DJ Rob Swift (Robert Aguilar, former member of the turntablist group The X-ecutioners) is well known around the world as one of the first hip hop DJs to emerge as a popular solo artist. Spin Magazine has compared Swift to DJ Q-Bert and Mix Master Mike, saying that he is "the most self-consciously musical of his peers." Rolling Stone said his “elaborate scratching and beat juggling techniques create new music by dismantling the old.”
He began college in 1990, in New York, and in 1991 took 3rd place in the East Coast DMC competition. In 1992 he had become a member of The X-Men and was named the DMC East Coast turntable champion. By 1993, he had begun producing and remixing tracks for artists such as Cornershop, Bill Laswell and Lords of Acid. In 1995 he graduated from Baruch College with a degree in Psychology.
Swift has close to ten albums in as many years, including 1999's The Ablist (his first solo album) and 2005's War Games, an album/dvd in which he tackles issues surrounding 9/11, the war in Iraq, terrorism and police brutality.
Without further ado, here's the SAR Q&A with Rob Swift...
*Name: I'm a solo artist, so it's just Rob Swift.
*Do you use a pseudonym? "The Ablist" is my pseudonym.
*Members: I'm a ONE MAN ARMY.
*Tape manipulations, digital deconstructions or turntable creations: "turntable creations"
*Do you use another genre descriptor: Nah
*Location: Queens, NYC
*What is your creative/artistic background: Well, my dad (a Colombian immigrant) was a DJ and he spun a lot of Salsa, Cumbia and Merengue music while my brother was into Hip Hop, so both of them influenced my to listen to everything... Latin Rhythms, Funk, Soul, R&B etc.
*History: As a solo artist, I'd say since 1997.
*Born: I was born during the 1970s in Jackson Heights, Queens NY.
*Motivations: I guess I had an innate predisposition to do what I do considering both my dad and brother are DJs.
*Philosophy: Be well rounded, introduce a variety of styles and forms of music to your public and educate the masses at the same time.
*How would you like to be remembered: As a DJ that changed the way people view the turntable.