Introducing: Sway Clarke II
Toronto via Berlin singer songwriter gets philosophical with MTV
There’s very little artist discretion with Sway Clarke II, which isn't entirely surprising when you consider that the ‘secret garden’ in his track ‘Secret Garden’ really is what you think it is.
Five minutes deep into our interview we’re talking about what drugs he doesn’t do, and why sleeping is boring (“you wake up and you’re older”). He gushes, in as lackadaisical a way as possible, about how great a city Berlin is and about the best way to get into notorious nightclub Berghain.
But who is Sway Clarke II, over-sharing sleep-phobic Germanophile aside? Canadian with Rastafarian roots, an anthropology student turned musician he is – refreshingly - someone who does not include himself in the “handful of people born artists”. Finding himself a songwriter, he moved to Berlin four years ago after finding it “one of the only places in the world that I felt that I could make music”, and has never left, nor does he plan to.
When asked if Berlin is home, Sway answers with another question. “Is anywhere home? I could live anywhere really. I think it’s because I’m not attached to objects as such, or people. I love my family and friends and all, but I’m not one of those who are like, ‘I can never leave this town because my brother lives here’. When you’re around people you know, they don’t see you grow, because you know them”.
Big talk from a man who confesses he’s always terrified, prior to this interview included. “I don’t think anybody is ever really confident. It’s about whether something stops you or not, the difference between saying something and actually doing it. I would have too many regrets if something stopped me from doing something, so I just do it. I’m completely f**king terrified.”
Surprising then that his first ever show was at the aforementioned Berghain. Berlin’s most famous club, Sway’s debut took place in Kantine, the building reserved for live music. His music a far cry from the techno the city is so famed for producing, he was surprised at the level of faith instilled by his booking agent: “I was like OK, whatever.”
Inevitably crediting the internet for the interest that has sprung from the loins of the web, he praises today’s technological culture and the freedom it allows. “There’s not as many barriers as before. Everything’s just open; maybe it’s a good thing, maybe it’s a bad thing, but I can wake up one day and say I want to work with the Arctic Monkeys. I can say that I want to do a track with Chance The Rapper.”
Maybe one day he’ll do both, or neither. Sway Clarke II doesn’t seem to be ruling anything out and neither are we. His track ‘Secret Garden’ comes complete with an appropriately tongue-in-cheek video and a guest spot from top Nicki Minaj predecessor, Tink, and is inappropriately charming his fast-growing web-born fan base. He plays a show at The Old Blue Last in London on Friday 26th September - go and see him for yourself.