Published on June 5th, 2019 | by TLV News0
Interview with Local Hip Hop Musician Farris Swisher
by Tobe Burgos-Passiglia
Catch Farris and other local musicians on Wednesday Nights at Moe’s Penny Bar.
On Thursday, May 16, I sat down with local hip hop musician Farris Swisher at the upstairs bar in Moe’s Original BBQ. I asked to speak with him as his friend, fan, and manager. It seemed very appropriate; Moe’s is where we first met and where I first saw him perform downstairs at the Open Mic Night. With the music going and the bar to ourselves we talked at length about performing live music and his new album.
Tobe: How were you introduced to live music?
Farris: The first concert I saw was Foo Fighters in Memphis when I was like 8. I think that was also the year that I got a drum set.
When did you actually start performing?
I’ve performed live before I ever did it as an artist. I’d done it as just a musical performer in middle school and high school band. That’s kind of where I learned how to perform.
What did you play?
In concert season I was kind of all over percussion, but in marching season I was on drumline. I played snare. I was pretty good; I don’t want to toot my own horn or anything. But, you know. Even whenever I started getting into making hip-hop I wasn’t really thinking of performing either, just because I started out producing so I never really imagined myself on any stage, I imagined my beats being played live for everybody. I think even when I started initially rapping I still didn’t really think about performing, I was just doing it to do it. I’m not really sure what flipped the switch, I think just incrementally got more serious about the career as I went on.
So what made you decide to make hip-hop out of all the music you could have made?
I actually liked it. I don’t necessarily dislike any one form of music, but hip hop has always been my favorite. It just made sense. I didn’t need a band to make hip-hop, I just needed me and that’s it. It’s very much a do-it-yourself type of genre.
Is it important to you to be self sufficient in that way?
Yeah, I think so. On one hand it saves money. I don’t have to pay anybody for studio time. Don’t have to pay for beats. Usually I can do what I want on my own, because I’ve been working towards doing that. It definitely pays to be self sufficient. If you want something done right you do it yourself type of thing.
Yeah, but you still choose to perform with people. You have a crew.
Yeah, well, that’s different. They’re not rapping my lyrics. I’m rapping my lyrics.
So, when are you going to release another album?
My new project VR2 comes out May 31st. Pretty excited about it. I think it’s my best work yet. And I’m only getting better.
How are you going to release it?
Just through Apple Music, Spotify, Itunes, Amazon, Google Play. I use DistroKid—shout out DistroKid. And then we’re also getting some flash drives made with my name on them and the albums Virtual Reality and VR2 will be on the flash drives. Those will be for sale, too. That will be really fun. It’ll be my first real piece of merch. That’s the only physical way that the album is being released, otherwise it’s just digital. Wherever you listen to music it will be there, May 31.
What venues have you played so far?
Moe’s, both as an actual show and just as doing Open Mic every week. And this one time a couple years ago me, Wavy [Xantana], and some other cats performed at The Levee and that shit was fun.
When was that?
That was, let’s see, it was 2016. It was like, the second Monday once the university had gotten in session.
What time and where is Open Mic Night every week?
At the Moe’s Penny Bar Wednesday nights from 9:30 to close. We usually try and shoot for the 10:30 to 11 pm time slot. We being me, Scooby [Da Kid], Wavy [Xantana], LaCardi, sometimes Tr333. When he’s feeling it, at least, and he’s not at work. Yeah, we shoot for that somewhere between 10:30 and 11:30.