Words: James Keith
Photography: Elliot Young

One of the few consistencies in Swindle’s back catalogue is his love of jazz and funk. Recent releases like the Purple Walls EP, have seen Swindle immerse himself in the sounds of classic 1970s funk and soul, but those jazzy melodies and funk-filled rhythms can be heard coursing through every one of his productions. Whether it’s dubstep, grime or something altogether different, it’s always present. Stateside artists like Childish Gambino and The Internet have done huge things in that field, bringing it into 2018 and exporting it internationally, but Swindle’s take on the sound contains an element that could only come from the UK.

One of the producer’s biggest, and most critically-lauded, releases to date would have to be his second album, 2015’s Peace, Love & Music, a magnum opus that not only took us on a transatlantic journey, but also gave us more of his songwriting skills than we’d seen before. “If I hadn’t have gone [to LA], I wouldn’t have made it,” he said in a Dummy interview last year. “I felt I had to go out there to make music different from the sort of stuff I was producing at the start of my career.” The result was an ambitious project that incorporated countless live instruments and musicians, as well as standout guest appearances from Jme, Terri Walker, Ash Riser (on the unforgettable lead single “London To LA”), Flowdan, Mungo’s HiFi, TC and more.

Swindle’s roots, however, were a lot more DIY than the cinematic-level projects he works on today. He started out, as most of his grime and dubstep contemporaries did, making dubs for his DJ sets, the most incendiary of which would be rounded out into full tunes. That seems to have changed around the time he fully connected with the Butterz crew, working with more and more different vocalists and expanding his sound beyond its foundations. 2014’s “Walter’s Call” proved another pivotal moment, giving us one of his best-loved uses of jazz (although he’s been drawing on its influences since his first releases). The skittish brass samples and racing percussion introduced us to a whole new side of Swindle that would end up flourishing in exciting and unpredictable ways as the years went on.

In 2018, and after two albums and countless EPs and singles, Swindle’s music is still evolving. The one constant—if you can call it that—is the continuing pursuit of new sounds around the world. The funk and soul element can still be heard on recent tracks like the Mahalia and Kojey Radical-assisted “Water” and the Purple Walls EP before it, but 2016’s Connecta EP saw him immerse himself in all manner of Latin genres and subgenres. That musical wanderlust is something that doesn’t seem to be slowing down either.

It’s been three years since Peace, Love & Music, and we’ve only had the one single this year. A gambler might suggest the reason for that is Swindle’s been traveling the globe, looking for inspiration for album number three. Whether or not that’s the case, and we really hope that it is, what better time than now to look back at Swindle’s career?

Here are 20 reasons to love Swindle.

Posted on September 06, 2018