Dynamic duo Niiko x SWAE has played shows at some of the West Coast’s biggest venues while also growing an impressive catalog of tunes.
Many electronic music fans will recognize the name Niiko x SWAE. Whether it’s via back-to-back Coachella performances, their Hakassan Group residency, or successful track releases, these two artists have clearly established themselves as artists to keep an eye on in 2020.
With influences that combine future bass, house, and more, Niiko x SWAE are ushering in the new era of electronic dance music. They had several successful tracks last year including “Keep On Calling” and “Summer Love,” and their first single of 2020 is due up for release soon as well.
We caught up with this exciting duo to talk about their favorite shows, quarantine life, and their secrets to finding success so quickly. Listen to their mix below and keep reading to learn more about Niiko x SWAE!
Stream EDMID Guest Mix 216 || Niiko x SWAE on SoundCloud:
Thanks for talking with us today, Niiko x SWAE! To introduce yourselves to our readers, can you tell us when your project started and how you each fell in love with electronic music?
The Niiko x SWAE project officially started in 2016 but really didn’t take off until 2017. We both went to the same school in Dallas, TX (Southern Methodist University) and in 2016 our manager still to this day connected us together. We began mixing and messing around with production and in 2017, when we were juniors in college, and we agreed that we wanted to make Niiko x SWAE a full-time career.
Our passion for music goes back to when we were kids though. Niiko is an amazing guitar player and grew up playing in many different ’80s influenced bands his entire life, while SWAE started DJing and fell in love with electronic music specifically around 2012-13.
Many of your tracks such as “Run This Town,” “Keep On Calling,” and “Summer Love” feature incredible vocal performances from relatively unknown singers. Can you take us through the process in finding vocalists for your tracks?
I wish we could say we had some high tech process for getting vocals, but, honestly, we have just been lucky to work with some amazing vocalists thus far. Whether we get the topline and build the song around it or build the vocals around an existing instrumental, the process just takes time and patience.
For example, with “Keep On Calling” we wrote the simple one-line chorus and produced the instrumental in like 2 days in between Coachella weekends last year. Olaf Blackwood literally crushed the vocal in one take in maybe 3 minutes total of recording. “Run This Town” however took months of experimenting with different writers and vocalists and sessions.
As a 2019 Hakkasan Group resident with sets at Omnia, Hakkasan, Exchange, and more, you guys have been a part of some seriously epic parties. What are some of your favorite memories of the shows you’ve played and what do you miss most while being in quarantine?
We miss performing the most and rocking shows across the country. One of our favorite places to play for sure is Omnia San Diego because tons of friends and family come each time, so it’s literally like a reunion for us. Our most classic experience happened on the way to 1oak NY two years ago. Our bags got lost by the airline and we were running late to the show already after multiple hours of delays. We literally performed a New York Fashion Week party wearing sweatpants and hoodies.
You made your Coachella debut last year, playing both weekends at the Heineken House. What was this experience like and what are some other festivals that you hope to play one day?
It was nothing short of a dream come true. From chilling backstage to the media run to meeting some of our favorite artists, it was an insane experience for us. Some of our other dream festivals are Ultra Miami, Lollapalooza, EDC, and Tomorrowland.
While you’re just a few years into your career, you’ve seen massive play counts on your tracks uploaded to Spotify and Soundcloud. What’s some advice you have for other upcoming producers to get their tracks noticed and find similar success?
Find your sound! We feel like we are just finding our true sound and our next track will be the first of this “new wave” for our releases. Staying consistent and running unique campaigns on all social media platforms really pays off too, and Spotify will notice.
The more effort you put into promoting your upcoming song, the more likely Spotify is to pick it up and place it in an editorial playlist. This is just what we have noticed and can be totally different for everybody. Right now, with all this free time, you should be building your network of playlisting and connecting with as many people as possible. When you are sitting on the couch or laying in bed, research these big playlist owners and hit them up!
Looking back on your career so far, what are some of the most notable ways you’ve grown since releasing your first track together in 2016?
We’ve seen growth across all social media platforms, especially Instagram. We’ve noticed we have been able to connect most closely with our fans through Instagram. Besides physical numbers, we’ve grown as producers and people. When we started performing in clubs we literally were not old enough to be there. Some clubs would only let us stay for our set and make us leave after. As we’ve grown older, we’ve matured and really learned a lot about ourselves which has helped us re-evaluate and finesse certain parts of our sound!
On the other hand, looking towards the future, what does Niiko x SWAE have planned for the rest of 2020 and beyond?
The rest of 2020 is all about music. If you’ve been following us you’ve probably noticed we were literally in the studios in LA every single day from November 1 up to when quarantine started. We have at least 20 songs ready to go and are excited to start rolling those out starting this week. We have songs coming that are club/festival bangers, vibey songs, and a ton of fire house and pop crossover tunes.
Once things settle down and everything goes back to normal we are excited to tour again and get back to Vegas for the rest of our 2020 residency. Unfortunately, we have had to cancel shows in San Diego, Vegas, and Texas, so we’re really excited to reschedule and make those up as well!
Lastly, take us through a day in the quarantine life at home and some of your favorite meals to make while we’re stuck at home.
The best way to get a look at the day in the life of Niiko x SWAE is by following us on our socials! We also just released a day in the life of NxS quarantine vlog with our friends at Sidewalk Talk, which we recommend checking out! We have really just been taking the time to focus on building content and finishing up both new and old ideas. The biggest benefit from the quarantine has been our cooking skills improving. Niiko loves to cook juicy steaks while SWAE is a big fan of burgers and BBQ chicken!