Swayzak's Minimal Attitude

With a few artist albums (Snowboarding in Argentina, Loops from the Bergerie, Route de la Slack), a compilation on Fabric (Fabric 11) and so many 12" releases, Swayzak sound has been changed from year to year, developed and refreshed, and it's now a polish copy of what we call minimal deep house and techno.

Swayzak means union in Polish. It also means music. They are James Taylor and David Brown, two London based musicians. Swayzak have been making music for years but instead of rushing into releasing it they have taken time to develop their own style and learned to coax the maximum from their machines. This is evident in the maturity and depth of their music- in fact it was only by a friend threatening to press up their first record that they finally got the impetus to release it!
Swayzak also runs a project named Serieculture. Originally based on the human league's "being boiled" lyric stating "stop your sericulture". Taken from a Swayzak live recording in Luxembourg 2001, and then edited by Roger 23, the result was released Serieculture 1-4 on Swayzak imprint Voltmusik in 2005. Brun and Roger "23 " Reuter met in Saarbrucken, Germany in 1998, where Roger co - runs a record store. Strutting around town, Brun and his Swayzak partner,James, came across the store as it closed but promised to return the next day to explore new music. On their return, Roger introduced them to some fine, and strange music. Likewise he had never heard Swayzak, and Hence became one of their biggest supporters. They have remained friends and collaborators ever since.

The attitude was to make good music and with minimal equipment but now I hear overproduced minimal tunes and it seems everyone is calling their music minimal. We just stumbled upon a sound and we didn't have much equipment...
Beat Factor: How are you guys doing? In case you're viewers of the international football championship, what's you're favorite team?

James Taylor: Very well thank you. Bit hot. I'm rooting for any African team...Togo, Angola
David Brown: Argentina – since we named our album Snowboarding in Argentina in 1998. And they have the classiest style!

Beat Factor: Beside the Swayzak record label, you also run 240 volts. Regarding this one, where do you want to come with it, as you mentioned that "this is not a business concern but a love of good underground music"?

David Brown: Yes, that's it – we just have fun releasing good music! If somebody worked for us it would help...
James Taylor: It's for fun and to release the music that otherwise would not get out. So many labels are releasing to sell the most possible; luckily that has never been problem for us.

Beat Factor: Have you discovered any talented pretenders in order to release on 240 volts? How would have to sound a track to fit the label's requirements?

James Taylor: Not sure about talented pretenders, but many fine talent s have drunk tea on our sofa: Richard Davis, Konrad Black, Reiky, Roger 23. Basically the track has to be interesting and good and strange.
David Brown: Many good artists such as Konrad Black and Roger 23 we came across by accident! I think James answered the rest....

Beat Factor: After a history of music, you released in this spring a double CD called Route de la Slack, first one containing remix and the second one some original tracks. Can you speak about this new material, regarding the main idea, the main aim and the reason you did it?

David Brown: I think it is about compiling all those odd mixes and tracks we did for other labels and putting together in a nice way. People always ask for this and that track so we put them together.
James Taylor: It is a sideways look backwards. Not a best of, nor a history, more of fluff found under the bed.

Beat Factor: What happened with Swayzak Recordings lately? Do you plan some new releases on this record label?

James Taylor: Yes. When we want to.. it's sleeping nicely right now. We don't want to wake it up too early.
David Brown: Maybe Swayzak 013 will come this decade.

Beat Factor: You have released three album CDs on this label K7, which is a quite impressive work. How did you get in touch with this record label? Also, what's the story behind this stuff?

James Taylor: A history of accidents and chance, like life. Right place, wrong people, right time.
David Brown: We met someone who worked there and they were big fans of Swayzak, so we sent the A&R guy a demo and he liked it; that's it.

Beat Factor: How would look like a Swayzak live performance? What hardware and other equipment do you use when touring?

David Brown: Laptops, Mackie mixer, several effects units and sometimes a drummer!
James Taylor: Laptops, pedals, mixer, cables, beer, water.

Beat Factor: Minimal house is the term which defines your sound. Do you consider this style of music as an attitude or simply herd spirit?

David Brown: The attitude was to make good music and with minimal equipment but now I hear overproduced minimal tunes and it seems everyone is calling their music minimal. We just stumbled upon a sound and we didn't have much equipment – a 2 meg sampler, a sequencer, a drum machine and a synthesizer that's all we had! Oh and some imagination.
James Taylor: I don't know. Its all techno to me. Minimal is just to try to be efficient with limitations.

Beat Factor: How much money comes from music nowadays? Especially your kind of music?

Features Archive

[2008]

Swayzak's Minimal Attitude
PUBLISHED

July 2, 2006 at 8:15 PM CEST

WORDS

Dragos Rusu

David Brown: Not much but I don't have any other job. If I played every weekend 2 or 3 gigs I could be rich but I like living more normally and taking a break from flying around. Actually I feel bad about flying these days, I prefer the train!
James Taylor: € 45,678

Beat Factor: Do you happen to remember in what place was the worst accommodation ever?

David Brown: Perhaps a youth hostel in Amsterdam, or the hotel in Paris who locked us out, or the tent at Glastonbury which fell down. Probably too many bad places to mention.
James Taylor: Scoys loft Montreal. We slept on the dance floor and cleaned it in the morning.

Beat Factor: What style of electronic music do you think is not developed and promoted enough at this moment and what should be done in your opinion?

David Brown: Glitch gabba dub - these tunes need promoting or inventing!
James Taylor: Nothing. Leave it alone. Let it evolve or die.

Beat Factor: As musicians, where did you get your inspiration from?

James Taylor: Tea, coffee, fruit, bacon, buildings, taxis, people, problems, children.
David Brown: Music, films, cars, bikes, girls, golf and coffee.....

Beat Factor: Why did you choose this alias for the duo? Swayzak means union in Polish...

David Brown: We made that up it's not true! It sounded better than any other idea we had.
James Taylor: Solidarity my friend.

Beat Factor: What music do you recommend to listen for a pretender who wants to work with you?

David Brown: Japan, Blue Nile, Kraftwerk, basic channel, dub, human league, DAF, and Brian Eno.
James Taylor: Bach, Eno, Perry, Ministry, Sinatra.

Beat Factor: Can you share us some strange funny things that happened on your gigs?

David Brown: Once a girl asked to sleep with me while I was playing and it totally messed up my train of thought! And a guy in Bucharest came up and started bugging me while we were playing saying "You are supposed to be Swayzak". I don't know what he was going on about, but the club was empty and I was just trying to make people dance! And once I threw up while playing....
James Taylor: Mainly the entire evening!! I find it all increasingly odd.. But strippers are usually very strange and not quite right.

Beat Factor: How was Bucharest? A non-reverent answer, please.

David Brown: The club was empty ,the sound was crap, our equipment didn't arrive ,but the people were friendly, the hotel was nice, the food was good but I didn't like the guy bugging me and I didn't like all these people who think they know better than me. People like him should fuck off and make their own music if they think they know better. I agree the music wasn't perfect but there was nothing I could do unless I stopped playing.

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