When speaking about a hip new producer or DJ, we often have the tendency to describe their sound in a way that people can relate to. Lately, as I spread the word about the name Swindle (a.k.a. Cameron Palmer), I first find myself at a loss for words and then attempt to paint a picture of an artist who eats, sleeps, and breathes jazz and funk and yet, creates music in a modern realm where grime, hip-hop, trill, and future bass are colliding throughout many of the hottest mixes, sets, and tracks. It is clear that Swindle is one of those rare artists who not only doesn’t want to chose which genre to pursue producing, but doesn’t have to. If he is grooving to an Aaliyah song, that will effect what he plays, if he makes a connection to a certain progression in Bitches Brew, he will make a variation on it. Swindle is certainly striking a chord by fusing funky, soulful classics and the kind of electronic production that will be equally as revered a generation from now.
After ghostwriting for a number of underground UK artists, he started kicking it in 2010 with Elijah & Skilliam as they started the popular grime imprint, Butterz. This move helped usher Swindle into popular discourse and led to him playing shows around the world, headlining in South Africa, the EU, and across America. His sets are often made up of his own productions, always a strong sign of someone unafraid of spinning tracks that are meant to inspire crowds and not simply spark familiarity. An artist for the underground dub dungeons who is also capable of introducing newcomers to an often overlooked sect of gritty electronic dance music. This is true value in action.
On his debut full-length album Long Live the Jazz on Mala‘s Deep Medi label, you will find beautiful and compelling melodies from the likes of Sam Frank, the voice behind Skream‘s recent hit “Rollercoaster,” The Milk, a neo-soul band from Essex, and Terri Walker, an R&B singer with a voice like Land O’ Lakes. Swindle has described the album as “an honest imitation of his life for the last few years.” It is a message to the world that he is not only skilled on the decks and in beat creation but a masterful composer of music for live performance. Growing up in South London, the man began his studies in piano play at 8 years old and was first introduced to the mixing desk by his father and brother at 13. The horns, the keys, the guitar, the drums on the album all have that non-sample beauty to them that so many of our ears scream out for. Last June, he debuted his full-band live show at Fire in London, complete with funky guitar, brass, and talkbox. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s working on plans for a touring live band in the future, as is the trend.
Everything about Swindle’s career thus far is impressive, and it’s gonna’ be exciting to watch. Like the first jazz musicians, his unique music is soon to be a constant presence in smokey bastions of thought as well as the dance floor. Swindle is one of those names that is only beginning to settle on our tongues.