Skip to content

Swift Technique: Band On The Run!

March 6, 2012

Text and images by Ashley Hall.

It’s another Friday night in Manayunk and six grown men don themselves in random costumes – everything from lab jackets with axes in the pockets, to a pair of goggles with glow-in-the-dark ice cubes in each eye.

It’s just another evening with the guys of Swift Technique.

Bassist Jake Leschinsky shoots a smirk and says, “So, how would you feel about going across the street to ask the fire company if we can take pictures with their truck?”

A few moments later, the band is climbing on a fire truck and making their “serious faces,” which last but a moment, interrupted by gut-busting laughter.

The guys got their start in 2007 playing house parties while attending Temple University. Leschinsky had seen his fair share of North Philly basement parties and noticed there was a pattern.

“People were dying for loud music, and the bands I was seeing were pretty shitty,” he chuckles. “If these guys could do it, we could do it. And probably fucking kill it.”

And that they did.

The guys all came together after Leschinsky started making beats for a rapper he had met at Temple (now a former Swift Technique vocalist).

“We developed the philosophy of the band,” he explains. “Sort of live hip hop, jazz influenced.”

The album Jazzmatazz by former Gang Starr member Guru was the blueprint for Swift Technique’s sounds.

Leschinsky then got longtime friend and guitarist Andy Bree involved. The rest of the band slowly came together – drummer Rich Agren, trumpet player Greg Rosen, trombonist Matt Fischer and tenor sax player Brian Blaker.

“We are all musicians who have studied jazz music, so the improv sensibilities of jazz are just always present in our stuff,” Leschinsky explains.

After playing a ton of low-ceiling basement parties, Swift Technique landed their first big-time gig at World Café Live.

That show was what sent the process into full swing. They built a website and began recording, while continuing to perform regularly in the region as well as  across the United States.

Swift Technique is known for their ability to put on a show, which they attribute to their tight chemistry and their ridiculous amount of energy on stage. They credit legends like James Brown, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Led Zeppelin and, of course, The Roots as influences behind their music and performances.

But the guys are adamant that it’s not just musical inspiration that makes their vibrant sound what it is.

“If you live in or around Philly, it affects you,” Leschinsky says. “The music we make is a direct result of Philly. Honestly.”

They also get a lot of ideas from touring, which they do constantly.

“This band was made on the road,” Bree explains. “It’s kind of cool because not a lot of groups that I know just hit it every goddamn weekend.”

With all this traveling, of course, this crazy, talented, comedic crew has stories to tell.

Like the time the guys played a house party in Washington D.C. on the night President Obama won the 2008 election. After their raucous set, they decided to meander down to the White House for some more celebrating.

“We got split up from the horn section,” Leschinsky remembers. ”The next thing you know, I hear ‘When the Saints Go Marching In’ on horns.”

The horn section had accidentally started a parade of thousands of people through D.C., resulting in news footage around the world and YouTube videos within seconds. Fischer cracks up as he recalls that night.

“We started to walk home and all of a sudden,” he says, “we closed down an entire boulevard.”

Swift Technique prides themselves on bringing all they’ve got to each concert – even impromptu ones like in Washington D.C. or at 8 a.m. after falling asleep on Virginia Beach during a 5k… long story.

“We want to leave positive, memorable experiences,” Blaker says (to which his all his bandmates mockingly reply, “Awwwwwww.”).

Rosen feels it’s imperative to have new experiences while performing, to ensure the band stays fresh.

“If we aren’t interested, no one else will be,” he offers. “So I just try to keep it fresh in my mind, all the time.”

Leschinsky adds that the band constantly remembers what they have gone through as a group. One of the biggest hurdles they’ve had to overcome was the departure of their vocalist of three years, making them an instrumental band, which still stands today.

“The band has been together for four years,” Leschinsky says. “We have trekked through some muddy shit.”

The six-piece instrumental family has a lot of good things on the way, including their first full-length album, which is in the works. They have upcoming gigs scheduled in Vermont, New York, Chicago and Maryland.

“One of our main objectives is to represent Philadelphia everywhere we go,” Leschinsky says. “We’ll be back soon.”

One Comment
  1. Anonymous permalink
    July 15, 2014 11:26 am

    total douchebags

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: