Detroit Swindle’s Bounce
Musically speaking, Maarten Smeets and Lars Dales stand like a totem between the Detroit of today and the Detroit of yore. But what gives these Dutch DJ/producers and house revivalists the chutzpah to actually call themselves Detroit Swindle?
“We wanted to honor our musical heritage, but not be too artistically correct or serious about it,” says Dales. “The ‘Swindle’ is our way of saying, ‘Hey man, who cares if we’re two white kids from Amsterdam? We just love funk.’ A bit tongue in cheek, but with a nice ring to it.”
The Dutch duo met in 2004, as Smeets and Dales were programming electronic and hip-hop nights, respectively, at the same club in Amsterdam. But it wasn’t until 2011, amidst a blur of camaraderie, alcohol and enthusiasm that Detroit Swindle emerged.
“We didn’t start out with an idea of making a specific type or genre of music,” says Smeets. “We stay away from defining something before it’s been created.”
Despite being wary of genres, the duo had common musical denominators. According to Dales, it was “a bit of sleaze and a swing that makes you want to keep on dancing forever” and, of course, bounce. It’s what some are calling “jackin’ house” or “swing house” (in reference to modern house, with a classic twist and a new-skool flavor), and it’s a sound that’s fast becoming the Detroit Swindle stamp.
According to the duo, the DS music-making method starts with inspiration, but certainly incorporates tasty sample packs, some nice controllers like the Native Instruments Maschine and other studio gems like a MiniMoog Voyager, a gritty MFB 523 drum machine, and a Dave Smith Mopho synth. “And if we’re spaced out from too much studio work,” says Smeets, “we yell at each other during a game of FIFA (video soccer).”
Keeping the studio vibe light certainly helps, and it seems to allow them to thrive off an intuitive sense of musicality, which is good because neither has enjoyed formal musical education. Much of their studio training comes in crash courses and tons of tutorial watching.
“It takes a lot of time to figure out what chords to play to get that melody that’s been stuck in your head all day,” says Dales. “And every time you see someone who can actually rock an instrument, it’s humbling.”
Though the guys become accustomed to working within their means in the studio, they were barely ready for the attention that their first EP…