Sway Clarke II - Photo by Johanna-Maria Fritz

Photo by Johanna-Maria Fritz

‘I don’t need much, some cigarettes and alcohol’ sings now Berlin-based up and coming artist SWAY CLARKE II. Raised in Toronto and on the background of such diverse styles like Reggae, Soul, R’N’B and Hip Hop, this guy is naturally not the kind to be put into tiny little boxes. A good song is what his writing is all about. As his talent got quite apparent at this point, featuring support-shows for HAIM or MISS PLATNUM, we felt the need to get to know SWAY CLARKE II a bit better. And we learned that his interests go far beyond a decent lifestyle and hiphop-clichés: In fact a vast array of musical influences from RADIOHEAD to BOB MARLEY melts into this newcomer’s exciting pop. Get into the work of this reflected and musically crafted guy as quick as you can. And don’t say we didn’t told you to do so.

You meet a stranger on the street have and have exactly five words to use in order to describe your music. What would you say?
Songs. That. Hurt. Peoples. Feelings. Sometimes. (That was six…I know. To bad! Ha.)

Besides you – which young up and coming artist should we definitely put on our radar?
I’d say QEAUX QEAUX JONES. I met her through my drummer and she just opened for me at the Berghain Kantine: Amazing. Her upcoming album is like wearing gold teeth.

Imagine you have to create a mixtape to introduce people to your music. Which artists/ tracks, aside of your own, would be part of it?
Some. RADIOHEAD Climbing Up The Walls, PRINCE Little Red Corvette, TRACY CHAPMAN Fast Car, THE VERVE Drugs Don’t Work, STEVIE WONDER Ribbon In The Sky, COLDPLAY Shiver, BOB MARLEY Small Axe, JAMIE T Evelyn, and BILLY JOEL She Always A Woman. I’d start there.

Would you rather be a dragon or have a dragon?
I’d rather be a dragon – I think they have better sex.

Imagine you don’t have any budget limits. Which artist should produce a remix of one of your songs?
Nigel Godrich, Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry and Dolly Parton.

If you as a person could have an alternative – what would it be?
He’d be white. I’m really interested to see what life is like outside of my own body on the other side of the fence. I think it’d help me understand race relations a lot better. I also secretly think it’d be like that Eddie Murphy SNL skit. Ha (if you don’t know, google it!)

The music & culture industry is currently about to redefine itself on many levels. Do you feel like being completely and utterly at the its mercy, or should things be seen as a chance for artists?
I think the music industry is the same as it’s always been: it’s about writing and producing a great song. It’s fucking incredibly hard to do, but when it happens nothing makes or breaks it. We love the greats because the ‘consistently’ made great music, not because the industry had anything to do with them. The power is always with the artists.

What do hope and passion mean to you?
To me, they are two words that only the slightly ‘bescheuert’ possess or believe in, but at the same time two necessary qualities to accomplish your dreams.