Rob Swire

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Rob Swire
Background information
Birth name Robert Swire-Thompson
Also known as Anscenic
Born (1982-11-05) 5 November 1982 (age 34)
Origin Perth, Western Australia
  • Singer
  • songwriter
  • musician
  • audio mixing
  • record producer
  • DJ
  • Vocals
  • synthesizer
  • guitar
  • bass
  • percussion
  • keyboards
  • drums
Years active 1998–present
Labels Warner Music, Hardline Rekordingz, Breakbeat Kaos
Associated acts
Notable instruments
Starr Labs' Ztar Z6S-XPA
Muse Research Receptor
Novation Launchpad

Robert Swire-Thompson (born 5 November 1982[1]) is an Australian singer-songwriter, musician, audio mixing, record producer and DJ, best known as the founder and vocalist of Australian drum and bass/electronic rock band Pendulum, as well as DJ and co-founder of electronic dance music duo Knife Party formed of Swire and Gareth McGrillen. Originally from Perth, Western Australia, he relocated to the United Kingdom in 2003 with fellow Pendulum co-founders Gareth McGrillen and Paul "El Hornet" Harding. Swire has since fulfilled a broad spectrum of roles as a member of Pendulum, ranging from song writing to singing while performing live with an unusual guitar-like MIDI controller – Starr Labs' Ztar Z6S-XPA. Swire can also play guitar, bass, keyboards and percussion. He is sometimes referred to by the stage name Anscenic.

Life and career[edit]

Early life[edit]

Rob Swire was born and raised in Perth, Western Australia. When he was a child, his family lived in Harare in Zimbabwe for several years. During his residence, he created a song which was played on a local Zimbabwe radio station. He attended Scotch College, Swanbourne, graduating in 1999, where he first met bandmate Gareth McGrillen.[2] Over the next three years he worked as a record producer for several local drum and bass, breakbeat and metal bands, during which time he occasionally used the stage name "Anscenic." He also made a couple of independent releases with former Hardcore techno label Hardline Rekordingz, including a collaboration with the label's founder, Animal Intelligence, which was titled "Fat American Bitchcore."[3] Only twenty lathe cut copies of the record were distributed, to help promote the label's 2001–2002 tour of New Zealand. Swire also produced a track titled "Electrodes on the Skull" which was released alongside three tracks by other artists signed to the label at that time.[4]


Main article: Pendulum

In 2002, Swire formed drum and bass act Pendulum with fellow Xygen bandmate McGrillen and local DJ Paul "El Hornet" Harding.[5] Swire relocated to the United Kingdom the following year, along with the other members of the band, and the band soon gained widespread underground recognition for their tracks "Vault" and "Trail of Sevens."[6] Over the next two years Swire worked on material for the band's debut album, Hold Your Colour, primarily as the band's songwriter and producer alongside McGrillen. The album was released in 2005, to considerable commercial success. When the band began performing live in October 2006, Swire became the band's lead singer in addition to playing a Ztar – a guitar-like MIDI controller – during live performances.

After the band's first tour they started work on a second album, In Silico, for which Swire featured as the main vocalist, after already appearing on tracks such as "Spiral," "Hold Your Colour," "Streamline," and "Still Grey" in order to keep a consistent sound. In addition, he continued his former roles of writer and producer, although he delegated the task of vocal mixing to a professional mixing engineer. Swire was also extensively involved in creating publicity material for the new album, as he explained during an interview with Lucy Chakaodza of The Independent.[7]

Pendulum released their third album titled Immersion in the UK on 24 May 2010. This is Pendulum's only Number 1 album, charting highest in the UK album chart.

Pendulum announced on 19 June 2012 that they had split. Swire stated, "We're having too much fun with the Knife Party project. It's also great because Pendulum, towards the end, sort of felt like we were doing it because we had to, and that's never a fun way to do music. Whereas Knife Party is pretty much solely us doing what we want to and if no one likes it we don't care." This can be equated to Rob Swire feeling limited to a genre under the band Pendulum, and he has stated publicly over tweets that he hates the restriction that a fan base can bring, he does enjoy continuing to produce music.

On 22 August 2013 Swire revealed that a new Pendulum album will probably be released sometime in 2014.[8] Despite this, Swire has ruled out the possibility of Pendulum performing live again. However, Pendulum was confirmed to reunite at the upcoming 2016 Ultra Music Festival in Miami, Florida.

On 9 January 2017, Pendulum confirmed to be reuniting for a world tour and possibly releasing a new album, with Swire also returning. [9]

Knife Party[edit]

Main article: Knife Party

In 2011, Swire formed the electro house duo with Pendulum co-founder Gareth McGrillen. The duo released their debut EP, 100% No Modern Talking, on 12 December 2011. The group's popularity grew considerably when they released the top 5 hit UK single, Antidote, in collaboration with Swedish house trio Swedish House Mafia. The single was released on 16 December 2011, and has now hit over 11 million views on YouTube. "Internet Friends," was released as a second single from the EP, but peaked at a lowly number 83 in the UK. Their second EP, Rage Valley, was released on 27 May 2012, and produced three singles, "Rage Valley," "Bonfire," and "Centipede." All of the singles made it onto the UK top 100, but none hit the top 40. However, the EP's second single, "Bonfire", peaked at number 18 on the Finnish Singles Chart. The duo's third EP, Haunted House, was released on 6 May 2013, and features four tracks: "Power Glove," "LRAD," "EDM Death Machine," and their own VIP mix of "Internet Friends," originally from 100% No Modern Talking. The duo has accumulated a large cult following for their distinctive style: With influences of electro house and dubstep on their first EP, their style has grown to include influences from a wider range of styles, such as moombahton (a combination of house and reggaeton music), and drumstep. The Knife Party remix of Swedish House Mafia's "Save the World" was Zane Lowe's 'Hottest Record in the World' on 31 May 2011.[10]

Other work[edit]

Swire recorded vocals for deadmau5's track, "Ghosts 'n' Stuff," on 25 November 2008. The single has now hit over 40 million views on YouTube, and reached number 1 on the US dance music charts, and number 12 in the UK. Swire also co-wrote Rihanna's songs "Rude Boy" and "Roc Me Out," and contributed bass guitar and backing vocals to the songs. He has also released three other singles in collaboration with other artists: 2006's "Nervous (Creep)," as a mixer for DJ Fresh and Mary Byker; 2009's "End Credits (Live)" as a mixer for Chase & Status and Plan B; and 2010's "Play" as a producer for Taio Cruz. Most recently, he recorded vocals for Eric Prydz's track Breathe which is featured on Eric Prydz's debut album Opus in 2016.



Swire has worked as a record producer since 1999, most recently for Pendulum while producing the album In Silico, during which he was required to create demos, record the tracks, and mix the album. He is responsible for mixing most of the band's material, although more recently he has avoided mixing vocals, stating that, "Since I was doing the vocals, it's a bit harder to keep the objectivity on the engineer's side".[11] To avoid spending too long worrying about sound quality, Swire drafted the demos for In Silico using Commodore 64 and Nintendo emulators, and basic synthesiser sounds.[12] To record the album, the band travelled to various studios where the live musicians, including Swire himself, recorded acoustic drums, guitars, bass and vocals. In addition to recording the various tracks that comprised each song, Swire recorded samples of the instruments used so that, if he wasn't happy with one of the tracks, he could then play the part himself using a keyboard sampler.[12] Swire has used Pro Tools for recording audio and Steinberg's Cubase for production, but now mainly uses Steinberg's Nuendo for production and post-production editing. Swire records tracks using both hardware synthesizers and virtual instruments. For live performance, he transfers sounds for each song into several Muse Research Receptors, which he uses with MIDI controllers such as his Starr Labs Ztar and his CME UF70 and Korg Kontrol keyboards. This allows him to be able to exactly replicate the sounds recorded without having to tour with the numerous synthesizers that were originally used.


Swire has performed a wide range of instruments while recording material for Pendulum, including guitar and electric piano on Hold Your Colour,[13] synthesiser, bass and percussion on In Silico[14] and synthesizer and guitar on Immersion. He has also been the band's main vocalist since the release of In Silico, for the purpose of creating a consistent sounding album.[11] When performing live with the band, Swire typically plays a guitar-like MIDI controller, Starr Labs' Ztar Z6, in addition to performing vocals on tracks for which his voice was originally used. Swire's favoured MIDI controller keyboards when performing live are the CME UF70 Master Keyboard and the Korg Kontrol 49 MIDI Keyboard. He uses a Novation Launchpad to control Ableton Live. An Aviom A-16 CS mixer is used by Swire to control instrument and microphone levels.

Pendulum are avid users of the Muse Research Receptor Unit, a type of computer designed to run and store digital and virtual instrument settings such as virtual synthesisers, sound samples for certain songs and guitar preamplifiers. Several of these units can be seen occupying the racks that also serve as a docking station for the band's laptops and other computerised hardware. A computer screen displays the sound setup for the song that is being played. A vocoder can also be triggered by assigned buttons on the body of the Ztar. He also uses pitch correction and a Rocktron Banshee II talk box during live performances of The Other Side and Hold Your Colour.


For releases with the band Pendulum, see Pendulum discography.
For releases as Knife Party, see Knife Party.
Year Song Release
2002 "Fat American Bitchcore" Self titled white label release
"Electrodes on the Skull" Efil4Zanildrah - Part 2
"Parameter" Pendulum Recordings 09/02 Mix[15]
"Moving Forward"
2006 "Nervous (Creep)" as mixer (DJ Fresh feat. Mary Byker) Escape from Planet Monday
2008/9 "Ghosts N Stuff" as vocalist (Deadmau5 feat. Rob Swire) For Lack of a Better Name
"End Credits (Live)" as mixer (Chase & Status feat. Plan B) "End Credits" single
2010 "Rude Boy" as co-producer (Rihanna) Rated R
"Play" as producer (Taio Cruz) TY.O
2011 "Roc Me Out" as co-producer (Rihanna) Talk That Talk
2013 "5 Minutes" as mixer (Tinie Tempah) Demonstration
2016 "Breathe" as vocalist (Eric Prydz feat. Rob Swire) Opus


  1. ^ Birth Date Source[permanent dead link]
  2. ^ Robert Swire-Thompson. Names Database. Retrieved on 18 September 2008.
  3. ^ Fat American Bitchcore (Lathe, 7", Cle). Discogs. Retrieved on 18 September 2008.
  4. ^ Efil4Zanildrah Part 2 (12"). Discogs. Retrieved on 18 September 2008.
  5. ^ About Pendulum. Official Pendulum website. Retrieved on 18 September 2008.
  6. ^ Pendulum biography. LetsSingIt. Retrieved on 18 September 2008.
  7. ^ Chakaodza, Lucy. The 5-minute Interview: Rob Swire, Musician. The Independent. Retrieved on 18 September 2008.
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^ Hottest Record - Swedish House Mafia - Save The World (Knife Party Remix). Retrieved on 31 May 2011.
  11. ^ a b Inglis, Sam. Rob Swire: Recording In Silico. Sound on Sound. Retrieved 12 August 2008.
  12. ^ a b Moayeri, Lily. Pendulum on In Silico. Remix Magazine. Retrieved on 18 September 2008.
  13. ^ Hold Your Colour (CD, Album). Discogs. Retrieved on 18 September 2008.
  14. ^ In Silico (CD, Album). Discogs. Retrieved on 18 September 2008.
  15. ^ Paul Harding (22 September 2002). Pendulum Recordings 09/02 Mix. Drumclub news 13 November 2002. Retrieved on 10 March 2011.

External links[edit]