuck it just leave it at those 4.
SR: So those 4 are the people that inspire you. Or the 5th one can be Swan Lingo, or how bout Mack 11.
SL: Ahhh hahah, air out for the gang. Awww man since I got your number I'm gonna send you some .Wavelord shit. That’s my man Now, he rap, but he go to collage in Buffalo state but he’s about to graduate this semester and he’s about to drop a mixtape bro that shit is about to be fuckin' crazy I tell you. He spent the whole 4 years in collage but he has the hottest mixtape of 2017. I swear to god, he’s gonna get a lot of heads turning his way.
SR: I’m keen to hear this stuff, you’ve got me excited. If you could tour so far in 2017 what are 2 countries you wanna play at?
SL: I'm gonna start off with Australia, U.S and I’m about to add the UK fuck it.
SR: Before we end this off, if you could collaborate with 2 artists from WEDIDIT who would they be? Love to everyone at WEDIDIT regardless of his 2 picks.
SL: Shlohmo and I’ll say D33J.
SHOUT OUT TO NICK MELONS FOR MANAGING THIS MAN AND SHOUT OUT TO SHLOHMO FOR FINDING SOME MORE GOOD TALENT. YOU GUYS DID IT.