HipHop Lead caught up with DJ and producer Swissivory, whose upcoming album “Real Dreams” self-produced project features some of a wide range of artists. “How We Roll”, the first single off the album, features New-York’s underground kingpin Papoose, the Bay’s own C-Tru, and Spits Nelson (NY).
HipHopLead: What’s going on Swissivory?
Swissivory: Doing great thanks, and you?
HipHopLead: We good! We heard you are planning a pretty big project as an independent producer. Can you tell us more about it?
Swissivory: My upcoming album is called REAL DREAMS, 18 self-produced tracks that feature guest appearances by artists such as No Malice (The Clipse), Cory Gunz of YMCMB, Gunplay of MMG, Papoose, Cali Swag District, SwizZz of FunkVolume, Blackstreet, Ras Kass, Edo G, Reks, Craig G, Kia Shine, and many more international artists from all 4 corners of the world. It’s a mixture of all kinds of hip hop, as well as some R&B.
HipHopLead: Real Dreams, that’s a nice title. Sounds like a really eclectic mixture of artists. How did you come up with the idea?
Swissivory: I’ve been producing records for 15 years but never officially released any music apart from a few remixes here and there for guys like Immortal Technique and Redman, some mixtapes such as my Fatman Scoop Summer mix a couple of years back. But my “real dream” has always been to produce a record with well established artists, and giving undiscovered talents a chance to shine on the same project. That’s why I have artists who’ve had billboard hits on the same records with artists that you’ve never heard of. You’ll hear raps in French, German, Italian and English. I love to mix it up! As a DJ I also play a wide variety of music, and I wanted to produce a record that I could play during my sets. “Real Dreams” also represents a conflict between every-day life which is the reality, and the life we strive for. Most of us dream of a better life, and only few of us every live our dreams.
HipHopLead: That’s a pretty dope concept. Seems like you thought it all through… Your first single is with Papoose, how did that come about?
Swissivory: Yeah, well it took me over a year to complete the entire album itself, but it all started with the record I produced for Papoose. I sent him the beat and he recorded his part within 3 days. It was so hot I had to put my boys C-Tru from the Bay Area and Spits Nelson who is also based in NY and whom I used to record at the crib with while I lived in Boston 10 years ago! Last summer I flew out to New York and we shot the video the day before we went to free Remy Ma from jail. We were in the same studio as DJ Khaled and Busta Rhymes on that day. The song is called “How We Roll”, it’s a certified street anthem but also a club banger. It has a bit of that “Manny Fresh” sound, so it’s crazy to hear a rapper like Papoose on such a track. But that’s what I love, to surprise people with my music!
HipHopLead: You’re based out of Switzerland right now, how did you manage to get all these artists from overseas on your project?
Swissivory: That’s a question I ask myself a lot actually! (laughs). Since I’ve been DJing for 13 years and touring for around 5 years, I gained a large number of contacts that I never really took advantage of. So I basically started hitting up all the contacts I made over the past few years, and before you know it, I’ve got collaborations with Papoose, No Malice of the Clipse, artists from Maybach Music and YMCMB, Cali Swag District and more!
HipHopLead: You also named a few old-school and underground artists in your crazy feature list. What was the concept behind getting those particular artists?
Swissivory: I basically aimed for artists that I knew would be down to work on such a project, from my personal network, but I also tried to reach out to artists that I know would appeal to a wider audience, yet still get some level of quality and respect from true hip hop fans. As a DJ I am always torn between the music I would like to play and the music people want to hear, sometimes it’s a match and sometimes it’s not. That’s also why I have some club bangers, some street anthems and some more R&B / radio friendly songs.
HipHopLead: Cool. So how do you make it all fit together?
Swissivory: That was the main challenge for me, the album is based on the clash of ideas. My name being Swissivory, I am half Swiss half from the Ivory Coast. These are two very different cultures and mentalities yet I’m both in one. That’s why my album features underground vs commercial acts, old school vs new school artists, clubby vs street anthems, boom-bap vs dirty south beats, hardcore raps vs R&B friendly artists. That fits with Swiss vs Ivory and Real vs. Dreams.
HipHopLead: That’s a crazy idea, so where can people hear the music?
Swissivory: Well the first single is now out since September 16th available on all major online networks. I just got VEVO-approved and the song has been accepted for rotation on MTV and other channels, so that’s pretty nice considering I’m an independent artist. The next song will probably be a song I produced for Cali Swag District. The Album will hopefully come out by the end of the year.
HipHopLead: So you’re releasing it independently?
Swissivory: I’ve had some talks with some distributors and labels, but so far the best option for me is the independent way. With so many opportunities to release your music online, if you have a good fanbase and are organized, you can start a project from scratch and work with well-known artists, produce a record from beginning right through to the end, and release it both digitally and physically. With all my DJ-Bookings I have a big enough fan base and support system to promote my music, thanks to a strong social media and real following. On top of that, working with so many artists automatically exposes my music to their fans. Maybe at some point it will make sense to work with a label, but as the producer of all the songs, I have all the flexibility and freedom I need to release the project on my own.
HipHopLead: Anything you wanna add?
Swissivory: For sure, thanks to everyone who participated in this project, the artists involved and the people who believed in me and stood by me for so long. A big shoutout to DJ D-Lyfe, Premier Studios NY, Tariah, and all the DJ’s who support the record. And of course all those who download music and support independent artists, you’ve made these dreams a reality (laughs)!
HipHopLead: Well Swissivory, we’re looking forward to hearing more from you real soon. Good luck on your release!
Swissivory: Thanks a lot, and thanks for having me here!
You can download the single “How We Roll” on iTunes, Amazon, Google Play and more!
For more information please visit www.swissivory.com