Mampi Swift: I Almost Quit… PLUS a free tune!

Mampi Swift: I Almost Quit… PLUS a free tune!

With the roaring success of Gangster this summer, Mampi Swift is well and truly back on the D&B radar. His first album in 10 years – History – will land early 2013 and a monstrous sampler is out this week. This is massive news. We thought we’d give him a call and ask him where the hell he’s been. Usually in these circumstances the answer is ‘I never went away’. But in Mampi’s case he really did go away. And if it wasn’t for one particular fan, he may never have come back.

Read on for a story of Hollywood proportions. Oh, and grab Short Eternity, a rugged tear-up fresh from Mampi’s studio for ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!

“To be honest, I wasn’t feeling the drum and bass for a while,” he admits. “It was a funny time. A lot of personal stuff was going on and I really wasn’t feeling the music. I just wasn’t happy. The truth is I felt like I was cheating people by going out and DJing. I’m so passionate about it. I knew I was going to be a DJ the minute I saw Red Alert at six years old. I wasn’t delivering the goods and really felt bad for even taking bookings.”

Raw honesty like that doesn’t often flow from DJs. Mampi goes on to describe the po-faced DJs we’ve all seen spinning the club. They might be bashing it out, but they mislaid the magic a long time ago and are in it because the pay’s good and, well, what else are they going to do if they’ve spent their early career DJing?

“I’m a raver too you know?” he says. “I used to rave all the time. Randall was my favourite DJ and I remember thinking ‘I hope I’m there! I hope I’m that guy!’ Then you’d see those guys who’s hearts weren’t in it and just be gutted. I never wanted to be him, but I was becoming that guy.”

Turning his back on the club circuit he upped sticks and moved to the US to make hip-hop for Interscope Records. Only to pop above the surface for one or two gigs a year.

“I did play some fantastic sets during that time, but I wasn’t fully at the races,” he admits. “For instance I played in Perth in 2010 that was one of my best sets ever. So I’ve definitely had good times, but my mind wasn’t fully there.”

Deciding to hang up his headphones for good, Mampi played one last gig. In his words he was simply going to “disappear”. The set came and went. He left the club thinking it was going to be the last time he’d ever walk out of a venue as a DJ. Then a fan approached him…

“I never look on the net for big ups and I never know what I’m doing to influence people, but I heard what this kid had to say and he blew me away,” Mampi explains. “He broke down everything I meant to him. I’d been in his life! He told me when I disappeared it killed him.”

Deep, right? If there was a Hollywood blockbuster about the life and times of a DJ, this is exactly how things would roll. Mampi continues…

“I was trying to block it out, it was too deep. It was supposed to be my last gig! He told me all this stuff and I had a tear in my eye driving home! I was trying my best to block out what he was saying. I was feeling that guilt. It got to me so much that in the space of four weeks I was thinking again… I got some unfinished business!”

Mampi’s never seen that fan again. Even he questions whether the fan was real or not. Either way, whoever the kid was, he’s had much more of an effect on Mampi than Mampi ever had on him. Within months of the gig Mampi was back in his UK studio conjuring up full-strength sonics like he’d never been away. History was literally in the making

“History’s coming out next year. I feel it’s my best work,” he grins. “I learned a lot doing hip-hop. My musical skills went up 90%. Technical skills, knowledge, everything: What I’ve learned has enabled me to make what I’ve done now.”

History will be out in February 2013 and you expect a new single The Silence in January. In the meantime, pick up a FREE MAMPI SWIFT tune right here.

Finally, what with his album being called History and all, we asked Mampi what periods in history he would most like to travel back to and spend some time in…

The 80s

“I’m an 80s man! I was a boy in the 80s but I’d love to go back as an adult. Everything around us is 80s influenced. I’d love to see the decade as an adult. Everything about the decade attracts me; the famous New York clubs, the acid house raves, the films. And I love the 80s fashion!”

The Victorian Times

“Look at how we evolved since those days, it’s shocking! They were in horse and carriage and now we’re in Lamborghinis? How did we develop so quickly? Mad seeds were being planted in the Victorian times; it wasn’t just one man sitting there drawing pictures.”

60s Civil Rights Movement

“Such a dark time. Part of me is glad I didn’t live it. The other part of would’ve loved to have experienced it. So scary and exciting. Martin Luther King, the dawn of Mohammed Ali. It was such a huge cultural shift in how we integrated. There’s not been a more important time for humans. I know it’s still like that in some places but we’ve come such a long, long way.”

Drum&BassArena Editor: Dave Jenkins has documented beats for over 15 years working with the likes of UKF, Mixmag, DJ Mag, iDJ, Bandcamp, Resident Advisor, Radio 1 Xtra and many more.