Yes, Swift Technique is sprinting into its eleventh year at full speed!
Their unique blend of funk, soul, rock, hip-hop, and relentless showmanship has propelled the group into their most successful period to date. With bombastic horns, thunderous bass and drums, driving guitar and keys, and more dance moves than you can shake a booty at, Swift Technique’s live performances are unmatched in energy, musicianship and pure feel-good fun.
And with a recent appearance on the award-winning Netflix series, Orange is the New Black, the group is commanding national attention. In January of this year, the band released their paean to the Philly suburbs, “Mainline,” to all major digital outlets as well as a music video featuring Philadelphia’s favorite relative, Aunt Terri. The band is coming off a banner year in 2018, with shows up and down the East Coast from Vermont to DC, to Michigan and back, plus multiple festival appearances throughout the summer. In September 2018, they released the official music video for their original song “Annawanna.”
None of this would be possible without the vision of Jake Leschinsky, who holds down the low end of the band on bass, and formed Swift Technique in 2007 with his best friend of 25+ years, Technique’s guitarist Andy Bree.
Born in San Francisco and raised in Philadelphia, Leschinsky now resides outside Philly and agreed to share some of his influences and history with us.
Jake’s parents introduced him to music ranging from Beethoven to Red Hot Chili Peppers early on in life, and he studied piano and guitar, as well as playing on a drum kit in early childhood. When Jake was 12-13 years old, his shift to the low end began when he was desperate to start a band and no one in his circle played bass. As he puts it, “I volunteered and fell in love with it. . . slowly.”
Philadelphia is a well-known hotspot for funk, soul and rock music. Leschinsky cites Philly natives Stanley Clarke (founding member of Return to Forever), Christian McBride (session musician for Chick Corea, Sting, Diana Krall, and hundreds more), and Victor Bailey (late bassist who played with the Weather Report’s last incarnation) among his bassist influences. He explains, “I was lucky to study with one of these legendary Philly Bassists, Gerald Veasley [who worked with Grover Washington/Joe Zawinul]. I take it very seriously to be part of this lineage; in terms of paying respect, raising awareness and making my own contribution.”
With the tutelage of Gerald Veasley under his belt, Jake has recently added “work with Ibanez Guitars” to his roster.
Catch his contribution to their “Bass Workshop” series:
Remarking on his influences manifesting into his bass playing, “I like to think that I incorporate my influences from studying piano, guitar & drums into a unique approach to the electric bass.” Indeed, Jake’s playing is no simple chord humming, and often reminds this humble reporter of a taut rubber band being plucked, the sound resonating in your very soul to the point where you feel damn near compelled to dance it out. “Basically, [I’m] attempting to use the bass in unique and unconventional melodic ways, while also laying down the stinky grooves,” he laughs.
As for his work with Swift Technique, the band is currently working on a new album and, for the first time in 15+ years, Jake is returning to the piano, guitar & drum kit (along with electric bass, of course) to add to Swift Tech’s funky fresh sound and help write a crop of new music that the band is very excited about!