Phonica Mix Series

Phonica Mix Series 60:
Detroit Swindle

PhonicaGuestMixDetroitSwindle-BlogAmsterdam-based DJ and production partners Detroit Swindle serve up an hour-long disco, boogie and house fuelled recording for the 60th edition of the Phonica Mix Series. 

Lars Dales and Maarten Smeets, better known as Detroit Swindle, are best known for their distinctive brand of smooth and groovy deep house, which over the years has been picked up by such labels as Dirt Crew, Tsuba, Freerange to name but three. In 2013, Dales and Smeets launched their own imprint, Heist, which has seen a series of house-focused releases from Max Graef, Frits Wentink, Nachtbraker and Fouk – as well as the impressive second full-length album High Life from the Swindlers themselves.

Ahead of their forthcoming three-track EP on AUS Music, we caught up with the guys to hear about their past, present and future plans. Check out their superb mix recording and interview below.

Hey guys, how’s it going over there in Amsterdam? 

 Maarten: We’re good! busy as always and but actually just coming back from a few days off in Florence, where we’ve pretty much eaten all the pizza’s and pasta’s in the world. 

First of all, can you tell us a bit about the mix? Were there any particular thoughts or themes behind it?

Lars: We wanted to make a mix that we feel represents our broad style in one hour without having the feeling it’s rushed. We tried to select tracks that are either brand new, unknown classics or just tracks that we’ve recently rediscovered. We wanted to give the feeling of a night out curated by us, playing an all-night set. The mix starts out with some high paced disco and gradually makes its way to more percussive and classic house. The end is a bit more psychedelic to pay homage to the after-hours.

We’ve included some brand-new Heist recordings releases in there. Fouk’s Truffles is a high energy dance floor destroyer, while Perdu’s Morbid takes it’s time and gradually takes you in. Also, as a world premiere, we’ve included the A1 of our new EP on Aus Music; Wado Baya. This EP will drop next month, and we couldn’t be prouder of our first EP outside of Heist recordings in 4 years. 

Let’s talk about the clubbing culture over there in The Netherlands. How do you feel things differ from here in the UK?

Maarten: There are similarities between clubbing in The Netherlands and in the UK as well as differences. In the UK, clubbing feels like a natural step for the youth to discover themselves, their desires, their boundaries, whereas in Holland, we’ve seen a transition where clubbing has really become a ‘logical’ step during a night out and it doesn’t feel like it’s very much about discovery that much. It’s all organised (and regulated) so well, which has pros and cons. On the plus side, we’ve got a great way of experiencing clubbing and festivals, but on the other side, the regulations also make things very predictable. You really have to make an effort here to stand out and to deliver a unique experience, and fortunately, there are still quite a few promoters that go the extra mile to deliver that. The best example right now for us is the team behind Wildeburg and Into the Woods, who’ve created a festival experience that’s a safe space just as much as an opportunity to lose yourself and discover something completely unexpected. From another perspective, whenever we play in the UK, we’re always amazed by the energy in the crowd and how educated some of the very young clubbers are. Musically, it’s lovely to experience something like that. I think there’s also a trend in both countries right now towards more high energy music with styles like progressive and trance making quite a comeback. Musicality and openness are both super important to us and it feels like we’re living in a time where these values are really appreciated, both in Holland and in the UK.

So there are similarities, just as much as there are differences, but I’d say the biggest difference is the way we dress up. You guys always go completely over the top with makeup, bedazzling and crazy outfits. You’ll always be able to spot the UK ravers, wherever you are in the world.

What does the future of Amsterdam’s electronic music scene have in store for us and who are the newcomers we need to keep an eye out for?

Lars: The Amsterdam scene is so vibrant and there’s a lot of musicians making amazing stuff. What we especially like is seeing crossover bands and musicians making an impact on the electronic scene like Jungle by Night, who worked with us on our album last year and have just released their new album on Rush Hour, with guys like Ron Trent doing a remix. To see a brass band connect to our part of the scene like that is great. The same goes for the Mauskovic Dance Band who are back on Soundway with their new release. In that style, there’s also a couple of great DJ’s that are slowly but surely gaining a wider audience like Max Abysmal or Woody ’92. On the more electronic side, we’ve got Tracey and Darling who are both redefining their own sound and creating their own space in the scene with their warm electro inspired sounds. Carista as a DJ is doing great, as is Bobby Masalo who is also an amazing producer. I haven’t even mentioned the artists we’ve got coming up on Heist like Perdu and Fouk and I could go on and on about people around us that are doing inspiring things. 

What’s your preferred method for finding new music – do you still enjoy digging around in dusty crates or do you prefer to buy online? 

Maarten: Due to limited time, our digging is done mostly online, but whenever we get a chance to stick around a city a bit longer, we always try to visit a few records stores. The thing is, Youtube, Discogs and social media are a great source of inspiration and there’s so much to discover just by browsing through those channels. Especially in terms of electronic music, so much has already been documented. Still though, I love going to a record store and getting tips from the locals or just browsing through the crates. There’s also a thing about putting a record on, that gives a different listening experience than just listening on your headphones at home. The music comes alive straight away and you get emerged in it. There’s simply nothing like it.

Could you share with us a couple of your all-time favourite record labels?

Maarten: If you say ‘all time’ favourite labels, I immediately start look at labels that have been around for ages. Retreat is one of my favourites, as is Thumpin! Records and Prescription, to name just a few. There’s also a handful of labels I always check whenever a new release pops up. Labels like Soundway, Honest Jon, Hot Casa, FXHE, Rush Hour, Peoples Potential, etc… Too many to mention!

And how about your own label Heist. Can you tell us what you have coming out over the next few months? 

Lars: We’ve got a really nice year, with a lot of focus on Dutch artists. Not that we planned it that way, but it just happened. We’ve just released the new Fouk which is amazing, and we’ve got Perdu coming up with a banger of a remix by DJ Boring. We’re doing a new one just after summer which is quite classic Detroit Swindle and we’ve got 2 new signings coming up, one from Canada with his roots deep into the (jacking) house scene and one from Holland by 2 really talented young producers, as well a new one by Pitto, whose last release on Heist came in a bit under the radar, but was really timeless and still is a release we love playing.

What does the rest of 2019 have in store for you guys? A busy summer ahead we expect… 

Lars: It’s gonna be a busy summer indeed, although we’re taking a few weeks off mid-July, cause Maarten’s wife is expecting her 3rd baby around that time. So that’s going to be busy for him, even though there’s a short pause in shows ;-). May and June are going to be really busy with shows across Europe, festivals in Egypt, France, Estonia and the UK. We’re also going back to the US for a weekend where we have Smart Bar on a Friday, and a pride party in New Orleans. In between shows, we’re finishing a really fun remix, doing an edit of a classic house track and finishing our upcoming EP. We’ve done a few studio sessions with other artists as well early this year and we’ll be finishing that music in the coming months. It’ll be hectic and super fun; with loads of great places we’re visiting and new music to share. 

Thanks, guys! 

 Check out the previous mixes in the series here:


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