We had the good fortune of connecting with Steve Swatkins and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Steve, why did you pursue a creative career?
I turned my back on a career as a lawyer and kept pursuing gigs playing original music after passing my Bar exam in 2009. I had been playing music my whole time in law school and both my classmates and bandmates were as confused as I was about what I was really trying to do. But I think the answer is that I was trying to help people. And as much as lawyers can truly help people, no one is really happy when they need to interact with a lawyer. Playing original music helps both myself and others access joy in a way that is not readily available in most professional pursuits. Having to monetize the thing I love presents its own challenges. I’m careful to set boundaries for myself to ensure that I’m making decisions based around well-being, not just what brings the most (still modest) financial returns,
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I write and record original music, and I also help other people make their music sound the best it can. I’ve been in bands my whole life, and I think there is a spirit of teamwork and collaborative uplift in all my artistic output. Part of what makes my brand distinct is that it’s unflinchingly positive and inclusive, while not trying to minimize or spiritually bypass the real-life oppression that many people face every day. It has been particularly challenging this year, as we’re cut off from face-to-face community and audience interaction. Still, through art, we can absorb and transcend even this collective trauma and emerge as a more pure version of our selves.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Taco truck tour! Daytime hikes and evening sunsets in Malibu, barbecue in Koreatown, and a stroll around the Hollywood Resevoir
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My grandmother, Annelies Herzl, a Holocaust survivor and one of the most kindhearted and open-minded humans I’ve ever met. Some people after going through a monumental tragedy tend to distrust others and lose faith in humanity. My grandmother managed to grow ever more loving and accepting as she aged. She was fiercely committed to family and community, and led support groups for other Holocaust survivors and their children. I carry her gentle memory with me always,