Karl has been a freelance writer for over 10 years. He's passionate about music, art, and writing!
Cody Swayze (also known as DJ Swayze) was first drawn to electronic music as a listener. He heard the Shambhala mix by dubstep producer Excision and had his eyes opened to “a whole other realm” of music. In 2012, he went to see his first electronic music show. The experience made a strong impression on him. He says, “I got to see these production values that I’d never seen before at a rock show and the energy in in the crowd. The whole experience was moving for me.” Two years later, Cody decided that he wanted to try his hand at the craft of mixing music. He bought a controller and his career has only progressed since that point.
His first major musical influence other than Excision was the dubstep artist Datsik. Cody says, “Datsik’s music consumed me for a good two years and then on a night in 2014 I went to see Truth. They represent the deeper, darker side of dubstep, so after that I started dabbling in those deeper sounds and DJing that music.”
Another experience which had a major influence on Cody was playing in Japan at the invitation of “deep dubstep legend” Goth-Trad in 2017. He says, “I went on this rampage of messaging different artists and companies to let them know that I was coming to visit. I asked if there were any shows I could check out or if they’d be interested in me bringing some Canadian music of this genre to Japan. Nobody got back to me except Goth-Trad. He sent me the flyer for the event and told me he’d see me there. It was kind of surreal because it was my first big break being able to play in another country.”
The whole process has come full circle and recently he found himself DJing at a drum ’n’ bass show. He says, “I was fortunate enough to open up for Delta Heavy at the Palace Theatre with an incredible time slot from 10:30-11:30 p.m. It brought things full circle from going to my first show to being on the other side of the stage.”
The initial reason why Cody was drawn to drum ’n’ bass music is the community around it. He explains, “It goes back to the first time I went to a strictly drum ’n’ bass show. I hadn’t gotten too much into the music at that point, but it was the vibe of the community that I liked. I thought if this music attracted these people, it was the music for me.”
He continues, “On the musical side of it, the 174 beats per minute speed is something that really allows you to move and covers everything from lush summertime vibes to really dark, moody, minimalistic stuff. The sound I love to play is liquid drum ’n’ bass. It’s a bit more lush but it has that rolling bassline that just rattles through a sub.”
Cody is thoughtful when it comes to putting together his DJ sets. He points out, “I sit down with my three decks and just starting playing the music and when something works together, I’ll throw it on a playlist. Sometimes maybe it’s me getting inside my own ahead and plugging away for several hours or even days to create something I’m only going to play for one hour. It’s nice to see the reward on the dance floor when there’s an absolute banger transition and it’s like, ‘Yeah! This is why it took this long!’ ”
Liquid D&B - Pola and Bryson: Find Your Way (feat. Charlottle Haining)
Now he’s starting to consider producing his own tracks and has found it an eye-opening experience. Cody says, “I first tested my hand at production a while ago with my brother Jarrett Galenza (DJ Lenza). He sat me down and told me what to look for when producing and how to plug the sounds you want into a track. Fast forward two years, I had these fundamentals and I was introduced to Sammy Mailloux (MayU Beats). We sat down and talked about doing some producing. He wanted to venture out from making rap music and I wanted to work with somebody who had more production knowledge. Why don’t we put our talents together and see what we can come up with?’ ”
He continues, “We decided to make a track with MayU’s hip hop influences that still stuck to the drum ’n’ bass structure at 174 bpm. We came up with this tune called Blueprint. I played it the next weekend at one of our events and the EQs were off. We got back in the studio and ended up making our second track which sounded a lot better. It gave me a very good appreciation for the production values of these songs. Every little sound you hear is in there for a reason and at that pitch for a reason. There’s still work for me to do in production.”
The drum ’n’ bass scene in western Canada is one which Cody praises highly. He says, “People in the scene are friendly, open minded and willing to communicate. It has all my closest friends in it. Being a part of 403DNB and seeing how much people care about this scene is incredible. We try our hardest and sometimes we get pinched on a show, but at the end of the day it’s worth it for us to have a place to unite and listen to this music!”
In the future, he has a few goals he’d like to accomplish with his career. Cody explains, “I would really like to start producing for a couple of labels that I want to be out on. I would even like to see myself potentially create a label of my own in the next ten years.”
Another goal of Cody’s is to play the Liquid Sunrise Session hosted by Spiral Architects at the Shambhala Festival. He explains, “Seeing as it was the first festival I went to, I think it would be cool to fulfill that goal and play a stage of that stature.”
The most inspirational thing for him as an artist is being on the spectator side of the stage. Cody says that he’s inspired by going to Shambhala and "seeing the music you crave and love being played to a crowd like that and seeing their reaction to it. I’m a person who likes to watch the crowd and watch the vibe of the place. Going to a show and really absorbing all of that is how I recharge.”
Liquid D&B - Dan Dakota: Stood In The Dark
Louise Powles from Norfolk, England on December 19, 2017:
Interesting. I've never heard of him before.
John on December 19, 2017:
Amazing job Karl, really cool read!