Interview: Swift Technique

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The awesome funk, soul, and rock ‘n’ roll of Philadelphia’s Swift Technique comes to The Wonder Bar in Asbury Park tonight. We were lucky to catch up with Ian Gray and Jake Leschinsky to talk about their new single, performing in the shadow of MSG, and plans for 2015.

Swift Technique Is (Band Members & Instruments They Play): Chelsea ViaCava – Vocals, Nik Greeley – Vocals, Jake Leschinsky – five-string electric bass, Andy Bree – guitars, John Perry – drum-kit & percussion, Jay Davidson – keyboards, Greg Rosen – trumpet, Ian Gray – trombone, Jason O’Mara – tenor saxophone

We Formed In: 2007

We’re Based Out Of: Philadelphia, PA

The Story Behind Our Name: We developed the concept and name for the band before we officially formed the group. We started in 2007 and I would say that it took about three or four years before we actually started to embody the name.

You’ve Seen Us Before in Other Bands: Brother Joscephus & The Love Revival, The Toasters, High & Mighty Brass Band, Karmic Juggernaut, Billy Walton, heylady, Toy Soldiers, Preston Swift

New Music Coming Out: Our new single was released last week, “Jay’s the Name,” which can be downloaded here.  The follow-up single coming in early September and a new EP in early 2016.

Our Sound Has Been Likened To: In the tradition of James Brown, with the balls of Led Zeppelin.

Photo Credit: Karl McWhetter Photography. Photo Courtesy of the band.
Photo Credit: Karl McWhetter Photography. Photo Courtesy of the band.

You just dropped your new single ‘Jay’s the Name.’ You’ve dedicated the song to your keyboardist Jay Davidson. Can you talk about the story behind the song?

“Jay’s the Name” is dedicated to our keyboardist/saxophonist, Jay Davidson. Jay is a bit of a legend in Philadelphia and we’re lucky to have him in the family. We actually performed this song for a few years before Jay officially joined the group, but it just became his song. With nine funky personalities in one band, it’s fun to find the right moments to feature everyone at our shows.

This may seem like a silly/odd question, but Swift Technique has a lot of members in the band – do you ever find it hard to find a place in a song for every member, or does the number of members in the band allow for more creativity?

It’s difficult to travel and perform with a large group, but having this kind of instrumentation is mainly about the overall sound that it creates. In an ideal world, we’d have even more horns and percussion!

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We have some really talented musicians in this group and they help to arrange the band like a small Funk orchestra.

You perform regularly in the Philadelphia and Jersey Shore music scenes. Is there a difference between the two?

Philly is our homebase, so we know a little bit more about the history and current state of the music scene.

Regardless, the main difference is that the majority of the Jersey Shore music scene is seasonal.

Asbury Park seems to have more of a year round music scene presence and it’s been great trying to build a new fan-base in Asbury.

You recently did a show outside Madison Square Garden. Can you talk about performing in the shadow of the world’s most famous arena? Being from Philly, and presumably Flyers fans, was it hard not to make anti-Rangers comments?

We always love playing outside in big cities. Playing in front of MSG in Midtown Manhattan is pretty much the pinnacle of that scenario. When you play outside in a big city, you know never who is going to walk by. You have the unique opportunity to play for people of all ages, background and class.

With Ron Hextall back in the Flyers organization, it’s only a matter of time before the FlyBoys are back on top. Hopefully the Rangers fans can enjoy this little moment of success.

What do you love most about being in Swift Technique?

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Swift Technique is a big funky family. Aside from our love of music and performance, we’re all sincerely great friends. That’s definitely why the band has been around for eight years and continues to ascend.

Think back to the first time this band took the stage – how have you evolved since then, and what’s the one mistake you made back in the early days that you learned the most from.

From our first shows in 2007, there are only three original members in this band. We’ve had several “eras” and different band members, but we maintain a high level of performance and professionalism because of the lessons we learned from those first shows.

What do you have planned for the rest of 2015?

We have some exciting new show announcements, including September 9th at Brooklyn Bowl and Halloween at Ardmore Music Hall.

In November, the band will tour through through the Carolinas and swing back through Upstate NY. Swift Technique will also continue work on a new EP that will be released in early 2016.

Swift Technique performs with Sophistafunk, Quincy Mumford & The Reason Why and Mad Feather Group. Click here for tickets.

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Bill Bodkin is the gray bearded owner, editor-in-chief and co-founder of Pop Break. Most importantly, he is lucky husband, and proud father to a beautiful daughter named Sophie. He can be seen regularly on the site reviewing The Walking Dead, Doctor Who, and is the host of the site's podcast, The BreakCast. He is a graduate of Rutgers University with a degree in Journalism & English. Follow him on Twitter: @BodkinWrites