"Everything evolves in circles": Interview with Detroit Swindle

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Fresh off the back of their first North American Tour and due to appear on European shores this summer including at Gottwood Festival (June 20 - 23), we chat to Dutch deep house hustlers Detroit Swindle, who have made quite a big name for themselves since their first releases last year on Saints & Sonnets, Dirt Crew, Murmur and Freerange. In the past year, their jazz and soul-influenced remixes and reconceptualisation of the 'Detroit' sound have captured the hearts of the house revival movement, with irresistable grooves and soulful samplings. Ahead of their very busy summer, we caught up with the duo attempting to get the lowdown on how they source their vocals, their views on modern pop music, the Amsterdam rave scene and where to get the best Bitterballen....

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Hi guys! You’ve just finished your first North American tour…what’s it been like?

It’s been super awesome. Super duper awesome! Also, we didn’t sleep too much, DID drink too much and almost missed one gig and two flights. So it was just like playing back home, but more...uh...American.

You also played your first ever gig in Detroit…How was it and what was it like for you emotionally to play in the city to which your name pays homage?

That was great. The promoters there gave us plenty of shit about our name and gave us a CD that had “all songs actually made in Detroit” on it...we laughed and then tore the club down!

Hahaha a good riposte I suppose!  House music has been experiencing a massive revival in the last couple of years… what do you put this renewed interest down to and how has it been to be such a key part of that scene?

Without getting too Hindu on this subject, we think everything evolves in circles. So what is cool now is so much based on what was cool fifteen years ago. But the key to cool modern house is to take great elements from what used to be and implement it into something that is really contemporary. It’s great to play an old Strictly record and make it work with something that was produced last week. New combinations make for new ideas. And in the end, the 90’s revival will make way for something new and it’ll only be the stand out tracks that will be played once the hype is over. The thing here is to steer clear of the hype and be authentic.

 

A swindle being another word for a scam…have you ever been properly swindled, and if so tell us the story!

We got scammed into our USA visas by some bogus website. Not cool. End of story.

We’re a big fan of Motown and recently re-watched the Tina Turner biopic “What’s Love Got to Do with It”…It really struck us how much pop singers of the day sang with heart and guts in comparison to today’s equivalents. What do you think of the pop music of our generation? Do you think it will stand to have an influence on future generations as Motown has?

Quality always stands out. We feel that the music industry hasn’t changed that much in the last fifty years (apart from the internet messing up the business model). Artists were made then in the same way that the Justin Biebers of today are made. But the true artist, people that are in it because they need to express themselves, they’ll always stand out and, through that, be an inspiration to others.  

What elements do you look for in a vocal to use as a sample, and how to go about sourcing them?

That question sound close to asking a French chef his recipe for his ratatouille! Honestly, it’s lots of Youtube browsing and listening to jazz and soul radio stations. And every now and then, you’re sitting in a bar...you hear a tune and you get an idea for it. Enter Shazam, and you’re set.

 

 

You both reside in Amsterdam, a city that has really been making waves on the club scene in the last few years…how would you compare the scene in Amsterdam to London or Berlin and what would you attribute the reason for its recent international prominence?

Amsterdam is making up for lost time. The house scene was in a lull for a bit, but we’re doing well now, with some good clubs and really dedicated promoters. There have been some raves popping up as well, which wasn’t really a big part of Amsterdam’s culture before. Also, the Mayor of Amsterdam is the first to give out a few 24-hour licenses, so clubs have more room to improvise and do cool stuff. We’ve still got stuff to learn from cities like London and Berlin. It’s all about the combo of a good club (which is more than just a room with some sound in it), a good promoter and a good crowd. We think Amsterdam is learning and getting these three things aligned more and more.

What do you like to get up to if you manage to get a couple of days of rest back at home?

Sleeeeeeeeep. 

And sleep.

And then some more sleep.

You’ve achieved a dizzying amount of success in a pretty short space of time since you’ve been together… having achieved many of your original ambitions, what’s next?

No clue to be honest. We’ve been ticking the boxes of our bucket list ever since we started, so we need to come up with something new. It would be really cool to do more live stuff. We’re gonna work with some vocalists and are looking at collaborations with people outside of the electronic music scene as well...

Now that you’re back in Europe, where can we find you this summer and what are your plans for the rest of the year? Do you have any forthcoming releases we should know about?

We’re playing all over Europe in the coming months. Barcelona, Croatia, Poland, Germany, lots of gigs in the UK, Ibiza, etc.

We’re also starting our own label with a Detroit Swindle release as the first one. Heist Recordings is our new baby, so that’s cool. Other than that, we’ve got a Freerange EP coming up after summer and we’re doing our album on Dirt Crew spring next year, so that’s a big thing for us!

You will also be playing at Gottwood festival…what would be your perfect track to listen to/dance to in the Gottwood woods this summer? And why? 

Tyler Friendman - A Night In The Woods (Rivet remix). Nice and discerning track, super energetic and rawwwwww...oh and there’s something with woods in the title that might have something to do with it!

 

And finally…what’s your favourite Dutch food AND can you tell us for our next visit to Amsterdam where’s the definitive best place to get Bitterballen?? (we hear they’re a must...)

Bitterballen are great, but a Frikadel speciaal (best after a few drinks) can give it a run for its money. Dutch pancakes are good as well.

Go to Van Dobben on the Korte Reguliersdwarsstraat. Hands down the best IN THE WORLD. 

Sounds tasty! Will definitely check it out! Thanks for chatting to us guys and best of luck with the summer tour.

 

Words by Bj Daly @_bazmatazz


Catch Detroit Swindle at Gottwood Festival, 20 - 23 June. 

For more info and to buy tickets visit their website.

Join Detroit Swindle on Facebook and Soundcloud.