If you’re not familiar with the genre of hyperpop, let sowayv put you on. The unique and distinct sound is characterized by an exaggerated take on popular music, typically integrating themes found in electronic, hip hop, and dance music.
And if there’s one thing you can expect from sowayv’s live shows, it’s the undeniably turnt energy and willingness to let loose and let it all go. First exploding onto the scene as a DJ, even serving as Dave East’s official DJ for two years, the New York native knows a thing or two about getting the crowd as lit as possible. Soon, he’d learn how to record on his own, stepping into the limelight as a recording artist and wearing his heart on his sleeve with each release.
In describing his sound, sowayv states it’s “hyperpop, electric, punk. It’s punk / R&B, really electric energy. It’s very high energy music, it’s going to have the crowd going crazy.”
Most recently, sowayv unveiled his newest EP titled Built For This, with direct influences from Playboi Carti and Travis Scott.
sowayv spoke to AllHipHop in downtown Los Angeles, giving a first-person account on how he went from DJing to recording artist, as well as how he caught the attention of DJ Diamond Kuts.
AllHipHop: You’re from New York, right?
sowayv: Yes, originally. Brooklyn, Coney Island.
AllHipHop: How was that growing up?
sowayv: I actually moved a lot. I was born and raised in Coney Island. I moved when I was about eight to Staten Island. I moved again to Jersey, probably about three other spots in Jersey, then back to Long Island, New York. That’s where I finished off high school at, and ventured off for my DJ career. That’s where everything started, in Long Island.
How’d you get into DJing?
I was in Jersey at the time when I started DJing, a town called Vineland, New Jersey. I literally started off with a laptop. I had a friend by the name of DJ Mugga Stackz, we literally came up together. I was in my house, literally we started off with a laptop, doing virtual DJ on backyard parties. I sold my dad’s speaker, one of his church speakers. My dad’s a pastor. I got my first turntables and I started learning how to spin.
There was this barbershop around where I was at called The Layup. This guy named DJ Flair, he had techniques there. He’d always tell me to pull up, I’ll pull up. I’ll ask him how to DJ and how to do it. He’d say “yo, learn on YouTube. Figure it out.” Every day I’d come and keep figuring out how to put the needle on the record and different things. Eventually after two months, I started teaching myself how to do everything.
AllHipHop: Talk about DJ Diamond Kuts putting you on.
sowayv: The town I was in New Jersey at the time, there’s this lady named DJ Diamond Kuts. She’s from Philly. She did a poll on Twitter asking, looking for DJs in the area. Asked everybody: “who you think I should join to my crew?” The city I was in at the time in Jersey, they all tagged me. DJ Diamond Kuts ended up reaching out, she brought me to Power99 out in Philly. That was my next step of somebody big in the industry rocking with me.
That turned up a little bit more in Jersey, that’s when I moved back to Long Island. My life is crazy! When I moved to Long Island, I met a bunch of influencer friends. A bunch more friends that helped me, guide me to where I’m at today. We started doing backyard parties that were hitting the news.
AllHipHop: What about Funk Master Flex?
sowayv: Funk Master Flex’s manager’s daughter went to Amityville High School with me. I did a bunch of pep rally stuff at the school, so my name started to ring bells. These parties are on YouTube too, backyard parties where we’re pulling 1000 kids in the backyard. Project X s###, then it got to Flex. I started doing Webster Hall with Funk Master Flex every Thursday.
Who I was started to get a lot of notoriety around the time. I kept doing those parties, it started to become big parties. I had this promoter, he used to book a lot of big artists. One of the artists he booked was Dave East. So when Dave East came to the party I was DJing at, he didn’t have a DJ. Wayno was his manager at the time. Went to Wayno like yo, I need to be his DJ. Next thing you know, next week I was on tour with them on the Jeezy tour.
AllHipHop: Were you making music then?
sowayv: This whole time, I was still making music. My own music, I just didn’t know how I wanted to do it or what direction I wanted to go in. That went on for about two years. After that, I ventured off. Funny thing: there’s a bunch of Asian profiles that were coming on my Facebook page. They’d say Wavy, just Wavy. I didn’t understand what was going on. I started looking at the page, started doing my research.
When I changed the name to sowayv, at the time, I didn’t even know there was another Wavy out there. I didn’t know anything. I was literally trying to change my name. Because as a DJ, you’re putting out music, I don’t feel like people appreciate you as an artist.
They won’t look at you as an artist because you’re a DJ. I tried to find some type of way to make people hear the music, that’s why I took the DJ name out. I named myself sowayv, but what I found out probably two years ago is that I have the same name as a Kpop band named WayV.
I went through a whole year of literally not trolling, but let’s work. Let’s figure out why we got the same name. They never responded. I started a whole trilogy of them trying to reach out to me and their fans. Some of them hated me, some of them loved me. My Lives were 10K, 20K. It was the craziest s### I’ve ever seen in my life. I don’t hate the band, they’re dope. I’m proud of what they’re doing. We just had the same name. A lot of their fans thought they were me when they were following me, so that’s where the big big following came from.
Before that, I was a regular New York DJ. I played on Hot 97 a couple of times. I had a lot of big cosigns from Just Blaze, Funk Flex. I was playing with Vashti a lot at Webster Hall. I already was in the industry. I loved making music, I just didn’t know how I wanted to do it.
AllHipHop: Did you learn anything from touring with Dave East, in terms of being a recording artist?
sowayv: Absolutely yeah, experience. How to move. I was behind it all, I got to see everything. Just making sure you’re moving right, that’s number one. We’re losing too many artists nowadays. East knows how to move, definitely learned a lot from East.
AllHipHop: Did that ever make you want to do the more boom bap hip-hop?
sowayv: Nah, it honestly made me want to go the direction I’m in now: hyperpop artist. I don’t want to do no hip hop hip hop stuff. I’m more into pop. I have EDM records about to come out. I’m more so going for the different vibe.