Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Electric Swing Empires - Max Golfar meets Tom Hyland

Max Golfar

The Electric Swing Circus have just released their brand new EP ‘Empires’. Max Golfar caught up with head honcho and guitarist for the band, Tom Hyland, about their new release.

MG: Who are ESC and what is it all about?

Tom: We are a six piece live electro swing band, two girls, Vicky and Laura (vocals), myself Tom (guitar), Chandra (drums and keyboard), Rashad (samples, MPC & synths) and Pat (bass & bass synth). I should say as well, Bridge, our sound engineer, there’s seven of us and we all do everything together.


"we don’t want to be another Caravan Palace, we love them, but we want to push the boundaries and do something different!"


We started off in September 2012, just jamming around a mate's house and we heard electro-swing and we said: "This is amazing, let’s try make something like this."

Pat rocking out
We love electro swing and what we do is we take 1920-50s styles and give it our own twist. We don’t want to be another Caravan Palace, we love them, but we want to push the boundaries and do something different! I do consider Electric Swing Circus to be a rock band.

MG: You guys are just about to have your first release in 3 years, could you tell me what’s it called and how you went about making it and what is it out?

Tom: It’s called the ‘Empires EP’, it is a single with 3 remixes on it. It is out November 23rd. It took about two years to make. This is a real labour of love.

We did our first album back in 2013, and that we recorded in two weeks and we spent a lot of time mixing it and producing it and getting it right. We kinda rushed it and we just had to get a CD out.

This time we took a lot of time over it. We went to the studio and we recorded it, and we listened back and it didn’t have the same sort of energies that it had when we played it live. So we scrapped it and recorded it again. Tried some different things and that didn’t work and so we scrapped it and recorded it again. Scrapped some of it, recorded that again. Eventually we kind of worked out a couple of ways that we can translate when we can use to translate that live energy.

"Electric Swing Circus is all about energy on stage"


You know that sound you get when the speakers are cranked and everyone is dancing in the room, we wanted to get that onto the record. We’ve been doing a lot of experimentation to try get this record sounding right and I think we got there. Quite excited!

MG: You've also have a music video out for the single. What was the process of filming that like?

Tom: The guys who filmed it are from Rum pictures, mates of mine from school. They are genius filmmakers! They made the First Person Shooter viral video you might have seen. They’ve done loads of really cool stuff and they have also done all of our music videos in the past. It’s great working with them again.

We went down to Plymouth and there is a studio down there they used. We basically hung out for the day, shot a load of footage and they edited it together. It looks cool! It’s not something we’ve done before. The first set of videos were us performing, and the second one, which was ‘Valentine’, had a storyline to it. This one was done in a studio in front of a green screen and it’s more kaleidoscopic, things appearing, it’s just something a bit different for us! Electric Swing Circus is all about live energy on stage and we tried to get that message through the video.

MG: Aries is very well known in the Jungle scene, how did you manage to get someone like him involved in this project?

Tom: Aries is great, he is Birmingham based and he is very supportive of the Birmingham music scene. I think it is really good for someone who has had a lot of success, does travel the world and do what he does, right from the start he has been really supportive of Ragtime Records and Electric Swing Circus. It was awesome to have him on board for this.

Father Funk is also one of my favourite producers, does amazing stuff. C@ in the H@, my record label partner and one of my favourite favourite DJ’s and producers as well. For me it is amazing to have these guys on this EP. It is who I would want if I could pick it. I think these guys make absolutely amazing remixes and make amazing tracks in their own right as well.


MG: What was your first experience of Electro Swing?

Tom: Deep Henderson by Nick Hollywood. It used to be played all the time, haven’t heard it in a while. It’s an absolutely bangin’ track! Well worked song, wicked samples, goes together really well. Someone shared it on Facebook and I was like “What is this!? How can I get more of this?”. I listened to it on loop for about 10 hours! From there it was through Caravan Palace’s first album, then it went on to stuff like the Electro Swing compilation albums like White Mink.

MG: You had your Swingamajig vinyl release earlier in the year, how was that for you and should we expect more Electro Swing vinyl anytime soon?

We like putting stuff out on vinyl, it’s fun! It sounds better and we spend a lot of time getting it mastered properly and making sure it sounds right. I don’t know when our next piece is going to come out. What we also usually do is put two tracks on a side so that way we can get maximum volume and maximum sound quality. That’s what we care about with the vinyl, it’s not about a whole album or here’s all this stuff, but rather here is a couple tracks which sound really really good! No plans at the moment for a new vinyl, but surely we will at some point, just gotta work that out…


MG: You are one of the creators of Swingamajig. could tell everyone what it is, what it is all about and what can expect from it this year?

Tom: Swingamajig is a four thousand person, one day festival, from the afternoon to the early hours of the morning. It celebrates all things that are vintage inspired, there is a load of music, bands, DJ’s, magic, circus, a proper cabaret stage. It’s multi-venue, but all connected! We have swing dancing workshops, street food, a vintage market. My ideal day out!

I do all the bookings and I book what I would like to see on a day out. It’s an amazing experience to put that on. We’ve got a party and it is really good. All year out, we’re doing festivals and all this other stuff, when we’re not playing we’re always checking out other stuff and other bands and thinking who we can bring to Swingamajig. That side of it is really nice. We’re a bit of a family! This year, it is going to be a really big one!

It’s my dream! I get to organise a party for my mates. What more could you want? Cabaret stuff was a big step forward for us this year. We’re going back to the same space next year, we’re going to tweak a few of the spaces and make them work a bit better.

Tom playing at Swingamajig
There’s this thing about being able to do an event where there's 16-piece Swing bands and Jungle DJ’s, but it kind of all works and there is a flow to it. Some people want to see more of this, and some people want to see more of that but no one only wants to see this or that. They all want to mingle.

There is the broad age range too, a lot of older people doing there thing and it’s really nice for younger people and older people not just being like “Oh, I’m here with a bunch of 20 somethings” or “I’m here with a load of old people” it’s really broad and that is really nice as well.

You also don’t have to be part of the Electro Swing scene or the Vintage scene to enjoy yourself, it’s just for people who want to have fun on a day out! It’s not like some events where people are like ‘this is a 30’s event and you’re wearing a 20’s suit’, it’s not like that, everyone is welcome, everyone can do what they want, let’s just have some fun!

Buy the EP:

ESC Facebook:

ESC Soundcloud:

Swingamajig Festival: