Swim the Shine — DJ and VJ and electronic music producer from Budapest, Hungary is more than just an artist that is faithful to the sounds of melodic and progressive techno but is also an artist with an afinity towards interactive visuals. From playing drums at the opening ceremonies of the London Olympics in 2012 (under the guidance of Rick Smith of Underworld and Danny Boyle), being a finalist in the Moscow Circle of Light VJ Competition, as well as performing in London, Barcelona, Budapest, Montreal, Paris, Freiburg, Porto, and Berlin, Swim the Shine has never lost sight of his vision of sharing his music with others but also creating a space where others can share music together through his collaborative mindset. To Swim the Shine, his creative harmony is best expressed through his talent in audio-visuals, as well as through his label Gun Raven.
Gun Raven is more than just a record label, but is a platform where audio-visualists can have a special space to create their art. Recently, Gun Raven released Swim The Shine’s sophomore EP Stealth Mode — a three-track EP which includes two remixes by techno royalty, Timo Maas in addition to the original track by Swim the Shine himself. A plus to this EP is that it also comes with music videos. Musically, The EP incorporates many elements of dark, hypnotic, and deep techno that is warped with industrial tones and electrifying intensities. With Timo Maas’s two distinct reinterpretations and Swim the Shine’s original version, listeners will be amazed at how an EP can bring about a certain air of imagination and freedom.
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Now sharing with 6AM, Swim the Shine gets into how he finds the balance of audio-visuals through art and science, not stressing about opportunities, the process of launching his label Gun Raven with an open mindset, journeying through the Stealth Mode EP process alongside Timo Maas and local visual artist, Stella Speziali, goals for Gun Raven for 2023, and upcoming projects in the works. The EP Stealth Mode is now available to purchase fully on Beatport.
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Thanks for joining 6AM Swim the Shine, we’re looking forward to getting to learn more about your recent EP Stealth Mode and the launching of your new label Gun Raven. As an international DJ and VJ, what’s been keeping you inspired lately?
Hello and thanks for the opportunity to share some details of where I come from and where I’m going. Although I’ve played in different places on a couple of continents, I do not think I truly deserve the title of “International DJ and VJ”. Audio-visual art is my passion and I do it for the sake of doing it — but I work in science, which is an equally big part of my life — both arenas provide the opportunity for imaginative creativity but in significantly different ways.
“I do not think I truly deserve the title of “International DJ and VJ”. Audio-visual art is my passion and I do it for the sake of doing it — but I work in science, which is an equally big part of my life both arenas provide the opportunity for imaginative creativity but in significantly different ways.”
Swim The Shine finds creativity in science and art.
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While science is more rigorous, where your thought process must conform to a set of unbreakable natural laws, artistic creativity is a more free-form endeavor. I need both to keep me balanced. But, to answer your actual question, my focus and inspiration lately have been the starting of my label, Gun Raven (get it?), and taking on the duty of creating a platform for fellow audio-visual artists. Actually, since the start of the pandemic in 2020, I’ve been playing mostly local DJ and VJ gigs.
“I need both to keep me balanced. While science is more rigorous, artistic creativity is a more free-form endeavor.”
Science and art complement each other in more ways than one.
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Speaking of being an international DJ and VJ, you’ve played drums at the opening ceremonies of the London Olympics in 2012 (under the guidance of Rick Smith of Underworld and Danny Boyle), became a VJ finalist at the Moscow Circle of Light, and have played at venues in London, Barcelona, Budapest, Montreal, Paris, Freiburg, Porto, and Berlin. These are major accomplishments. How do you stay level-headed from traveling? Any favorite locations you like to go visit?
Although I’ve mixed it up with different people, in numerous places, and in various events, these opportunities were “local” at the time so I do not really need to stay “level headed” as you say. And anyway, I keep things in check because all things I do I consider a hobby rather than a career. I take opportunities when they present themselves but don’t stress otherwise. I hope it doesn’t come across as ungrateful or uninspired, because that would not represent my true self, but I don’t aspire to play in any particular country or venue. What would bring me greater joy is if my music and visuals and the other artists’ on Gun Raven were played by DJs and VJs all around the world. Next to all that, I’ll play wherever I am at the moment. Serving the local underground is just fine with me!
“I keep things in check because all things I do I consider a hobby rather than a career. I take opportunities when they present themselves but don’t stress otherwise. What would bring me greater joy is if my music and visuals and the other artists’ on Gun Raven were played by DJs and VJs all around the world.”
Swin The Shine doesn’t put much stress on rewards and titles.
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As for accomplishments, congratulations on launching your new audio-visual label Gun Raven. Can you dive more into Gun Raven’s background, sound, and intentions when it comes to projects?
Thank you so much. Although I played, wrote, recorded, and performed music since childhood, I wasn’t really in the music business per se — meaning, that I knew little about the corporate world, marketing, or branding. So, growing Gun Raven from an exciting but unrealistic idea to having a release with techno royalty, Timo Maas, took me about two years and a lot of books, YouTube tutorials, and a lot of afterparties.
“I knew little about the corporate world, marketing, or branding. So, growing Gun Raven from an exciting but unrealistic idea to having a release with techno royalty, Timo Maas, took me about two years.”
Taking a leap of faith with any project is the best mindset for any artist.
Because I do perform both as a DJ and as a VJ, my long-term aim for Gun Raven is to be an audio-visual label — releasing both electronic dance music as well as visual content. True to this aim, I invite different visual artists to create the cover designs, I plan to release VJ packs, and we made videos for two of the three tracks on the Stealth Mode EP. You can see the video for the original version below. With respect to the sound, I would like to keep the label focused on the Progressive House / Melodic Techno arena.
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The label also released your recent 3-track EP Stealth Mode. The EP featured two different remixes from Timo Maas as well. Walk us through your creative flow of what went into this atmospheric, dark, hypnotic, and industrially deep EP. What made you resonate with Timo Maas’s versions of “Stealth Mode”?
The title, “Stealth Mode”, was something we used to say with an ex-girlfriend when we could sneak our way around some rules without getting in trouble. So, the original version of “Stealth Mode” somehow represents that phase of my life. It was a friend of a friend who introduced me to Timo Maas and I was absolutely over the moon when he listened to my version of the track and agreed to make a remix. He is one of my favorites and indeed one of the major influences as I made my transition from playing/writing rock music to DJing and producing electronica.
“I was absolutely over the moon when he [Timo Maas] listened to my version of the track and agreed to make a remix. He is one of my favorites. A few days later he wrote back with a request: “is it okay if I make two remixes for Stealth Mode?”. We had another video call and agreed to call it the “Trash Dub Remix” because there was something sinister about it.”
Swim the Shine and Timo Maas became a perfect fit for Stealth Mode.
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My jaw dropped to the floor when a few days later Timo wrote back with a request: “is it okay if I make two remixes for Stealth Mode?” One would need an atomic clock to measure the speed with which I agreed. After I heard Timo’s dub remix, we had another video call and agreed to call it the “Trash Dub Remix” because there was something sinister about it. And, when we started developing an idea for the video for Timo’s trash dub remix with a local visual artist, Stella Speziali, we gave another interpretation to the expression: “stealth mode”.
“I heard Timo’s dub remix and we thought of a dystopian future world — joy and partying are prohibited and dancers must move in stealth mode in order to avoid getting caught by the authorities. In a way, it’s reminiscent of the police crackdown on the rave culture in Britain.”
Swim The Shine and Timo Maas saw Stealth Mode is an ode to illegal raves and rave culture.
We thought of a dystopian future world, where joy and partying are prohibited, and dancers must move in stealth mode in order to avoid getting caught by the authorities. In a way, it’s reminiscent of the police crackdown on the rave culture in Britain but could also be on the soundtrack to a movie that is based on Sarah Pinsker’s book “A song for a new day”. You can see the video for the Timo Maas Trash Dub Remix below:
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What else can Gun Raven expect moving forward into 2023?
Some of plans I would like to keep confidential for now. But, I would like to put out three or four EPs with different artists and gradually grow awareness of our unique audio-visual approach. Either each EP will be followed by a sister release of several remixes or at the end of the year we will have a compilation album with all the remixes together. To start with, the current release, Stealth Mode, will definitely have its own remix-only follow-up album. The four tracks are mastered, the cover is designed, and the release date has been set for 10 February 2023.
“I would like to keep some of the plans confidential for now, but would like to put out three or four EPs with different artists and gradually grow awareness of our unique audio-visual approach.”
Swim the Shine’s focus for the label is to push it’s audio-visual craft.
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I mentioned earlier that the original musical compositions on Gun Raven will fall within the narrower range of melodic electronica (progressive house, melodic house & techno, etc.) between 120-130 BPM. But, I really like remixes. Sometimes they are better than the original because somehow one artist inspiring another brings the magic that neither artist could have produced. And, I do not want to stand in the way of that cosmic slipstream of creativity. So, the remix artists will have more freedom, both in genre and in BPM. Let the magic happen.
“I really like remixes. Even though the original musical compositions on Gun Raven fall within the narrower range of melodic electronica (progressive house, melodic house, and techno, etc.) I do not want to stand in the way of that cosmic slipstream of creativity when one artist inspiring another brings the magic that neither artist could have produced.”
Gun Raven may fall into genre styles, but Swim the Shine is always open to bringing artists together.
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
Only that I don’t just celebrate the results of collaborations such as remixes, but I also enjoy being part of them — so, may I take this opportunity to encourage producers of electronic music or creative coders of visual art to hit me up if they would like to work on something together or would like to release their art on Gun Raven. I’m @swimtheshine just about everywhere.
Connect with Swim the Shine: SoundCloud丨Facebook丨Twitter丨Beatport丨Instagram