Have A Go: Swindle

"Discovery is what I'm in it for..."
Swindle decks.jpg
With releases on both Butterz and Mala's legendary Deep Medi imprint, recent collaborations with Silkie, Footsie, Toddla T and Sam Frank and a newly christened weekly show on Rinse FM, South London's Swindle is as versatile and as talented as they come.

After first cutting his teeth alongside veteran engineer Danny C, a young Swindle worked extensively on productions for vocal artists, forging a favourable reputation with some of grime's up-and-comers. However, despite his hard work and aside from debut solo outing, the '140 Mixtape', he grew frustrated at a lack of opportunity for himself and by his own admission, knew that a complete change in focus was needed.

Six years on and Swindle is as content and confident as they come, a man fully in control of where he is and where he wants to be. With this in mind, I was fortunate enough to catch up with him in his home town of Wallington on exactly what makes him tick, struggling to sell mixtapes in Croydon and becoming an integral member of the Butterz secret society:

You've got such a refreshing outlook on music and how it should sound. Just what is it that makes you tick?

"The discovery. The discovery of a sound, a new tune on the radio. When you discover something new in music, that excitement stays with you every time you experience it. Discovery is what I'm in it for."

A lot of your early career was spent producing for other artists and working on vocal projects. How and why did you decide to leave that world behind and focus on yourself?

"Everyone I worked with and did mixtapes with were all of a sudden becoming pop stars and I realised i had to do it for myself. I guess It become clear that everyone was out for themselves so unless I was prepared to do it as just a hobby, I was gonna have to push what i wanted to do to the forefront of things or else never I never stood a chance. If I spend my whole day working for other people, where's my chance? You gotta take a bit of a risk sometimes and that's what I did."

How did your work alongside Danny C set you up for what you're doing now?

"It was a training ground for vocals. Learning how to arrange tracks, how to mix tracks. If i hadn't had that, I wouldn't be able to be as versatile as I am today and I definitely wouldn't be able to do Ignitions or Need To Knows. Now I'm doing this album as well, it's really paying off because i know exactly what I'm doing."

As you first started to push your own sound, you came in to contact with Butterz - did you ever anticipate the whole movement becoming as big as it has become?

"I didn't really know what to expect to be honest. I didn't have much going on at the time and Terror had introduced me to Elijah and he in turn introduced me to a world i wasn't familiar with. It was all good. I tell you what, it actually all started when J Sweet was mixing records in Croydon. I'd go in and sell my mixtape stuff there or I'd stand on the highstreet and drop some bits off here and there, just trying to make a name for myself. I gave J a few beats for this '100 Dubstep and Grime Instrumentals' he was running and he put a few tracks out on the compilation, one of them I'd made when I was only 18. Elijah and Skilliam must have got wind of that and started playing the tune on their shows and that was it. Everything just seems to happen by accident."

Swindle - Have A Go (Feat.Takura)



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You've branched out to record tracks with a slew of different artists over the last 12 months but whenever I see you, you always remind me 'It's still Butterz!'. What is it about the label that keeps such a talented group of producers together?

"Royal T's album on Rinse, Terror's on Hyperdub, mine on Deep Medi but on November 9th, you can catch us all at Cable for Butterz x Hardrive like it was 2007. That's what Butterz is. The parties are a whole new thing. They introduce us to a different side of Butterz; the music isn't just it - it's a like a mutual code, some secret society (laughs). I'll go to Australia and meet someone Butterz, I'll go to Scotland and meet someone Butterz. You catch someone wearing a t-shirt and immediately you feel you have an understanding. No one's tied down there or signed a contract, it's just a collection of like-minded people. Everyone's welcome as well, that's the beauty of it."

'Do the Jazz' was recently released on Deep Medi and your forthcoming debut album is also due on the label. How did that come about?

"After linking up with Silkie and Quest really. I'd swap tunes with them, they brought me on to the Anti-Social show and they consider me a part of that now. I'd send them rough ideas for tunes, we'd play a lot of the same nights and Mala would hear my stuff through that. Mala put the request in to Quest, I sent him some tunes and he took it up and that was it. I would never have expected it, but again, these things just happen. "

You've also collaborated with Toddla T and Sam Frank on 'Need To Know'. What was the story behind that?

"Toddla was the same. We chat now and then, Skype occasionally and whatever. We decided we should just get in the studio and put something together. Sam Frank happened to have a studio in the same building and he showed Sam the track and the next thing you know, we're releasing it. It was never about how many I could sell or how many plays I'd get though, it was just for the people that needed it. Some people follow what I do because it's in front of them and want big tunes all the time where as other people follow me because they want the same jazz that I do; you know the guys that share the same funk withdrawal symptoms? If 'Ignition' was for the radio then 'Need To Know' was for the heads."

How are things going with the album?

"I'm working on it at the moment and hopefully it'll be out next year. I feel good about it but I'm just trying to figure out what sort of tracks people want. I've got so much I don't finish or play here and there so it's hard to know what to put out. I'm making more tracks than I need to deliberately though. I want to make it just right you know?"

Aside from producing, you've got a new show on Rinse. What have you been playing recently?

"Kromestar and Jay 5, I've just cottoned on to this, they've got some really vibey bits coming out. In terms of albums, it's like this yeah, in no order: Roska's album, Scratcha's album, Mala - In Cuba and Royal T's forthcoming Rinse presents album. They're the albums that i've just sat back and been like 'Yeah'. And it's all mandem as well, all in house!"

Aside from the album, what else can we expect from Swindle?

"I've got another 12'' coming out before the album but I'm not gonna say who, why, when or where but it'll be more instrumental hype for the mandem."

Words by Tomas Fraser

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