In the mid-90s, house music broke off into myriad directions, one of which was electro swing. The genre slowly grew in popularity to the point where there’s now a yearly festival called Swingamajig in the UK dedicated solely to electro swing. While derided by many house purists, the genre and its backdrop of vintage-clothing and accessories is still very popular, particularly in the UK.
Electro swing’s influences are exactly what you’d expect. The genre takes the bottom end and drive of electronic music and fuses it with big band and ragtime tracks.
In its most basic form, electro swing is what you get when you slap bass lines and electronic dance beats on top of vintage music. The term “vintage” can mean a lot of things, but generally speaking the electro swing sound is a heavier, more driving version of big band swing music from the 1930s and 1940s with remixed vocals and the occasional nostalgic sample.
Lucas – “Lucas with the Lid Off”
“Lucas with the Lid Off” is considered by many to be the first electro swing song. Full of groove, the song is based on a Benny Goodman sample and won a Grammy for its music video.
Jurassic 5 – “Swing Set”
Los Angeles, 2000
Electro swing veers into drum and bass territory with Jurassic 5’s ode to the genre “Swing Set”. The song is a simple but funky remix of a classic big band beat with some vintage drum solo samples.
Yolanda Be Cool & DCUP – “We No Speak Americano”
Australian duo Yolanda Be Cool samples a 1956 Italian song that itself was influenced by American music from the 1940s. “We No Speak Americano” is probably the genre’s biggest hit.
Parov Stelar – “All Night”
Parov Stellar played a big part in electro swing gaining popularity across Europe, with his groovy bass lines and pop-oriented approach to sampling.
Caravan Palace – “Lone Digger”
It was only a matter of time before electro swing would show up in Paris. Funk-driven and full of energy, Caravan Palace creates a unique combination of swing, disco, and French house. “Lone Digger” hit #1 in France, Switzerland and Belgium.