Tuesday, 25 March 2014

The 3 Questions - Part 2

DJ Tallulah Goodtimes

If we're talking about dance music composed to make people dance, then yes, Electro Swing is proper dance music! If we're talking about is it proper electronic dance music, then certain areas of the genre are, yes - absolutely. We have skilled electronic producers cutting samples from old records (Jamie Berry and Skeewiff brilliant examples - although Skeewiff take their music way beyond the electro swing genre, if we'd like to get picky!)

To add to that, production collaborations to create new 'old' sounding tunes are all over the place (Kid Kasino feat Shea Soul / Alex Johstone feat. Leo Wood / Dutty Moonshine feat Mr B The Gentleman Rhymer) - performing with live and digital. Bands such as Electric Swing Circus, Captain Flatcap, and Jenova Collective are not only using live instrumentation, but live sample triggering in their live performances too - techniques used in the dance music domain.

Chris Tofu and Nick Hollywood (the scene's pioneers, as we know) take it everywhere from jump jive to reggae, to swing, jazz and Electro Swing. As well as producing more underground-laced cuts, Enzo Siffredi is also out performing in the 'proper' dance music scene. My latest production outing brings some rave breaks to the party and I like to play with FX and loops while I'm playing out. DJs such as Dutty Moonshine and Madame Electrifie take the genre into more glitchy territory.

When you look back to producers like Mike Dixon and Mr Scruff who made some of the earlier e-swing which was heard in underground clubs in the 00's, then it felt as though it sat comfortably in the realms of the underground - 'proper', if you like. Head over to the West Coast of America and jackin' house samples on jazz so this could also be considered 'proper'. Then of course, there are bands such as Fresh Dixie Project who are more traditional in the band sense.

The music crosses brilliantly into performance too - with acts such as Slamboree and their circus craziness. And it veers into cabaret with it's natural, cosy fit with burlesque performance.

The 'genre' is a wonderful melting pot of feel-good, fun, uplifting music that crosses live and electronic sounds and performed in so many ways. The masses perhaps still don't know what it is, yet it seems to be universally appealing whenever I go to an event. It has potential to be whatever it wants to be - a musical chameleon, loved by many.

Short answer, yes, it's proper.

Electroswing has hit the mainstream in the sense that there's a fair amount being licensed to television at the moment. Electroswing in adverts seems to be de rigeur. As with any kind of 'scene', the music will no doubt move and evolve and continue to do so as new artists bring their own take to it.

I'm sure in the coming years we'll not only see new and exciting nights, copycat nights, electroswing featuring as a genre within other genres on nightclub bills - "A night of hardcore, rave, funky house, and electro swing", for example. It will no doubt continue to feature at festivals, with perhaps more dedicated festivals. It's niche, but growing in popularity. Vive le swing!

Is it a fad or can it claim to be a bona-fide dance music genre?

Personally, I'm not that into categorisation, but if we're going there, I would probably say it's established itself nicely as a bone-fide 'sub genre of dance music'. It borrows heavily from all of the land of electronic music and then plonks itself squarely in the midst of it.

DJ Dodgy-Style, Cabaret Voltaire

“Is electroswing ‘proper’ dance music?

Yes, of course it is. People dance to it. It pounds. People take drugs and put their hands in the air like they jus' don't care. If you don't think it is then I'm sorry you don't get it. A lot of us do. 

What does the future of the genre look like?

Electroswing largely attaches itself to other genres so it will evolve with other types of music. (until we run out of tunes to bootleg.) 

Is it a fad or can it claim to be a bona-fide dance music genre?”

It doesn't need to claim to be anything. It is whatever you personally take away from it. S'lyke 1 of dem subjektiv tings, innit?

Alex Zicotron of Electro Swing Malta

How do you define 'proper dance music'? In my opinion it is quite simple: dance music is music which makes people dance. Electro Swing definitely does that  - its totally danceable music. Also, unlike some other forms of electronic dance music, it easily lends itself to dancing in pairs, true to the original swing spirit. This makes an electroswing party an interactive and fun social event like no other.

Going forward, it is inevitable that the style will evolve and mutate by merging with other styles.  Maybe it will never have the same mainstream appeal like techno or house, but then again, electroswing is many styles rolled in one. The swing elements have been merged very successfully with a wide range of styles, including hiphop, house, electro, dubstep, drum n bass and more. It is therefore a style in constant evolution which can cut across various genres and tastes. 


Is eletroswing 'proper' dance music?

Yes and no. In the beginning electroswing was mainly related to minimal and house music, so yes. But the evolution of the genre, especially in England, has brought in influences from dubstep and drum n bass. Electroswing, therefore, is more a genre of electro than a dance music genre as it encompasses so many musical styles.

What does the future of the genre look like?

In the future I think that electroswing will mix with other styles. We can already see how, like dubstep, electroswing is being used in television adverts; so one could say that the genre is becoming more mainstream. Lots of artists outside the electroswing circle are also inspired by the genre, lots of trap artists like tropkillaz for example, but also notable electro artists in France like The Geek or the Noisy Freaks.

Is it a fad or can it claim to be a bona-fide dance music genre?

The term ‘bona fide’ is linked to the aesthetic of electroswing but I don’t think it is doomed to remain a closed style. A comparison can be made between those who like to dance and dress up in period costume and those who prefer the music. The nights risk becoming specialised a bit for these two circles.

Stroke me here for Part 3

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