I was about three quarters of the way through my first draft of The Deathsniffer’s Assistant when my best friend linked me a song. “I showed everyone else and it got a good response,” she said. “I think you’d like it.” I loaded it up and gave it a listen.
Oh my god.
Clash by Caravan Palace changed my life. It was the first song that I’d heard in my absolute favourite genre of music, something called electroswing. It mixes the bouncing, frenetic 3/4 time signature of old school swing music with the pounding bass of the modern electronic dance music and remix scenes. It’s a match made in heaven. I’ve always loved swing music, and, shamefully, I love EDM. I’m not saying that it’s good! Just that I love it. I love a pounding bass, I love upbeat arrangements, I love music that makes me want to dance (even though I am terrible at it.) But electroswing adds an EDM twist to the original party dance music, rejuvenating it for a new generation.
Electroswing is a minor, underground genre, but it grows a bit every year. Much of the soundtrack of Baz Luhrman’s adaptation of The Great Gatsby used a similar aural aesthetic, including the big party centrepiece song from Fergie, A Little Party Never Killed Nobody (All We Got)
But electroswing was more than just the music I’d been waiting my whole life for to me. I immediately recognized it as the signature sound of my own world. The Deathsniffer’s Assistant is an almost embarrassingly white book, but in the later installments of the series I go into how their culture has been influenced by both their relations with the Afro-inspired nation to the south and how their own isolationist attitudes that keep that country at arm’s length. Combined with my 1910s aesthetic, swing music just seemed like natural. And with the presence of some almost modern technologies available for sound engineering, at least in live venues… I just knew the second that I heard electroswing that it had a big place in my world! The second book even includes a original electroswing jam as part of the plot!
Ever since I heard Clash, I’ve been listening to electroswing every single time I’ve sat down to write or revise my books! It’s such a versatile genre, made up of original songs, like Hold The Night by french electroswing group Lyre Le Temps:
Remixes of actual swing hits, like this Club des Belugas of Air Mail Special by scat queen Ella Fitzgerald:
And swing renditions of modern songs, like this brilliant remix of Blackstreet’s No Diggity by Minimatic:
I can’t say enough good things about this genre and I want to introduce more people to it! Whenever I’m writing, I have my electroswing going, and it’s as much a part of my books as the setting or characters to me. Give it a listen! I hope at least some of you love it as much as I do.