Sideshow Swamp

A Beck boy no more, DJ Swamp uses headbanger histrionics to blaze his way to the top.

One can never fully appreciate DJ Swamp without seeing him live, however. He's got more tricks up his sleeve than David Blaine: In addition to the vinyl-induced slashings, Swamp drenches platters in lighter fluid, sets them afire and works from within the flame. He'll stack six records on top of each other, scratching the top one, then yanking it off the stack, letting the stylus land on the next record. He taps out "Louie Louie" in Morse code, using his pitch control and crossfader; he can also pick out "Axel-F" with a needle and a tone record. This is a man who's obviously done his homework; he loves what he does, and that is what has set him on the road to cult stardom. Why, then, the doofus hesher vibe and the histrionics?

"It's what I can get away with. When I was a young guy, I was just like any other hip-hopper I saw, and everybody hated it," Swamp explains through a mouthful of KFC. "I discovered things I could do that people liked."

So it would seem that the next step is hiring a carny barker to stand outside his gigs, being that DJ Swamp has fashioned himself into his own personal sideshow. Not that this is a bad thing, when speaking of live performances: What comes across as cheesy on paper (and in this case, on record) is often unspeakably brilliant in a live setting.

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