Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Swingamajig 2017 - part 3 - Chicken Brothers

Last but not least in this year's Swingamajig preview are the mighty Chicken Brothers - pioneers of the scene in Liverpool and festival fields around the land, scratch maestros and all-round good eggs. One member of the flock has just flown back in from Oz, setting a new world record for 'Longest Flight by a Chicken' in the process, so the answers are a little brief, but entertaining and informative none-the-less.

Jack: You’ve played a few Swingamajigs now – can you share your best memory of the festival, if you can remember any of them?

Our favourite memory would have to be at the first ever Swingamajig — playing the closing set with an audience made up of loads of UK producers, DJs and performers all getting down and interacting. A particular highlight of that set was when Odjbox approached us to request some Odjbox... He also went on to say that we were top of the list of people to play the electro swing office Christmas party, being "the dj's DJ..."

Jack: The Chicken Brothers have a habit of popping up during other people’s sets – have you got any guest appearances planned?

Not due to do any cameos at Swingamajig this year as we will be working all day helping to run the event in different areas. But we will be on hand to play the opening set at the after party, and as a reverse cameo we have our newest member Mike coming down on rooster duties [I think that means MC duties. Ed.].

Jack: You have a hand in loads of events and festival stages and so on. What is it that sets Swingamajig apart from other festivals?

Swingamajig is special to us because we have been involved in it from the beginning, and now help to run various areas of the production as well as perform. It's filled to the brim with our favourite acts, producers and DJs. Plus the crowd are next level awesome! It's a solid date in the diary every year.

If you've got your ticket yet, I think there's still a few left, but don't delay. There's so much more to do in addition to the music. I've been asked to take part in some sort of table-football event, so watch out for that; there's dance classes, something called the Bacon Cheeseburger Pie which sounds life-changing (or perhaps life-ending), and performances from the likes of Oh My God It's The Church, magicians and all sorts of scantily clad ladies. The festival's tagline is 'A show like no other'. They're not wrong. It is, as Odjbox said, the vintage remix world's office party, so there'll be some tired legs and sore heads come Monday morning.

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Swingamajig 2017 - Part Two - Dutty Moonshine

Next up in the Swingamajig preview series is Mike aka Dutty Moonshine. Mike is not only a pioneer of the vintage remix sound, but he's also one of the most energetic and innovative people in the scene, always pushing boundaries. He's got a reputation as a shit-stirrer and a party-starter, is wanted for crimes against electro-swing, nature and common decency. Approach with caution. 

Jack: How important a role has Swingamajig played in bringing new vintage remix acts to the world?

Dutty Moonshine: The vintage remix worlds owes a lot to two places, the Mayfair field of Boomtown and the big, bad and heavy Swingamajig.

Swingamajig is one of those places that when you get asked to play it is a nod of recognition. The guys running it have such a finger on the pulse and they're providing such an amazing platform for some of these artists - to play in front of 4000 fans of the scene - that all the acts should be turning up with chocolates and flowers for the production team.

When Swingamajig says you're good the world listens.

It's also a who's who of the scene, so many people in the crowd run events or are acts that may have played previous years or the near future, bring your A game or don't bother coming.

Jack: Youve played at Swingamajig a few times, but i gather this time its not a swing set... what can people expect?

Dutty Moonshine: They can be expecting what I'm good at, mash up DJ-ing! It was mash up DJ-ing that got my early contacts which helped me launch Dutty Moonshine; it was mash up DJ-ing that gave me the idea of fusing big dutty basslines with swing music and it is mash up that will forever push me forwards to work out what you can and can't do.

I'm going to be rocking a big-ass-multi-genre party set and I'm bringing backup in the shape of DJ Binge. He's the DJ in the big band on stage and he's the DJ that inspired me hugely back in the day with his style.

Tom (of Electric Swing Circus and Ragtime Records) specifically asked me do a party-style set because while Swingamajig is a vintage remix festival it's also so much more. Hence seeing acts like Document One and Freestylers on the bill. Tom knows this is what I'm best at and he's asked me to unleash the fucking mayhem!

He also knows Dutty Moonshine is one of the few acts that can follow the Correspondents when it comes to high octane energy music. I hope you're getting your cardio in now, you thought my vintage remix sets were good wait until you hear this set!

We're going to be slaying party and bass tunes on 4 decks like there's no tomorrow.

Jack: Describe Swingamajig in three words.

Dutty Moonshine: Decadent Dastardly Mayhem

Next up, find out what the motherclucking Chicken Brothers have to say...

Monday, 24 April 2017

Swingamajig 2017 - Part One: Madame Electrifie & Emma Clair

When I was asked if I wanted to cover Swingamajig again this year there was only one sensible answer. A big fat, hairy yes.

There'll be the usual JtC review appearing at some point after the event, [watch out for the traditional 'I don't remember what happened after this...' line] but by way of a preview I've been in touch with some of the people playing at this year's festival to ask them what makes it such a special event.

Speaking for myself, I love any event where a huge chunk of the vintage remix family are together in one place; I feel sure that having all these amazing artists together in the same place has provided the catalyst for some cool collabs and innovative projects. The crowd at Swingamajig are always a super-friendly, stylish and hard-partying lot, the importance of which cannot be overstated. But what really makes the event special, for me, is the time, care and attention that the Ragtime Records and ESC put into it all - they love this scene, they love this sound, and that really shines through.

First up, I spoke to Jo, aka Madame Electrifie, who played at the first ever Swingamajig way back in 2013.

Jack: What was the best performance that you’ve seen at Swingamajig over the years? 

Madame Electrifie: There are too many to try and remember, it’s been great to see electric swing circus grow and develop into the amazing live act they are now over the years. And Smokey Joe and the Kid are a definite contender, I’m really looking forward to seeing them again this year.

Jack: How has the festival evolved and grown over the years? What have been some of the changes that you’ve liked most? 

It’s quite crazy how long it’s been running, I just had to check back and see that the first one was 2013 which is mad. I remember the first year was like a huge meeting point for all these artists that I was aware of musically but had never seen in person, I made so many long-term friends from that event, people I’ve since had the privilege of playing alongside many times. I was unable to make it last year so I am really interested to see how much it has grown since my last visit.

I like the fact that although Vintage Remix and Electro-swing are still at the heart of the event, the festival has grown and adapted as the scene has. There are some people who have been involved in the scene right from the start, so of course their sound and influences have developed over that time, which is great as it would be a bit repetitive otherwise. The festival has developed to accommodate that development whilst still offering a good slice of vintage action for the new comer. Bringing in acts from the Ghetto Funk and Breakbeat world really helps add another dimension to the programming, which is important to add some variation to the event and keep in interesting.

Jack: What has been your own personal favourite set (i.e. that you played), and what do you think you’ll be spinning this time around?

My first ever swingamajig set was so much fun, way back when! Although I couldn’t see over the decks if I remember, which happens far too often!

This year I’m playing before The Freestylers (WAAAAA!), one of my favourite acts of all time, so I’ll be visiting some old-skool breaks influences and splicing these with my all-time favourite floor filling electro swing tracks that have rocked previous years at Swingamagic – it’s one place you know the audience will want to hear them, so it’s going to be a bit nostalgic, but in a good way, and you know, banging too!

Next I spoke to one of the UK's most up-and-coming electro-swing DJs, Emma Clair

Jack: This is your first year performing at Swingamajig – have you been as a guest before?

I’ve never been to Swingamajig, as I have always been tied up with DJ gigs! So the fact it’s my first time performing and my first time experiencing the wonders of the festival itself, is unbelievably exciting!

I’m honoured to be playing the closing set on the Vintage Terrace with my partner in crime, Andy McBain who will be bringing an element of live performance to our set with his amazing clarinet skills! (shameless plug haha)

Jack: Who are you most excited about seeing perform?

Argh.. there are so many amazing acts on the lineup, it’s hard to single anyone out! But, for me, it has to be Elle & The Pocket Belles! I’m in love with their song “Swinging Together”, and I still regularly play it in my DJ sets.

I’m also really excited about seeing Sam & The Womp – they definitely bring the ‘fun’ element to Electro Swing, which is something I always try to push too!

Also The Electric Swing Circus (honest – Tom didn’t ask me to say this, it’s actually true) – They absolutely blew me away when I booked them to play at Prohibition earlier this year, so I can’t wait to see them in action again!

Jack: What about the sideshows and other entertainment – what tickles your fancy there?

Ooh again, this is really tough, there is so much going on!!!

I’ve heard good things about Vicky Butterfly, so I am looking forward to seeing her do her Burlesque thing.

The Swing Era Dance workshops are definitely on my list of things to check out!! I’m hoping to pick up some moves to bust out on the dancefloor… that’s the plan anyway…

And finally.. I will be paying the food court a visit! I’m hoping for some vintage treats to satisfy my extremely sweet tooth! 

Watch this space for Part 2. dropping later this week, and featuring the Chicken Brothers and Dutty Moonshine!