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(DOC) The rise of Electro Swing | Chris Inglis - Academia.edu
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THE RISE OF ELECTRO SWING
WHY THE SOUNDS OF THE ‘30S AND ‘40S ARE RE-EMERGING IN
An Extended Essay submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for a BA
Hons in Music, Technology & Innovation, De Montfort University, 02/05/2014
Over the course of the 21st century thus far, a new, innovative style of music
has emerged known as ‘Electro Swing’. As the name suggests, this style is
combination of the music of the swing era with that of the age of electronic
dance music. This genre is particularly interesting for the fact that swing music
was one of the earliest styles to be properly recorded, and it now seems that
artists working within some of the most modern styles of music are turning to
this genre for inspiration.
The first chapter of this paper looks at the history of swing music, and
primarily the era in which it was most popular, between 1935 and 1946.
Following on from this is a chapter exploring electronic music, from the very
earliest experiments with electronic instruments to the development of
electronic dance music, or EDM, in the ‘80s. One of the main techniques
involved in EDM, and the most common technique used within electro swing
is sampling, the concept of using an already existing recording within a new
composition, and the third chapter will be devoted to the history of this.
The fourth and final chapter will be on the music of electro swing itself,
firstly by giving an account of the very first examples of this genre, moving
through to today, and then moving on to some important questions about this
style. These include the reasons as to why it’s becoming popular, and why
people enjoy it so much; and also why this style only seems to be emerging
now, and perhaps even what the future may hold. Much of this information
has come from various interviews, included in the appendices at the end of
the paper, and ultimately, this paper will give a substantial amount of
understanding of the music of electro swing, which may not have previously
List of figures 4
chapter one Swing 6
chapter two Electro 1
chapter three Sampling 1
chapter four The rise of Electro Swing 2
appendix one UK top 40 for the week beginning 22/02/14 4
appendix two Interview with Tom Hyland, 19/11/13 4
appendix three Interview with Luca Gatti, 30/11/13 5
appendix four Various e-mail exchanges with artists working 5
within the electro swing genre 8
appendix five Interview with Richard Shawcross, 7/12/13 6
appendix six Interview with Andrew Hill & Emma Knight, 6
appendix seven ‘Interview with Parov Stelar for “The Princess” 7
appendix eight Interview with Jürgen Jagfeld, 20/03/14 8
appendix nine Interview with Forsythe, 25/01/14 9
appendix ten Accompanying CD track listing 9
List of figures:
Figure 1: The Benny Goodman Orchestra 6
The Best of Vintage. (2013). Listen to Benny Goodman’s 1935 Christmas
Radio Special. http://wearekoalasvintage.com/2013/12/benny-goodmans-
1935-radio-christmas-special/ [accessed April 2014].
Figure 2: Frankie Knuckles 1
theCUT. (2012). House Music Legend Frankie Knuckles – Video
legend-frankie-knuckles-video-interview.html [accessed April 2014].
Figure 3: Grandmaster Flash 1
In Flex We Trust. (2012). #IFWT Wishes Grandmaster Flash A Happy
grandmaster-flash-a-happy-birthday/ [accessed April 2014].
Figure 4: Caravan Palace 2
Prince Passion. (2009). Résultat pour le mot-clef : concert.
http://www.princepassion.com/tag/concert/page/3/ [accessed April 2014].
The rise of Electro Swing
Why the sounds of the ‘30s and ’40s are re-emerging in popular music
Throughout the course of recorded music’s history, an incredibly large number
of genres have come and gone. It may however be more difficult to
specifically define the notion of a genre than one might initially think. The
concepts of folk, jazz, blues and rock music will be familiar to most people, but
where would one draw the line to consider something to be a genre in its own
right, as opposed to a sub-genre of something else? On top of this, we now
have sub-sub-genres, and even sub-sub-sub-genres; theoretically, one could
continue along this pathway of thinking indefinitely.
What we are finding more and more in the 21 st century are styles of
music created in just this way, by combining two or more existing genres in
order to create something familiar, but with some sort of new twist, rather than
something entirely new; a hybridisation of genres. This could be described as
an evolutionary method of creating music, as opposed to revolutionary. Of
course this begs the all important question: have we run out of new things to
create? One only has to look up any new band or artist online to find some
sort of description along the lines of, for instance, ‘progressive, symphonic,
melodic rock and roll’. If we have indeed run out of entirely new styles of
music, it is not a surprise then, to find artists returning to the very beginnings
of recorded music for inspiration.
A genre that has emerged in recent years, and the one that will be the
primary focus of this paper is ‘Electro Swing’. As the name suggests, this
genre mixes swing, the sounds of the ‘30s and ‘40s, with that of electromusic,
popularised from the ‘80s onward. The first prominent examples of music in
this style emerged around the millennium, with artists such as Mr. Scruff and
Jurassic 5 incorporating aspects of swing music into their respective sounds.
One of the most important people within the genre, Marcus Füreder, better
known by his stage name, Parov Stelar, helped to popularise the movement
throughout the ‘00s, and within the past five or so years, the genre seems to
have taken off.
But to truly understand this style of music, one first has to look into the
history of the music genres that preceded it, and where better a place to start
than right in the middle of the 1930s, with the music of swing itself:
“is it true that swing’s another name for jazz?”
On the Downbeat – Swing Republic feat. Bing Crosby 
The Benny Goodman Orchestra
As with any genre, it is always difficult, perhaps even impossible to pinpoint
precisely when a particular style of music first began, and of course this is
also the case with swing; however it has often been cited that the first
prominent example of the genre was on the 21 st of August, 1935 [McCarthy,
1971:122]. On this date, Benny Goodman, who would later go on to be
proclaimed the ‘King of Swing’ [Carr et al., 1987:195], was playing the Los
Angeles Palomar Ballroom with his band, and realised that in order to stand
out in the sea of jazz and dance bands of the time, he would have to produce
something different. Goodman himself has stated that he owes much of his
success to the arranging styles of Fletcher Henderson [McCarthy, 1971:122],
and it was some of the arrangements of Henderson’s that Goodman decided
to perform on that night.
The reaction to this new style caused much uproar; it has been said
that the swing style lifted popular music to a new level of technical
accomplishment [McCarthy, 1971:129], and it was not long before an entirely
new generation of big bands was present on the music scene. The term big
band describes an ensemble of generally around 15 musicians [Simon,
1971:12] that were incredibly abundant during the swing era, particularly
within the city of New York [Simon, 1971:3-4]. One of the reasons given as to
why swing became so popular was the era; following the great depression,
people were determined that a better time was possible, and the election of
Franklin D. Roosevelt brought about a great surge of optimism in the public
[McCarthy, 1971:123]. The upbeat nature of swing music reflected this
general feeling, and the transformation from jazz music proved very natural.
Along with Fletcher Henderson, one of the early bands to influence the
music of swing was the Casa Loma Orchestra. These musicians were
described as being “very modern at that time” [McCarthy, 1974:191], and
many swing musicians have openly stated that they were a direct influence.
These would include Henderson himself, who recorded his own version of
Casa Loma Stomp [Henderson, 2009], and Tommy Dorsey, who as one of the
two leaders of the Dorsey Brothers Orchestra, once stated that they “were
trying to hit somewhere between Hal Kemp and the Casa Loma Band”
[McCarthy, 1974:194]. The Dorsey Brothers Orchestra was another of the
most important bands in the early years of swing, and at the time, many of
their arrangements were in fact being done by Glenn Miller [McCarthy,
1974:194]. As Glenn Miller’s popularity grew, Tommy Dorsey began to work
with a new arranger, Sy Oliver [McCarthy, 1971:125], and this became one of
the most well known partnerships in swing. The Casa Loma Orchestra
however were not so fortunate, and their popularity faded as they were
criticised for sounding too mechanical, and not keeping up with the swinging
sounds of musicians such as Count Basie [McCarthy, 1974:193]. For
example, the Casa Loma Orchestra’s 1937 piece, Smoke Rings [The Casa
Loma Orchestra, 2008], has a fairly slow tempo of roughly 80 BPM, and a
very simple, straight 4/4 beat throughout [see CD1, track 1]. The difference is
obvious when comparing this to a piece such as Count Basie’s Roseland
Shuffle [Basie, 1992], recorded in the same year, which at a tempo of roughly
200 BPM is much more upbeat and energetic, features a higher level of
virtuosic playing, and consists of multiple melodies playing simultaneously
[see CD1, track 2].
Fletcher Henderson is also an example of a musician who, although
managing to remain a fairly key figure in the music of swing, never quite
reached the popularity of some of the other arrangers and bandleaders. This
may have been due to the attitudes towards race at the time, and Henderson,
a black musician, would never have been appreciated as much as somebody
like Benny Goodman, simply for not being white [McCarthy, 1971:123]. There
were of course many exceptions, such as Duke Ellington, Count Basie, and
Jimmie Lunceford, but as the popularity of swing music rose, white musicians
enjoyed a lot more prominence than their black peers [McCarthy, 1974:195].
In fact, as the amount of popular white musicians increased, black musicians
may have actually been looked down upon. The Charlie Barnet band never
quite achieved the success of some of the other big bands of the time, and
this has been attributed to the fact that often, venues would not book the band
due to the presence of black musicians [McCarthy, 1974:198]. The variety of
ethnicities in the band may also have influenced the sound of their music, as
they have been described as one of the more ‘jazz-slanted’ of the swing
bands [McCarthy, 1974:198]. Barnet would acknowledge this himself in his
1939 song, The Wrong Idea, in which he lampooned the sound of many of the
other big bands of the time [Barnet, 2009]. When comparing this song with
another from the same year, The Right Idea [Barnet, 2009], the jazz
influences are a lot clearer in the latter.
It was not at all uncommon at the time to find that this racial integration,
the mixing of white and black styles of music was sometimes not appreciated.
The bandleader Woody Herman often delved into the style of blues in his
band’s music, but was eventually forced to drop this, as many venue owners
felt that the music didn’t represent his all white band; in one instance he was
even told to stop playing “that nigger music” by a hotel manager [McCarthy,
1971:125]. This opposition to certain types of music based on racist attitudes
was not limited to America; many will be aware of Nazi Germany’s attempts to
ban jazz music and all its variants during their reign, not just because of the
race of the musicians, but also because of their nationality, being American
[Willett, 1989:157]. This caused many Germans to use music as a means to
oppose the regime, such as the ‘Swing Youth’, made up of teenagers who
refused to join the Hitler Youth [Hurley, 2009:50].
As stated, the vast majority of swing music was emerging from North
America at the time, but this was by no means to say it was strictly limited to
that continent. Arguably the most important guitarist from the era came from
Europe, the French musician Django Reinhardt. In 1928, Reinhardt was
injured in a fire, and lost the use of two of his left hand fingers; however,
rather than give up music, Reinhardt developed a revolutionary technique of
playing, using only his index and middle fingers [Carr et al., 1987:411-412].
This style of playing became synonymous with Reinhardt’s music, and led to a
new genre known as ‘Gypsy Jazz’, which was developed greatly by Reinhardt
and his band, the Quintette du Hot Club de France. Reinhardt was to be
invited to America to perform live with Duke Ellington, and was later described
by Ellington’s son, Mercer Ellington, as “the most creative jazz musician to
originate anywhere outside the USA” [Carr et al., 1987:413].
Duke Ellington himself, along with Count Basie and Jimmie Lunceford,
were considered to be the leaders of the three most creative bands of the era
[McCarthy, 1971:122]. Ellington was one of the figures who introduced some
of swing’s new styles and techniques, and is widely considered to be one of
the greatest composers of the entire swing era, unique in the sense that he
would view composition and arrangement as one whole form. Some of the
new techniques that this style of composing led to were more or less
previously unseen, such as blending instruments not tied to conventional
sections, using unusual voicings, and creating complex and varied ensemble
textures [McCarthy, 1971:127]. Other styles that emerged throughout this era
include the large use of call and response patterns, used extensively by
Fletcher Henderson [McCarthy, 1971:125], and the considerable use of
soloists. For instance, Benny Goodman’s music would regularly feature
trumpet solos by Harry James and Ziggy Elman, along with piano solos by
Jess Stacy [McCarthy, 1971:125].
Goodman’s most well known song, and possibly the most famous of
the entire swing era is a great example of this, his 1937 recording of Louis
Prima’s Sing, Sing, Sing (With a Swing) [see CD1, track 3], which on the
original album version lasts for over twelve minutes [Goodman, 2012]. The
piece features multiple trumpet solos by Harry James, and many clarinet
solos by Goodman himself, as well as drum solos by Gene Krupa, who was
the drummer for the band at the time. During live performances, Goodman
would allow for even more members of the band to perform solos during this
piece, and a piano solo by Jess Stacy during a performance at the Carnegie
Hall in 1937 has been described as “the best thing he ever did” [Rickert,
As well as obviously changing the music scene, swing would begin to
influence many other art forms as well. One medium that was particularly
influenced by the music of swing was that of dance. Many dance styles arose
specifically to accompany swing music, including the ‘Shag’, and even more
well known, the ‘Lindy Hop’ [McCarthy, 1971:123]. In fact, a new generation of
dancers would appear in this era whose dancing style would match the
swinging music. One dancer, for example, was Marion Evelyn Edwards.
Edwards never had any formal training, and the Lindy Hop was the first type
of dancing she ever learnt. In 1936 she joined a dance troupe called the
‘Number One Chorus’, who would go on to perform with many swing bands,
including those of Duke Ellington, Cab Calloway, Count Basie, and Jimmie
Lunceford [Hill, 2010:107-108].
Jimmie Lunceford in particular would contribute to the art of dance,
through one of his 1937 pieces, For Dancers Only. This piece was in fact
arranged specifically for the Number One Chorus, described by Marion
Edwards as a “completely swinging thing” [Hill, 2010:109]. She stated that the
audience enjoyed the piece so much that when the dancers were finished,
they couldn’t in fact get off the stage, as the audience were still up and
Undoubtedly the most important swing dancer’s name of this era
however, was Fred Astaire. Astaire was not only a dancer, but a musician and
also an actor, so would contribute to the dance, the music, and the cinema of
the time as well. In his Hollywood roles, Astaire would typically sing for the
first half of each piece, before breaking into a dance routine for the second.
Astaire’s most well known collaboration was with another singer/dancer/actor,
Ginger Rogers [Hill, 2010:113]. Starting with Flying Down to Rio in 1933,
Astaire and Rogers would appear in ten films together, and would become
one of the most famous partnerships of the era. One of their most notable
films was 1936’s Swing Time, named after one of the pieces in the film, Waltz
In Swing Time. The main composer for the overall film was Jerome Kern,
however Kern, who was a generation older than most of the composers of the
time, felt uncomfortable composing in the swing style, so this piece was one
of the few to be composed by his arranger, Robert Russell Bennett, with
additional material by Astaire’s rehearsal pianist, Hal Borne [Mueller,
1986:101]. The piece itself is entirely instrumental, providing music for Astaire
and Rogers to dance to together, and the routine they perform has in fact
been described as “the couple’s most virtuosic duet” [Mueller, 1986:107].
The performance of Astaire’s that is probably his most famous is his
version of a song originally written by Harry Richman for his film of the same
name, Puttin’ On the Ritz [see CD1, track 4]. Astaire performed this in one of
his later films, 1946’s Blue Skies, and it was famously publicised as “Astaire’s
last dance” [Mueller, 1986:267]. This version of the song, although coming
from close to the end of the swing era, has come to be known as one of the
most well known songs of the style, and as will be mentioned later, has
spawned various remixes and covers in the electro swing genre.
Of course, as with any genre, swing eventually had to give way to a
new style, which in this case was rock and roll. The term ‘rock ’n’ roll’ first
appeared on record in 1948 [Yorke, 1976:9], and the rise of musicians such
as Bill Haley and Elvis Presley in the early ‘50s created an entirely new music
scene. This is not however, to say that swing was dead. Fast forward to the
modern day, and swing music can still be found. Alongside electro swing, a
genre has also emerged known as neo-swing, or swing revival. Acts such as
The Puppini Sisters, Squirrel Nut Zippers, and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy
perform in a style very reminiscent to that of the swing era, with the latter
enjoying quite considerable success, including playing the half time show in
1999 at America’s ‘Super Bowl XXXIII’ [NFL, 1999].
This style has little to no outside influences other than just that of
traditional swing, using essentially the exact same instrumentation, although
generally with a smaller band than the orchestras of the swing era. To again
look at Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, their line-up features a singer, who also plays
guitar; two saxophonists; two trumpeters; a trombone player; a pianist; a
percussionist; and a double bass player [Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, 2013]. The
fact that this style is still enjoyed by so many is a testament to just how much
of a lasting impact swing music has.
Quite obviously, the genre of swing has had the biggest influence of all on
electro swing. Electro swing would simply not exist in any form whatsoever,
were it not for the original music of swing itself. But the term electro swing
includes another word, the prefix ‘electro’, which is the next genre that needs
to be explored when looking at this style of music:
“could you show our audience how to do a little scratching?”
Kormac’s Scratch Party – Kormac feat. DJ Yoda & DJ Cheeba 
The first examples of electronic music were in fact happening around a similar
period to that of the swing era. In fact, depending on how one would define
the beginning of the movement, it could be said that it was being produced as
early as 1899. This year saw the invention of William Duddell’s ‘Singing Arc’
[Prendergast, 2003:20], a keyboard which generated different tones by
interrupting oscillations in a circuit. Another invention of this time was the
Telharmonium, created by Thaddeus Cahill, the world’s first electronic organ.
Although an incredible achievement, only three were ever built [Weidenaar,
1995:xiv-xv], due to the instrument weighing 200 tons, and costing $200,000
to produce [Weidenaar, 1995:69].
The first instrument to truly revolutionise the electronic music
landscape was the Theremin. First patented in 1928 by the Russian inventor
Léon Theremin [Glinsky, 2000:59], after many years of development, this was
a device which could be controlled in a way no other instrument had allowed
before. The instrument itself is a box with two antennae sticking out, each one
of which is able to sense the relative position of the player’s hands. One
antenna controls pitch, the other volume, and the signals are sent to an
amplifier. Many composers of the time, such as Joseph Schillinger and
Edgard Varèse seized onto this invention [Prendergast, 2003:25], and it would
go on to be used in many compositions, film soundtracks, and commercial
songs, even to this day.
On top of an increasing number of composer’s growing fascination with
electronic music, many conductors too elected to work within this new style.
One of these was Leopold Stokowski, who in 1926 presented his first
performance of Amériques, a piece by the aforementioned Varèse, which
amongst other instruments, included sirens [Ouellette, 1973:56]. Stokowski
has been described as “the first to champion novel electrical instruments in
the concert hall” [Prendergast, 2003:33], and in 1929 was quoted as saying
“Soon we shall have entirely new methods of tone production by electrical
means. Thus will begin a new era in music” [Prendergast, 2003:33].
Varèse himself was interested in electronic music from the start of his
career, particularly the concept of the ‘art of noise’, stemming from the
Futurism movement [Ross, 2008:137]. The invention of the Theremin in
particular inspired him to create his 1934 composition, Ecuatorial [see CD1,
track 5], composed for various instruments, including two Theremins
[Ouellette, 1973:122]. Perhaps the most important composer of this
movement, Karlheinz Stockhausen (who will be discussed shortly), would in
fact describe Varèse as “the father figure of electronic music” [Prendergast,
2003:36]. Other notable pieces of his include 1956’s Déserts, and 1958’s
Poème Électronique [Prendergast, 2003:36], both of which involved various
taped sounds, a technique which was first introduced through an important
movement within electronic music, that of musique concrète.
This genre of music was first developed in 1948, by the French
composers Pierre Schaeffer and Pierre Henry [Davies, 1996:7]. Musique
concrète was initially created using discs, before composers moved onto tape
recordings which would be spliced up and mixed together to create a sound
collage. Schaeffer referred to anything that he recorded as ‘sound objects’
[Predergast, 2003:42], and the main philosophy behind the movement was
that the resultant sounds produced should be distinguished completely from
their original sonic source, and thought of as individual sounds in their own
right [Schaeffer, 2004:79].
Another composer who would work with tape, and who was not only
one of the most important composers of electronic music, but of the entire 20 th
century, was John Cage. Between 1951 and 1953, Cage would compose a
piece using similar techniques to musique concrète, his Williams Mix [Ross,
2008:369], and another of his most significant works for electronic music was
his Imaginary Landscape series. Between 1939 and 1952, Cage composed
five different pieces in this series, which featured the sounds of turntables,
radios, and various other electronic devices [Prendergast, 2003:45-46]. Cage
was always very vocal about his appreciation of electronic music, particularly
in a lecture he gave in 1937 entitled The Future of Music (Credo) [Cage,
1961:3-6], in which he stated “Through the aid of electrical instruments we will
reach a music which will make available all sounds that can be heard”.
Where many other composers had used electronic music to an
incredibly great extent, the first composer to create ‘pure’ electronic music
was the previously mentioned Karlheinz Stockhausen [Prendergast, 2003:51].
It is interesting to note that Stockhausen was in fact a great lover of swing
music, and growing up in Germany used to listen to late night broadcasts of
American jazz [Maconie, 2005:18]. He was particularly fond of the Glenn
Miller number, A String of Pearls, and after the war was over briefly had a job
as a jazz pianist [Maconie, 2005:31]. Clearly there was already a link between
jazz/swing, and electronic music, and examples of this can be heard in
Stockhausen’s 1950 piece, Drei Lieder which features a number of jazz
breaks in the music [Maconie, 2005:35].
Stockhausen’s first entirely electronic works were Studie I and Studie
II, composed in 1953 and 1954 respectively [Wörner, 1973:127]. These
pieces were created with sine tones, treated in a number of different ways,
including playing the sounds into a resonance chamber, and recording them
back again [Wörner, 1973:127]. Studie II is particularly notable for being the
first ever electronic score published [Prendergast, 2003:53]. However, the
piece that made Stockhausen’s name famous, was 1956’s Gesang der
Jünglinge [see CD1, track 6], which has been described as his “most perfectly
contained electronic work” [Maconie, 2005:171]. Drawing on the influences of
musique concrète, Stockhausen developed the style to an entirely new extent
[Maconie, 2005:166], so much that it has also been stated that this is
“perhaps the most influential electronic piece ever composed” [Ross,
All of the electronic music discussed thus far, whilst very important for
the genre of electro itself, has had little direct influence on the music of electro
swing. When referring to electro swing as a genre, the word electro indicates
the genre of electronic dance music, or EDM, which was first introduced in the
‘80s, originating from the music of the late ‘70s. The term electronic dance
music itself covers a wide range of styles, in which electro swing would of
course be included, but its roots lie in the music of disco, and one of the most
successful artists of this era, Donna Summer [Snoman, 2009:231].
One of the very first songs that could be described as EDM was
Summer’s 1975 release Love to Love You Baby [see CD1, track 7]. The piece
was produced by the Italian producer Giorgio Moroder, who along with his
colleague, Pete Bellotte, had rejected all traditional instrumentation, instead
using newer electronic forms [Sicko, 2010:23]. Music created using electronic
means allowed for so many new techniques that the initial mix of this track
ended up being almost 17 minutes long [Sicko, 2010:23], and the song in fact
caused much controversy at the time, for many of its new, uncharacteristic
aspects [Prendergast, 2003:375]. Love to Love You Baby did however make it
to number two in the US charts [Prendergast, 2003:375], and the music of
disco would go on to become a widespread phenomenon. In the UK, more
than 200,000 people were reportedly attending discothèques, and by the late
‘70s, over 60% of the charts was made up of disco records [Snoman,
With the transformation of disco music into EDM, there were three
cities across America that played a significant role in this new style of music,
each contributing something slightly different. The first of these was New
York, associated with the rise of garage; following this, Chicago, Illinois
presented the world with house music; and Detroit, Michigan gave birth to
techno. These three genres are considered to have contributed the most to
EDM, each style producing something new and different from each other.
It is interesting to note that Francis Grosso, regarded as the first DJ to
mix two records together to produce a continual groove [Snoman, 2009:232],
was doing so in New York in the early ‘70s. A genre that would be a great
influence on EDM was that of hip-hop, first developed by New York’s Kool
Herc. Kool Herc used Jamaican traditions of rhyming over dub records, but
after realising that New Yorkers weren’t as fond of reggae, began doing the
same with funk [Fritz, 1999:73]. This was the first instance of hip-hop music,
and Kool Herc is often credited with creating the first ever rap [Fritz, 1999:73].
Other early pioneers of EDM working within hip-hop music include Afrika
Bambaataa, and Grandmaster Flash. These two both also hailed from New
York, and helped to create many techniques that would go to become
commonplace within this genre, such as sampling, and scratching
[Prendergast, 2003:377]. In fact the 1981 song, The Adventures Of
Grandmaster Flash On The Wheels Of Steel [see CD1, track 8] is generally
considered the world’s first electro release [Prendergast, 2003:377].
In 1977, a club in New York called the ‘Paradise Garage’ was opened,
and, named after the name of the club itself, the music of garage was born
[Butler, 2006:39]. Garage was primarily a continuation of the music of disco; it
would generally feature vocals in an R&B style, and tried to replicate the
natural feel of live instruments [Butler, 2006:39]. It also drew a lot from the
music of funk, but with the addition of synthesizers, and studio-generated
sounds [Prendergast, 2003:378]. The club, ran by the DJ Larry Levan,
featured many DJs such as Tony Humphries, Timmy Regisford, Boyd Jarvis,
and Levan himself, who would all contribute to the music of garage through
delving into their R&B roots [Fritz, 1999:70]. An early collaborator with Larry
Levan was Frankie Knuckles, who in 1977 was offered a DJ job in Chicago,
where he would go on to invent house [Prendergast, 2003:379].
In much the same way that the music of garage was named after the
Paradise Garage, house was named after the club in which Knuckles took up
his residency, the Warehouse [Bidder, 1999:189]. Knuckles stood out as a DJ,
for rather than playing one record after the next, he would mix many different
styles together, also incorporating sound effects, to create a continuous
soundtrack for the entire night [Rietveld, 1998:17]. Using his own rhythm
makers and drum machines, he was particularly fond of the Roland TR-909
[Bidder, 1999:191], Knuckles would entirely re-edit a song, creating a much
‘beefier’ sound [Rietveld, 1998:17]. House music would typically run at a
tempo of around 120BPM, and use a 4/4 time signature with an alternating 1-
3 drum pattern [Fritz, 1999:88].
Whilst house music was certainly new, it remained that it was simply
remixes of other songs in a new style. It wasn’t until 1984, with the release of
Jesse Saunders’ On and On [see CD1, track 9] that an entirely original song
was created in the true house style [Snoman, 2009:234]. Saunders was
inspired by New York’s hip-hop scene, and in his early career as a DJ, his
sets were characterised by styles of scratching, and cut-and-paste mixing
By around 1985, house music had made its way over to the UK,
whereupon it would influence a new movement, that of rave [Rietveld,
1998:40]. The term rave, whilst it does describe a specific type of electronic
music that became popular in England around 1987 [Fritz, 1999:22], generally
refers rather to the events of this era that came to be known as raves. These
events were often illegally held in warehouses, where thousands of people
would be told the location only hours beforehand, and would often dance
throughout the entire night [Fritz, 1999:22-23]. Raves would also become
synonymous with drug taking, and in particular the drug ecstasy [Fritz,
1999:137]. Whilst raves do still exist in the modern day, particularly in holiday
destinations like Ibiza, they are generally run legally, and many clubs in fact
try to create smaller events, consisting of between 50 and 200 people [Fritz,
Returning to the three initial styles of EDM, the third, techno, differs
from garage and house, in that both of those styles were to a certain extent
trying to replicate the sounds of ‘70s disco, whereas techno has been
described as “strictly future music” [Barr, 2000:viii]. The artist generally
attributed with first creating techno is Detroit’s Juan Atkins [Barr, 2000:16-17].
Atkins, along with fellow musicians Derrick May and Kevin Saunderson, came
to be known as the ‘Belleville Three’ [Sicko, 2010:84]; they were three high
school friends who, inspired by Chicago’s house music scene, began to
create their own style of music, using cheap, second-hand synthesizers
[Snoman, 2009:283] and creating highly percussive tracks using purely
electronic sounds [Fritz, 1999:89].
The album generally regarded as the first techno release was Juan
Atkins’ first project, with fellow producer Richard Davis, Enter, which they
released under the name of ‘Cybotron’ [Sicko, 2010:46]. This record paved
the way for many techno producers, including May and Saunderson, and also
Carl Craig, considered to be the most influential of the so-called ‘second
generation’ of producers from Detroit [Barr, 2000:77]. Craig is a particularly
notable producer in this instance, for his use of jazz music as an influence.
Beginning with his 1991 release, Four Jazz Funk Classics, Craig would go on
to work with many jazz musicians, fusing their sound with that of Detroit’s
techno [Barr, 2000:80-81].
As a genre, one of the most well known descriptions of techno in fact
comes from Derrick May himself, in which he bizarrely states “Techno is a
complete mistake. It’s like George Clinton and Kraftwerk stuck in an elevator
with only a sequencer to keep them company” [Snoman, 2009:283].
EDM has since expanded into an incredibly large number of genres
and sub-genres. Many of these can be found in the book Rave Culture: An
Insider’s Overview, in which the author Jimi Fritz lists over 60 different styles
of EDM [Fritz, 1999:88-95], and the differences between each one. Even this
however is still far from being a complete list, and the ever-growing number of
genres that fall within the category of EDM could probably never be precisely
pinned down. Today, electronic dance music is still just as prevalent as ever.
In fact, it is arguably more so than ever, as the vast majority of music that
makes the charts will include some degree of electronic instrumentation. At
the time of writing, 27 of the tracks in the UK top 40 would be categorised into
EDM genres, and of the remaining 13, it could certainly be argued that quite a
good few of them are inspired by electronic techniques [Appendix 1].
With regard to electro swing, the most important aspect of electronic dance
music is the technique of sampling. Taking original recordings from the swing
era and remixing them in the electronic style is one of the most fundamental
techniques behind this genre. For that reason, before looking directly at
electro swing, this method itself needs to be explored in much more detail:
“these great sounds should not be left to gather dust”
Swing Set – Jurassic 5 
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines the word sampling as:
sam·pling noun \ˈsam-pliŋ\
: the act of using a small part of a recording (such as a song) as part of
another recording [Merriam-Webster, 2014]
This definition fits very well with the techniques first developed by the
likes of Grandmaster Flash in the early ‘80s. The use of sampling in early hip-
hop was one of the first uses of this technique in popular music, however the
very first examples of electronic sampling occurred in the late ‘40s, within the
previously mentioned style of musique concrète. Even before musique
concrète though, the technique of using an already existing piece of music
within a new composition was one that had been around for many hundreds
of years, however it was not done via recordings, and rather than being called
‘sampling’, it was called ‘quoting’.
The practice of musical quotation generally refers to a composer’s
direct use of an already existing theme from a different piece of music, which
of course relates very closely to the idea of sampling; however, within
traditionally composed pieces, the composer is a lot freer to change these
themes, and as is often the case, the composer will commonly use a
significant amount of variation.
For example, take the Piano Sonata No. 32, completed in 1822; the
last piano sonata to be composed by Ludwig van Beethoven, possibly the
most important composer of all time. The opening bars are alluded to in the
opening bars of Grave – Doppio movimento, the first movement of Frédéric
Chopin's Piano Sonata No. 2 [Petty, 1999:289], completed in 1839. This
sonata is particularly notable itself for its third movement, Marche funèbre:
Lento, or as it’s more commonly known, The Funeral March [see CD2, track
1]. The Funeral March has become one of the most well known pieces of
music in popular culture, and as a result, has been quoted many times itself.
A composition which makes quite a significant use of quoting this piece
is Erik Satie’s Embryons desséchés, composed in 1913. The piece consists of
three movements, the second of which, Edriophthalma [see CD2, track 2], is
written as a parody of The Funeral March [Gillmor, 1988:161]. Another piece
of music which greatly borrows from this composition is The Imperial March
[Williams, 1980], composed in 1980 by John Williams for the film Star Wars
Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, as the leitmotif for the character Darth
Vader. Williams would go on to reinterpret this theme even more between
1999 and 2005, with the release of the Star Wars prequel trilogy, where he
incorporated variations of the theme throughout to foreshadow Anakin
Skywalker’s transformation into Darth Vader [Windham & Vilmur, 2009:60].
The technique of musical quoting would also be used within swing music, and
indeed, The Funeral March would continue to be quoted. Two notable
examples of this can be found in Black and Tan Fantasy, composed by Duke
Ellington and Bubber Miley [Ellington, 1977]; and Mouthful O’ Jam, composed
by the Harlem Wildcats [Harlem Wildcats, 2013].
Indeed, within popular music, it has actually become a fairly common
practice to quote another song and make it your own, whether intentional, or
in some cases, not. Examples include Elvis Presley’s recreation of the Italian
standard ’O sole mio, composed in 1898 by Eduardo di Capua and Giovanni
Capurro [A. Green, 2014] in his song It’s Now or Never [Presley, 1960]; the
Beach Boys’ recreation of Chuck Berry’s Sweet Little Sixteen [C. Berry, 1958]
in their song Surfin’ U.S.A. [The Beach Boys, 1963]; or George Harrison’s
inadvertent recreation of the Chiffons’ He’s So Fine [The Chiffons, 1962] in his
song My Sweet Lord [Harrison, 1970]. In fact, this has become so common
now that there even exists a website entitled ‘Sounds Just Like’, that lists
thousands of songs which each appear to be based upon another [Wagner,
A more modern band known rather infamously for using other artist’s
music within their own is Nirvana. The release of their 1991 album,
Nevermind, brought with it two of their most well known songs, Smells Like
Teen Spirit, and Come as You Are [Nirvana, 1991]. Even though these two
tracks are the two probably most associated with Nirvana, neither of them
were in fact completely original. Kurt Cobain himself would often admit that he
stole the riff for Smells Like Teen Spirit from Boston’s 1976 release More
Than a Feeling [Cross, 2001:243], whilst Come as You Are so closely
resembled Killing Joke’s 1984 release Eighties that Killing Joke even began
legal action, which was eventually dropped in the event of Cobain’s suicide
Legal issues have continued to be a problem within the world of
sampling as well, particularly within a branch of sampling known as
plunderphonics, first introduced in an essay by John Oswald in 1985 [Oswald,
1985]. As has been pointed out by Chris Cutler, “plunderphonics was
proposing routinely to appropriate as its raw material not merely other
people’s tunes or styles but finished recordings of them” [Cutler, 2000:89].
Cutler also makes an interesting point in that attitudes to copyright tend to be
more relaxed when the new composition is seen as high art, as opposed to
low art [Cutler, 2000:99]. However a new problem has been brought about by
this, in a world where it now seems almost impossible to draw a line between
high and low art [Cutler, 2000:109], and contemporary classical compositions
have been reconfigured into templates for artists such as Afrika Bambaataa
and Grandmaster Flash [Miller, 2008:16].
An example of this can be found in James Tenney’s 1961 piece,
Collage No. 1 [see CD2, track 3], which has been described as the first
unequivocal exposition of plunderphonic techniques [Cutler, 2000:96]. Even
though this piece borrows from what would be described as a low art piece of
music, Elvis Presley’s 1956 version of Blue Suede Shoes, the piece itself was
considered to be high art, and as a result, Tenney did not encounter any legal
A number of composers who support the idea of plunderphonics have
consciously made an effort to allow for as wide distribution and free use of
their music as possible. An early example of a composer who held this belief
was Charles Ives, who shared his music freely, and also assigned the
copyright to the publisher rather than himself as a composer, as an attempt to
distribute his music as widely as possible [Oswald, 2004:132]. John Oswald
himself would of course share his music freely; his first EP, Plunderphonics,
was released in 1988 and was distributed to a number of radio stations and
the press without a single copy ever sold [Cutler, 2000:88]. In fact, the liner
notes even read “this disc may be reproduced but neither it, nor any
reproductions of it are to be bought or sold” [Oswald, 1988]. And in 1994,
Oswald created a piece entitled Grayfolded, which was made up of a number
of recordings of the Grateful Dead, who had given him full access to their
entire archive for free [Davies, 1996:10].
Oswald has been quoted as saying “If creativity is a field, copyright is
the fence” [Cutler, 2000:105], and there have been some very compelling
arguments made to demonstrate the problems with copyright. To return to the
idea of quoting, Oswald points out that there currently exists no system of
distinguishing a musical quote from plagiarism and fraud, and musicians do
not have any current means to demonstrate a well-intended quote [Oswald,
1985]. Another problem exists in that there is no clear explanation of what the
copyright applies to, whether it be to the original arrangement or score, or to
the recording of the composition. Chris Cutler makes reference to John
Coltrane’s My Favourite Things, in which the recording features a large
amount of notes not included in the original score [Cutler, 2000:91].
Of course, the very first compositions to include samples faced no legal
problems as the samples were generally initially recorded by the composers
themselves. This was certainly the case for Pierre Schaeffer, and a number of
other composers who were experimenting with disc manipulation at the time,
such as John Cage [Cutler, 2000:95]. As stated earlier, Schaeffer did indeed
experiment with discs before moving onto tapes [Davies, 1996:7], and this
influence is still present in the modern day, with composers such as Philip
Jeck, who in 1993 composed a piece entitled Vinyl Requiem, to be performed
on over 200 vintage record players [Davies, 1996:9].
The aforementioned 1961 composition, Collage No. 1 by James
Tenney was the first case of a composer sampling popular music, and as
early as 1967, pluderphonic techniques were being used popular musicians
such as Frank Zappa, who used sounds from the Beatles’ Tomorrow Never
Knows in his album We’re Only In It For The Money [Cutler, 2000:99]. And
Francis Grosso, who was mentioned earlier as the first ever DJ to mix two
records together, was of course using a sampling technique to do this. Grosso
had invented the technique of ‘slipcueing’, in which he was able to seamlessly
move from one record to the next precisely on the beat [Oswald, 2004:135];
this technique has been described as “making your own music out of other
people’s records” [Cutler, 2000:102].
The concept of digital sampling was first introduced in 1971, within
church organs which featured samples from a wide range of different pipe
organs [Davies, 1996:8]. 1979 brought about the invention of the ‘Computer
Music Instrument’ by the company Fairlight; this was the first ever digital
sampler, and sold for $28,000 [De Furia & Scacciaferro, 1987:145]. By the
time that various hip-hop artists had brought sampling to the centre of popular
music in the mid ‘80s, the company Ensoniq had released the ‘Mirage’, the
first widely affordable sampler, in 1985 [De Furia & Scacciaferro, 1987:146].
Around this time, one of the most well known samples of all time
entered circulation around the many artists involved with sampling. The
sample comes from a 1969 song by the Winstons entitled Amen, Brother [The
Winstons, 1969] and features a short drum solo performed by Gregory C.
Coleman, which came to be known as the ‘Amen Break’ [see CD2, track 4].
This sample has come to be used by artists as diverse as N.W.A, on their
song Straight Outta Compton [N.W.A, 1988]; Primal Scream, on their song
Slip Inside This House [Primal Scream, 1991]; and David Bowie, on his song
Little Wonder [Bowie, 1997]. At the time of writing, the website ‘Who Sampled’
lists 1,131 songs which include this sample [WhoSampled.com, 2014].
Igor Stravinsky once stated: “A good composer does not imitate; he
steals” [Oswald, 1985]. The ideas of quoting, plundering, and sampling
certainly live up to this philosophy, and there are many devices that now exist
which certainly make this easier for everyone as well; for instance organs with
the titles of the songs in which it samples its timbres from [Oswald, 1985], or
commercially available CD-ROMs with sample libraries created specifically by
well known musicians in order to sound just like them [Davies, 1996:9]. The
case for free artistic sampling has been made by many, and no more in
particular than John Oswald himself, when he argues that a situation in which
sampling is free, but acknowledgement is insisted upon would in fact be a
great benefit to all artistic endeavours [Oswald, 1985].
This finally brings us to the music of electro swing. Of course, it would be
untrue to say that all electro swing songs contain samples of older songs, as
there are many artists within the genre who create their music entirely from
scratch. Different ways of creating this music will indeed be discussed in the
forthcoming chapter, along with many other important questions, such as what
attracts people to this style of music, why it is becoming so popular in recent
times, and perhaps even what the future may hold for this genre:
The rise of Electro Swing
“the world is full of music, don’t you know;
not just what is on your radio;
so here’s my answer boy, for everlasting joy;
just, swing what you’ve got to save your soul”
Swing What You Got! – 5 In Love vs. Cab Canavaral 
The date is the 22nd of March, 2014. At a venue in Leicester a crowd eagerly
awaits the arrival of The Electric Swing Circus, who are due on stage at half
past ten. They’ve already been treated to a swing dance class, several
burlesque acts, and an energetic performance by The Fresh Dixie Project;
and later on in the night can look forward to performances from DJ acts Dutty
Moonshine, Jamko, and Das Motz. The majority of the crowd are dressed in
vintage items of clothing borrowed from the ‘30s and ‘40s, and when the band
appear on stage, so too are they, who, opening with their track Bella Belle,
perform an hour long set that includes electric double bass, vintage samples,
gypsy-jazz guitar, keys, drums, synths and electro beats [Dreaming In Colour
It is not at all uncommon now to find events like this one cropping up all
over Europe, and the electro swing movement only appears to be growing.
But what precisely is electro swing, however? The website ‘electro-swing.com’
makes a good attempt at an explanation [electro-swing.com, 2014], but
ultimately concludes that it’s rather difficult to give a precise definition. It has
been pointed out by Tom Hyland of The Electric Swing Circus that electro
swing is not even necessarily an independent genre in its own right, but more
of a ‘flavour’, a way of adding swing to existing electro genres [Appendix 2].
This is in contrast with the views held by the likes of Parov Stelar, who
believes that electro swing as a genre “has its own right to exist” [Buhre,
2013]. The most satisfying definition is in fact probably the most
straightforward one, in that electro swing simply mashes up the sounds of the
swing era with that of the EDM age.
Of course, it is certainly true that this is not in fact the first time that a
style of jazz has been mixed with electronic dance music. It has been stated
that even back in the early ‘80s, jazz was being combined with EDM by the
likes of Frankie Knuckles [electro-swing.com, 2014], and as stated earlier,
techno producer Carl Craig was particularly interested in working with the
music of jazz [Barr, 2000:77-81]. One of the most notable early examples of
this type of hybridisation was within the genre of acid jazz; this was a style of
house music known as acid house that incorporated jazz melodies and
chords, which were often improvised [Fritz, 1999:94]. Indeed, many of Parov
Stelar’s earlier releases would probably be better described as acid jazz than
electro swing, such as his first album, released under the name of ‘Plasma’
[Plasma, 2001]. Another particularly relevant genre is trip jazz, and specifically
the music of Courtney Pine. Combining the music of jazz with electronic
techniques, such as looping and scratching, Pine would work with both
traditional instrumentalists and DJs to create this genre, best characterised by
his 1997 release, Underground [Prendergast, 2003:453].
To return to electro swing however, the very first track to be described
as “truly electro swing” [Hollywood, 2010:29] was 1994’s Lucas With The Lid
Off, by Danish musician Lucas [see CD2, track 5]. This track was rather a
one-off for it’s time however, and it wasn’t really until 1998, with the release of
electronica musician Moby’s Honey that sampling this style of music became
acceptable [Hollywood, 2010:30]. Following on from this, various popular
electronica and hip-hop artists began to sample swing music within their own;
as stated in the introduction of this paper, two of the most prominent
examples of this can be found around the millennium, in Mr. Scruffs Get a
Move On, released in 1999 [Mr. Scruff, 1999], and Jurassic 5’s Swing Set
[see CD2, track 6], released in 2000 [Jurassic 5, 2000].
Although these artists were inventing and crafting electro swing, it
would appear that they were doing so unknowingly, or at least without the
intentions of creating a new genre. The musician Dr. Cat has stated that at the
time he first began producing music in this genre, there was no terminology to
describe it as such [Appendix 3], and many other electro swing artists have
described how at the beginning of their respective careers, they weren’t
attempting to create something entirely new. Hugues Payen of Caravan
Palace has described how they were all involved in both styles of music; jazz
and electronic, around the start of their career [Appendix 4a], and DJ Chucks
of The Correspondents has stated that he never planned on mixing swing with
current music, and that his exploration through sampling simply brought him
back to the sounds from that era [Verma, 2011].
It has been stated by Nick Hollywood that the year electro swing as a
genre really began to coalesce was 2004, with the release of Nicolas Repac’s
Swing-Swing [Hollywood, 2010:30]. Indeed, the following year saw the first
use of the term ‘electro swing’, coined by Parov Stelar himself in an interview
with a French journalist [Bondy, 2012], although it would still be a few years
before it would really reach full appreciation. Per Ebdrup of Swing Republic
has described how when he first started creating this style of music, he would
get responses from record labels saying things along the lines of “Have you
been smoking crack?” [Canavaral, 2011].
Eventually, electro swing did of course achieve the appreciation and
popularity that it deserved; Hugues Payen describes a moment when Caravan
Palace switched from having a nobody status to suddenly being at the
forefront of a new and cutting edge style [Appendix 4a], and have since
become a household name in their home country of France [Verma, 2011]. In
the UK, electro swing is still growing, and the genre is being changed and
adapted. Tom Hyland describes how he feels that his own band, The Electric
Swing Circus, have rather a unique, “UK sound” [Appendix 2], which may well
be due to the influence of other British styles of music. The British DJ Richard
Shawcross, who works under the alias of ‘C@ in the H@’ explains how
through his dubstep influences, he has brought a lot more bass into the
electro swing genre that wasn’t formerly there [Appendix 5], describing his
style as ‘Swing with the Big Bass Sound’ [C@ in the H@, 2014].
The year 2010 saw the arrival of what has been referred to as “electro
swing’s first landmark moment” [Hollywood, 2010:28], with the release of the
compilation White Mink Black Cotton: Electro Swing vs Speakeasy Jazz on
the newly founded label, ‘Freshly Squeezed’. This year also brought with it a
two hour special on BBC Radio 1 [BBC, 2010], and it was not long before
regular electro swing nights began sprouting up all over the country. White
Mink is a night in both Brighton and London, and is run by Nick Hollywood,
who also runs the Freshly Squeezed label that put out White Mink Black
Cotton [White Mink, 2014], and other nights around the country include
Leicester’s Electro Tease [Appendix 6], and Birmingham’s Hot Club de Swing
[The Electric Swing Circus, 2014].
One thing that seems to be true about electro swing nights, is that
rather than people going out to see their favourite bands or DJs, people
appear to go simply to see their favourite type of music. For instance, even
when no one had heard of them, The Electric Swing Circus sold out their very
first show in a venue fitting 400 people [Appendix 2], and even more
impressive is the example of Parov Stelar successfully managing to sell out
4,200 tickets for a show in London, without any promotion team or radio
airtime [etagenoirrec, 2013].
Electro swing has now got to the point where it itself is starting to
branch off into smaller genres, such as Dr. Cat’s ‘Ghetto Swing’ [Appendix 3].
Parov Stelar has stated that he in fact would no longer describe himself as an
electro swing artist [Bondy, 2012], and Per Ebdrup has declared his intentions
to focus more on a “modern electronic swing sound” [Canavaral, 2011], using
no samples and creating entirely original songs with Swing Republic’s singer,
Karina Kappel. This is very much in the style of many female singers currently
present on the electro swing scene, such as Caro Emerald, Alice Francis, Tia
Brazda, and Little Violet.
There are bands too, who create sample-free original songs, such as
Tape Five, The Electronic Swing Orchestra, and Caravan Palace, who have
suggested that they were the first band to prove that electro swing could work
with live musicians [Appendix 4a]. Even Parov Stelar has begun to work a lot
more with live musicians, in particular his 2012 album The Princess, which
features a much more significant amount of live music than he had previously
worked with [Appendix 7]. He has also stated just how much of a difference
there is between the album and his live shows [Appendix 7], pointing out that
the live shows are “organic and unique every time” [Bondy, 2012]. In fact, his
fondness for live music has even led him to develop a new outfit, dubbed the
‘Parov Stelar Trio’, which is a semi-live DJ set in which certain tracks are
removed from a song, instead being played live on stage [etagenoirrec, 2013].
Some artists have made the transformation the other way around, and
have changed from originally creating live music, to becoming a more sample-
based artist. For example, Cab Canavaral’s first venture into this style of
composing was through remixing the songs of his own band, 5 In Love
[Appendix 8]. This is more than likely to have influenced his style of sampling
and remixing music, as he has stated that he likes to stick very close to the
original material when remixing tracks [Appendix 8], which is in contrast with
artists such as Swing Republic, who like to cut tracks up to “make new melody
structures and change the rhythmic feel” [Canavaral, 2011].
Of course, as Parov Stelar has stated, sampling itself is an instrument
[Buhre, 2013], and there have been many, very creative uses of sampling
within electro swing music, not just of music, but of quotes from popular
movies as well. Examples of this include Chinese Man’s Indi Groove which
samples Pulp Fiction [Chinese Man, 2007]; Lamuzgueule’s Cantina which
samples Star Wars [Lamuzgueule, 2012]; and Miss Kookie’s Puttin’ On the
Ritz [see CD2, track 7] which samples Young Frankenstein [Miss Kookie,
This last song is a very good example of the fun that can be had with
this genre. The film Young Frankenstein features a scene in which Gene
Wilder, playing Dr. Frankenstein, performs a comedic parody of Fred Astaire’s
1946 performance of Puttin’ On the Ritz alongside the monster he has created
[Young Frankenstein, 1974]. In Miss Kookie’s version, each time the refrain,
“puttin’ on the Ritz” comes around, a sample is played of the tuneless wailing
of Frankenstein’s monster singing this line.
The fun and humour surrounding electro swing is one of the main
reasons as to why people enjoy this genre so much. Cab Canavaral has
made reference to his appreciation for “funny tunes and funny lyrics”
[Appendix 8], and Dr. Cat has stressed the importance of “not taking
ourselves seriously” [Appendix 3], which can be found in track such as his
Can the Frog Tap Dance? [see CD2, track 8], which features samples from
The Muppets [Dr. Cat & DJ Pony, 2013]. A large amount of modern EDM
genres have been described as being too serious [Verma, 2011], or moody
[Appendix 2], which is precisely what makes electro swing stand out. Even the
making of electro swing music has been described as “really fun to chop up”
[Appendix 5], with Dr. Cat stating that “electro swing is a lot of fun for me, it
brings a smile to my face, it brings happiness into my studio, and I love doing
it” [Appendix 3].
The live shows are of course also a big part of the electro swing scene.
C@ in the H@ has described how there’s always “so much energy with
electro swing nights” [Appendix 5], and it is certainly the case that the
audience are a major part of the experience [Verma, 2011]. As opposed to
other nights, it has been stated that the electro swing audience are partying
right from when they enter the door [Appendix 8], and producers of the music
have stated how much they “love it when people dance” [Canavaral, 2011].
Cab Canavaral has pointed out that he has never had any problems with
aggression, or fights at any of his shows [Appendix 8], which certainly ties in
with Parov Stelar’s view of the music, when stating that he simply wants “to
make people happy with my music and try to spread as much love as possible
around the world” [Bondy, 2012].
The music of swing has been described by Per Ebdrup of Swing
Republic as having “positive energy and stunning musicianship” [Canavaral,
2011], and it would certainly appear that there is a lot of pride within this
genre. With regard to his label, ‘Etage Noir’, Parov Stelar has stated his
intentions to continue focusing on quality rather then growing for the sake of
growing [Buhre, 2013], and as Dr. Cat has explained, once everyone starts
jumping on the bandwagon “it can be a bit of a disaster for the scene”
[Appendix 3]. This is perhaps already beginning to happen, as many artists
have criticised American rapper will.i.am’s attempt at an electro swing song,
Bang Bang, with Tom Hyland even going so far as to refer to it as an
“absolute travesty” [Appendix 2].
The technical aspects of electro swing music are also relevant as to
why people like it so much. It has been said that electro swing “adds a human
element to computer-based compositions” [Hollywood, 2010:29], making it
stand out amongst various other EDM genres. Alongside this, it’s also been
pointed out that with electro swing, there are no real limits to the tempo of
each song [Appendix 5]. Where other genres often stick to a similar speed
throughout the majority of songs, electro swing allows for both very high
tempi, and pieces that have been slowed down more, such as the music of
Cab Canavaral [Appendix 8].
This variety of methods of composing is perhaps also the reason why
electro swing appeals to such a wide variety of different people. C@ in the
H@ has made reference to the fact that this genre brings everyone together
[Appendix 5], and the electro swing dancer Forsythe has explained how
everybody seems to understand the music, both the older and younger
crowds, and how it has an appeal to everyone [Appendix 9]. It’s been pointed
out that at the average electro swing night the crowd will range from “twenty-
somethings to fifty-somethings” [T. Green, 2010], and this wide range of ages
doesn’t just apply to the audience either; Mick Kelly, who DJs under the name
of Ecklecticmick is currently doing so in his mid 60s [Bevan, 2013].
Vintage revivals are of course not just limited to electro swing, it’s been
pointed out that contemporary culture has a fondness for revisiting the
flamboyant nightlife of yesteryear [Verma, 2011], perhaps “due to a paucity of
original ideas” or perhaps simply a “recognition of some of the fantastic
musical and fashion movements of yesteryear” [The Latest, 2010]; however
what makes electro swing rather different is that it’s not just a rehash [T.
Green, 2010]. It’s been said that that electro swing is of course inspired by the
music of swing, but that it’s its own new thing [Appendix 6], and that it’s not
about emulating, but rather absorbing, and then changing [Hollywood,
2010:29]. Swing music was indeed one of the first genres to be recorded
[Canavaral, 2011], and it’s been said that electro swing may perhaps even
parallel the feeling that those around in the ‘30s may have felt the very first
time hearing swing music [Appendix 6]. As Tobias Kroschel, who works under
the alias of ‘Sound Nomaden’ points out, one of the things that makes electro
swing stand out is the presence of real, dusty instruments [Appendix 4b].
Of the many different producers in this genre, perhaps another reason
as to why people appreciate the music is that they all work in close connection
with each other, inspire each other, and there is never a sense of competition
between anyone involved [Appendix 8]. Parov Stelar for instance, has stated
how all the musicians he works with are all good friends [Appendix 7], and he
is even married to one of his frequent collaborators, Lilja Bloom [Bloom,
2014]. On tour, it’s been described that his band are all “lovely” and that
“everyone gets on” [etagenoirrec, 2013]. Even the relationship between
producers and fans has been described as a lot closer than in most genres,
with producers finding excitement in discovering that their fans have similar
musical tastes as themselves [Appendix 7], and Cab Canavaral stating that
“the whole electro swing family is connected” [Appendix 8].
The final reason that will be given as to why people enjoy the genre of
electro swing so much, is that the movement integrates more than just the
music. The Electric Swing Circus founded on the basis of having “a
performance element” to their shows [Appendix 2], and Sound Nomaden has
described his appreciation for fashion, old black and white movies, the
attitude, and dance that’s associated [Appendix 4b], with Nick Hollywood
pointing out the additional art forms of cabaret, circus, and burlesque
Fashion certainly plays a big part in this genre, with artists such as
Caro Emerald stating that fashion is a big part of her music, in particular her
second album, The Shocking Miss Emerald [BBC Breakfast, 2013]. The style
of vintage clothing has been described as “a subtle blend of elegance and
ease, a juxtaposition of the old with the new, a little tradition mixed in with the
avant-garde” [Bardey, 2002:8], and certain items of clothing, such as the
‘swagger coat’ has been described as coming straight out of the big band era
[Bardey, 2002:194]. Dr. Cat even suggests that the influence of vintage
fashion is one of the main reasons for the return of this style of music
[Appendix 3], a mutual reinforcement.
With regard to dance, swing music has been described as “the club
music of it’s time” [T. Green, 2010], and that it was “made for clubs and
dancing” [Verma, 2011], so it’s therefore no surprise that it’s being mixed with
today’s club music, as it’s been pointed out that “both of these types of music
are great to dance to” [Stewart, 2010]. There have even been made specific
electro swing songs that reference certain dance moves, such as Cab
Canavaral’s I Dance Charleston [Canavaral, 2012], which references the
‘Charleston’ [see CD2, track 9]; and Jamko’s Booglie Wooglie Piggy [Jamko,
2013] and Parov Stelar’s Sally’s Dance [Stelar, 2012] which reference the
‘Lindy Hop’. It has however been pointed out, that one does not even need to
know the specific dance moves in order to get up and enjoy dancing in this
style [Appendix 6].
Much like some of the original swing bands, such as that of Jimmie
Lunceford, some modern bands have worked with dancers as well, such as
Cab Canavaral’s 5 In Love [Appendix 8]; and a new generation of dancers are
now starting to emerge within this scene, such as the online sensation,
Forsythe [Appendix 9]. Forsythe explains how, much like the music, his style
of dancing mixes both old and new styles [Appendix 9], and that the music
completely dictates his movement [Appendix 9]. In 2010, Forsythe uploaded a
video of himself dancing to Parov Stelar’s Catgroove [takeSomeCrime, 2010],
which at the time of writing, has acclaimed over 18 million views, and
Forsythe has subsequently been asked to dance on stage with Stelar himself
[Appendix 9]. As a result, even more electro swing dancers have emerged on
the scene, such as ‘JustSomeMotion’, who even acknowledges Forsythe as
his idol [JustSomeMotion, 2012].
Another art form that has also been popularised by the electro swing
scene is that of burlesque. Many electro swing nights, such as Leicester’s
Electro Tease incorporate live burlesque acts with the music [Appendix 6],
and as burlesque artist Eliza DeLite explains, electro swing “sets the night
apart, makes it something other than just another burlesque night” [Appendix
6]. The genre has had such an impact in fact, that DeLite has even developed
a specific routine to Swing Republic’s Drum Boogie [Appendix 6].
There is clearly therefore a multitude of reasons as to why people
enjoy the music of electro swing so much, however one question that still
remains is why it is only now that this style is emerging? The point has been
made that perhaps it is due to copyright issues, with samples from this era
coming back into public domain [Appendix 3], however this would seem more
like a convenience, rather than a reason to making this music. It’s also been
stated that the arrival of a new century could have inspired people to look
further back for infleunces [Appendix 6]. One thing that certainly did come with
the new century was the age of the internet.
The internet has undoubtedly played a major part in the development
of electro swing. Many musicians, such as Tom Hyland have described how
they first discovered this style of music online [Appendix 2], also explaining
how many of their fans discover their music through the internet as well
[Appendix 2]. It’s also been said how it’s now far easier to find tracks to
sample, rather than “sifting through piles and piles of vinyl” [Appendix 6], and
the internet has brought with it many things that simply would not have been
possible beforehand. For instance, online blogs have certainly been a benefit
to the spreading of electro swing, and as Sound Nomaden explains, many
DJs and producers first discovered this genre through his blog posts
One of the most interesting points that has been made regarding the
return of this genre, is the parallels drawn between the eras of the great
depression, and the current recession of today [Appendix 2]. The genre has
been described as “the music of the first great depression meeting the
technology of the second” [The Latest, 2010], and that it’s “appealing during
these hard economic times when people just want music to dance to”
[Stewart, 2010]. It would certainly appear that the concept of escapism is a big
part of the movement, and this is backed up by many of the lyrics to electro
swing songs, such as The Electric Swing Circus’s Mellifluous, or The
Penniless Optimist [see CD2, track 10], which include the respective lyrics of
“throw away your worries and let’s go”, and “cast aside your worries, cast
aside your problems, and dance” [The Electric Swing Circus, 2013]; or Jamie
Berry’s Delight, which includes the lyrics of “it takes away your strain and
stress and turns it into delight, just for tonight” [J. Berry, 2013].
So what of the future of this style of music? A lot of artists view it as
very positive, such as Mr. Bruce of the Correspondents, who says that “we’re
really only at the start of electro swing” [Verma, 2011], or the dancer Forsythe,
who says that “it’s got nowhere to go but up” [Appendix 9]. The scene is
already huge in certain countries in Europe, particularly France, where acts
such as Caravan Palace [Appendix 4a] and C2C [lescharts.com, 2014] are
achieving immense success. In her home country of the Netherlands, Caro
Emerald’s debut album, Deleted Scenes from the Cutting Room Floor broke
the record previously held by Michael Jackson’s Thriller for the longest time
spent at the number one spot in the album charts [NU.nl, 2010]. Even in the
UK, Emerald is achieving remarkable success [Official Charts Company,
2013], alongside other electro swing artists, such as Gramophonedzie [Official
Charts Company, 2010]. In fact, at the time of writing, an electro swing song,
Changes, by Faul & Wad Ad has just reached number three in the UK charts
[Official Charts Company, 2014].
Electro swing is also starting to push its way into more mainstream
songs, and many popular musicians are starting to take note of the genre,
with Parov Stelar being commissioned to create electro swing remixes of
songs by the likes of Bryan Ferry, and American singer Lana Del Rey [Stelar,
2013]. Whilst electro swing has yet to properly make its way over to the US, a
number of artists have embarked on quite big tours there, and have
expressed a desire to return more often, including Parov Stelar [Bondy, 2012],
and also Caravan Palace [Appendix 4a]. The US is slowly discovering this
style however, where it’s sometimes known as ‘Boomswing’ [Wiemers, 2012],
and electro swing music has begun to be featured in Hollywood films, such as
The Great Gatsby [Appendix 2].
Many producers of this music also feel that in the future the genre will
be opened up to a lot more styles than just swing [Appendix 8], which is
already happening to an extent, with DJs such as Chris Tofu remixing sounds
from the ‘20s up until the ‘50s [Appendix 5]. It’s also been suggested that
swing will begin to be remixed with many more styles than the standard
electro that generally gets used within this genre [Appendix 2], and therefore
the future is likely to see a much wider use of both the styles used to make
The genre is both getting bigger, and opening up. Where once there
was around one electro swing compilation released a year, there is now about
one each month [Appendix 3], and in a much wider array of styles. It’s
interesting to note that certain songs, for example Takin’ It Back by the duo
Dutty Moonshine, have been described by the artists themselves as
“traditional electro swing” [Dutty Moonshine, 2013], which is rather unusual for
a genre as new as this one; to already have a style that can be referred to as
“traditional”. However ultimately, the future for any genre can never be
completely predicted, and as Nick Hollywood puts it: “that’s precisely why I
love it” [Hollywood, 2010:30].
Through the music of the swing era, through the various different types of
electronic dance music, and through the technique of sampling used to
ultimately create the music of electro swing, it would appear that this genre
has firmly made its mark on the music world. There are a myriad of reasons
as to why people appreciate the genre so much, and to why it’s sprung up all
of a sudden, and there is certainly a lot more that is likely to be explored.
The very first song to be referenced in this paper was On the
Downbeat, by Danish artist Swing Republic [see CD2, track 11], in which the
lyric, “is it true that swing’s another name for jazz?” was referenced [Swing
Republic, 2011]. The song features samples of Bing Crosby singing, from his
track Mr. Mercer & Mr. Crosby, recorded with Johnny Mercer [Crosby, 1999],
which was itself a parody of Mister Gallagher and Mister Shean, a song by
comedians Edward Gallagher and Al Shean [Mister Gallagher and Mister
Shean, 1931]. This paper will close with another lyric from the same song, in
which Crosby sings: “do you really think that swing is here to stay?” [Swing
Well Mr. Crosby, as far as the early 21 st century is concerned, your
answer is yes.
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UK top 40 for the week beginning 22/02/14
The tracks highlighted in bold would be categorised into EDM genres. All of
the information provided is believed to be accurate at the time of writing.
1. Rather Be – Clean Bandit feat. Jess Glynne
2. Stay The Night – Zedd feat. Hayley Williams
3. Happy – Pharrell Williams
4. Shot Me Down – David Guetta feat. Skylar Grey
5. Crying For No Reason – Katy B
6. Dibby Dibby Sound – DJ Fresh vs Jay Fay feat. Ms. Dynamite
7. Feelin’ Myself – will.i.am feat. Miley Cyrus, French Montana and Wiz
8. Timber – Pitbull feat. Ke$ha
9. Ready For Your Love – Gorgon City & MNEK
10. Dark Horse – Katy Perry feat. Juicy J
11. Dance With Me – Le Youth feat. Dominique Young Unique
12. Riptide – Vance Joy
13. Hey Brother – Avicii
14. If I Lose Myself – Alesso & OneRepublic
15. Proper Moist – Dapper Laughs
16. Braveheart – Neon Jungle
17. Trumpets – Jason Derulo
18. Can’t Remember To Forget You – Shakira feat. Rihanna
19. Demons – Imagine Dragons
20. Drunk In Love – Beyoncé feat. JAY Z
21. How Long Will I Love You – Ellie Goulding
22. F For You – Disclosure
23. Let It Go – Idina Menzel
24. Million Pound Girl (Badder Than Bad) – Fuse ODG
25. Lover Not A Fighter – Tinie Tempah & Labrinth
26. Counting Stars – OneRepublic
27. Wild Heart – The Vamps
28. All Of Me – John Legend
29. Team – Lorde
30. Adore You – Miley Cyrus
31. Wake Me Up – Avicii
32. The Monster – Eminem feat. Rihanna
33. Roll Of Honour – The Irish Brigade
34. Best Day Of My Life – American Authors
35. Roar – Katy Perry
36. Goodness Gracious – Ellie Goulding
37. White Walls – Macklemore & Ryan Lewis feat. Schoolboy Q & Hollis
38. Thank You – Busta Rhymes feat. Q-Tip, Kanye West & Lil Wayne
39. What Now – Rihanna
40. Selfies – Nina Nesbitt
Official Charts Company. (2014). 2014 Top 40 Official Singles Chart UK
Archive: 22nd February 2014. http://www.officialcharts.com/archive-
chart/_/1/2014-02-22/ [accessed February 2014].
Interview with Tom Hyland, 19/11/13
Tom Hyland is the guitarist for The Electric Swing Circus. The band was
formed in 2011, and in Birmingham, U.K. Hyland also runs the Swingamajig
festival, Birmingham’s Hot Club de Swing night, the ‘Ragtime Records’ label,
and manages the band The Fresh Dixie Project.
Chris Inglis: So to start off, do you want to tell me about how you got into the
whole scene, and what attracted you in the first place to electro swing?
Tom Hyland: Yeah sure, I was browsing Facebook as you do, and someone
linked me to a track, which was Nick Hollywood’s Deep Henderson, I had a
listen to that, and I fell in love, I listened to it on loop, and I was like, “right,
where’s this music been all my life”, and so I started checking round. A friend
of mine had told me to listen to Caravan Palace before, but I just didn’t, and
then obviously through electro swing, found Caravan Palace, I was like “shit,
this is awesome”, so yeah, just it kind of spiralled from there and I got a
massive love for a musical genre that I never knew existed.
CI: About how long ago was this?
TH: Christ, about 2011, maybe 2010. Early 2010?
CI: Oh right, so not too long ago then?
TH: No, no, I mean, electro swing as a genre has really, well as a genre it’s a
very young genre. There’s been, obviously the music’s existed forever, there
were electro swing tracks in the 80s, but yeah, as a genre electro swing has
really only come into it’s own in the past sort of four years or so.
CI: So do you want to tell me how you started forming the band, how did that
TH: Yeah, well I was playing in another band, with Chandra our drummer, and
we were sort of having this idea for a band that had a performance element to
it as well, the reason we’re called The Electric Swing Circus is we started off
using the performance element, but it didn’t really work for us. But yeah, we
were just jamming, just jamming round people’s houses, getting mates
involved, and I don’t really know how it happened, but our line up, it just fell
into place, we’re really lucky, we should have done some sort of audition
process, but before we had a band, we were just a load of mates that just
used to meet up and jam, and then those mates turned into a band somehow,
and we got our first gig.
CI: Did you sort of introduce them to the style, or did they already kind of
know about it?
TH: Well I suppose I introduced them to the style of electro swing, yeah, but
exactly how we do things, like it’s very much, although I manage the band, I
don’t lead on it, it’s not my thing, its very much our thing, everyone brings their
own element to the band. We don’t play traditional, there's a sort of a
stereotypical electro swing, which is house, and sort of minimal swingy
samples, and its not really our sound, we’ve got quite a unique sound, it’s
quite a UK sound, and that really comes from, I suppose maybe the others
listening to other things, and doing others things, and I think that’s really good
CI: Ok, yeah, and then, since the start of it, what’s really happened? Do you
want to good through kind of everything that’s happened with the band?
TH: Oh Christ, ok, so the first gig was 2011, in September, we played at the
Book Club in London, for Chris Tofu’s electro swing club. We managed to
blag that gig, I don’t know how we did it but it was a really good first show,
400 people, sold out in London, not to come and see us obviously, just
because they were all coming to see electro swing, and we just happened to
be the band, but it started us off on the right foot. We got a video produced,
The Penniless Optimist, and that, I think it’s on 175,000 views at the moment,
like it’s done really well, I mean for a band, that many views is really good,
and we get a lot of our fans through people who see that on YouTube and
then come to our Facebook page. We also did the Everybody Wants to be a
Cat video, that went really well, then first summer of festival gigs in 2012, we
played Boomtown, Secret Garden Party, One World, Bestival, what else did
we do, we did loads of stuff, we did about 15 festivals last year. Then
European mini tour, we did France and Germany, and we also, what else
have we done, last year, pretty much it. I mean we’ve toured quite a few
clubs, done quite a few things, but it’s just sort of been a band gigging I
suppose. We recorded an album, that was last year as well, 2012, which
came out this year, 2013. We also put on our own festival, called
CI: Yeah, I was actually at Swingamajig.
TH: Oh really? What did you think?
CI: I though it was brilliant.
CI: I was going to ask you about that next actually, am I right in thinking that
Swingamajig is the UK’s first electro swing festival?
TH: Well, sort of, it’s the first of its type. There’s been a few electro swing
festivals before, more club based, mainly arranged by a DJ called Chris Tofu.
CI: He was at Swingamajig, wasn’t he?
TH: Yeah, he played a set there. He set up a day long electro swing festival in
early 2011, and has also created ‘White Mink’, which is this running festival of
electro swing, and it’s been running for a year, so I don’t know exactly what
the taglines going to be, I should probably ask Chris about it, because he
knows much more about these things than me, but I will do. Actually, if you’re
looking for an interview with him, if you can pin him down for one, he’d be a
really good person to speak to about electro swing ∗.
CI: Ok, well yeah, I’ll see if I can get in contact with him. There’s a few things
I’m hoping to ask just in regard to what you think it is about the genre, like why
do you think that swing is coming back into fashion?
TH: Well ok, let’s look at what other genres are around, so there’s dubstep,
which is a new genre, there’s grime but that’s been around for a while, there’s
trap. All these genres are kind of, they’re a little bit moody. I think electro
swing’s a chance for people to just have a good time. It’s not about being
moody, it’s not about being super serious, it’s just about having fun, I mean
don’t get me wrong, I’m not against those genres, I’ll listen to them in my own
time, but it’s, you know, if you’re at a festival and you want to have a good
time, you just want to have sort of a little bit of a dance, and electro swing’s
great for that. There’s been a lot of parallels drawn with swing music, the
great depression, and the current recession, which I think makes a nice
marketing spin, but I’m not really sure.
CI: I guess I hadn’t really thought about that, but I might look into it.
TH: I mean, there is an element of escapism, like, life’s a bit shit at the
moment, and one of the things with electro swing is people get dressed up,
they go to electro swing parties, basically forget your life, forget all your
struggles, and just have a bit of a dance and pretend something else. I think
there’s an element of escapism in electro swing, and ok, maybe, there is an
association there with the recession, but yeah, I just think it’s a really fun
genre, that’s why people like it.
CI: Yeah, I suppose the fun and the enjoyment is a big part of it, isn’t it, it’s not
just sort of listening to the music.
An effort was made by the author to contact Chris Tofu, however a response was not received.
CI: And then also, what do you think the future holds?
TH: Right, you see for me right, electro swing isn’t necessarily a genre in
itself. It becomes a genre when you play electro swing tracks together, right?
So, house is a genre, and you get electro swing house tracks. You get
dubstep, which is a genre, ghetto funk, you get electro swing dubstep and
ghetto funk tracks. Electro swing is a flavour, basically you’re adding swing to
existing electro genres. So I think electro swing is always going to exist, what
going to happen is, as the electronic genres evolve, then electro swing will
just evolve alongside it. Adding swing to whatever people are listening to at
the moment, now you’re starting to get things like electro swing trap, like that
would have been unheard of a year ago, and now it’s starting to come out, so
that’s just a good example of electro swing evolving with the times, I think it
will always just do that.
CI: Do you think it’s going to stay, well I suppose underground probably isn’t
the right word, but do you think it will get any more mainstream, or do you
think it will still sort of stay quite a kind of unique think to certain people?
TH: I don’t think there’s going to be a big new musical genre in the way there
has been in the past for a while, you know, before it’s been very much like,
garage and that, jungle, drum and bass, like you could follow progressions,
with the big genre that everyone listens to, I suppose with everything like
grime in London, that sort of thing. I think there’s going to be a lot more
smaller genres, and if look at the way that traps taking off, yeah, there are
some A list stars artists doing it, they do a bit of it, like it’s not going to be the
way that dubstep was, I think dubstep’s going to be the last one for a good
deal of time, I think. And yeah, so electro swing, by definition then is always
going to remain a fairly underground genre, but I will expect there to be sort
of, the occasional thing popping out into the mainstream like, the will.i.am
track which was recently done that’s an absolute travesty, but it’s still electro
swing track, so, kind of flying the flag. And you see electro swing tracks on
adverts now, Parov Stelar’s been used, there’s someelectro swing on the
recent Great Gatsby film, and when these things come out, electro swing will
get it’s five minutes of fame.
Interview with Luca Gatti, 30/11/13
Luca Gatti is a DJ who works under the name of ‘Dr. Cat’. Originally working
in Italy, Gatti is now based in London. A frequent collaborator with DJ Pony
Montana, in 2010 the two of them set up and began running the label ‘Green
Chris Inglis: So what started you off making music?
Luca Gatti: Well at the beginning of my career, I wasn’t producing tracks, I
was session playing for major artists in Italy, I was touring for them playing
keyboards, and songwriting. I then started producing about 20 years ago, or
thereabouts, and 17 years ago I moved to London. At that time in London, it
was all to do with global bits, Asian, Indian music, you know, the mixing of the
sitars, and all of the drum and bass scene that was big at that time in the
underground. It wasn’t anything as commercial as it is now, so right at the
beginning of the production career, I was really doing loads of stuff for music
soundtracks, and theatre, and advertisements, and I was mixing up quite a lot
of stuff, lots of the electronic listening material, which you might be surprised
at, I’m doing something quite radically different at the moment, but I was doing
that for quite some substantial time. I’m really like an electronic producer as
opposed to an electro swing artist really, I don’t consider myself an electro
swing artist as such, but I’ve definitely delved into the electro swing more and
more in recent years, and the thing that really started me on that, was
listening to the first time to Parov Stelar. A friend of mine, who was also my
business partner on my label, one day he came to London, and he played me
this bunch of tunes, and I was like, “wow, what is that?”, it’s like, this is
absolutely awesome. There wasn’t even a kind of electro swing terminology
as such, you know, it was just a bunch of artists taking samples, and
producing music around samples from the 1920s and ‘30s, which is known
now as electro swing, but a few years back it was just, I would say, electro
house. You know, that’s what I call it still nowadays, although the ramification
of electro swing now is way way way bigger than it was a few years ago, you
know. So just to put it in context, sometime people think this is all I do, in
reality I do loads of production work, as well as doing electro swing. The
electro swing is a lot of fun for me, it brings a smile to my face, it brings
happiness into my studio, and I love doing it. We try to be as humourous as
possible when delving into the electro swing, I don’t know if you’re familiar
with some of the tracks we’ve produced, like the Electromuppets?
CI: Yeah, I’ve heard it.
LG: And Lee Morday, and Pony Swing, and all of this stuff, we’re not taking
ourselves seriously when doing these things, and I think that’s a good way of
producing music and having fun with it. Going back to the electro swing, I
think the scene has kind of gone from a tinyish night called ‘White Mink’,
around which numerous other nights sprouted around England and
throughout Europe, you know, it’s a fun night out, it’s got all to do with
dressing up, and looking nice, and just going out and having loads of fun, you
know? Things have changed slightly since then, White Mink was a purist night
almost, a dressing code, strictly electro swing, and swing. Nowadays you’ve
got a variety of things that span from the pure electro swing to the kind of
grimy, dubsteppy, and funk swing, in fact I just did a compilation album called
Ghetto Swing, just to represent the variations of the style, because it’s not
only electro, but it’s also dubstep, it’s also hip-hop, it’s also funk, and so
Ghetto Swing is to kind of try to group them away from the house, club
version of the electro swing.
CI: That’s one of the things I was going to ask you about, how you created
ghetto swing, and how that’s sort of now a new genre of itself.
LG: Yes, although I want to be really careful about the word ‘ghetto’, because
it can easily turn to ‘gangster’, which is not really what ghetto swing is about. I
think its ghetto because it’s reminiscent of the style, but it’s not ghetto as
gangster. It’s ghetto because its niche, and it’s nothing to do with gangs or
violence, or anything like that, and for me the idea was born last year when I
was doing some gigs in New Zealand. I was talking to the manager of this bar
just before the gig, discussing the electro swing, and he was playing some
really interesting tunes which I hadn’t heard before, some of which was proper
ghetto. And so, I kind of said wow, this is like a new mixture of swing and
electro swing, and ghetto music, and I thought, “wow, ghetto swing, ghetto
swing sounds good, ghetto swing sounds good”, and also there are tracks out
there that can identify the genre. So I started researching it, and I was
surprised actually by how many, I think I put together about a hundred tracks
before selecting the 15 or 16 that went in the album. Unfortunately, some of
the best tracks, I could not take, because of sampling copyright, and you
know, you can only sample stuff out of copyright for official releases, and I
would say half of this stuff had samples that were stealing copyrights, so I
couldn’t use them. And also because I wanted to get away, I know it’s a niche
market, but it’s a very very busy niche market, in that up to maybe two years
ago there was one compilation a year, now there’s a compilation a month, and
so, I didn’t want to go and compete with the housey, clubby electro swing
compilations. As well as giving different viewer aspects of the scene, I also
didn’t want to get into competition, and by researching the ghetto swing style,
I realised there was nothing like it online. If you put ghetto swing in, nothing
comes up, I mean now you’ll find my release, but before that you might get
ghetto funk, but you didn’t get ghetto swing, and so I thought it was a good,
original title that sticks very well in people’s minds, when you say ghetto
swing. Actually now, I’m thinking of doing another one pretty soon, called
‘Ghetto Swing: The Story So Far’, because I want to include other tracks
which never made the first compilation. Because I was very picky about the
tracks being not heard by people, so some of them were already out, but I
was very picky in commissioning original material to artists, so that the
compilation could have also an originality in terms of, people havn’t heard the
tracks before. Not only is it a compilation, but it’s a compilation of mostly
unheard stuff, and now what I want to do, I want to just bring out all of the
tracks that are already out on the market, but have never been grouped
together on one album for people to have, so I think pretty soon in the new
year I’m going to start working on volume two, which is going to be ‘Ghetto
Swing: The Story So Far’.
CI: I was also going to ask you about your label, I know Green Queen Music
isn’t strictly electro swing, but do you feel that it’s been helpful in contributing
to the genre?
LG: I think we are big because we have contributed into the style, I mean,
when I made that compilation, still if you look in the grand scheme of things,
it’s a drop in the ocean when compared to the house market, or pop market,
or the blockbuster styles, you know, it’s a drop in the ocean. I think every time
you do any type of work or research, like yourself, you’re doing this big
research for your thesis, I think any time you do any type of work, whether it’s
music, whether it’s literature, whether it’s art, whatever, and you’re doing
research, and you digest the research, and then you make a package of it and
you put it out there for people to view, to use, to buy, to assimilate, I think you
contribute. I mean, yes, there are horrible, horrible things out there that people
research into art, and it’s a complete waste of space and time, I mean I could
give you an example in the electro swing scene, but I won’t [laughs]. But, to
come back to your question, do you feel you contribute, yes of course,
because you know, you do things with passion, with interest, and you try to do
things to the best of your knowledge. In my case, I wanted the artists to
understand what I wanted to do, and I managed to have a good third of them
to write tracks positively for the compilation. So in that, I contribute not only to
the world of electro swing, but I kind of stimulated artists, and I made them
make music, so I’m very happy for that. It took quite a long time and it was a
bit stressful, and some artists kind of questioned me sometimes, but yes, I
think you contribute a lot when you do this type of work and if you do it in a
certain way, you can contribute a lot, definitely. I mean, loads of people didn’t
know for example, about the various aspects of electro swing, most of them
knew what they knew from the Parov Stelars, you know, they didn’t know
there was a grimy aspect, they didn’t know that people were doing hip-hop
around electro swing, they didn’t know there was such a kind of, underground,
if you want, aspect of the scene, which is in itself underground. We need to
kind of put it all in context, for people that know about electro swing, it seems
that this thing is everywhere, but not many people actually know about it, in
fact generally people don’t know anything about it, they don’t even know the
genre exists. We in the scene, we kind of feel that it’s blowing out of control,
which it might be, but the reality is, it’s not a mainstream product, it’s still a
very niche, underground product. Saying that, I think it’s not going to take long
for the major labels to step in, and begin to buy artists, and turn them into
blockbuster products. It won’t be long until you find an electro swing CD on a
CI: So you think, there’s a very positive future for the genre?
LG: Well you know, sometimes when the corporate steps in, it’s very good,
because they have a capacity of bringing in the product to the mass market,
where an independent label can’t. It’s very localised, what happens in Berlin is
pretty much unknown in London, what happens in Austria is pretty much
unknown in Rome, what happens in Rome is pretty much unknown in Madrid.
It’s all like independent entities, small labels like ours, and you know, the
Freshly Squeezed, you know, the small labels that are doing what we do, you
know, loads of hard work, two man, one man bands, there’s no budget for
promotion, no budget for marketing, very tiny budget for social media
campaigns. When the big corporates step in, they have enormous budgets,
they can be out promoting at the same time, worldwide on the same day, they
have this capacity because they have offices throughout the world. And so,
that’s very good, but I also know that it can be a bit of a disaster for the scene,
as, you know, when it gets to the masses then everyone jumps on the
bandwagon, and starts making music, and before you know it there’s a lot of
crap out there. At the moment the scene is very much under control, it’s
mostly made out of, I would say, fairly good products. Once it’s out there and
it’s gone global, then you get lots of rubbish, like you get dubstep, like you get
drum and bass, you know, in every blockbuster genre you get lots of music,
but mostly crap music.
CI: Finally, the last thing I’m going to ask you is just, why you think it is that
swing has decided to be used again now?
LG: I think it’s, you know, style is a type of wave in history. They become very
successful, they peak, they disappear, they morph into other things. I mean, if
you look at the story of swing, you know, swing was the ballroom music, was
the club music of the 1920s and ‘30s, up to early ‘40s. When jazz came in,
and swing morphed into jazz, swing kind of disappeared, because it morphed
into jazz, jazz morphed into blues, blues morphed into rock, and there’s
almost a reversed process in the moment, where rock has revolved back into
blues, into jazz, and back into swing. Also, fashion has got a lot to do with it,
because 1920s and ‘30s outfits are big at the moment, on the high street. So
it makes a lot of sense for people to enjoy that type of music, and to dress like
that, and fashion goes to music like water goes to the river, pretty much. Also,
there’s a very, very good reason for it, because copyright is out for these
tunes. 1920s to 1930s, I think we’re up to ‘37 at the moment. ‘70s on, you can
use these tracks, and no one can say anything, it’s public domain. So, one
very good reason for electro swing being big at the moment, is because
anyone can go and lift these sample from the records, and make some new
tracks, without anyone calling and suing your ass. We just released an album,
called Mouthful o’ Jam, which, actually I’m going to send you a link so you can
download it, it’s pure 1920s and ‘30s sellers, dragging from a collector of
swing music, which we have mastered, and re-released about, well actually
last week. So that’s another very good reason why electro swing is where it is
at the moment, because tracks are without copyright, and you can use them
Various e-mail exchanges with artists working within the electro swing genre
Many artists have been contacted with requests for interviews over the course
of the writing of this paper, and a number of them, whilst not available for a full
interview, were happy to respond to questions sent via e-mail. The following is
the responses given to the questions asked:
a) Hugues Payen, 12/02/2014
Hugues Payen is the violinist for Caravan Palace. The band was formed
around 2004, and released their first album in 2007, which reached number
eleven in the French charts. Caravan Palace have since become generally
regarded as one of the most important acts within electro swing.
What first led you to start playing in this style of music?
We (Arnaud, Charles, and Hugo) were playing in a jazz manouche band, in
cafÈs and weddings around Paris, but we also were electronic music
producers, so it was quite natural for us to combine these 2 activities at a
moment, even if at that time (2004-2005), there were no other artist to refer to.
What is it that specifically draws you to the style?
(not sure to understand the question!!)
Charles has been commissioned to make a soundtrack for a silent porn-film
from the 20's. The producers wanted something that would sound new, but
made with old stuff... They were inventing electro-swing!!! Charles asked us to
make it with him, and our friends, naturally curious about that project, listened
to the result and loved it. So we decided to go on that way for a few months,
who transformed into years!!!
Do you have a specific working process when composing these songs?
It's a hard process, very long and tedious. We first compose sketches in our
own home studios, then we send it to the other members via email, and
decide if this is a good way to lead or not. Then begins a very long moment of
structuration and arranging (between a month and a year!!). The "problem" is
that we are four co-composers, and we want everybody to be satisfied with
How do you feel your place within this movement has affected the
We are very lucky and proud to be one of the first band to play that music, but
the style took a little time to cross the oceans and continents. So there were a
moment when we switched from a "nobody" status to a "cutting edge of a
brand new and fresh style" status! Parov Stelar was the other one to travel all
around the world to "spread" that music, and thanks to him, the public
discovered our own music and style. We also proved that it wasn't a DJ
music, but could be a live music, with real musicians, and a real singer.
Can you suggest any reasons as to why this style is only just becoming
popular in recent times?
In France, people immediately liked what we proposed, and we sold a lot of
our first album there, in 2008-2009. But to become a "worldwide" popular
style, it needed to enter the "good" ears, i.e english, german and american
ears. DJs were crucial for that, for they organized a lot of "electroswing
parties" throughout the world, from Canada to Japan, via Liban, South Africa,
or Russia! A few person specialized in that genre, like "White Mink Black
Cotton" (Nick Hollywood) in England, Kallias in Germany, or Don Mescal in
Montreal, and so on...
What do you think the future may hold for electro swing?
If that genre is able to renovate, it could last for years! American are just
discovering it, and the concerts we did there are encouraging. We personnally
try to renew our own music at every album, and you can feel that a lot of DJs
took it very seriously and try to find new ways for it. And Electro swing still
waits for its worldwide hit!
b) Tobias Kroschel, 19/03/14
Tobias Kroschel is a DJ who works under the name of ‘Sound Nomaden’.
Alongside DJing, he is also well known within the electro swing world for his
blog, Sound Nomaden’s Global Cup Music Blog, and also for writing for
What first led you to start playing in this style of music?
A friend of mine organised a private party under the theme 20's and asked me
to look for somemusic for the party. That's how I started to think about a mix
of 20's swing music and electronic music. Later I discovered Parov Stelar,
Caravan Palace, Chinese Man, Club De Belugas, G-Swing...I always liked a
mix of different genres with electronic music. Before Electro Swing I played
and listened a lot of Balkan Beats, Cumbia Digital and so on. Happy music
that you can play in the Clubs and brings sth. interesting, sth. new to the
people. I never liked mainstream music, I was always searching for sth.
special. In this case it was Electro Swing.
What is it that specifically draws you to the style?
I like the happy vibe of Electro Swing, the party culture with its dressed
people, old black and white movies and all the retro attitude mixed with
modern styles. I totally like Swing music and the way people dance to it.
Do you have a specific working process when composing these songs?
No, sometimes I hear an old sample or song and think, this is sth. you should
work with. Sometimes I compose a pianoline and build a song around it.
Sometimes I play some midi Brass lines and start working with that. There are
many ways to make a new track.
How do you feel your place within this movement has affected the
In the beginning when I started to play Electro Swing and make tracks there
where pretty few people who knew this kind of music. In Germany I was one
of the first who really played Electro Swing and produced tracks and spread
the word about it. I made some Mixes and Tracklists, posted this kind of music
on my blog and connected with people worldwide that where dedicated to
Electro Swing as well. I have started to put all my free time into this music,
that's why I think I have affected this movement quite a lot. I brought the
sound to festivals and clubs all around Europe and even Australia as one of
the first. I have met a lot of DJ's and producers that told me they started with
Electro Swing because they heard it in my Sets or saw it in my blog posts. It's
a good feeling if you do sth. and push sth. because you just love it and see
how it grows.
Can you suggest any reasons as to why this style is only just becoming
popular in recent times?
I think it's the combination of old and new that makes it so interesting for a lot
of people. A lot of modern music is so "cold" and artificial, Electro Swing has
more character, sth. old and dusty, real instruments and musicians that are
combined with the modern technologies of contemporary club music.
What do you think the future may hold for electro swing?
The Electro Swing scene worldwide is still growing and that's great. For me
personally it has passed his zenith already because I've played and listened it
too much in the past 4 years. The most new tracks and artists that are
popping up now are not really bringing sth. new to the genre for me, so for me
it's time to dig deeper and look for new directions. I like that some producers,
dj's and promoters open the genre to some other retro and vintage styles such
as blues, rock'n'roll or even classic. That's what keeps it all interesting.
Interview with Richard Shawcross, 7/12/13
Richard Shawcross is a DJ who works under the name of ‘C@ in the H@’.
Alongside C@ in the H@, Shawcross also occasionally performs under the
name of ‘The Doctor’, and is also a member of The Brotherhood Of Filth, and
the Alternative dubstep orchestra. Shawcross also runs the ‘Ragtime Records’
label with Tom Hyland.
Chris Inglis: So to start off then, do you want to explain how you got into
music, and then specifically what led you to use swing?
Richard Shawcross: Okay, well I got into music, I guess it runs in the blood
really, my mum is a musician, and my gran was really into it, and when I was
a kid, she’s a piano teacher as well so I got into piano from as far back as I
can remember to be honest with you, and then obviously progressed into
different things, different types of music. As I got older I found out about
different types of music, learnt the guitar, and then obviously got into dance
music, so got some turntables, and started doing DJing on turntables for fun,
and then thought I’d give production a try, because that quite interested me,
so I got into that when I went to uni really. The swing stuff, as far as
production goes, I was working a show at the NEC and there was this band
playing Puttin’ on the Ritz, and I was like, “that would be really cool to remix”,
so I just went and found the original Fred Astaire version, and had a go at
remixing that, really enjoyed it, and then thought, “wow I want to do more of
this, I really love it”, you know? DJing, swing wise, I used to do a dubstep
group with DJ Switch and another guy, General Riddim, we used to do like,
dubstep turntablism, and Switch just introduced me to a load of electro swing
music, which I hadn’t really heard before, and yeah, started DJing that in my
sets as well. So I guess that’s where both sides of, DJing and production, how
I got into swing really, I mean the beats just sit natural for me so, yeah
definitely, just took to it a lot.
CI: I know you’ve got a few other projects, other than C@ in the H@, would
you say this is your main one, or have you got any preference?
RS: Yeah, well I’m doing more gigs as C@ in the H@ than any of my aliases,
I do really enjoy it. The shows, there’s so much energy with electro swing
nights, there’s so many people there just to have fun, I started off DJing drum
and bass, and there’s a lot of serious people at those nights, you know what I
mean, stroking their beards, not really there to let their hair down and have
fun, you know? And I think if you’re gonna go out dancing, it’s just, you want
to have fun really, so I really enjoy doing the electro swing nights for that
reason, it’s all about having fun, and there’s lots of that at those nights really.
CI: Do you think there’s anything that you’ve brought to the genre that wasn’t
there before it?
RS: Yeah, I mean when I started producing I hadn’t really heard any bassy,
like electro swing with bass in it, so I thought, because I had been producing
dubstep for a while, I thought I’d get my influence of dubstep into the genre,
and as far as DJing is concerned, like, I really like the swing beat. There’s not
a lot of DJs that actually play much stuff with the swing beat, especially when I
first started out. There’s a lot of swing house, you know, a lot of 4/4, four to
the floor, not really, they ain’t very swingy, you might find, like the hi-hats are
quite swingy, or some of the other subtle musical elements, or they’re just
using swing samples, but the actual beat itself wasn’t really a swing beat, so I
like to put as much into the set as possible with a full proper swing beat, you
know? So I think that’s one of the things that I’ve brought to the table of
electro swing, those two things.
CI: One of the things I’m asking everyone is, just generally why you thing it is
that swing’s sort of coming back around now?
RS: Well, I think with a lot of genres, I mean everything goes round in cycles,
doesn’t it really, and with swing, it’s quite like jazz in a way, it’s quite broad.
You like, find with dubstep it’s all around 140 BPM, or 70 BPM, whichever you
want to call it, drum and bass is all around 175 BPM, house is all pretty much
within 10 BPM of 125, it’s all quite limited with tempo. But, like jazz, swing
music, electro swing is so broad, you might go to see someone play a set and
it’ll be all swing house, you might see someone play a set and it’s all like hip
hop based, swing remixes and stuff. So it’s quite, you know, there’s a lot of
interest there, there’s a lot of variation, so you don’t get bored as quickly
necessarily. Like, I can go to a swing night, that’s just swing all night and not
be bored, whereas I might be if it’s another genre of music, even if it’s another
genre I really like, because there’s not much variation in tempo. Going back to
say, drum and bass, I remember seeing John B and played one like, electro
house track and everyone was moaning about it, it’s like “come on man, a bit
of variation, you know, mix it up a little bit”. I can’t even remember what the
question was now, I’m just rambling.
CI: It was why do you think swing’s being used, just about nowadays?
RS: Yeah, I mean also, sample wise, there’s a lot of stuff that’s now in the
public domain, so people that are worried about sample clearance, you can
dig up the old stuff, you know, the publishing’s still in copyright, but the actual
track’s themselves aren’t, so it’s a lot more open season for that kind of thing,
you know? So that’s another reason I think why a lot of producers are getting
into it. But yeah, it’s really fun to chop up, and a lot of, when you’re chopping
up other genres of music to sample, like more modern music, it’s been
recorded better so you have to find a bit of the track, if you want to use that
sax sample you’ve got to find a bit of the track where there’s no beat, or be
having to fit in with that beat when you’re sampling it, when you’re putting your
beat over the top. Whereas with electro swing, a lot of the stuff that was
recorded in say, the twenties, was just a microphone in a room, so you don’t
really hear the beat, the beat’s not a driving force behind the track so much.
Like, you can hear it, but it’s in the background, there’s no heavy kick taking
over the track. You can pretty much sample as much of the track as you want,
and fit it into your productions, without, you know, so you’ve got a lot more
selection to choose from if you’re chopping up an old swing track, you know?
CI: So the final question is just, what do you think is going to happen with the
future of this type of music? Do you think it’s going to get bigger, or it’s going
to stay sort of underground?
RS: Well a lot of the time you find with genres, that they niche out a little bit, if
that can be used as a word, like you’ll have subgenres, and then sometimes,
like with dubstep it gets so popular that it just caves in on itself. I don’t think
that will happen with swing, because it’s quite a melodic music, so it’s not got
the same, cool thing that the kids will be interested in, it’s not really the kids
that are really loving the music so much like it was for dubstep. You know,
when the kids get into something, it could be really cool music, and then it can
do that explosion, you know, and then cave in on itself, but I don’t think that
will happen with swing. What I would like to see happen with electro swing, is
what Chris Tofu’s trying to do, he’s trying to say that, when you see him play
he’ll always sit on the mic and he’ll say “sounds of the 1920’s to the 1950’s
remixed”, and I think that’s really cool, because it’s doing the opposite of
subgeneralising, it’s opening the playing field up, so you’ve got all these
different types of music that all do fit in really well together. You know, it’s
vintage remixed, that’s basically what it is, rather then splitting it up, splitting
up the scene so everyone’s doing their different things, it’s bringing everyone
together, everyone can do their different things, but all together. I think that
will be really nice if there was more of that, and I think there is more of that
coming through, there’s already a lot more openness to different styles within
the scene, you know, so that’s where I’d like to see it go. Obviously you can
never really fully predict what’s going to happen to a music scene ultimately,
although it was pretty obvious with dubstep that it was going to get really big,
and then when these things get really big they do, kind of, the people that got
into it first, you know, the cool people so to speak, lose interest in it because
all the commercial people like it, and then it loses it’s driving force because
the people that are really making the good music move into a different genre
of music. You know, that’s pretty much what happened with dubstep but yeah,
I don’t think that will happen with swing because it will never get as big,
anywhere near as dubstep got, for example.
Interview with Andrew Hill & Emma Knight, 12/12/13
Together, Andrew Hill and Emma Knight run Leicester’s Electro Tease night,
which is held bi-monthly. Hill is a composer, specialising in electroacoustic
music, whilst Knight, under the name of ‘Eliza DeLite’ is a burlesque artist,
who in 2012 won the prize for ‘Best British Female’ at the World Burlesque
Chris Inglis: I’d first like to know just how you got into the general genre of
Emma Knight: Good question, I think the first time I heard a piece of electro
swing I didn’t know that that’s what it was, and it was years and years and
years before I fully got into it, it was just this one track, I think it was iTunes
free single of the week sometime in 2006. It was a song called Jazzhole by
Free The Robots and I loved it, I loved that track, and it was just one of those
really cool tracks that I had on my iTunes, and it was actually years before, I
would say probably 2010, 2011, that we started listening to electro swing, and
it was only then, I think there was a playlist on Spotify or something and it was
on there and I felt “oh God, of course, this makes sense now, this is why I’m
enjoying electro swing”, essentially that’s what the Jazzhole track was.
CI: Andy, how about yourself?
Andrew Hill: Well I’ve just remembered that my sister and I had a CD, it was
Jive Bunny, Swing the Mood, and I must have had that in the ‘90s, the
mid-‘90s, that was out, but I’ve only just literally remembered that right now. It
had like, Rock Around the Clock or something on it, that was all remixed,
tracks remixed together. But really I suppose, we’ve kind of got into electro
swing more latterly, because Eliza, because she started getting these playlists
and playing them back, and I quite liked the idea of taking swing music, and
kind of re-appropriating it, and re-working it.
EK: I think I was hearing it a lot, I say a lot, I heard it a couple of times doing
burlesque events and things, and vintage events. You’d hear the odd track
played, like interspersed with the normal selection of rockabilly, and you
know, proper traditional swing, and there’d be the occasional track put in
there, and I really got into it, and I started, it was that kind of thing where I’d
ask the DJ what the track was, and I’d save it, and I’d keep it, and I’d slowly
find more and more tracks that I liked, and then suddenly it turned out to be
an actual legitimate genre, where you can get a whole album. So, for a while,
I was hearing the odd track played here and there, and in 2011 when I was
given the opportunity to start up Electro Tease, or should I say to start up my
own burlesque night, but you know, in Leicester, I mean I’ve been doing it for
five years now but when I started there wasn’t much going on in Leicester, but
now it’s really saturated with hundreds of different burlesque nights. And, I
really wanted something to kind of set the night apart, make it something
other than just another burlesque night, because that’s just, you know what,
even though I’m a burlesque performer, I can understand how boring it
probably gets, where it’s like, burlesque has become so fashionable now, I
kind of despise the word a little bit because it’s such a cliché now. So when it
came to setting the night up, I thought it would be really really good if there
was somewhere where people could go to hear that kind of music, you know,
and that kind of music alone, because as I said, I heard the odd track here
and there, they were the tracks that I really enjoyed when I was out at these
other events, but there wasn’t anywhere that to my knowledge, that was
playing strictly electro swing.
AH: Yeah, it was a kind of diversifier, wasn’t it, so that we had two appealing
things, we had the burlesque show, and then you’ve got the music as well, so
people come down for the club night. I think it’s, the thing that I quite like
about it is, you get people who are swing aficionados, and they like dancing to
swing music, but the thing about the electro swing is that it kind of opens it up
to more people as well, it becomes less of a niche thing, you know, if you
don’t know the swing dance moves then you can still kind of get up and have
a dance to it, and, it’s also obviously full frequency range, whereas all these
old recordings don’t have any bottom end.
EK: Well this is why I always say, people are like “what do you like about
electro swing?”, my thought is that electro swing is, you know, swing, jazz,
when it came out originally, in the ‘30s and ‘40s, and even ‘20s, that for them,
then, was like mind-blowingly awesome music. You know, people listen to it
know, and they feel nostalgic, and quaint. But, you know, when you turn on
the radio today and you hear a piece of dubstep music or something, and
you’re like “this sounds awesome”, because it’s got the bass, and it’s got the
power behind it, that’s because, you know, obviously our technologies are far
more advanced than they were then. Back then, a good bit of, you know,
saxophone, or a good like, bit of drumming, that like, cut the mustard, that
was really awesome, that was the best thing they’d ever heard, so I think the
awesome thing with electro swing is that, me listening to a piece of electro
swing, it probably makes me feel the way people back in the ‘30s felt the first
time they heard swing, you know? It brings it back into fashion, and I think, I’m
not really into so much of the kind of, regular modern day music really, don’t
get me wrong, there’s loads of stuff I like that’s in the charts now, but I’m not
really a drum and bass fan, I’m not really a pop fan, like there’s a few songs
that are good, but because the swing appeals to me, the electro swing
appeals even more because it’s got the power that means it stands up to the
level of any other modern music that we have.
CI: Okay, well you’ve already delved into it a little bit there, but do you want to
say more about how the actual club night was first set up?
EK: Well, I set up Electro Tease in 2011, I think I probably had been
performing for a few years by then, when I started performing in Leicester
there wasn’t much of a scene, there was maybe one regular night, there was
one performer in the city, you know, and yeah, now it’s become such a big
thing in Leicester, and I think I’d been running the university society for a year,
and I’d been a part of it for a few years, and things were going well for me as
an individual performer, but I didn’t have quite enough time on my hands to
dedicate what I needed to, to fully let my own art flourish. I was so busy
looking after the 30 girls, organising their shows, you know, meeting up with
them every week and trying to, like, nurture them and stuff, so I kind of gave
up doing that, I finally came to a point, I said “right I’m handing in my
resignation” with that, but I still had the desire to have something to organise.
And the great thing about running Electro Tease is, I don’t have to organise
weekly meetings, you know, it’s a show, it’s a one-off event, it happens once
every two months. I don’t have to, you know, I’m booking professional
performers, like myself now, you know, we have a range of routines, you book
the routine you want, you pay them their set fee or whatever, and they just
turn up on the day, do the job, you pay them, they go off. You have a really
awesome time doing it, but you know, there’s none of the faffing in between.
So just when I’d handed in my resignation for the Demon Belles, and I had
actually just found the Basement as a venue for the society, and then handed
in my resignation, and then the Basement manager said to me, “well we’re
looking to put on a burlesque night anyway, we’ll let the Demon Belles use it,
but we want to do something else as well, do you want to do that?”, and I’d
been thinking, well I’d like to start up a night, so it was a mutual, happy
coincidence. And you know, they said to me “you’ve got free reign, what you
want to call it, how you want to theme it”, the restrictions that we have to work
with are, you know, it has to be on this night at this time, but the rest of it was
completely up to me. So, you know, I was just, I was sick of seeing burlesque
nights where everyone rocks up in polka dot dresses, and faux vintage
hairstyles, they’re quaint, and they’re pretty, and they’re nice for those people,
who like to play at the whole vintage thing, but I just think they lacked any kind
of creative oomph, and there was so many of them, so that’s when I started to
gather my own collection of electro swing music, that’s when I really started to
actively search for electro swing music. Whereas before, I’d heard the odd
track here and there, and I’d sort of saved it, and like, gone out and found that
one track, this was the first time that I’d started doing a lot more research,
looking a little bit deeper, mostly online, to find electro swing music to play,
because if we we’re going to have a night where that’s all we play, we need a
good selection of it. I mean, we’ve been doing it since 2011 now, and I’d say
we probably built up the majority of our collection in that first year, I think
we’ve slowed down in the second year because, obviously there was a lot of
existing electro swing for us to collect back then, now it’s a case of when
something new gets brought out we add that as well. I think we’ve pretty much
found everything that’s already out there, to the point now that Andrew’s
already thinking of making his own, you know, having a go at doing some of
his own electro swing.
AH: It’s interesting, you were saying, I think that is a strong part of it, like not
wanting to do events that pretend to be vintage, you know, that are trying to
be a reproduction of something, do something that’s inspired by it, but that’s a
EK: With Electro Tease, what I wanted to create, was a really fun, happening,
underground party, and I think we do need to, I mean we’re just taking a break
from it now for about five or six months, and I think the importance of that is
that we need to refresh a few ideas, because we have been running it for two
years now, and you do have to keep things fresh to keep them feeling fun and
party like. You know, after a while it becomes a little bit formulaic, because it’s
the same every time, I’m not going to lie, I think it’s lost it’s edge at the
moment, also because electro swing has become so popular now, so it
caught up. It was always going to happen, it’s not like we were always going
to be able to keep that to ourselves, now you go to burlesque shows and
they’re playing electro swing, so we need to look at how we can keep that
fresh, and that might be by doing maybe some more live mixing, or
AH: Performing maybe, musicians playing.
EK: I think, the polka-dots and teacakes and vintage burlesque events, you’ll
find at least, they’ll be one in every town and city now, all over the country,
they’re everywhere. Some people still love it, but to my mind they’re a bit
boring. I want to kind of really evoke you know, the feeling that you would
have had during like, 1920s prohibition, that kind of underground, like what
you’re doing’s a little bit naughty, I mean we’re not doing anything naughty but
we want to kind of evoke that sort of slightly decadent feeling that’s slightly
raw around the edges.
AH: The Basement also informs it as well, doesn’t it, I think that space itself is
very much like an underground kind of jazz bar.
EK: You’ve got the bare brick work, but you’ve got the decadence with the
cocktails, and the lighting and things like that.
AH: And I guess, so it kind of fits their aesthetic, fits with our aesthetic I think,
which was part of an inspiration I guess.
EK: Which I think is how electro swing ties in with it, because you’ve got, you
can kind of mirror that with the, you’ve got the kind of decadence of the
instruments that were used, the saxophones, the drums, you know, all the
instruments that were used, the double bass, I’m not a musician. But you’ve
the rawness of the beats they’re putting over the top, so it kind of mirrors that
AH: Yeah, because we quite like Caravan Palace as well, we went to see
them down in London, and that was the first time it kind of blew my mind,
seeing people perform it live.
EK: That was really good.
AH: That was really great, to see like, the bass player switch between a synth,
an upright bass, and like, a Fender jazz bass or whatever, see him switch
between tracks, and see the guitarist move from a laptop to playing guitar and
stuff, that was the first time that I kind of saw it and thought, “yes you could do
EK: Yeah, it doesn’t have to be remixed, there’s a lot, the majority of electro
swing I think out there is remixed stuff, it’s old material that’s been remixed,
and there’s nothing wrong with that at all, and then you’ve got the likes of,
Parov Stelar, and The Electric Swing Circus, and Caravan Palace. And also,
Tape Five, you’ve got Tape Five as well.
AH: Tape Five, yeah, they do some pretty good, they’re kind of a live band.
EK: But our favourite, my favourite is the Swing Republic, and they’re not, I
don’t think they do live, I think they are remixed, but I mean, their track Drum
Boogie, I loved it that much that I used it for one of my routines, and I use it
for what would be a traditional feather fan dance, but it’s kind of got a dubstep
beat over it, which kind of makes it a little more impactic.
AH: Yeah, I suppose that’s a good example of the kind of, modern, normally
fan dances should be quite kind of floaty light things, and now this is one to a
dubstep kind of beat, which is pretty good. But I’m kind of, recently I suppose
I’ve been going on to, kind of SoundCloud, and looking around for tracks and
things, and I kind of, I’m starting to favour tracks that are more, that have
more development, you know, they take inspiration from an original track, but
they develop it and they do more of their own thing with it, because you get a
lot of tracks where they’ve just taken Louis Armstrong or something and just
put a 4/4 beat on underneath it.
EK: The number of times I’ve heard It Don’t Mean A Thing, that must have
been, I have to say it’s probably got to be the most remixed track for electro
swing, there’s about at least 50 different electro swing versions of that.
Whereas something like Drum Boogie, if you listen to the original track it
sounds really quite different, it gives a completely different tune, because
they’ve re-ordered the parts of the song in the version that I use, and you get
used to that tune, you listen to the old version, and it’s actually a completely
AH: Yeah, so I think that’s better, I like that better, because it’s kind of, you’re
taking the inspiration from it, you’re not limited I guess as well, from a
CI: The other thing I’m just interested in now, you mentioned that you’re
thinking of doing some of your own stuff, obviously you’re a composer as well,
so have you done anything like this before, what would you be thinking of
AH: Not really, I’m pretty bad with beat-based stuff, but, well we’ve just moved
houses so I’ve got a studio, and so I’m kind of really looking forward to doing
some stuff, and I’ve had kind of, lots of ideas for tracks, so I’m thinking, at the
moment I’m kind of thinking I’ll probably take some tracks that I like, and chop
bits out of them, and re-order them, but I might find that that doesn’t work. I
mean, it’s very possible that that won’t work at all, and it might be better to just
try and start from scratch, you know, kind of, composing some pieces that are
new pieces, in the style of. So taking that kind of jazz influence, but yeah, we’ll
have to see how it goes. I mean the next challenge, if I compose it, I’ll
probably do it all in MIDI, and then try and get people to play it live, because
I’d always rather record stuff live if I can. That’s the good thing about being
around the music technology, you’ve got lots of people that play lots of
different things. It’s a good excuse as well for me to learn more instruments,
so I might just kind of buy some instruments and teach myself how to play
them, see how we go. But that could equally be a disaster, because you
always think it’s a lot easier than it actually is, you forget how difficult it is to
actually learn an instrument, once you’ve done one, you know, you think “oh,
it’s easy to play that”, you forget the hours. I suppose the other thing with the
electro swing, and the burlesque, is that it enabled us to do something
together really, to do something creative together.
EK: You’ve certainly over the last year gotten a bit more involved in, shown a
bit more interest in the whole thing.
AH: It saves me having to stand in the corner with a video camera and look
like a perv. I can hide in the DJ booth with all the knobs.
EK: I would like to take credit for the fact that, I’m pretty sure I got you into the
AH: Well there you go, it’s on the record now.
EK: It’s the one musical genre that I found before you did.
CI: Okay, also I’m wondering, if either of you have any theories why it is that
it’s just coming out now, what is it about now?
EK: I think it’s like everything, it’s like fashion, it takes a few years for it to
come into the foreground. It’s like fashion, it’s like burlesque, it’s like anything
that becomes popular, as we mentioned at the beginning, we both, without
realising had been listening to electro swing far longer than we realised.
Something like Jazzhole, you know, it turns out that was the first piece, there’s
also another track I’ve got, which isn’t technically electro swing, so I’m not
going to mention that, but yeah.
AH: I think it might be something to do with, I don’t know, I’m not a cultural
historian, but I think it might be something to do with the millennium. You
know, being in a new century, I think it might be the fact that now we’re in a
century, people are looking back to the old century, and they’re kind of
EK: People are feeling nostalgic, but they’re finding ways to make it cool,
because you know, it’s not necessarily, you know, someone might secretly
really like listening to a little bit of Benny Goodman, but you know, it’s not
cool, so [laughs] maybe they have to find a way to make it cool. I think it’s
cool, but you know, not everybody does.
AH: But I see it more, in your fashions as well, as in the stuff that you buy, that
you’ve got stuff from, dresses from the 1980s, that are inspired by the 1940s.
EK: Fashion repeats itself.
AH: And I think it’s probably a similar kind of thing with music, and I guess that
the stuff’s so available now, and it might also be, I don’t know about this, but
maybe it’s, the rights have elapsed on some of those tracks. I don’t know, so
it’s now, you can’t be sued if you sample those tracks, because the rights
have completely gone on them.
EK: The other thing as well, it’s not just the rights, but things like the internet
and stuff. Tracks are becoming more and more easily available, you know, no
longer do people necessarily have to be sifting through piles and piles of vinyl
to find these, they can just go online, and if they know the right places to look,
they can probably download some stuff. But I think there’s been a general, I
use this as like a kind of umbrella term, vintage revival, and I put everything
under that in terms of fashion, burlesque, and electro swing as well. It is all
harking back to a certain era, so it’s not just electro swing, it’s not just
burlesque, it’s not just vintage clothing, it’s like everything. And through this,
you know, you’ve had things come out into the major major mainstream,
things like The Great Gatsby film, that’s celebrating that kind of era, the ‘20s,
you’ve got things like Mad Men, you’ve got things like Downton Abbey you’ve
got all these like, big TV and film productions, there’s the film Burlesque which
I hate, and is not in any way a decent representation of what burlesque is, but
even things like that. These are things that are reaching everybody, so electro
swing itself might not have reached everybody yet, but most people, you
know, a large percentage of the Western population are going to have seen
films like The Great Gatsby, or watched things like Mad Men, and through
watching these films, they’ll be hearing electro swing, and they’ll be seeing the
vintage fashions, and it slowly creeps its way everywhere.
AH: Yeah, didn’t someone say the other day there’s a will.i.am electro swing
EK: No, my God, no, that was me, I was listening to the radio the other day.
CI: It’s absolutely awful.
EK: No, actually, there’s one that’s shit, that one he did that was a remix of
the Charleston song, the, I can’t remember how it goes. Oh, the one where’s
he’s like, in the video, he tries to scat in it.
CI: Yeah, that’s the one.
EK: Yeah, that one is terrible, but I was listening to the radio the other day, I
Shazamed it, it’s the best way to find anything, it’s-
AH: Don’t Mean A Thing, is it?
EK: No, Straighten Up And Fly Right, Nat King Cole, the song Straighten Up
And Fly Right.
AH: It’s him and somebody Cole isn’t it?
EK: Natalie Cole, I don’t know if that’s like a descendent of Nat King Cole,
maybe, maybe not. But I heard it, I was like “this is really good”, so I looked it
up and I was really shocked when I saw it was will.i.am, I was like “really?” It’s
far better than that other one, I can’t remember the name of it, Bang Bang.
CI: Yeah, that’s what it’s called.
EK: Bang, bang, bang, bang bang, that one. That one’s terrible.
AH: It’s certainly becoming a more popular thing, now you’ll be in places and
you’ll hear it come on in the background.
EK: Yeah, where were we, we were like somewhere the other day?
AH: We were in the champagne bar and it was playing in there.
EK: No, even a non like, likely place for it to be. We were Christmas shopping,
we were looking at Christmas decorations, we were in TK Maxx or something,
and someelectro swing came on.
AH: Yeah, TK Maxx, and it came on.
EK: So, I think as well, if a particular track’s successful enough it might make
its way onto something, like one of the Now! albums or something, you know
that kind of thing, or get used in an advert, and get stuck in people’s heads.
AH: It’s difficult, you never really know, when you’re into something you never
really know how popular it is I guess, because like, we know a lot about it, but-
EK: That’s the thing, we’ve been into it for a good few years now, and I have
seen it get more popular, and it’s always that whole, you’re glad it’s popular,
but there’s that slight annoyance, it’s that whole, “oh I was into that band
years before they went”, you know it’s that whole thing, you do get a little bit of
that, I do anyway. “I’ve been listening to electro swing way before anybody
else has”, that’s not true, but I mean, I’ve been listening to it for a long time.
CI: I was going to ask you what you think the future’s going to bring with it, but
you’ve sort of gone into that there, unless there’s anything more you want to
EK: I think it’ll just keep up, it’ll work its way into the mainstream.
AH: Yeah, I think it’ll come back in, and I think kind of, more and more jazz
influences will come back into pop, I think maybe, which is a good thing.
EK: Which is good, which is good, because you know, Michael Bublé needs
pushed off his pedestal, he really does. It’s just the only thing we’ve got.
AH: And maybe, maybe I hope they’ll be more live performances, more
people doing it as it gains more attraction, people will start going, “well I can
sit in the studio and do it, but maybe I’ll perform live”.
EK: Well that’s the thing, when we went to see Caravan Palace, about a year
ago, that was their first UK performance. They’re French, and that was the
first time, they were doing a little tour, they performed in London, and Bristol,
and somewhere else, Birmingham probably, or Manchester or something, and
they started in London. And the fact that, I’d been listening to them for a
couple of years, and the fact that that was their first UK performance really
does, that kind of thing makes you realise how you can see, like we’ve been
listening to them for ages but it is only just now that people are really paying
attention to it.
‘Interview with Parov Stelar for “The Princess” album’
‘Parov Stelar’ is the alias for Austrian DJ Marcus Füreder. Füreder released
his first album as Stelar in 2004, and has since become generally regarded as
one of the most important acts within electro swing. Füreder also runs the
‘Etage Noir’ label. Whilst he was not available for an interview himself, his
management helpfully provided a pre-prepared mock interview.
Do you see the new album „The Princess“ as a continuation of your
current work, or is there something in the new album which you think
makes it completely different from your previous creations?
All of my albums have a certain connection with each other of course, but it is
not like you can say that this is “Godfather part 3” or anything. It is natural for
an artist to want to produce something new for the next album, but it also
important to ensure that the artist’s style and handwriting is easily
recognizable on a new piece.
What is the major difference between „the Princess“and its
Well firstly it took a lot longer to finish, or rather I should really say I gave
myself more time to finish it….Two and a half years to be exact. It was
originally planned for the album to be released much earlier, but this time I
decided to wait long enough until I could happily and confidently say: “Now I
am finished”. “The Princess” is less experimental than “Shine” or “Seven and
Storm” were. It is important that the different stages in my life and the
experiences which I have been through are recognizable in my songs. This is
why there are so many different influences and approaches on this album.
Is there a closer connection between this album and the previous one
„Coco“? Coco is very similar in terms of complexity and you didn’t put it
in the same category as the “concept” albums….
Yes, there are definitely some similarities between the two. The double CD,
which operates as a division between two different aspects of my music for
example. I personally believe however that CD 1 is very different in
comparison to “Coco”, and I feel very differently when I hear this album. The
songs are much more atmospheric and mature.
You mentioned earlier that your music reflects certain moments in your
life. The first CD from “The Princess” is not as dark as “Coco”. Does
that say something about the way your life has developed in the last two
and a half years?
Yes, most definitely. I was fascinated by everything dark, grimy and somber
before – suffering, sexual abstinence to increase pleasure etc, but over the
past few years this has changed. To use an old saying, the glass in now half
full rather than half empty. I think you can hear and feel this in the new work
and I am certainly a much more positive person these days. I think it is more
difficult to impress and please people with something beautiful and awe-
inspiring than it is to destroy something. Burning a house down is probably
much more exciting and spectacular than building one, but it is also much
easier as well…
What are the reasons for this change towards the positive?
It is a development which has heavily depended on my own will power to want
the change, and also self-confidence. I notice a lot when working with young
artists that they often focus on the tragic side of life and they are constantly
trying to process these emotions. It has a lot to do with self-confidence as I
mentioned before, the confidence to just say “yes” to something which might
be risky or uncertain. Under these circumstances it is often much easier to
say “no”. Having a “yes” attitude means you take a firm stance on things and
you have to accept that you might be criticized for the decisions you make
and their outcomes, which is not always easy. Accepting criticism for saying
no is much easier to take. This is how I went into “The Princess” project, in a
positive manner and I remain 100% behind it.
How did you decide on the album title „The Princess“
In my opinion “The Princess” stands for glamour, glitter and everything that
people associate with life as musician. At the same time however, the title
stands for much darker aspects which you might not notice at first – the
pressure of being stuck in a certain role, and the need to fulfill expectations of
this role, while at the same time trying to break away from it. People perceive
someone the way they want them to be, while the princess just lives in her
So that means the title is very much based on yourself rather than
It is not really based on me personally, but more on my occupation and the
artist that is Parov Stelar, although it is true that the barriers between the artist
and the real person are rather blurred.
How would you sum up the album in a nutshell?
The album possesses a very mature melancholy in my eyes, it borders on
pessimism but never crosses into it. At the same time, and especially on CD
2, the album gives you the opportunity to forget….To just close your eyes and
dive into the party, to celebrate and absorb the positive energy which comes
with the music.
What has changed for you on a personal level over the two and half
years of producing the album?
A lot has changed since making the last album “coco”. The size of team has
increased and I have a lot more responsibility resting on my shoulders than
before. With every day that goes by I notice that it is becoming more and
more difficult to go into things with the same easiness and relaxed attitude
that I used to have. The more in the limelight you are, the easier it is to get
pushed into a certain direction, and the more open you are to attack from
others. A young artist with a debut release is pretty free from pressure as
there is not that much to lose. This changes once you achieve a certain level
of success, every new release becomes a case of putting everything you have
achieved up to that point on the line. I felt a considerable amount of pressure
at the beginning of “The Princess” project, but after a while I realized that I just
had to get over it and put it to the back of my mind. In a way I am quite a
selfish person and I love the risk involved in making something new. It is
however pretty difficult to really evaluate one’s own music and maybe some
people think “that sounds like the stuff he made before” and others think “why
doesn’t he make music like he used to?” It is kind of like when you don’t
notice how quickly your kids are growing up and changing, but a relative who
doesn’t see them that often notices it instantly and is like “Wow, they have
grown up quickly”, and you’re like “huh?”
On the last album you worked with a number of independent artists but
this time you chose to work with people you already knew. Why was
Yeah in the end the whole thing turned out to be somewhat of a “family affair”.
Lilja (Bloom) was of course with me again, and this time I also worked more
intensely with my live band on the album, much more than I previously had
Do the other musicians have an influence in the actual writing and
composition of the music or are they simply performers?
Let us put it this way, they are performers with plenty of freedom to
experiment. I explain the fundamentals and the song idea always come from
me. All of the musicians also have their own solo projects so none of them
have desire to take centre stage in my project. It could quite easily be the
other way round, where I function as a performer for one of them if need be.
For my project however I am the one who lays down the foundations and the
rest has to be built around this, meaning the freedom is also rather restricted.
We are all good friends though and get along very well so there are no
problems. To be honest, the singers are probably the ones who have the best
chance to break away from my direction and put their opinions across, but
even then it is often so that we are able to agree on something easily without
Can this still be called a producer project?
Yes I think so, there is simply too much of a difference between the album
and what we do live. When we are on stage there is little influence the
producer can have, the rules are different out there and I can only vaguely set
the direction. I trust my musicians 100% however in this situation. They all
have so much experience and know what they are doing so there is no real
need for me to get involved too much.
What are the live performances of the album going to be like?
We are not a traditional band that has a certain plan for each album tour and
sticks to this. I still see myself as a producer; constantly making electro, club
friendly music and these tunes could easily be released as singles or EPs.
The album is simply a way of collecting and presenting these tunes together.
We are constantly integrating new tracks and continually developing our live
set and we had a completely different set list in 2011 in comparison to 2009
for example. We will be adding more new numbers to that list with the release
of the new album of course, and in addition to this we will be playing almost all
of the songs from Coco’s 2nd CD and a few classics as well.
What music influenced you during the development of the new album, or
more specifically what have you been listening to recently?
Mostly new music to be honest, this is where I get most of my inspiration from
at the moment. I really like the last Muse album and I enjoy listening to the
stuff released on the Kitsune or Etage Noir specials. I don’t think there really
has to be a connection between what one listens to at home in private, and
what one produces, but of course you need to enjoy listening to what you
produce yourself. It is interesting to take a step back and look at yourself and
the music you listen to….to assess what elements have been taken out and
used as influences in the production of your own music. I also find it really
exciting to find out that fans of my music also have the same or similar
musical tastes as I do, even though this music might not be anything like the
music I make. The connection lies in the fact that it is always emotional music
with pop appeal, but still with plenty of underground character.
What has changed for you personally over the last two and a half years?
Being the manager/owner of a company was something I never actually
wanted; it was more or less thrown upon me. Being in a band is easily done
and you can easily get out if you want to, but this doesn’t work at home or
amongst your friends, and things are much more complicated now. This is
what makes the situation at the moment so difficult because a lot of the
people I work with are my friends, and I hope that these long-term friendships
will not be harmed by the situation. I notice that this pressure often makes me
Let’s talk about the concept of „home“. What is home for you? Is it a
place, or perhaps more of a feeling? You are on the road quite a lot;
does this also change the concept of home?
I think home is a place which is defined by feelings. Home has become more
and more important to me over the last few years. One of the most beautiful
things in the world after make-up sex is coming home, and I think anyone who
has been on tour for long periods of time knows that coming home also
means being able to be yourself again. This is also something that is
becoming more difficult, I notice that people look at me differently now when I
am at home …..or maybe home is just smaller than it was before.
How long are you normally at home before you start getting itch to move
Not long if I am brutally honest. I really look forward to coming home but after
a week (at the most) I start getting the urge to travel again. We are like circus
children…once you get the bug you just can’t get rid of it.
Describe a typical day in the life of Parov Stelar when he is not on tour
I play a lot of sport to keep me fit for the long tours and I spend a lot of my
time in the studio. There is always something to do, not just musically. I like
producing videos and graphics and I get this work done when I am in the
studio. Lilja has an atelier next door so I pop by every now and then. You
could probably say that I actually live in my studio when I am not on tour.
Interview with Jürgen Jagfeld, 20/03/14
Jürgen Jagfeld is a DJ who works under the name of ‘Cab Canavaral’. Jagfeld
began DJing in 2007, and alongside this, also performs as the saxophonist in
the band 5 In Love. On top of this, Jagfeld also runs the label ‘Billybong
Chris Inglis: The first thing I want to know is just, how you first got into music,
and then specifically what made you start using swing?
Jürgen Jagfeld: So my musical history?
JJ: When I was a child, my parents are quite musical people, so my mother
played the violin, and my father also, and so when we were children we had to
go to music school. I started with recorder, then I wanted to play the
saxophone or the trumpet first, but I didn’t know that it was the trumpet, and I
wanted to learn this instrument which can speak, and then my parents told me
“ah, this must be the saxophone”, so I wanted to learn saxophone, but first I
had to start with clarinet, and then the saxophone, and at the end it turned out
the instrument that I really listened to, and wanted to learn when I was a small
kid was the trumpet, but now I’m quite glad that it’s not the trumpet, that I play
the saxophone. Yeah, and I never intended to be a professional musician,
because I was a bit lazy in practising and so on, there were so many things
more interesting than practising. But yeah, when I got my first saxophone at
17 years I stopped this music school thing, and I learnt it on my own, and I
founded a band together with some friends, and we all didn’t really have a
clue about jazz and swing and so on, but we tried it, we listened to records
and we started to play together, and yeah. I have some recordings from that
time and it’s really awful to listen to them now [laughs], but it was a good start
I think. For me, it was good training because I started to learn the music by
listening to something, and not to get it explained by somebody who knows it,
I had to work it out on my own, that’s not so bad. Then I decided to study
music therapy, that’s why I came to Vienna, because I grew up in Munich, and
yeah, because this was the combination I can deal with music, and I can work
with people in social work somehow and I still wasn’t convinced that I was
good enough to be a professional musician. I studied music therapy and
everything went well, and I got the chance to do an audition for the University
of Music, for saxophone, jazz, and I went there and they took me. So that was
the first time when I really got a teacher, a very good saxophone player in
Austria, maybe if you’re in jazz, you may know Wolfgang Puschnig, he played
together with Carla Bley, and so on. Then I learnt the saxophone for myself,
because I joined a band, my band, 1994 or 5, the name was ‘5 In Love with
Betty’, and I’m still playing with these guys as 5 In Love, we play this
traditional swing thing for lindy hop dancers, Nat King Cole, Cab Calloway,
and also some modern tunes arranged in swing like Girls Just Wanna Have
Fun, Billie Jean, Walk Like an Egyptian, and yeah, that’s my musical history.
CI: Okay, great, so what do you think it is about the electro swing style that
really attracts people to it?
JJ: The funny thing for me was, I think I’m the only one in the scene who
came from that direction, from traditional swing into electro swing, because
most people I meet, they have been DJs for techno, minimal tech house and
so on, and then they discovered the swing thing, and merged, but yeah, they
started from the other end, from the electronical end, and I come really from
the traditional end. For me it was the fascination to have this groovy swingy
stuff, also these funny tunes and these funny lyrics, and that special kind of
lifestyle, and to add some beats underneath so it works also on a modern
dancefloor. That’s also I think a challenge for me when I do a new track,
because I don’t want to lose the swing feeling too much, I think that’s a
problem if you have the original swing tunes, they often play with 180, 190,
over 200 beats per minute, so that’s too fast to do. Yeah, you can make a
techno track, a very fast techno track, so you have to slow down them, the
original material, but yeah if you add a straight beat then it loses this swing
feeling. There are many electro swing tracks which don’t really swing. At the
beginning I really had a problem with that, but now I like them too, for me it’s
something different, and yeah, this electro swing thing is, you can’t mix them
up, it’s also a completely different audience when I play for a traditional lindy
hop swing crew, also as a DJ, I never would play electro swing style because
it doesn’t fit. Other way around, it’s okay, when you play a traditional tune, a
good tune at an electro swing party then everybody is happy, but the lindy hop
dancers, it’s not possible to dance to this music like they want to, because it’s
often too fast, and loses a little bit of the swing character.
CI: Another thing, when you create songs, do you have a sort of working
process? So would you say that, I don’t know, you start off electronically, or
what would you do?
JJ: Well the funny thing is, when you caught me now I was just working on
some new ideas. I can tell you how it started for me with this electro swing
thing, it was when we recorded an album for my swing band, and it was the
first time we all did it on our own, we didn’t book a studio, we did it in our
rehearsal room with a digital mixing console and a laptop, and we forced our
drummer for the first time successfully, that we record with a click. Before we
just recorded like we played on stage, without a click, but this time we
succeeded to record with a click, so I had all these files, recorded sessions on
my hard disk, and then just for fun I played around, edited a kick bass and an
electronic high hat, and that was the beginning, so it was very close to the
original material, and I just put some beats underneath it. That’s also still my
approach, also when I have to do remixes, I like to keep it close to the original
song, because I think if a song, or music or something catches me, because it
has the structure of melody, of different parts, and yeah, I try to work with this
structure and don’t like so much to destroy it, or to mix it up completely new,
so my productions are quite, how can you call it, analogue? Or inner flow
somehow, I’m very close to the original stuff I work with.
CI: So would you say then that the way you do it is a bit different from perhaps
other, do you think you’ve added anything new to the genre?
JJ: I think, there are other producers that also produce very musically, like
Minimatic in France, and some stuff, also Bart&Baker is very melodic, and
from the British, I like very much Kid Kasino, and also some of the ghetto
swing styles, they mix it sometimes with dubstep, but I like when I listen to a
track, and then I can tell “hey, he did understand the original too, and it’s not
only taking some samples but working also with the original material with the
right musical feeling, and also respect for the original stuff”. Some productions
lack this, like they think the main thing is the beat, and then there is some
additional samples from the swing era, and yeah, it works too, but that’s not
so much the thing that catches me.
CI: One thing that I think is interesting is, there was an album released,
obviously Cab Canavaral Remixed, and I think it’s interesting that a lot of
electro swing songs are remixes of a lot older songs, but then this album is
now remixes of the newer songs that are trying to be those older songs as
well. Would you agree, or have you got anything to add to that?
JJ: With this album, Cab Canavaral Remixed, it was a special thing, I had this
original composition of myself, the original production I Dance Charleston, and
also this song I did a rework of, Why Don’t You Do Right. And together with
Dominik Tamegger, who is the master of ceremonies at the big swing party in
Salzburg, we decided we would do a remix contest, because it would be
interesting who would take part, and at the time I had just founded the label,
Billybong Records. The plan was, the winning tracks we would put on this
compilation, but we didn’t know what we could expect, who would take part,
some people we asked, like Skeewiff, and Tobi, Sound Nomaden, and also I
asked Grant Lazlo, but he had no time, but he was in the jury, so, we had a
jury and they helped us to select the tracks. These things happened just
without a big master plan behind, we do a new tune and we try to remix it,
yeah it was just an idea, we did it, and when I look back, many things I’ve
done were like this, a stupid idea maybe, and then we did it and something
comes back and then, yeah, we put it further or pushed it.
CI: Do you think there’s any kind of different relationship between the
producers and the listeners of this type of music, in this genre than in any
JJ: In electro swing?
JJ: There is a very close relationship, that’s one thing I really like about the
scene. Via Facebook and SoundCloud, the whole electro swing family is
connected, and it doesn’t matter if you are in the UK, or you are in the
Netherlands, or in Austria, or in the USA, you know each other, and you know
what everyone is doing. I don’t know that party people, are not so into this
internet thing too, from they’re interests they like to go to parties and to dress
up nicely, I don’t know if they really follow everything on the internet as much
as I do, or some members of this electro swing crew, or family, or fans. But I
think there is a very close connection, because many DJs who play the songs,
they produce themselves, and they listen to other productions and they follow
other producers, so there’s also inspiration, there’s a big exchange of ideas.
The nice thing is, about this genre, that there’s not so much struggling, so you
have two people doing the same thing and they fight each other, it’s more of a
cooperation thing. Sometimes there are competitions, this competitive way of
thinking, but I think overall it’s quite nice, and everybody tries to help the
other, and that’s a thing I like very much about it.
CI: Do you have any thoughts as to why it is that this style of music is only
sort of coming back into popularity now?
JJ: Yes a little bit, because I also played some years ago for minimal tech
parties, and stuff like this, and recently I was invited to play saxophone again
with this crew I had played with at that time, and they still do they’re thing, and
I was really bored [laughs]. And I think it’s this opportunity for the people to
dress up, there is also, some people don’t like this styling thing about it, they
just want to go to an electro swing party because of the music, but I think, I
personally like it, because it’s something special, you dress up before you
leave your home, and when you come to the party, I realise when the people
are dressed and they come to the party, they are in a very good mood. They
are partying when they enter the door, they are in the right mood, and it’s
quite nice, and also, we never have problems with aggression or fights, or
something like this, people, the crowd is really well behaved, and I don’t know
if it’s the outfit, or if it’s a special kind of people who are fans of electro swing,
or it’s the music which makes people happy, and yeah, keeps away this
CI: Just one more question I was going to ask, is, what do you think the future
is going to hold for electro swing?
JJ: In my opinion, or it’s also my development, at the beginning I was very,
only this very melodic electro swing thing, like Caravan Palace, and Tape
Five, and so on. Then more and more I accepted the housier stuff, yeah,
Parov Stelar also, he’s in between the melodic, and the housey stuff, and then
there’s very tech things, I don’t like so much, but my development, now I play
quite a lot of this ghetto swing stuff, so the slower tempi, because there, the
music swings more. For me, I always loved funk, and so this development is
more funky than the straight house thing. I still like the housey stuff too, and I
think the future will open the genre also for the soul era. I think there will be a
development, so you have swing from the ‘20s to the ‘30s, maybe also some
‘50s or something like this, rock and roll, RnB, and I think the next thing will
be, a retro groove, motown, soul, I don’t know, RnB. And you already have it,
like there are many remixes of Ray Charles, things, and they work really very
good on the dancefloor. So I think, maybe in the near future you won’t speak
so much about electro swing, but electro vintage, I don’t know. So I think this
could be the future of it.
Interview with Forsythe, 25/01/14
Forsythe is the dancer for the YouTube channel ‘takeSomeCrime’. Originally
from Canada, and now living in Australia, in 2010 Forsythe uploaded a video
of himself dancing to Parov Stelar’s Catgroove, which has since accumulated
over 18 million views, and as a result Forsythe has been invited to perform
with Parov Stelar live. Preferring to remain anonymous, he will be referred to
as his alias, ‘Forsythe’ throughout this paper.
Chris Inglis: What I’d first like to know is, how did you start off dancing, and
then specifically, when did you start dancing to the swing, electro swing style
Forsythe: Well, it didn’t start with the electro swing type dancing, before I
started dancing alone in the basement I didn’t really have any sort of training,
I suppose that’s something that’s significant, I just, my father bought me a
camera, camcorder, very cheap DV recorder, little tape inside that instead of
recording audio, it records video. But I didn’t know what to do with it, I had no
purpose for a camera at the time, I just wanted to make him feel like I was
using it, so I started using it to record my karate movements, because I was in
karate at the time, I was a kid. And yeah, after a while, I’m not sure what it
was, I’m not sure what the order was, I got inspired by something I saw on
YouTube, or I just got bored of the dancing, and I started doing things to
music and it started from there. And now on top of that inspiration piled on,
everything from YouTube, everything from the internet, or maybe some TV,
but yeah, it started off. It was a strange start, because at the time I was into
heavy metal music, not really hardcore heavy metal but something more like
Death From Above 1978 or whatever. It was a duo band, a drummer and a
bass player, from then, that went on to electronic music, because they went
on to electronic music to do MSTRKRFT type music, that’s the new band that
they made, or one of them went on, I don’t know the history exactly. But they
did a kind of, very minimalist dance type beat, and I realised that might be
okay, I wasn’t so into it before then, but I was still young at the time. And from
then on I just kept going with dance music, and when it came to the electronic
jazz stuff, electro jazz, Parov Stelar, Caravan Palace, all that type of stuff, that
just happened by accident. I just had somebody link me a song, I don’t know
who it was, I don’t remember, it was just, somebody sent it to me. I just was
inspired by that one particular song, it was the first song that I did that was
electro jazz, and that turned out to be the Catgroove song. It wasn’t exactly
practised beforehand, it wasn’t anything, I just sort of felt like it would be,
sounds like something that would be done in a suit, sounds like something
that would be done with a lot of flamboyant arm movements and that was that.
I’m not sure what more to say about that, you can stop me and ask me
something if you like.
CI: I’m wondering what it is, you went into it a bit, but is there anything specific
about the style of music that attracts you specifically?
F: Before heavy metal I used to listen to blues music, very old style, and
there’s something that really grabs on to me, both the string instruments and
really grungy sound of blues. From then on that went onto jazz, just regular
jazz, the standard stuff, and my parents made me go into piano and such, like
that, I mean I like piano and everything, but it was sort of a prerequisite so
that I may go into karate, because that’s what a kid really wants to do. The
education and music sort of went into that, and I think it just came altogether,
it was just the combination of the new dance type beat with loops from the
past all together. So the melody of the past combined with something that
makes you want to move in an energetic way, it just worked perfectly
together. It didn’t seem so much as a revival to me as it was, a good idea. It
seemed new to me, it didn’t seem like something that was like a reinvention of
the past, it didn’t seem like a re-hashing so much, but I suppose that’s what it
is when you put loops into a song, it is something like a borrowing of the past,
but I’m sure there’s new material as well.
CI: I was going to ask as well, I know on YouTube, your Catgroove video that
you mentioned before, if you type in ‘electro swing’ that’s one of the first ones
that comes up, and it’s got obviously millions of views. I was just wondering,
do you think you’ve in any way aided the movement, helped more people
F: To be honest, until you’ve mentioned me, until you’ve sent me the email, I
guess I wasn’t so arrogant to think that I could contribute so much. But it feels
good, it feels good to think that there’s some sort of contribution. There have
been people who, I’ve gotten a lot of opportunities since the first video and the
other videos, people seem to be enthusiastic about the type of dance that
seems to have spawned from that video, that initial inspiration. Part of me
wants to say that you know, no, I don’t think I’m really that involved in that sort
of thing because it’s the music that counts really, that’s what people listen to.
They get hooked on it, maybe from the dance, maybe from other ways, but it’s
the music that is the core of the movement itself. I would say that I’ve at least
directed peoples ears in the right direction, so if I can get credit for that, that’s
wonderful by me, at least in some small way. We’ll see though, it still seems
to be growing, and if I can take a larger part, if I can take part in the music
itself, then that’s good as well.
CI: Have you had any opportunities where you’ve been more directly involved
with the music since then?
F: There were a few situations where somebody was to, or at least they told
me that they wrote a song specifically so that it could be danced in that style,
to the electro swing style music, but I can’t really be certain of that. I did try
one of them, and another one that was sent to me wasn’t exactly, it didn’t
quite fit the channel, I didn’t feel too great dancing to that one so I didn’t really
do it. In that sense, I wouldn’t say that I was exactly involved with making the
music, at least that the dance or whatever I did inspired them to make the
music, so in like some kind of a not so direct way, maybe. But in the future, I
am thinking about that, or giving it a shot, I have never done electronic style
music before, or actually put something out that is of quality, played around
with it before, but who knows. There’s things, there’s opportunities still coming
out, in fact I think that I may in the future have more part in the music itself,
because I’m going to meet a lot of the artists in this coming tour in Europe, so
we’ll see, we’ll see, it’s optimistic.
CI: That’s great. I wanted to know as well, you might have to explain quite
simply for me, because I don’t know too much about dance, but if there’s
anything that makes this style of dancing any different from any other style?
F: Well it’s hard to say with definitive certainty how it is different, because a lot
of movements can look similar, a lot of movements have been inspired by
past movements that have been done long long ago, for example, there have
been a lot of videos showing that the moonwalk, that Michael Jackson
supposedly created was done long long ago by other dancers and other
artists, but he just made it famous. Not to discredit Michael Jackson or
anything, he put it together, in his own style, and all that. So I can’t exactly say
that it’s completely different from any other style, but I would say that the type
of dancing that I do to electro swing, it lets the body move together in a sort of
fluid way, in the sense that you don’t just concentrate on one part and forget
about the rest, sometimes when you do a sort of locking and popping type of
movement you let half of your body flop, like just completely relax, and then
another part does the, whatever gestures that it’s supposed to do. But in this
particular way that I dance, the legs are moving at the same time, they might
be doing a completely different type of motion while the arms are doing
something far smoother, like for example the rotation, it’s continuous, it’s
smooth, while the legs could be doing a sort of shuffle. It’s mixing, just like the
music it’s mixing something modern with something that might have been a
little bit older, for example sometimes I might do a shuffle with the footwork,
and it can just seamlessly mix in with something like the Charleston type
movement, although I didn’t know it was called Charleston at the time, it was
just something that people pointed out to me afterwards. I saw an older style
video, and I saw the footwork going like this, but I had no idea what the name
of the movement was, I just sort of imitated, and it turned out to have a name.
People started assuming what the styles were, if you were to look at some of
the comments I think that they know a little bit more about the types of
dances, the categories and such. But I’d say that everything that I see on
YouTube, whatever that is, I’m sure that contains hip-hop, breakdance,
whatever that might be, it’s all in there. So I suppose, I’m kind of thinking while
I’m talking to you, I didn’t have these answers prepared, I think that part of
what makes it unique is that there are no delineations between the styles. I
just took what I thought felt right with the music, I didn’t set out to do a hip-hop
move, and then a swing move, and then a Charleston move, and then, you
know, a modern French electro dance move or something like that, it was all
together, there weren’t any barriers there, so everything is sort of, I would say
it feels natural to do. It lets the music more or less dictate the movements. So
in a sense the music sort of wrote the dance, maybe I don’t even deserve
credit for it. I just kind of, accumulated the styles, the movement that I thought
looked good, and felt good to do, and it just sort of came together. I would
have to think about it a little more, I might need to come back to that after I
think about what the difference is between previous styles, it’s a difficult
question, it’s like, psycho-analysing the dance itself, going back into that, it’s
sort of introspective.
CI: Well yeah, we can come back to that in a bit if you want, I want to ask as
well, do you have any ideas of theories about why you think it is that it’s now,
as opposed to any other time that this movement is becoming popular?
F: Well, I know this has started quite a ways back, I don’t know what year it
started when they started doing remixes of music and loops and tracks, when
the electronic movement started, there’s all these things with repeated drum
beats starting, and repeated voice lines, and repeated instrumental tracks,
and orchestral tracks, it made it far more accessible to someone sitting in a
basement, typing away, making their music on a computer to use an
orchestral sound, like a trumpet or whatever, some oboes or something, that
would be used in jazz, in his own music, that might otherwise be quite simple
and quite dancey. Maybe it was something inevitable, I think that there is
music that the discovery of it at least was inevitable, I think that everybody
tries to explore their own, every spectrum of music through the past with these
remixes. The reason that it became popular right now, and not before, I’m not
sure. I don’t think anybody can really know that, I don’t think anybody can
really know that, it’s like also asking why the dance itself, the Catgroove
dance itself became popular at that particular time, and why did it get popular
and not some other dance? It’s got to be a combination of everything
together, like the suit, the colour of the floor, and the wall, and the dance I
suppose. But it’s just, all things timed well, and I suppose maybe also the right
people to see it, and maybe they would share it to their friends and everything
like that. I do think the electro swing movement is something that is more, at
least in America and Australia here, it’s propagated by word of mouth more
than by radio, and by anything else. So it seems sort of like, at least it began, I
don’t listen to a lot of radio, but it seemed like it began like a cult sort of
following. And maybe there was also dancing, I havn’t seen any concerts
around here anyway, it’s not as big in Australia as it probably should be I
think, but we’ll see. I hear in Europe it’s huge, it’s getting bigger and bigger.
CI: Yeah, it’s getting pretty big in Europe, yeah. I mean, that was the one final
question I was going to ask you, what do you think the future will hold, do you
think it’s going to get a lot bigger?
F: Yeah, I think it’s got nowhere to go but up. I mean of course, every genre of
music sort of plateaus and maybe peters out to be superceded by something
newer, and you know, it’s inevitable, because generations change, but I think
it’s got a lot more to go, personally I think it’s got a lot more to go before it’s
done. There’s also this delayed effect, the ripple effect where maybe it’ll sort
of die out in Europe, but it’ll just get to the United States and spread, like an
infection. So that’ll probably extend its life a little bit. But I don’t think it’ll ever
die, now that it’s here, there’s always going to be someone who just likes that
kind of music. And also, it’s not just a genre itself, it’s also just good music.
You don’t necessarily need to have, well the way that I see it, is there’s a lot of
genres out there that a lot of people just say “no, that’s not for me, I don’t like
it”, like country music, it’s had it’s time, it’s been and gone. Disco is a good
example because that had a horrible falling out, and nobody listens to that at
all, it’s just, well I don’t want to say it like that, it seems like right after disco hit
it’s high it dropped out, people started making fun of it, rock and roll came
back in and everything. But there are still somemusic, some bands out there
that just do it well, and they keep it alive, and that’s all that really matters, and
if one person appreciates it at least, which hopefully it’s more than one, then
it’s got a purpose to survive. The creativity can keep going with that particular
genre. But I can definitely see electro swing getting much bigger, because
everyone that I show, not absolutely everyone, some of the older people, well,
older people, no, older people do get it. That’s another thing that’s amazing
about electro swing, it’s got that old appeal to the older crowd, and it’s got the
appeal to the newer, to the younger crowd, so that’s maybe why it’s getting so
popular, its got aspects from each generation. So compare it to any other
generation, like for example, dubstep. I don’t think it’s got much appeal to the
older generation, the younger generation, of course they can see it and
everything like that. I’m not sure if it will go into whatever the next generation
is, but electro swing just seems to grab something classic, and puts an
inoffensive beat on there, something that’s just bouncey, something that’s just
fun and energetic. You put electro in, electro dubstep, I’m not sure what would
happen there [laughs], I don’t think it’ll be, I think its two opposites, not
exactly, but. Yeah, again, I don’t really know too much, I’m speculating just
like any other person. Maybe I dance to this music, but I don’t think that
exactly makes me an authority on the genre.
CI: Well that’s pretty much everything I was planning on asking you, I don’t
know if you have any more to say on what you were going on before, about
the dance moves?
F: What I believe makes the dance different from other styles of dance is that,
it is, just like electro swing, a delicate mix of new and old styles of music. Not
any combination would yield pleasant results. It might have been sheer luck
that I stumbled upon some movement styles that work across time and genres
in a similarly pleasing way as electro swing. In a more subtle look at the
movements, I think I'd say that unlike many types of modern dance, this one is
continuous. It tries to follow the music with every beat, not stopping motion
just to follow the melody, or the harmony. It tries to do both, which is very
exhausting by the way. Also, it might be notable that after I did the first dance
to Catgroove, I was contacted by Parov Stelar's manager and he had me fly
up to Vienna to do a live performance with Parov. He told me that I had at
least in part been responsible for the popularisation of that group. I'm not sure
about electro swing itself, but yes.
Accompanying CD track listing
Disc No. Title Artist
1 1 Smoke Rings The Casa Loma Orchestra
2 Roseland Shuffle Count Basie
3 Sing, Sing, Sing (With A Swing) Benny Goodman
4 Puttin On The Ritz Fred Astaire
5 Ecuatorial Edgard Varèse
6 Gesang Der Jünglinge Karlheinz Stockhausen
7 Love To Love You Baby Donna Summer
8 The Adventures Of Grandmaster Flash
Grandmaster Flash On The
Wheels Of Steel
9 On and On Jesse Saunders
2 1 Piano Sonata No. 2: Marche Frédéric Chopin
2 Embryons Desséchés: Erik Satie
3 Collage #1 (Blue Suede) James Tenney
4 Amen, Brother The Winstons
5 Lucas With The Lid Off Lucas
6 Swing Set Jurassic 5
7 Puttin’ On The Ritz Miss Kookie
8 Can The Frog Tap Dance? Dr. Cat and DJ Pony
9 I Dance Charleston Cab Canavaral
10 The Penniless Optimist The Electric Swing Circus
11 On The Downbeat Swing Republic (feat. Bing