Zach Cwieka, professionally known as Sweekuh, is a senior at Drexel University who is currently wrapping up a whirlwind year in 2015. After his remix for “Adderall” by The Heydaze hit a whopping two million plays, he has since been commissioned for official remixes by the likes of Island Records, Aer Music, and Chaka Khan. His live shows have progressed through the years and he is looking to unveil a live set along with his first original releases some time later this year. We had the opportunity to chat with him about how far he’s come and his plans for the future.
The Triangle: How did everything start for you – disc jockeying and producing?
Zach Cwieka: I’ve been doing music for as long as I can remember. I started in band so I was playing guitar and drums for a very long time. When I came to college I didn’t have the band that I was in while living California so I wanted to do something I could by myself. I started making rock and roll music with these computer programs and I transitioned to kinda where we are now, that’s electronic music.
TT: Were there any particular artists that influenced you when you growing up?
ZC: I was all over the place. I was into classic rock, that’s kinda where it started and it kept getting heavier and I was into really heavy death metal.
TT: I’m surprised you’re not creating dubstep then…
ZC: Whenever I have writer’s block, I make dubstep cause it refreshes things and gives me a new perspective on what I am creating.
TT: How’d you come up with the name Sweekuh?
ZC: It’s my last name but it’s just spelled phonetically.
TT: So what’s the Sweekend?
ZC:I don’t really stick to one genre, or have a way to define my music, so #SWEEKEND to me is my genre. I like to make everything since it’s more fun that way so if someone ever wants to find me they could use the tag.
TT: How did people start discovering your music?
ZC: Once I started making electronic music, music blogs started to find it and post about it. My first song that I ever made got on hype machine and it had 1000 plays which I was freaked out about. However, with release after release you kinda slowly start to build a following that reaches someone new. I wouldn’t say I am satisfied, I’m still on the climb.
TT: So you’ve put out quite a few remixes, the remix with Hotel Garuda for Chromeo, for The Heydaze and now for Molly Moore. Can you take us through your creative process?
ZC: It’s different for every remix. I sit down with all the parts of the song and depending on the song I play the vocals, pick up my guitar or sit down at my piano and play behind it until I find something I like. This next remix I am working on for Chaka Khan, who is an old time jazz singer, the song itself didn’t have any chords so we have to make the musicality part behind it. Just jamming behind the song helps me with the remixing.
TT: How do you juggle college, producing and DJ-ing?
ZC: I don’t actually. It’s really hard to try and find a balance. My sophomore year, I booked a tour with my good friend Manila Killa where we played 13 shows in two months. I did not do well that quarter at all, since I was gone more than I was at school. But also electrical engineering is one of the hardest majors so it doesn’t help.
TT: What’s been your favorite show to date?
ZC: I got to play Bounce Boat, which is a concert on a yacht that goes around the Hudson River in New York City. It was one of my first shows for a lot of people and the energy was amazing. Not to mention at the time I was only 19 so it was a pretty unique experience.
TT: What’s a track you always play in your sets?
ZC: I’ve been opening all my shows with Mat Zo’s remix of “Collect My Love” by The Knocks. I have one song that I start with and one song that I end with, and in the middle of that… who knows what’s going to happen.
TT: What are some other genres you listen to other than electronic music?
ZC: I listen to all types of music, from pop to jazz and even country, although that’s only when my roommates force me to. However, I’ve been getting more and more into pop production lately, as I’ll probably have to work in engineering once I graduate and won’t be able to play too many shows.