Producer Spotlight: Dam Swindle

Amsterdam’s beloved house music duo Dam Swindle walks us through the sound, vibe, and production elements that went into the creation of their debut sample pack, The Swindle Sound.

7 min
The Swindle Sound
Nov 17, 2022
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The Netherlands has always been a reliable conveyor belt for talented electronic music artists who go on to excel on the world stage, and in 2011 it birthed one more. Or, two to be precise: Lars Dales and Maarten Smeets, the DJ and producer duo behind Dam Swindle (formerly Detroit Swindle).

Combining a love of Motown soul classics with a natural feel for the pulse of the modern club environment, Dam Swindle hit the scene with high energy house cuts like “The Wrap Around” and “The Break Up” and have since collaborated with and done remixes for artists like Tom Misch, Kerri Chandler, Mayer Hawthorne, Mark de Clive-Lowe, Hercules & Love Affair and Seven Davis Jr. The pair have released two albums – Boxed Out in 2014, and High Life in 2018 – and currently boast nearly 500 thousand monthly listeners on Spotify.

As a live act, the two have steadily progressed from filling in opening slots during the early stages of their career, to headline status and residencies in some of the biggest clubs in the world. On every step of this journey, the duo have sought continuous evolution in their production style, with the ambition of achieving a sound that is instantly recognisable as their own. With that point of maturation now well and truly reached, Dam Swindle are ready to deliver a debut sample pack, The Swindle Sound, that’s exclusive to Beatport Sounds and humming with high-impact energy.

Read on to hear more from the duo about how the pack came together.

Check out Dam Swindle’s sample pack ‘The Swindle Sound’ here.
The Swindle Sound Beatport

This year has been an action-packed one for Dam Swindle. What have you been up to?

Lars: We’ve been doing this for exactly ten years now, so we’ve been celebrating that this year with our ‘Keep on Swindling’ tour and a series of three releases. The series updates some of our biggest tracks from the past with remixes or fresh versions, and it also features some new original material.

Maarten: 2022 has been a super busy year for us, with plenty of residencies and releases. It’s been a year of celebration where we’ve looked at what we’ve done, and talked to each other about new ideas and directions for the Dam Swindle sound. It’s like, “what’s going to be the next thing?”.

What can you remember about the start of your musical journey?

L: I started playing records in my bedroom when I was 12. I pretty much grew up in the nightlife of Amsterdam, and started DJing professionally when I was 21. Our production career started in a serious sense when we joined forces. I had dabbled a bit before – there are some questionable edits of mine still online somewhere – but our proper production basically started with the Dam Swindle project.

M: We both grew up listening to Motown records, so we had the same inspiration. Lars had some Ableton projects already, so we started messing around with them and working with the samples. We felt like the music scene was missing something back then, so we were trying to find the right vibe, playing around with chords and things like that.

How would you describe what the Dam Swindle vibe is all about?

M: The live element is a big part of the Dam Swindle sound. We get all our musician friends down to the studio, whether they’re percussionists, trumpet players, saxophonists or bass players, and record them in the live room. The combination of those sounds and the electronic component of what we do is something that we both really love.

L: We haven’t invented anything – it was already there, but we just didn’t know it!

How did you get the ball rolling for your Beatport Sounds sample pack?

M: We looked back at what we’ve built, the whole Swindle sound and what it’s meant to us and other people. We’ve been asked a lot to create sample packs, but we never totally felt ready for that, until now. We didn’t feel like we were at a level where our sound was defined enough for people to be able to recognise certain elements as belonging to a Dam Swindle track.

L: It’s great to hear from our audience that they really want a sample pack from us. People always ask us about how we did certain things in a production sense, or how we made a track that they like. All of those little elements tie into this sample pack.

What was your approach to creating the sounds in the pack?

L: We really made an effort to record new elements for the sample pack, because we wanted it to sound like us, but at the same time be something that hasn’t existed already. There are elements that you’ll hear in our previous tracks, but a lot of it is really new. In that sense, it really ties into our ten year anniversary, because it’s a bit of the past and a bit of the present, and the tracks that people make using our sounds are part of the future!

Hear The Swindle Sound for yourself by copping this exclusive Beatport Sounds pack on Loopcloud. Expect gloriously deep basslines, creative percussion and emotive keys among the broad palette of sounds championed by Dam Swindle, all recorded in studio-quality, dancefloor friendly 44,1Khz.

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