Cali Swag District Jump “In the Mix” [DJBooth Interview Exclusive]
While jaded heads tend to dismiss dance cuts as flavor-of-the-month fads (while grooving along to them in private, naturally), the past several years years have seen a number of young up-and-comers ride a simple yet catchy hit fueled by a few attention-grabbing moves to further success in the game. Unknown outside of their native California as recently as early 2010, Cali Swag District burst onto the national stage in April with single “Teach Me How to Dougie,” a body-moving banger that became ubiquitous seemingly overnight, eventually earning Platinum certification. Having established themselves with their debut smash, CL Smooth, Jayare, Yung and MBone quickly got to work crafting a album that would erase the phrase “one-hit wonder” from the doubters' vocabularies. The result of their labors is freshman full-length The Kickback. Featuring “Teach Me” as well as Michael Jackson-inspired follow-up “Where You Are,” the project is set to hit stores later this year via Capitol Records.
In this exclusive, five-question interview, Cali Swag District discuss their rapid ascent to prominence, the excitement of performing at last weekend's NBA All-Star game, and their confidence that Teach Me will only be chapter one in their success story.
From releasing one of the biggest records of 2010 (Teach Me How to Dougie) to joining the upcoming Blizzard Music Tour, how does it feel to have come such a long way in a short period of time?
Smoove: It’s definitely a blessing from God. A lot of artists don’t even make it to a first single, and we‘re so grateful to have 4 AND a crazy album coming out. It’s great we just take it all in, and don’t take any of it for granted.
This past weekend you performed at the NBA All Star game in Los Angeles. What is more nerve racking: performing live in front of 20,000 fans or taping a nationally televised program, which you know will be seen by millions around the world?
Yung: It wasn’t not nerve racking at all, its truly AMAZING to us. We came from Inglewood with nothing and now we're doing this. You can’t be nervous, its all excitement. Our past performance experience definitely has helped us prepare.
Is there a conscious effort amongst the group to avoid only being known as the ensemble behind "Teach Me How to Dougie"?
M-Bone: Of course. We are not one hit wonders. We are ready to show [people] we are true musicians, and we have depth in songs and lyrics.
The video for "Teach Me How To Dougie" has been viewed over 30 million times and has spurned thousands of homemade videos on YouTube. Is it difficult not to get wrapped up in the instant success of the digital world?
Jayare: Yes it is but at the end of the day the instant success you get does not last forever, or get you to where we are now. It took a lot of work and hours traveling everywhere to really be successful
Success often breeds comfort and contentment. If your forthcoming debut album, The Kickback is a success, how will you fight off the urge to coast?
Yung: Our team helps us. The people we have around us won’t allow us that comfort. They will always keep us humble and hungry. They help us get better each time around.
Final thoughts? Confessions? Shout outs?
All: Look out for the new album The Kickback due out soon Shouts out to Wytony Dillion, Dairold Potts, Louis Burrell, Savalas Holloway, Sylvon Marshall, the whole city of Inglewood, and of course our fans across the world!!