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Music Production

Producer/Musician Richard Swift, Dead at 41

By Clive Young. Noted indie producer and studio owner Richard Swift has died due to an undisclosed medical condition.

New York, NY (July 9, 2018)—Noted producer and indie musician Richard Swift died July 3 in Tacoma, WA, after being admitted to a hospital last month for an undisclosed medical condition. He was 41.

Born in California, Swift was a self-taught multi-instrumentalist, engineer and producer who owned National Freedom, a recording studio in Cottage Grove, OR. Behind the board, Swift produced two albums by Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats and four by Damien Jurado, as well as records by acts like the Mynabirds, Foxygen, Sharon Van Etten and Guster.

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A former member of indie rock acts The Shins and The Arcs, Swift also toured as a part of the Black Keys’ live band in recent years as the group’s bassist. He also had a considerable solo career, recording seven albums, three EPs and numerous standalone singles as well.

In the wake of Swift’s passing, numerous artists tweeted remembrances of him, such as The Black Keys, who wrote “He was the funniest person we ever met, one of the most talented musicians we have ever worked with and we feel so honored to have known him. RIP Richard. – Dan & Pat.”

Sondre Lerche recalled Swift online as a “Great producer, instrumental to so many strong artists, but also a wonderful songwriter himself. Hear his double opus “The Novelist / Walking Without Effort.” He will be missed and heard for times to come.”

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Elsewhere, Dave Depper of Death Cab for Cutie tweeted, “Richard Swift was the most talented person I’ve ever met, some impossible amalgamation of Harry Nilsson, Paul McCartney, and Levon Helm, beyond soulful on any instrument he picked up, and a writer of hilarious, heartbreaking, funky, psychedelic songs.”

Swift is survived by his wife, Shea, and three children.