Studio Sessions | Producer Swish discusses the making of YG's "FDT" and Post Malone's creative process
For this installment of “Studio Sessions,” acclaimed producer Swish tells us about the moment YG presented the concept for “FDT,” Post Malone’s recording process and more.
Swish is known for producing songs that move the culture, most notably YG’s “FDT” — and his unreleased records would do the same if they ever saw the light of day.
“YG was working with Nip on a project called Two of America’s Most Wanted. It never got finished,” Swish told REVOLT TV.
In this installment of “Studio Sessions,” the acclaimed producer talks to us about the moment YG came to him with the concept for “FDT.” He also discusses an unreleased G-Eazy and Lana Del Rey collaboration as well as the impressive duo that is Post Malone and his engineer.
Back in 2014, YG was the first major artist you were in the studio with. How did you end up connecting with him?
I had done a song with another L.A. artist by the name of RJ, and he was around YG and Mustard a lot. When they heard his music, they inquired about who made the beats. YG hopped on the remix of ‘Ride With Me,’ and I ended up getting a call to work on his album.
You produced nearly half of YG’s Still Brazy. What was it like working on that album with him?
I would say it’s a challenge — due to the fact I don’t think Mustard was involved in that project. With this being his second album, it felt like I had a bar to meet. I ended up doing what came to me naturally and made it happen. YG is driven by the beat, and he likes to be hands-on with the beat, too, if you’re making it there from scratch. But, for the most part, he picks a topic to write about and makes the song from there.
In what ways does he get hands-on with the beat?
It would be little things as far as saying keep it simple and not add too much. He doesn’t really like too much post-production. Now, when I present stuff to him, I have to make sure I’m comfortable with it before he says there’s nothing else to be added to the song.
The biggest song you’ve produced for him is “FDT.” Walk me through your perspective on how that song was created.
Coming into the YG/RJ space, I did a lot of interpolation of songs where I’d take an old song and replay it in my own way. With ‘FDT’ being one of those, I gave it to YG because it was during Still Brazy times. He told me he was going to make the song called ‘FDT’ and at the time, it sounded like a gimmick record — he’s just making fun of Trump. He told me the concept in the studio, and that night he was going to a strip club. He played it for me in the car. This was before Nipsey got on it. Once he said, ‘I’m going to get Nipsey on it and do a video,’ it never hit me until it came out. With everything going on with the rallies, it hit me it was a big deal.
What do you and YG need in the studio to make your best music?
He definitely likes to work at night like most artists. He definitely likes his Don Julio. He definitely likes some tequila (laughs). I don’t really need anything. I just go off inspiration and energy. Of course, I’ll try a shot or sip on something, but for the most part I like feeding off of the artist’s energy.
You also worked with G-Eazy after YG. Are you the reason he ended up on “FDT Part 2”?
Once I did Still Brazy, I think I was just using that as an in to get in with G-Eazy. Then, we ended up doing some songs, and then the remix happened after that.
What did you and G-Eazy work on?
We did a song on his Beautiful & Damned album called ‘Mama Always Told Me.’ At the time, he was dating Lana Del Rey, and it was supposed to be both of them on the song. It was recorded and everything. When they separated, they found someone else to do her part. I was in the studio with both of them. I brought the idea to them, and a lot of times when I’m able to bring the idea to the artist, I have a better chance of them actually doing the song. They knocked it out really quickly.
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Compared to a YG, how does G-Eazy make his music?
Even though G-Eazy is still hip-hop, he leans to the poppier side, so there’s a different element in making it sound more radio-friendly. It’s a little more calculated.
How do you capture the sound each artist wants?
Studying and listening to music. I listen to all types of genres and sonics. I use that as my base when I’m creating, and then I recreate what they might have done already and twist it a little bit to add my own flavor. When I play it for them, it feels familiar, but it’s still different because it’s coming from me.
One of my favorite artists you’ve worked with is EarthGang.
The first night we linked up, we made ‘Artificial’ from scratch. EarthGang is really talented. The hook was created while I was making the beat. They’re very musical artists, so I decided to rock out with pianos.
What’s one of your most memorable sessions?
It was a Post Malone session. His process with his engineer is something I’ve never seen before in person. I pulled up to the session with a couple of beats I already had in mind to play. They’ll pick beats, Post will go into the booth, and he’ll record for ten minutes doing melodies and try to feel the beat out. While Post is recording, his engineer is marking what he thinks is good. Out of those ten minutes, he’ll construct the basic outline of the song. That’s what happened with the song ‘Same Bitches’ on the Beerbongs & Bentleys album. The song wasn’t even finished after our session. There were no words, just melodies. With him being busy at that time, I didn’t want the track to go by the wayside, so I took that version to YG and had him do an open verse. Once YG did his verse, I took it to G-Eazy to have him do his verse. It was two years later, I sent it to Post, and they finished it right before the album came out.
You also produced “Closer,” Saweetie and H.E.R.’s first collaboration. How’d that happen?
I made it with my boy Mike Crook. Originally, the idea was for YG. I wanted him to do something more radio-friendly. I wasn’t as proactive with that one because I thought he’d hear it and go his own way. There was not much of a reaction, so Mike ended up sending it to this writer Alyssa Lourdiz Cantu, and she made the hook. Then, we sent it to another writer friend Supakaine, and he took to it Saweetie. It grew from there.
Are there any YG songs from the Still Brazy era that you produced that have yet to come out?
Yeah, there are a few. YG was working with Nip on a project called Two of America’s Most Wanted. It never got finished.
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What do you have coming up for the rest of 2022?
I think that’s something people are going to find out when it happens.
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