One of the funkiest individuals to have emerged from bass music, last week Swindle announced a brand new album.
Swindle – Peace Love & Music will drop September 25. While in the past Swindle has worked with the likes of Deep Medi and Brownswood, for this particular project the London-based vibe enthusiast has taken things in his own hands and will be releasing the album DIY-style with the help of longstanding affiliates Butterz.
It’s fitting: the whole album is a world tour that checks in at some of Swindle’s favourite locations around the world and reflects the music he’s made during his time there with a whole host of collaborators.
I’ve just let the opportunities come to me. None of it has been contrived, I just land and ask ‘who can I work with and where can I record?’
So far all we’ve heard is the p-funk squelching, talkbox-flexing, breakbeat-busting London To LA. As far as scene-setters go, it’s as smooth as you’d expect from the man who’s just as adept at slinging dubs down as he is performing with true musical dons like Lonnie Liston Smith.
But what else can we expect? Here’s what Swindle has to say….
Peace, love and music… That’s all you need in life, right?
Yeah man, you know this!
So take us back to the start: the seed-sowing moment when the idea of the album was planted…
I’ve been working on this for three years without really realising! Since the last album I found myself touring and visiting so many exciting countries but had less time to write at home so I worked out a way I could do both; tour and write music while on the road. The first place I did it was Cape Town, then I lived in LA for two and a half months, I toured Asia twice and during all of this I found myself working with so many exciting and creative people. It dawned on me that all these tracks would work together as an album…. And here we are.
Sounds like a creative free-for-all…
Totally. I’d find myself landing in places and realising how beautiful it is and wanting to capture some music in the mood the country has put me in. Like in The Philippines, we just used recording equipment from the festival and recorded music in a little bamboo hut! Things like that can’t be planned… I’ve just let the opportunities come to me. None of it has been contrived, I just land and ask ‘who can I work with and where can I record?’
Would you have an idea or riff to play around before you go into these hook-ups or was it all blank canvas jamming business?
Pretty much jamming. Just having fun and making music together.
It’s going to be a logistical challenge with credits on the album!
Yeah it is. So many people are involved in this project. Including an entire crowd in Denver! There’s a string quartet on most of the tracks and a horn section. I’ve worked with JME, Flowdan, Terri Walker, Joel Cullpepper and TC. Joker made me an intro for the Tokyo track. Loads more people were involved too. So yeah, keeping track of the credits has been a challenge but worth it to have all these people involved!
So you mentioned The Philippines, take me to some other beautiful places around the world that influenced the album…
The Philippines was one of the most beautiful. LA is also one of the funkiest cities I’ve ever had the pleasure of working in. So much of my favourite music throughout my lifetime has come from that city. I’ve also done some amazing work with the Mungos Hifi crew in Glasgow which was beautiful too.
From LA to Glasgow… Both funky cities in their own special way.
You know what I mean? I love what the Mungo’s Hifi crew have done. Their soundsystem vibes are incredibly on point and they’re just awesome to work with. That’s the thing; everywhere I’ve travelled to I’ve found beautiful people to work with. The same flavour but served on a different dish, you know? No matter how far away you go the ultimate goal is always the same; from the DBS crew in Tokyo to the Submission crew in Denver, there’s a shared spirit between these creative hubs that deep down is the same. I keep coming across the same attitude around the world and I hope that comes through on the album.
Music planned it for me, I’m just following the path…
Like minds gravitate towards each other…
Definitely. Especially when those minds are all trying to deflect the uglier side of our music and industry. It’s been incredible to find these people out there who I know understand my own passions and inspirations.
It all sounds idyllic. But were there any down moments or darker times during these last few years? When things weren’t so sunny and funky…
Yeah of course. I moved house twice during this project which was quite an upheaval but that’s all part of it. It’s all in the music, though; while most of it is light hearted and fun, there’s moments of melancholy in there too. I guess the darkest times on the album are when we’re in the rave!
Like the TC collaboration Elevator?
Well that’s not the darkest track. It’s actually a lot more summer-minded than other tracks. It’s got the horn section on it and it’s my idea of a big summer drum & bass vibe! TC killed it on that one. It’s very different to what people would expect from either of us.
We’ve come to expect the unexpected from you anyway… Have you retained the dubsteppy roots like you did on Long Live The Jazz. Or have you evolved again?
I’m always evolving. But I’ll never forget my roots. Like everything I make, it’s a mix of everything I love. From my perspective those roots are still very much there. But to someone else they might not sound like they are. The only thing I can really say is all of it is honest. It’s not like ‘oh here’s a dubstep track, now here’s a house track, now here’s a drum & bass track’. It’s all as it was written; just me travelling the world meeting incredibly talented people, writing music that we love.
Awesome. So London To LA is the first track… When can we expect more?
The best thing about putting out the album in the way that I have is that I can make different tracks available along the way. When I play in Denver on August 4 everyone who buys a ticket for that even will get the track for free… Then I’ll make it available for everyone after that date. There’ll be more tracks revealed throughout August and September before it’s released too.
So you’re releasing this DIY-style?
Pretty much, yeah. Butterz who I’ve worked with since day one are releasing some of the vinyl and we’re going through P-Vine in Japan. But I wanted to keep it hand to hand as possible and just keep it as personal as this needs to be.
Personal being the operative word: you’ve got involved in every part of the process from writing to distro!
Yeah I have. But it’s all been very natural. This is what my life has been for the last two years. It’s not been difficult to plan. Music planned it for me, I’m just following the path…