Most of my musical favorites over the years have been artists that don’t only rely on computers, synths and samples, but also use real instruments in their productions in combination with electronic beats.
I have been listening to a lot of Electro Swing lately, and many releases just consist of old Swing records samples. However, the better releases are made by real musicians that try to combine traditional music with modern production methods.
A nice example for the latter are the Swingrowers from Palermo (Italy). Here is a live recording by them so you can get an impression of what they sound like:
I also did a little interview with them to learn more about their background:
Marvis: “First of all, could you tell me about how the Swingrowers were founded?”
Swingrowers: “We had already worked together for another project, as singer and sound engineer. We both left a sign in one another: Pisk was hit by Loredana’s voice, warm and sensual, as he calls it. Loredana was charmed by the passion and hard work ‘of a boy who never grows tired of entering the sound’.
Once we had known electro-swing it was easy to found the band Swingrowers: We knew we could do beautiful things together in the music.
Marvis: “How did you get in touch with Electro Swing in the first place?”
Swingrowers: “Pisk was a well known Drum&Bass-DJ in Palermo when he came in contact with Electro Swing the first time in 2009 and he started remixing old Swing tracks.
Loredana sang in a big popular orchestra and she got to know elecro-swing in 2010, when she listened to an album from Caravan Palace, which she fell in love with. That’s when she decided to propose Pisk her project of putting an Electro Swing band together. And that’s when Swingrowers were born!”
Marvis: “Sweet Headache has an international readership, so it would be interesting to hear your subjective impression on the local music scene. Could you tell me a bit about the local music scene in Palermo?”
Swingrowers: “Palermo’s music environment is very lively and heterogeneous: a lot of music genres are played, from Rock to Jazz to Electronic and Pop. There are thousands of new talented bands but it’s very hard for them to become well known because they are given a very few chances.
For example, we are finding way more chances around Europe than in our town, where you’re supposed to knock on every door, and most of them are hopelessly shut.
Palermo is an artistic town, but it lacks a proper network for music.”
Marvis: “How do you produce your music? Do you mostly sample old records or do you compose your tracks yourself?”
Swingrowers: “We compose in different ways. As for inedited tracks, our standing point isn’t always the same, sometimes it’s the base, sometimes the lyrics, it depends on which one of us gets the idea first.
In some of our tracks we have used small samples from old discs, sometimes we like an old style track and we remix it all. In our productions we always try to experiment new sounds using different stiles. We are currently collaborating with Gipsy Hill from London and Sweet Life Society from Turin.”
Marvis: “What have been your experiences while playing live so far? Which gigs did you enjoy the most?”
Swingrowers: “Our debut took place on the Hoppa Fest stage. Hoppa is a festival which is held every year around Palermo and hosts tons of local artists and international stars.
After Hoppa, we jumped only on small stages around Town, but recently we have been on tour outside Sicily: from Turin’s Swing Circus to Electro Swing Club, which was held in London’s Book Club, and is so far the performance that gave us the huge possibility to show ourselves our worth! People welcomed us with such a warmth and energy we never expected.
In a few months our gigs have multiplied and new things are waiting: we’re going to tour around Europe, from U.K. to France, Germany and Belgium. Once we’ve crossed the Italian border, it was a gigantic emotion!”Image: ARScromica Photo – Domenico Stagno // CC-by-nc-nd