How shall I start this story? Maybe beginning with another question. What comes first when you record an album? Is it the music, some basic sounds or just a simple melody that goes around in your head? Two guys from London started with something that quite often comes at the last possible moment. So in the beginning there was this nasty title: "Dirty Dancing". The name of the guys who used this difficult path: Swayzak, known to their parents by the names David Brown and James Taylor. James remembering the night they made that decision.
"Normally that’s the last thing we think about when we make an album. But this time it was first because we were joking one night during a tour. And we said that the next album should be called `Dirty Dancing’. And in a certain way it shaped the way the album sounds now. It kind of suggested things to our minds while we were working."
Swayzak itself are one of the few artist-duos who managed to avoid being categorized. They have recorded two LPs so far ("Snowboarding In Argentina" 1998, "Himawari" 2000) and have done numerous 12"s and remixes. Their musical output is respected and loved by DJs and listeners equally and they proved that electronic music doesn’t have to be a boring clich√©. That was also shown when they compiled and collected "Groovetechnology v 1.3", a double Mix-CD released via Studio K7 with a wide musical selection from producers from eight different countries.
After the new album title was chosen, James and David compiled ideas and sounds for around fifteen different tracks. They sat down, listed several vocalists they were interested in and sent out CDs or MP3s, let them choose their favorite track and let them write songs over the top. They call it the "true nature of a collaboration".
Swayzak had already worked with guest vocalists on their album "Himawari" when Benjamin Zephaniah or Kirsty Hawshaw supported their creative output. David and James knew that "Dirty Dancing" needed more variety and the tunes had to be shorter. The perfect moment for the appearance of Clair Dietrich, a daughter of a German soprano. In the past she contributed to Markus Nicolai’s releases (Perlon) as well as she has been featured on diverse Glissando Bros tracks. Swayzak and Clair met for the first time in Paris and a few months later they decided to work together on two tracks for the album. Asked for her personal description of Swayzaks style she doesn’t have to think very long.
"I would describe the sound of Swayzak as very direct and dry which is working as a great contrast to the human voice – that’s very appealing to me as a singer. My original idea for the track `Make up your mind’ was shattered when my personal situation changed and I wasn’t able to follow the first idea as the loop-sound didn’t work with my lyrics. Then I had a new idea and after half an hour the basic layout was finalized. In a certain way it was a very spontaneous track which reflected my emotional state at that time!"
It was no surprise that this crystal clear but very emotional track was chosen as the first single-release and in retrospect David refers to this track as a perfect introduction for the album. "We had become a little bit bored with just doing instrumental music and so the work with Clair was a very good start for us. And after that there were so many other people we were interested in working with. People like Klaus Kotai (Germany) or ALDULT. (USA) liked our stuff and we liked their work. It just evolved from that and we gave everybody a great deal of freedom for their ideas."
This freedom was also the source for many surprises that hit both Swayzak and the listener. Could you imagine a German sounding Elvis? Just step forward to the second track and the miracle will happen.
"We had no idea what kind of vocals Klaus Kotai would come up with but we really liked his track, because he is German he comes up with this very American sounding song about poverty and guns. He sings it with such an American accent that it reminded me almost like Elvis singing."
Klaus Kotai, who just released his own album self-titled album on the Berlin based label WMF Records, has his own description of the way this track came to life. "Dave and James asked me if I would sing on one of their tracks. Three tracks were ‘reserved’ for me and after selecting one (working title "Vindaloo") I wrote some western lyrics for it. Like a bountykiller who always uses a cheap gun, which he buys this time at the `Buffalo 7′ to shoot the one he chases in the face with. I sent them the vocals via the net and they arranged it to the track. It went down very well with good musical understanding and nice interpretations of my vocals and attitude by them!"
During the seven month period of producing the album Swayzak enjoyed the creative freedom which comes along with this international way of working. The third track "In The Car Crash", is a kind of a musical interpretation of the famous Andy Warhol pictures in collision with David Lynch and JG Ballard. It was made together with Canadian producers Headgear (Konrad Black & March 21) and again the formula was just right. Why spend a limited time in a tiny and expensive studio when both sides can use their private space to create something special? The positive answer shows that Swayzaks way of producing is just the natural way of using modern technology that knows no boundaries. "You have to work with what you are given – that’s it! It makes you spend more time on arranging and making it better and you have that creative freedom which is nearly unlimited if you work on a laptop."
The second single-release is "I Dance Alone"