American singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer and short-film maker.
Born: March 16, 1977 in California, USA.
Died: July 3, 2018 in Tacoma, Washington, USA.
He was the founder, owner, and recording engineer of National Freedom, a recording studio located in Oregon, and has worked as producer for such acts as Nathaniel Rateliff & the Nightsweats, Cayucas, The Shins, Damien Jurado, The Mynabirds, Foxygen, Jessie Baylin and Laetitia Sadier of Stereolab.
"Most of my recording techniques come from looking at photos on the inside of Sly & The Family Stone or Beatles LPs, or from watching 'Sympathy for the Devil' and thinking, 'Oh! That's where they put the mic!'" – Richard Swift
Singer/songwriter Richard Swift's lo-fi, sepia-toned style harks back to the Tin Pan Alley age. Influenced by everyone from Bob Dylan to early-'70s dub acts like the Congos and Lee Perry, he has released six records of his own. A self-taught, natural musician, Swift is a multi-instrumentalist who will often play all the instruments on album’s he produces.
After albums released by Secretly Canadian Records and Polydor UK and the left field cult hit “Lady Luck”, Richard Swift was a semi-legend in the musical community. Beloved by other musicians for his natural skills and feel, his services have been in constantly high demand. When James Mercer fired the other members of The Shins, he called Swift to work with him and put together a band. Their collaboration has lasted 6 years. In addition, Swift was the first call when the Black Keys needed a bass player. After the Black Keys came off the road, Swift and Black Keys frontman Dan Auerbach continued working together, forming The Arcs with members of the Dap Kings and releasing their debut album on Warner Brothers Records in 2015.
Throughout this time, Swift has found time to nurture other artists and grow his production career. Developing a unique sound that is both modern and retro, Swift has become a first call producer for artists seeking to inject “vibe” in their albums. The best of the modern underground – Foxygen, Kevin Morby, Damien Jurado, Valerie June, Tennis and more – have come to Swift’s compound in the middle of Oregon to utilize his services. His production of Nathaniel Rateliff and the Nightsweats was a breakthrough moment for him as a producer. The album was a sensation, going gold and generating the hit single “Son of a Bitch”.
"What you can control are knobs, faders, and being a nice person." –Richard Swift