Mampi Swift dropped a massive 25-track album… But you won’t find it on any streaming or download platforms.
Introducing Hidden History: a walloping collection of Swift sizzlers, slappers and stinkers through the ages. He dropped it just after Christmas and there’s only one place you can grab it. His own store.
Featuring collabs and cameos from Serum, Coda, Atom, Envi and Nimotek, the album cuts out the middle man and allows fans to support Swift directly and indulge in a collection of never before heard cuts that range from 2004 to 2021.
Every chapter of Mampi Swift and more, it’s a tour de force that captures the influence and impact he’s had on the scene in the most vibrant and energetic way possible. And if that’s not quite enough for Swift fans, he’s also remastered and reissued a whole slab of his back cat to mark 25 years of Charge Recordings. 50 tunes deep into the new year and we’re not even through January yet. What a way to kick off a new year!
We called him up to catch a vibe and this is how it went down. In a strange twist of fate it’s published exactly two years since our last interview with Mampi, when he dropped the heavily emotional Victory Rose in memory and tribute to his parents, read on to find out why he’s in such an inspired and exciting place right now.
How are you Mr Swift?
I’m working my backside off! You know how it is; these things come in waves so when the waves come, I’m riding them in that studio, grafting from morning until night!
Yes! When did this new wave start?
Well I’d been in the studio a bit but then this project came from me finding all these DATS. It blew me away; so many projects I’d previously lost. I’d lost all the recordings, all the stems, vocals. I thought they were long gone.
Where did you find it?
Over my mate’s house. Graham. He looks after all my stuff. He’s meticulous and his collection is so much better maintained and preserved than mine. So we’re going through old dubs and I pull out one and it’s like, ‘Hang on, that’s my tune!’
It was so weird. Some of those tracks I wrote amidst absolute madness and turmoil in my life and forgot about them. It was like ‘Wow!’ So that inspired me a lot. I had six tracks that needed finishing but after that I spent three weeks going through all of the DATs and really bringing everything together.
What’s great is that it captures the ages and eras of your career. All the chapters and flavours!
Definitely. There’s a couple of real favourites on there that take me right back. There’s a track called Headz which is steppier and darker tune of mine which I was going to give to Goldie but I never got to finish. That’s one of so many. I mean there were many more that I wouldn’t include on the album. Some that were laughable! But other ones were very powerful and emotional. I started welling up listening to them. Remembering where I was in life, what I was doing, periods in life I’d forgotten about. Heavy stuff.
Nothing like music to bring back memories. When you found these did you instantly think ‘album?’
At first it wasn’t going to be an album, it was more of a dubpack. But then I kept finding more tracks and got more and more into the project and quickly realised there was more to it than a dubpack. It felt like an album. This is a legacy project, you know? And from that moment when I thought that, it was done in three weeks.
And you know the beautiful thing? I’ve made a lot of tracks in the last few years, and I’ve been very happy with some of them, but I’ve not been in the full music zone like this. I’ve been making tracks like I used to; purely for creativity’s sake, purely for fun. There’s no thoughts like ‘ah I need a deeper one, I need a vocal one etc.’ None of that.
This was pure creativity. Like bang bang bang. Like I was a kid again! No boundaries, just writing, writing, writing. As long as I like it, I’ll put it out to the people. If they like it, it’s a bonus.
Previously in some of our interviews you’ve spoken of leaving a tune to mature before you release it. There was none of that with these now though, right?
Haha. No. Obviously some tracks are old now so they have incubated for years now, but there was no parts so they needed a lot of editing and cutting. Andy Coda who does ATS Mastering now he mastered it all and got it sounding fantastic. There were a few tracks that needed some serious doctoring and he put them in surgery!
He smashed it. There’s a real consistently. He’s on the album with a remix he and Serum have done of A Touch Of J. Is that from the DATs?
Nah that’s from a few years ago and it’s been sat there. The more I thought ‘album album album’ the more I wanted to throw every track I could in there. Give the people something good!
Loving the fact it’s gone direct to fans. That must be a good feeling?
Very good! Haha. I don’t know if doing it this way was part of why I felt so free and no pressure. Just vibe – do something that’s good, that’s it. Whatever happens, it’s all good. No moments like ‘ah it needs this bit here or there.’ None of that.
Even down to length of tunes. I’ve had conversations with a lot of artists about track length for Spotify. How bad is that? Already, before you even write a tune, that’s affecting your subconsciousness in the studio. You’re changing what you’re doing because of Spotify! That’s not right! So on this album you’ve tracks that are 5,6,7 or 8 minutes long. Even with the new tracks they are as long as they need to be. None of this ‘oh we’re getting close to 4 minutes, let’s wrap this up’ business.
Yes! Last time we spoke, you talking about about updating your legacy on Spotify and making sure there was something up to date to reflect you if people checked for you on there. Times have changed in the last two years. Artists and labels are pulling their catalogues off Spotify…
When it comes down to it, this geezer is lording it, but all of us who he’s become a billionaire off are struggling to pay bills! It’s a slap in the face! At what point did a musician stop earning money from making music? This has shown there’s another way to do it.
Let’s talk about money. I know not everyone likes to but let’s be real; it’s nice to earn some money for something you’ve created. You don’t think about it when you’re making music, you’re thinking vibe, but this is a career after all. It doesn’t matter what you do – you work hard, you want to get paid for it.
Totally! There’s always been the ‘home taping is killing is music’ thing about piracy but this is just brazen now. It reflects the world full stop in every sector doesn’t it?
Totally. And the little people get shat on once again. Yet we still obey these rules and laws every time. Spotify is a very sad and accurate reflection of the world. Super rich billionaires getting richer while we all get poorer. People spend years and years on albums and they can’t make money.
Then they try and suggest that touring balances that out but touring should pay additionally because that’s hard work too!
Exactly. And of course touring is promo for the music but, if you’re making nothing off the music, then it is very worrying. You have to be savvy and find these moments when you can do things that beat the current system.
Like this album! It’s testament to your relationship with your fans…
You’re bang on there. The love I’ve been shown is fantastic. I remember posting about music in the past and people said, ‘How can I buy this so the money goes to you?’ They don’t have to do that, they can check it on various platforms for free, but they want to do that. How cool is that? Especially when some of us were struggling to pay bills last year. Some don’t like to admit that but I was definitely struggling at points last year to feed my family.
So to be in a position to work with my fanbase in this way – to give them something and to receive something directly back – is a godsend. It’s corny but this album is something for my fans. Without people supporting us we are nothing.
Don’t get it twisted; when you’re hot and it’s your time, the phone doesn’t stop ringing, the emails don’t stop coming in, your diary is full, you’re going over the world, it’s amazing. But it doesn’t stay like that. And when you’ve been on a journey like mine then you have a deep deep appreciation for these moments. Appreciation for the fans, the promoters booking us, everything.
I love that! Let’s appreciate some others on the album. Big up Atom, Envi and Nimotek.
Atom is my man! He’s been by my side and helped me steer the ship for a long time. He’s a very creative person and his talent is undeniable. I wouldn’t be here chatting to you now without Adam’s support and the hard work he does on Charge Recordings.
Then Envi and Nimotek. Both Manchester boys who are so so so talented. D&B is so big now that it’s taking a long time for talents to rise to the top and it’s great to showcase new talent on the album and hopefully there’ll be more from them in the future on Charge.
Brilliant. So what’s coming up from you next?
Mate I’ve been busy! So I’ve just put out my back catalogue as well as this album so we’re only a few weeks into January and I’ve already got 50 tracks out there. I’ve eclipsed the last 10 years!
But there’s a hell of a lot more coming. I don’t want to tempt fate but there’s some great music that’s just about to be finished off. Some interesting collabs and some very fresh material. More than I have in a long time. I’m ready for a good run.
Hidden history is a line in the sand, but the wave is still there and you’re still riding it!
100%. The album gave me that boost again to get into the studio and stay there. Remember we spoke about my set I did on lockdown for Drum&BassArena and we were talking about how I could go in and just do me. Well it’s the same with production. For whatever reason, it’s having that realisation of why I’ve always done what I’ve done and why I love it. Getting back to that original vibe and being creative. It’s amazing and very liberating.
Yes! And a fresh slate post-lockdown. None of those worries or feelings of limitations that we’ve spoken about in previous interviews…
You’ve hit the nail on the head mate. And the gigs I’ve got coming up reflect that. I can go out and be me. When I’m feeling free that’s when I’m being my best self and that’s when you get the best me. I’m really looking forward to this year man…