Long on the periphery of the scene, the release of ‘Papaya Lipgloss‘ on Night Slugs last week saw Sweyn Jupiter finally make his production bow. Made in tandem with label boss Bok Bok, the track – released in both ‘Club’ and ‘Sour’ mixes, is a charmingly fractured bit of dewy eyed romance. Contributing keyboards, Sweyn very nearly steals the show -with his chords and tones providing ‘Slugs with one of their most emotionally resonant moments to date. On Hyp Mix duty this week, he leads us around the world in many different styles – travelling from Dancehall to Grime, to RnB to Drill rap, and somehow making it all work.
Catching up with him after receiving the mix, we took a little bit of time to learn more about Sweyn Jupiter…
So for those who don’t know anything about you, why don’t you just start by explaining a little bit about yourself and where you’re from?
Well I’ve lived in London my whole life. My parents emigrated from Armenia and we moved from Battersea, then on to Acton and West London ever since.
West London isn’t really known for its music scene – at least not electronically anyway. How was it growing up there and what influenced you?
I went to a school where Grime was really prominent and it was our main outlet. Ever since I was like 12, I’ve been trying to recreate it. We used to go to practice rooms at lunch time and just let loose. I used to play ‘Ghetto Kyote’ while my friend Kirby was on a Casio keyboard playing the drums at the same time – he’s someone who I’ve worked with a lot before and take inspiration from.
Then at the same time as you were making Grime, you also learnt the piano – how did that happen for you?
I started playing piano when I was like 4. My mum was a pianist and she taught me from a young age, then later I had lessons and got all my classical piano grades and my theory. Then – as every young rebellious teenager does, I wanted to go against what my parents were telling me to do and I kind of let go of the classical side and started to play Jazz and Blues at my own pace. That was the same time as me being into Grime though – so it was always about variety.
I grew up in a house where there was always all kinds of music being played. Everything from Gloria Estefan; to Miles Davis; to Chopin. I mean I even used to listen to Slipknot at the same time! Grime was the main source of socialising though – we were even in a crew at one stage. Obviously looking back at that it was kind of stupid, but it was fun at the time.
With your parents being really into music were they ultimately supportive of the direction you’ve gone in?
Well my mum’s Armenian so she’s never going to be completely supportive, but she’s my mum innit so she’s cool. I do my own thing, and she appreciates me coming from a place where she was my main inspiration. I just try and do stuff that’s true to myself – and if I do it that way then my family will understand.
Have you got another job on the side at the minute or is music your main gig?
I only make music. I’ve been collaborating with a lot of other artists up until now, but now I’m kind of trying to find myself production wise as a solo artist. I want to work with vocalists and singers.
Who would be a dream vocalist to collaborate with?
I can’t just say one. I could say a few. I’d love to work with someone like Young Thug – he’s the one right now, his style and flow is so on point. I’d like to work with Aventura – I used to listen to lots of Reggaeton stuff like from my cousin who always used to go Latin Quarter.
When did you first meet Bok Bok then?
I met him a couple of years ago now, I think we were just chilling somewhere and I got to know him. We shared similar tastes in music – obviously I’ve always felt his production and all the different styles he’s explored. When I got to see him at work I fully appreciated the levels. It just worked – we became friends and we had a good vibe in the studio.
Its slightly funny with ‘Papaya Lipgloss’ – because that was obviously made a little while back, but now its been released the same month as the new Jam City album – with both records kind of showing a similarly song structured approach. Is that just a coincedince?
I think its just a coincedince, but with someone like Alex (Bok Bok) and Night Slugs the levels are endless. Everyone on the label can cross over to different elements of sound. I’ve heard stuff by him that’s been purely on a Grime tip, but then equally he’s able of flipping it.
Are there any plans to do more stuff with ‘Slugs going forward?
For sure. That’s what I was listening to since I was young, and I’ve always been influenced by it – but I wouldn’t necessarily do a ‘Club Constructions’. Whenever I work with Alex we never put any genre limitations on it, its always different. As opposed to just putting out two tracks, I see myself unloading something which is closer to a full body of work. To me these days there’s so much stuff that works in the club, so I wouldn’t necessarily say its not going to be club music.
‘Papaya Lipgloss’ is out now on Night Slugs. Buy it here.