Swanson produces album ‘Year of the Zauce’

Augustana senior Logan Swanson has claimed 2021 as his year and named it the “Year of the Zauce,” which coincides with the title of his first full-length extended play (EP).

Senior Logan Swanson, who goes by the stage name of DJ Zauce, has performed for events at Augustana as well as throughout Sioux Falls and in his home town of Mankato, Minnesota. He released his six-track rap album “Year of the Zauce” on March 13.

The album is meant to be a temporary capstone of Swanson’s musical career, Swanson said. This sense of finality is partly because he will be graduating next winter.

 “It being my senior year at Augie,” Swanson said, “I was like ‘it would be really funny, and it would be really cool if I made an entire album.’”

It’s also because it’s his senior year that Swanson has claimed all of 2021 as his own.

“2021—Year of the Zauce,” Swanson said. “This is it, the final everything. This is all I got.”

The album is full of varied styles, which stems from Swanson’s songwriting philosophy of drawing inspiration from a range of different genres and sources.

“Each song has a different flavor to it,” Swanson said.

The varying styles of the album include West Coast-style rap as heard in “Town Mayor,” modern party-rap in “Ferda,” lo-fi rap as heard in “Levitate,” R&B in “Without Me” and louder, upbeat rap in “Time’s Up.”

All of the songs from “Year of the Zauce” tell stories about Swanson’s own life. 

“When you hear the beat, what are you trying to tell?” Swanson said.

“Town Mayor,” which features Augustana graduate Bryce Wollmann, covers a night Swanson spent hanging out and partying at the Crow Bar, then later relaxing in a hot tub with Wollman. 

“Levitate” tells the story of a relationship Swanson had where the two broke up, only to get back together happier than before. 

“Time’s Up” is inspired by scenes of Swanson getting ready to run out onto the football field before games and seeks to portray the emotion of those moments.

“Building your story that you want to tell in the song is probably the biggest way to help me write lyrics that make sense,” Swanson said.

The creation of stories is one of Swanson’s biggest goals in songwriting, as he says it helps people connect with his music on a meaningful level.

“Music’s helped me throughout my entire life,” Swanson said. “So if people can find something in my music that they like, that helps them get through whatever, whether that be weightlifting, getting over someone cheating on you, just being down and trying to find positivity—I hope my music can do that for them just like music does that for me.”

Sioux Falls producer Ryan Adams, who goes by the stage name of 3NAM3S, produced, featured in and marketed “Year of the Zauce.” He said the process of creating the album started with Swanson’s variety of creative song ideas.

“Logan came to me with a bunch of ideas,” Adams said. “We would slowly take these concepts and write back and forth […then] we developed it until we had six songs that were pretty solid.”

In addition to the five main rap songs, the sixth and final track of the album is an acoustic version of Swanson’s first song “Who You Think You Is?” The song features Swanson, alone, playing the guitar and singing the vocals.

Swanson started playeing guitar at nine years old. He was also involved in choir from sixth grade to his freshman year at Augustana.

According to Swanson,  the inclusion of “Who You Think You Is?” is mainly for his own artistic satisfaction.

“That’s just for me,” Swanson said.

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