Wednesday, June 22, 2011



Courtesy of

Rob Swift is a legendary DJ. Full stop. No questions asked. From DJ’ing for Akinyele, being a founding member of the pioneering DJ crew The X-Ecutioners, releasing solo LP’s that have pushed turntablism in new directions or collaborating with diverse artists such as Herbie Hancock, Mike Patton and Bob James – the man has pushed the artform of turntablism forward at every step. What he has also been pushing in recent years is some motherfuckin weights! On all the old releases you could see that Rob used to weigh a buck fifty, but now dude is diesel as a Mack Truck. Peak Street Magazine’s Bia Delaney hit up Swift to talk about hitting the decks and hitting the gym.
Bia Delaney: People have different reasons as to why they train. Some for the health benefits, some for cosmetic reasons, some as a replacement for a bad habit or as an escape. Why do you train?
Rob Swift: I train for all of the above reasons. At first, what inspired me to start hitting the gym was I noticed my physique was changing. I’ve always been a skinny dude. I used to weigh 169 pounds soaking wet. That’s pretty skinny for 6 foot tall guy like myself. But as I entered my 30s I started noticing my midsection was the only thing getting bigger, LOL. I wasn’t having that. I believe you’re only supposed to get better with age so I decided to change that and signed up for a gym membership in June of 2006. I even got myself a trainer (what up Jay? LOL). It was one of the best decisions I’ve mad in my entire life. That one choice helped me learn more about my true physical potential. I’ve come to appreciate how my body responds to challenges I encounter at the gym and since dieting plays a major roll in working out as well, I’ve developed a new found respect for eating healthier as well. About 3 1/2 years later, I’ve experienced a metamorphoses I never fathomed going through in my 20s.
Bia Delaney: Tell me about your training regime? A typical day in the life of Rob Swift.
Rob Swift: My primary focus at the gym is weight training. Typically, it’s easier to hit the gym 3 days in a row, resting every 4th day but being I do most of my traveling on the weekends I made a commitment to train Monday through Friday. Thus, I do my resting while I’m on the road. I wake up every day at 9am. I eat 2 meals and by 11am I’m at the gym training. On Mondays I workout my chest, triceps and calves. Tuesdays I hit my back, traps, biceps, abs and run. Wednesdays I target my shoulders, quads, hams and calves. Thursdays I repeat my Monday workout. and Fridays I repeat my Tuesday workout. I’m usually done by 1pm, at which time I head right back home to begin the recovery process.
Bia Delaney: You workout pretty extensively, and for long periods of time, how does this affect your training?
Rob Swift: Overall the affect on my body is positive. Although I spend 2 hours a day at the gym, Monday through Friday, there’s no feeling like being finished with an extensive workout. Taking my things out of my locker and going home to rest is worth every grueling second I spend lifting weights or doing cardio. Yeah, I’m zapped by the time I get home but I usually feel recharged after I’ve eaten a good meal.
Bia Delaney: Considering you’re into physical well-being in such a big way, what are your thoughts on the state of healthcare in the States, and the obesity epidemic in the developed world?
Rob Swift: Healthcare in the America has gotten better but I think there’s still room to fix some things. One visit to the Doctor for a check up can run you as high as $100 if you don’t have medical insurance. Medicine costs too much and it’s just as expensive to eat healthy so you don’t get sick in the first place. This directly impacts the obesity epidemic in countries like mine. Many Doctors don’t take the time out to educate their patients on how to maintain a healthy lifestyle. They rush you in and out of their offices and prescribe medicine they commission off. The medicine they instruct you to take rarely treats the actual problem. An obese person maybe prescribed meds to curb their appetite when they should be taught how to eat right. All of this has a lot to do with why I’ve decided to be so health conscious as well. I rather invest my money into a yearly gym membership and eat healthy foods instead spend my hard earned cash on the healthcare industry.
Bia Delaney: Last year you released ‘The Architect’. Tell us about the concept behind that album and how it came about.
Rob Swift: The concept behind “The Architect” is an album which examines what scratch music would sound like if Mozart or Beethoven were Turntablists. An album like this was uncharted territories before I actually composed it so I had no point of reference. But that’s what made creating it so much fun. I got to test the boundaries of Classical and Scratch music. My hope is that fusing the two genres in my own way will encourage other scratch musicians out there to think outside of the box and continue to push the boundaries of what we call “Turntablism”.
Bia Delaney: Considering ‘The Architect’s’ blaring contrast in structure to other hip hop albums, what was the reception like among the hip hop community?
Rob Swift: The reception has been amazing. I’ve actually recently dropped a DVD entitled “Dj Rob Swift: Live! The Documented Movement” which documents me on the road, interacting with people as I promote The Architect on tour. In the movie, you get to see how people react to the concept of the album on stage and in interviews. Every where I go, people are intrigued by how I managed to compose such an album.
Bia Delaney: I understand you help out at Scratch DJ Academy, tell us what that is and what your involvement is.
Rob Swift: Scratch DJ Academy is a school which teaches aspiring DJs or those who are simply curious about the art, how to DJ. They also offer classes in music production as well. I’ve been an instructor there for a little over 3 years. I love being able to pass on my knowledge of DJing/Turntablism to people interested in it. I’ve met some very interesting people from all walks of life and varying ages. Being a part of the school has been very gratifying for me as a DJ and as a person!
Bia Delaney: With a teaching role, do you feel pressure or a responsibility to remind the new generation of what hip hop is meant to be about?
Rob Swift: I wouldn’t necessarily use the word “pressure”. All I try to do is pass on my experience with the culture to people so they know there’s more to Hip Hop than what they see on TV or hear on commercial radio. Whether it’s through my online radio show Dope On Plastic, live on stage or at Scratch DJ Academy, I’ll always strive to represent Hip Hop in an honest way!