8 Questions with NYC DJ David Swirsky
Foundry: So I guess the first obvious question would be, “How did you become a DJ?”
DJ David: My folks had MANY parties while I was growing up and at the age of 8 I was the designated DJ for them. I took to it naturally because since the age of 3 I was asking my mother to take me to the record store to buy music. Growing up I learned as much as I could about who wrote what song and what instruments were used on each recording. In high school and college I read every copy of Billboard from cover to cover. My family was/is very involved in music..my mother was a musician, my brother is a welll known songwriter and I have many of my original songs in television movies.
I am just as passionate sharing my musical knowledge as I am creating a new song…being a dj has allowed me to combine two of my strongest skills: putting music together for diverse groups/crowds and analyzing a live event… making people happy is the biggest reward to me.
F: Tell me about Expressway Music.
D: I started Expressway Music in the Summer of 1992 focusing in on Disc Jockeys, Live Music and Karaoke. While we are hired for all types of events the majority of the events we do are Weddings, Corporate events and Bar/Bat Mitzvahs. Our staff of DJ’s and Musicians are so passionate and dedicated to what they do. I am very fortunate to work with people I deeply admire and respect.
F: So, DJ’s in the industry have a reputation for having a God complex. Working with you, you’re the furthest from it. What gives? Have the DJ Gods shunned you to be mortal?
D: I am focused on Customer/Client Service and Music. I don’t understand inflated egos and never did. Actually if you are Albert Einstein, Paul McCartney or Martin Luther King then I’m fine if you have a huge ego but not for what we do.
F: Amen! So,you’ve been in the game for a long time. How would you say the music scene has changed for DJ’s?
D: I think right now is the best time for dj’s. MP3 Technology finally allows us the tools to completely be able to concentrate on what we need to concentrate on and that is picking the best possible song to play next instead of going thru record crates and cd books searching for an album or cd to find a song you may not even use. Now you can test 5,6,7 songs before you choose what to play next. Musically, the last few years has produced the best dance music since the 70’s in my opinion…songs from Bruno Mars, Pitbull, and many more artists have kept guests dancing longer and with more energy. Producers are also getting much more prolific and becoming experts at what they do which is knowing subtle ingredients to songs that make people dance without them necessarily knowing why.
F: Once, I asked if you knew how to infuse other cultures, like Latin music into a wedding. You said, “If you don’t know how to mix Latin music, then you’ve never DJ’d in New York.” What if I told you Frodo & Samwise were having a wedding – Hobbit style! Can you still bring the house down?
D: Haha. Yes. I believe there is a KEY to every crowd. Pre Party preparation helps a lot by asking the client general information(age, ethnicity, where they’re from) about their guests and of course asking the client their own preferences. However, no amount of preparation matters if you can’t read the party as it’s happening and if you can’t put together the music quickly that reflects the crowd you’re in front of. I am VERY skilled at this.
F: You’ve DJ’d some of the best venues in NYC. How is The Foundry different from some of the others you’ve done.
D: Well I’m pretty certain it’s the only Steel Foundry that’s been converted to a 1st rate event venue …possibly in the Country?? All kidding aside, the Foundry has Heart and Soul and character…..
I personally love the fact that the Foundry keeps upgrading it’s space like the new greenhouse and the new flooring. I also really appreciate it when I am there and Allison(owner)always make me and my staff feel so welcome. Feeling like I’m part of the family there certainly makes the client have an even better party!!!
F: You’re sweet. Thank you. Tell me, how do you unwind after each gig?
D: It depends what time the gig ends(day or night)…most end late at night in which my lovely wife Katherine always has my favorite foods available which I eat while watching repeats of Criminal minds, The Voice or while playing facebook Scrabble!!
F: Last question – can you try and list me ten of your favorite albums?
D: Wow. That’s tough. I’ll tell you what, you can really get to know what music I personally listen to by listening to my weekly podcast “Music First with DJ Dave Swirsky” Beware of the many diverse styles of music(everything from Jay z to Hector Lavoie to the Beatles)
F: Looking forward to it!