Alternative rock, reggae, hip-hop: Each is definable, recognizable, and at once familiar to people the world over. But never have those three forms of musical expression been so effortlessly blended into one sound that is as indefinable as it is recognizable and familiar. Enter the Columbia, South Carolina trio known simply as The Movement.
Growing up together in Columbia, Joshua Swain and Jordan Miller spent time playing soccer and jamming in high school bands together. Swain, a multi-instrumentalist versed in guitar, bass, and drums, left for Florida’s Full Sail University in 2001 while Miller honed his freestyle rap, guitar, and keyboard skills in Columbia. Upon returning in 2002, Swain reconnected with Miller, and the two began writing songs in Swain’s garage using a drum machine and musical influences that range from Sublime to Tupac to Pink Floyd.
Meanwhile, on the other side of town, circa 2001, avid hip-hop fan Jon Ruff was purchasing his first pair of turntables. It wasn’t long before Ruff was dj’ing parties, bars, and backing regional emcees during hip hop performances, honing his skills as an all-around dj.
Fast forward to January of 2004: After catching a performance of Swain and Miller at Columbia’s famed New Brookland Tavern, Ruff approached the duo about incorporating a dj into their lineup, “just to see what happens”. After numerous freestyle jam sessions, Swain and Miller asked Ruff to do some cuts on the album they were recording at Pat Casey’s Modern Music Studios. That album, recorded and mixed in 24 studio hours, would come to be “On Your Feet”, a debut that is rough, yet polished, original, yet familiar. “On Your Feet” was released merely one week after the trio’s first performance together, in March of 2004, and continues to be well received by new fans everywhere.
The Movement has seemingly been on a fast track to success, thanks in part to brilliant song writing, exciting stage shows, and the superb management of All In Entertainment. Versatility being a key ingredient to success, the trio has opened for Steel Pulse, Blues Traveler, Slightly Stoopid, The Wailers, Ludacris, G Love, Beenie Man, and the Wu Tang Clan, including others.
Call them alternative-reggae. Call them reggae-hip hop. Call them alternative-hip hop. Call them what you will, just call them The Movement.