Detroit Swindle is an electronic music duo started in 2011 by Lars Dales & Maarten Smeets.

The Dutch duo put out most of their music through their own label Heist Recordings and have quickly gained popularity through their early releases like “The Wrap around”, and “The Break up”. Their more recent output sees them explore the broader corners of electronic music with the dreamy “Tamarindus Hollandicus”, and the sample-heavy “Just not Norma”. They’ve 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.

As avid record collectors of both old and new music, their DJ style is as varied as their taste in music. Rather not limiting themselves to a certain sound, Detroit Swindle will play just about anything. So whether it’s classic house, obscure disco, African funk or any other genre from across the globe: if it puts a smile on your face, they’ll play it.

They run their house-focused label Heist Recordings since 2013. Heist has featured music from artists such as Frits Wentink, Pépé Bradock, Nachtbraker, Matthew Herbert, Ge-Ology, Byron the Aquarius, Adryiano, Alma Negra, Nebraska, Max Graef, Fouk and many more.
They carefully curate the label’s output as well as it’s look & feel, working closely with visual artist Bas Koopmans to match their personal aesthetics. The label is not only a showcase of their particular sonic view, it’s also a meeting place for likeminded artists. Their artists are brought together by the duo with label showcases and special projects such as the yearly Roundup EP; a tradition where every artist of that year remixes another artist, effectuated by the luck of the draw.

With residencies throughout 2018 at clubs Like Berlin’s Prince Charles and Phonox in London, their sophomore album “High Life” coming out May 2018, and a world tour with their new live show following that release, it’ll be hard to miss them this year.

— Biography from Resident Advisor



Detroit Swindle @DGTL 2017

Ralph Nasr: Lars & Maarten, obvious questions first, how did you two guys meet and what made this project come together in 2011?

Detroit Swindle: We met each other when we were doing curation for a nightclub in Amsterdam. Lars did a hiphop night and I programmed a more electronic night. That was somewhere in the mid 2000’s. After a few years, when I had started DJ’ing, I got booked by Lars to play one of the venues he was programming for. It turned out there wasn’t exactly a good match between my music and that club, but it did lead to us getting into the studio together for the first time. We had such a good click that we decided to do that every week, and that got out of hand really quickly. We wrote a few songs, and really felt like we had something special with our energy.

RN: How did you come up with the name (Detroit Swindle) and for the label’s (Heist Recordings)? Do they have some implicit meaning?

DT: We wanted to pay homage to our combined musical influences in our name. Our musical upbringing had Detroit and the soul, funk and hiphop from Detroit as a common denominator. We added the Swindle part to make sure people understood we didn’t claim to be from Detroit. Heist is definitely in the same vibe, being a bit of a old school word for robbery or break in.

RN: Your sets and production always have something special in them. You clearly created a trademark genre of your own. Who would you say is your biggest musical influence?

DT: As said, old funk and soul are a major influence, but disco is as well. I think our music has a certain energy and rawness that you can really recognize, and for a large part, that comes down to that musical influence of these genres.

RN: Heist Recordings has been, for the past few years, the go-to label for proper house heads in search of chunky releases. What are your criteria when you select tracks to be signed on the label? What do you look for in the promos you get every day?

DT: Just as we look for something unique in a Detroit Swindle track, there needs to be something in a Heist track that makes it stand out. We are always really focused on the energy of a track, but also on the way it uses a sample or has a certain hook. A Heist track is always soulful, but soul can have many different faces. We’ve released African oriented tracks, jazzy house, full on sampled MPC style tracks and everything in between. One thing a Heist track will never be is middle of the road. At least, that’s what we aim for.

RN: Let’s have a bit of fun now. Imagine your studio catching fire, and you can only save one object. Which one would it be and why?

DT: That’s not fun! but ok, i’d grab the Korg Mono/Poly cause it’s my favorite machine. I think trying to take the Rhodes is not really a good idea cause it’s so damn heavy. The Mono/POly is my favorite synth and has been for a while. The way it uses its 4 VCO’s, the quality of the filter, it’s modulation possibilities + the midi mod we’re currently building in makes it so versatile for pads, arp’s and hits. I just love it.

RN: What’s your magic cure for hangovers?

DT: Hangovers were easy when we were a bit younger, but now? ouch. There’s no magic cure. only pain.

RN: What’s the craziest thing to ever happen to you guys in your career so far - on or off stage?

DT: That’s a tough one. Panties getting thrown to the dj booth, flying on a private jet together with a famous South African pop act after a festival, or eating the most dangerous food in the world (Blowfish) are all experiences we’ll not easily forget.

RN: Do you have guilty pleasure music? I know we all do, so what’s yours?

DT: There’s plenty of guilty pleasures to be honest. Right now, I really get a smile on my face when I hear my kids sing along with the Christmas songs at home. Mariah Carey, Wham, that sort of stuff. I guess you’re allowed though, when it’s cold outside and it’s winter time. A very random guilty pleasure of mine? Blue Swede - Hooked on a feeling. A perfect 80’s song with a great theme and a bit of cheekiness.

RN: What’s the most random sound you ever sampled and used in a track?

DT: During the recording of our album, at some point we got into a really funny mood and just started recording everything in the studio. a pen ticking on a glass and the crackling of bubblewrap and newspapers. This all ended up as FX on our album. There’s music in everything ;)

RN: If you hadn’t gone into music, what would you have done?

DT: We both really love food and cooking, so I’m sure we’d both be doing something in a kitchen, having a perfectly good time cooking our favorite food.