Swing’it Interview (10 Questions to…)
When the Norwegian pre-selection for the Eurovision Song Contest ended, I decided that I would write to Swing’it to ask if they would like to do an interview for Electro Swing Thing.
I was well aware that they were very busy, as they certainly had a lot of obligations to organise their Prohibition Party. Despite this, they were happy to talk to me about Eurovision, their performance on Norway’s Got Talent in 2018, their songs and their musical plans for the future.
I encourage you to get to know Swing’it better – I think through this interview you will see that this band is made up of people full of professionalism, passion and a lot of love for Electro Swing.
01. LadyDot: Oh, at the very beginning of our conversation, I would like to thank you very much for agreeing to give me an interview, I am very pleased! I assume that you have been very busy lately preparing your performance at the Melodi Grand Prix. Unfortunately, you will not be representing Norway at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest, but I think you are a winner anyway – you came third in the televote! How do you feel about this fact? It really is a huge success! I, personally, am disappointed with the jury’s vote….
Swing’it: We are really happy with the result, despite the fact that we didn’t win. Electro swing and jazz music in general is a small genre compared to pop music, and that we got the Chance to show this music to so many people is incredible. The fact that the Norwegian people liked it and voted it as the third best just shows that despite the song being different from a lot of the other entries, it is still something that people really like. We never expected much from the international jury, but we were of course hoping for a little bit more support from them. However, it’s the people who listens to the music and will come to our concerts, so 3rd place among the people is all that matters for us!
02. LadyDot: When I first heard “Prohibition”, I thought it was really a perfectly crafted and brilliantly composed song in every way. Fantastic vocals, extended instrumentation and that unmistakable Electro Swing vibe… I wonder how long did it take you to compose this track? I can clearly hear the influence of your other hits in the Electro Swing Spin version: “Champagne” and “Party Like It’s 1923”.
Swing’it: The song itself was written with Eurovision in mind and was written back in 2020 in just a day. This was the third time we submitted it for Eurovision, but I guess it took a while for the jury to warm up to the vibe of the song. We tried to make the song as „poppy” as we could, while still keeping vital elements of jazz and electro swing and we’re very happy with the result in the end, so thank you so much for the kind feedback!
03. LadyDot: I assume that not only me, but also your fans are very curious to know your answer to this question: are you going to take part in the next Eurovision Song Contest qualifiers?
Swing’it: We are probably not going to do it, but you never know! We have always been a live band and despite all the fun it was to be in the competition, we’re now looking forward to getting back on the road and play fun gigs in front of people. As you might know we arrange so called „Prohibition Parties” where everyone dresses up in Gatsby style, dance to hot jazz with burlesque, cabaret and drag on the stage, which has become very popular, not only in Norway, but also in Europe. Our next party is in Berlin where 800 people are coming to party like it’s 1923!
04. LadyDot: It’s very interesting, because when I was preparing for this interview, I came across the information that you took part in Norway’s Got Talent in 2018. You performed there with swing arrangements of songs from Disney fairy tales. How do you recall this adventure? Was it the performance on such a big stage that motivated you to create your first singles and then the EP ‘1923’?
Swing’it: It was a fun experience indeed, and the first time we performed on TV! We have always liked changing the style of songs into jazz and the Disney interpretations were very popular! We are doing quite a lot of children shows where we play Disney material, and I think it’s a great way to introduce jazz to children without them even realizing it, because they are singing along to songs they already know. However, we prefer to perform and write our own material, so after Norway’s Got Talent we decided it was time to release more of our own music.
05. LadyDot: I would guess that you started out by playing jazz and swing. When did you become interested in the Electro Swing genre and what inspired you to create songs in a slightly modern convention?
Swing’it: I saw Parov Stelar at a festival in Norway many years ago and was completely captivated by the amazing performance and the music. I remember thinking to myself that if we ever wanted to play on such big stages we needed a bit more „oomph” than just jazz and swing. After that we started remixing our own songs into electro swing to see if people liked it, and based on the streaming numbers it definitely shows that the electro swing songs hits a much broader audience than just regular jazz and swing. However, we will never forget our roots as jazz musicians and will continue to play jazz alongside electro swing. After all, jazz music is the foundation of the genre.
06. LadyDot: You guys released the single ‘Gode vibber’ in June 2021. As far as I know, this is your first song in Norwegian. Also, it is very different from your swing and Electro Swing songs. It’s a bit more pop-oriented , and when I listen to it, I feel it’s an incredibly relaxing, summer song. ‘Gode vibber’ was your musical experiment? Or are you planning to record more songs like this?
Swing’it: You are quite right, it’s both different (and Norwegian) and it was a musical experiment. Our entire career we have always tried to make music that can captivate listeners that doesn’t like jazz or electro swing as well as those who already like it, so we tried a poppy summer song to see the reactions. It is very hard for a jazz band to get into radio playlists, big commercial Spotify playlists and so on, so we thought it was worth a shot and see if a more poppy song could do it.
07. LadyDot: Martin, when I watch your performances and music videos on YouTube, I get the feeling that you are a man of many talents! You sing, you play trumpet and piano, and you demonstrate your dancing skills at the Melodi Grand Prix final, among others. And do you have any other hidden talents, not necessarily related to music? 😊
Swing’it: Thank you very much! No, I think you’ve seen all my talents on stage now! However, I would almost regard myself as a better business man than a musician. I’ve been in charge of this band for many years, doing everything from booking, PR, accounting, networking to songwriting,. It’s good for the band, because it makes it easier for them to Focus on what they are really good at: Playing and making a good show for the audience. I also have masters degree in engineering, management and economy, which comes in handy (but for now it’s only on my CV as I prefer working with music).
08. LadyDot: Swing’it, I love your music video for the song “Booze Cruise”. This music video makes me think very much of the film with Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra – ‘Anchors Aweigh’ from the 1940s. I wonder if you actually feel a bit like you were born in the wrong era? Do you enjoy watching old films, listening to old music etc. on a daily basis?
Swing’it: Both yes and no! The 1920s was an iconic era – there is just so much amazing things that happened: The music, the dancing, the style and the optimism. At the same time there is a lot of things that are better today than 100 years ago. I think we’re lucky to live in our time, but we love to watch old films, listen to old music, read history and enjoy the dream of travelling back in time. It’s really all that our Prohibition Parties is about – travel back 100 years in time for one night and live out the life you could have had!
09. LadyDot: 2023 has got off to a truly fantastic start for you! An excellent performance at the Melodi Grand Prix is probably only the first goal you have achieved this year. What’s next? What are your plans for the coming months? A new album, lots of gigs, or maybe something else? 😊
Swing’it: There are lots of news to come! We have lots of gigs in Norway and Europe, as well as more music to come soon (both electro swing and jazz) – so stay tuned!
10. LadyDot: Your Prohibition Parties are very popular with fans of Electro Swing and lovers of the 1920s. I really wanted to go to Berlin for this event, but it turned out that all the tickets are already sold out! Are you planning to organise more such events this year? I can’t hide the fact that I am really looking forward to your visit to Poland!
Swing’it: We are planning similar events in Amsterdam, Antwerp, Paris, London and a few more. We’d love to come to Poland too!
LadyDot: Thank you for this wonderful interview and I hope to see you at one of your Prohibition Parties soon! :)
Interview by LadyDot (Ja, Wizeruk) Date: 2023-02-27