Swift Technique, Philadelphia’s multi-faceted musical collective, is sprinting into its 13th year at full speed! The band’s unique hybrid blend of funk, soul, rock, hip-hop and relentless showmanship has propelled the group into its most successful period to date. With potent, dynamic horn lines, thunderous bass and drums, driving guitar and keys, and more dance moves than you can shake a booty at, Swift Tech’s live performances are unmatched in energy, musicianship and pure feel-good fun. And with a recent appearance on the award-winning Netflix series, Orange is the New Black, the group is commanding national attention.
Now, having steadily toured, performed and recorded all over the country since forming in 2007, Swift Technique, after releasing a couple of EPs and a few strong singles, is finally releasing their debut full-length album, the mysteriously titled Martian Farm. The album represents a milestone for the band, which has undergone a continual evolution in its live performances, songwriting abilities and communal approach to music.
Much has changed, of course, in the years since Swift Technique first showed up on the local scene. For one thing, more than 40 band members have passed through their ranks since the beginning, with the band consistently maintaining a lineup of eight or nine musicians. Some of the current members also work as teachers or in the music business or other fields. That diversity of life experiences helps to feed the independent spirit that has always guided Swift Technique.
“Becoming a collective,” says Jake Leschinsky, the band’s founder and bassist, “has shaped the band’s identity, and the album is a reflection of the group’s collective approach. Everyone involved has had some part in the songwriting process.” For Martian Farm, Swift Technique worked closely with producer Jeff Thomas, who recorded the entire album to two-inch analog tape.”
Martian Farm—the title of which reflects, says one band member, “wanting to get out of town, really far out of town…maybe even another planet!”—features highly personal songs that blend with Swift Technique’s trademark deep grooves. Although the sound continues to change, there have been constants in terms of the band’s approach and philosophy. There’s always been a connecting thread of the funk, as a platform for other influences (rock, jazz and hip-hop). And under that ‘funky’ heading, they’ve aimed to make the music accessible to people of all ages and backgrounds.”
In their dozen years together, Swift Technique has shared stages with all varieties of world-class acts, including the Meters, Wu-Tang Clan, Snarky Puppy, Charles Bradley, DJ Questlove, Soulive, Lettuce, Break Science, Fishbone, Vulfpeck, Cory Wong, the Disco Biscuits, Turkuaz, the Motet, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, the Main Squeeze, Sister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds, Kermit Ruffins, Deep Banana Blackout, Kung Fu, Orgone, Big Sam’s Funky Nation and Sophistafunk. In the past year they’ve also debuted at multiple major festivals including Camp Bisco, Disc Jam, Xponential Fest, Domefest, and Rock & Roll Resort. They have successfully played at top-tier venues in some of the most musically rich cities in the country, including New York City, Boston, Baltimore, Washington, D.C., New Orleans, Nashville, Chicago, Milwaukee, Cincinnati, San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego and, of course, their hometown, Philadelphia.
“We’ve had four distinct eras,” says Leschinsky, looking back on the band’s run thus far. Swift Collective started in 2007 as a live hip-hop band, then, after parting ways with their MC, transitioned into an all-instrumental funk/rock/jazz band. In recent years, the band has worked extensively with two mainstay lead vocalists, Chelsea ViaCava and Nik Greeley, featured in music videos like those for their singles “Lucky Bump” and “Reason to Be.” They have evolved into a true musical collective, built upon a rhythm section nucleus that has remained constant, actively featuring a wide range of vocalists and instrumentalists.
Swift Technique aims to follow in the footsteps of the great Philadelphian artists that came before them. Assembling a band under the “Sound of Philadelphia” umbrella has been relatively easy for this talented, forward-thinking crew, and that sound continues to glue the band together. The band has always generated a lot of energy and people have reacted positively since the band’s earliest shows. Now, their mission is to generate that kind of energy in new ways.
To this day, the Philly sound continues to glue the band together. Swift Technique always generates a lot of energy and people generally react positively. Over the years, they have remained completely independent and have maintained all creative control, staying on the cutting edge of the music business. They’ve also strived to deliver an engaging live show and memorable musical experience. While it has been an intentional pursuit, getting to that point has also come organically.
The band’s ascent has been aided by supporters such as radio station WXPN, which inspired the band members through their youth and continues to open their eyes to new music. WXPN has highlighted Swift Technique’s past releases and the band is excited to share new music with them.
For Swift Technique, every show is the craziest basement party you’ve ever been to. Representing Philadelphia in the funkiest way possible, Swift’s mission is to get you grooving, get you grinning and fill you with the positive energy that the world so sorely needs.
With the hype around Swift Technique building at lightning speed, look for these gritty groove masters to take large leaps forward!