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Behind Beats at BKB: a chat with swggrbck

David Chang (swggrbck, left) performing at the House of Blues, Chicago.
David Chang (swggrbck, left) performing at the House of Blues, Chicago.

Our resident DJ, David Chang (aka swggrbck), is the master behind the decks during our monthly Beats at BKB residency. Featuring DJ sets from local talent, Beats at BKB combines our love of music with our love of climbing for a one-of-a-kind experience just for the BKB community.

David started DJing as a hobby in 2011, a natural progression from time spent in high school as the kid burning CDs for all his friends. Now, he is ingrained in the local music scene and is known in particular for his thoughtful mixes. Be on the lookout for an exclusive BKB mix coming soon from swggrbck! In the meantime, we conducted a quick interview with David to learn more about his experiences as a DJ.

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Q: What’s the most memorable show you’ve played?

The most memorable show I ever played was at the Chicago House of Blues. It was a sold out show and the hometown love was at an all time high.

Every mix should be narrative and tell a story.

Q: Who are the artists and producers that influence you the most?

As of late, I have been listening to a lot of hip hop. I’m a huge fan of Travis Scott and Metro Boomin. They do a great job of incorporating visual elements to their production style. As a listener, it’s important to both hear and see the music. The energy in their production puts me in a very specific mood and place, and I can always put a visual to what I am listening to.

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Q: How do you go about making a mix? What’s the starting point?

The biggest thing that I focus on when making a mix is capturing the right mood. Every mix should be narrative and tell a story. I organize the mix based on how well it can convey that story. My starting point always begins with a ton of brainstorming. I ask myself things like “Where do I see myself listening to this mix? Is this something that I want to listen to with others or by myself? Etc.” Once I have a direction in terms of the vibe and pace, I’ll put together a playlist of about 100 songs. Then I will organize, edit, arrange, rearrange, re-edit, and make a millon little adjustments until the mix is perfect.

Q: What do you like about BKB Chicago?

I really enjoy coming to BKB for the vibe. Everything is mellow and relaxed. As a new climber, I really have no idea what I’m doing. So I learn from trial and error and watching others. I feel myself getting better and stronger with every session. So it’s satisfying to just push yourself at your own pace and see results.

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Beats at BKB: swggrbck takes place THURSDAY, March 10th from 6-8PM. RSVP on Facebook