Question: How would you describe your music?
Swaz Benjamin: Structures of beauty: unpretentious inventions inspired by celestial designs, distilled, sublime, poignant. Quotes and anecdotes delivered with the rhythm and the energy; dope, it's an antidote to poison in your system - it's a remedy.
When I M.C. like Escher I change it rearrange it from lame to insanely better, from pain to pleasure, from waste to treasure and I got more in store, etcetera. Embracing ace beats with phrases laid to praise you and me; got that gold medal treble, and that soothing booming bass.
The genre is: hip neo roots, future folk, progressive soul, hop poetry from Tasmania.
Question: Which is your favourite song to perform live and why?
Swaz Benjamin: This is a tricky question, I love performing them all, especially when I've got 'The Benjamins' with me! 'Days' is great whether solo or with them. Lately I really love performing 'Daze Gone Bye', 'Traveller' and 'Formed'. But honestly I love doing them all, and my faves change around a lot at the moment as the band's sound evolves and we develop the songs even further.
Question: If you could have anyone, in the world, attend a show, who would it be?
Swaz Benjamin: My Dad, he never saw me perform live on stage.
Question: Do you prefer performing live or recording?
Swaz Benjamin: Obviously both have their place and are highly enjoyable in their own ways, but man… to unveil songs that you have forged and stored up over time, to eager crowds, and to get real interaction happening with them - what a feeling!
Question: What motivates you most when writing music?
Swaz Benjamin: Pure feeling - getting into a flow state, getting in sync with others and going on a journey through music.
Question: Which music/artists are you currently listening to?
Swaz Benjamin: A very diverse range of future soul, hip-hop, classic music (rock, etc), grime/drill, roots music, australian folk, world beats (Afrobeat, Portuguese, Latin) and many, many other styles.
In my current playlists you'll find artists like Swaz Benjamin (laughs), Paul Kelly, Guru, Journey, Dave, Anderson .Paak, Ocean Alley, Mac Miller, Goldlink, DJ Maphorisa, TV on The Radio, Thundamentals, Nina Simone, John Butler Trio, Chronixx, Giggs, Atmosphere, INXS, Planet Asia, Branko, J Hus, Etta Bond, Baker Boy, Children of Zeus, Q-Tip, Travis Scott, Triple One, Kelela, William DeVaughn, Nas, Frank Sinatra, Starrah, Racionais MC's and Luka Lesson.
Question: What or who was your inspiration to go into the music industry?
Swaz Benjamin: Probably my Dad, he would always talk to me about various musicians and their backgrounds and careers, their particular hits, and phases they went through - he had a knack for making the things he spoke about so intriguing, and as a music lover I loved the tales he told about artists like Eric Clapton, Carlos Santana, Prince, The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, John Martyn, Bowie and Jeff Buckley.
Aside from that, on a global scale self-made Hip-Hop creatives like Jay-Z and Nas are huge inspirations for me in their own ways. Also on an Australian level, friends/collaborators of mine like Thundamentals, Omar Musa, Chasm, Luka Lesson, Dameza, HFNR, Promise and others help me to navigate my way, and encourage my desire to find success in the music industry.
Question: If you could collaborate with another artist, who would it be?
Swaz Benjamin: Probably Anderson. Paak
Question: Did you have any pre-conceived ideas about the music industry?
Swaz Benjamin: I'm not a big time player in the 'music industry' at the moment so it's hard to compare my preconceived ideas with the reality, ask me in two years.
Question: What's a typical day like?
Swaz Benjamin: At the moment, I usually wake up between 7 and 8.30am - aside from being a musician, on the side I'm also a tour guide for a large hostel in Hobart. I usually have a tour starting at around 9.30/10am. Depending on the day I'll either take a group of backpackers up to Mount Wellington (a large mountain overlooking my city) to take in the atmosphere and check out the views for a couple hours or I'll spend a full day with them in one of southern Tassie's finest natural locations for walking, leisure times, swimming, musical bonding, food and drinks and life chats.
Depending on what time I'm back I might get some food and work on some music or perhaps visit friends or family. At some stage I'll pick up AO & Ziak and head round to Dameza's place for chill time, band prac and laughs.
Later I'd probably be found eating dinner with Ziak or hanging out at the hostel playing some pool and maybe having a little night cap over some chats, or I'll just be kicking back at my spot reading or listening to podcasts or music.
That's the simple life for me at the moment.
Question: What has been your favourite part of becoming a music artist?
Swaz Benjamin: Widely sharing the songs I help create, getting real positive feedback and mostly having people sing along, get involved and give up their praises at live shows! Also, getting bigger and better show offers locked in! And, I can't lie - having people buy my albums and merch - it's all about the Benjamins baby!
Lastly, I love it when collaborations come together seamlessly and perfectly to create fresh art and real vibes that resonate with masses of people.
Question: Can you tell us 5 things required for a happy healthy and enjoyable life?
Swaz Benjamin: Creativity
and Fast Internet (or maybe instead of that - immersions in untouched Wilderness).
Question: Can you share your socials?
Swaz Benjamin: albums: swzmusic.bandcamp.com
triple j unearthed: triplejunearthed.com/artist/swaz-benjamin
Interview by Brooke Hunter