Fri. Oct. 22, 2021

30 Years of House Music – Mood II Swing

A quick look at Google searching for anything consistent about Mood II Swing (mood ii swing when transformed into a link) and you’ll hardly be driven on more than a tribute by the likes of Lexis on musicismysanctuary. It is to say how it was such a delight meeting the guys for a chat at their studio back in 1997. But also much of sadness when I came to hear about them parting ways a few years ago…

Mood II Swing
John Ciafone / Lem Springsteeen

Shall we start by the beginning?
(Lem) “We are New Yorkers. John is from Manahattan and myself from Upstate NY. We met back in the days at the University. Our influences? Hip-Hop for John and R&B as far as I’m concerned. Even though I used to play Hip-Hop as a DJ at the time. I was already writing songs back then. Although not in a professional way. We started putting a R&B band together but we’ve ended up splitting with the departure of the lead singer…”

What happened then???
“We got ourselves along with Louie Vega in the studio where we used to play with the group. He wanted to sign the group as a matter of fact. We thought it would be interesting to see him at work with Kenny Dope. So we’ve observed them for some time and that’s how we’ve put out ‘Sindae’ under the Hardive feat. LSG guise. A Hip-House cut, back at a time when Rap and Dance Music were still connected.”

Your discography is quite contrasted, made of underground jams on one side, and instant Pop appeal concepts on the other. Such as the evergreen ‘Free’ for Ultra Naté or ‘Learn 2 Luv’ for Kim English…
(John) “Just a matter of mood at a precise time…”
(Lem) “Our sole prerequisite is the quality level we try to get into whatever we’re doin’.”
(John) “A song has to be a song, with its particularism. Meaning lyrics with sense with the will to get people dancing…”
(Lem) “Of course, you won’t get the same result from an artist to another. We’ll need to come up with a catchy hook, a soulful canvas and a friendly atmosphere. It’s different regarding the instrumentals, as they’re more of experimental things…”

In other words, you’re trying to get people into a… mood II swing!
(Lem). “Exactly, by closely blending our respective approaches in terms of music, and the various sides of our personalities…”

One of you reacting to the variations of atmospheres (moody) and the other more like restless (swingin’)…
(Lem) “This is what makes our complementarity. I kinda like soft and jazzy vibes.”
(John in the background) “I love the Prodigy!!!”
(Lem) “John is on a rougher side of things. But we both like laid-back things. This being how Mood II Swing reflects the spirit of our association…”

Similarities with Louie (Vega) and Kenny (Dope)…
(Lem). “We’ve been said so at times, but this is pure coincidence. We have similarities, but the main difference is that I wanna become and artist, meanwhile Louie doesn’t care. Besides, both of them are DJ’s and we are not…”

Coming from R&B and Hip-Hop, how do you deal with the negative reactions by the fans of theses scenes towards Dance Music?
(John) “I’m not surprised. There’s not much you can do whenever facing the negative responses of the R&B community in America. Apart from trying to incoroporate elements they’ll be familiar with in your compositions and hope they’ll get recognized as…”

How do you preceive the future of Dance Music?
(Lem) “How about calling us in a 10 years time???”
(John) “There will be more people, meaning new ideas…”

More live? More instruments?
(Lem). “I don’t think so as the upcoming generations don’t have that type of background…”

Isn’t Dance Music condamned to stagnate in the clubs, without live attitudes, groups as compared to other genres?
(Lem) “Sure thing. In the House scene, we’re often considered as amateurs, coz’ most people do it for the fun, as opposed to R&B or Hip-Hop where you find people who want to make a career.”
(John) “Most of the House Music production comes from indie labels which don’t have the necessary finances to invest into promotion and all the necessary things to break a record. This is why singers spend their time coming from a label to another…”

We’ve been glad to know that Mood II Swing has resurrected a few months ago, and definitely look forward to be hearing the fruits of their colloaboration…

Chosen few
Nervous Tracks Volume 2/5 (Nervous Records) – Mood II Swing
Strictly Mood II Swing (Strictly Rhythm / ITH Records) – Mood II Swing
Helpless (I Don’t Known What To Do Without You (Maxi Records) – Urbanized feat. Silvano
Love Revolution (Love Revolution (Moody Beats Version 1) (Yoshitoshi Recordings) – Mysterious People
Learn 2 Luv (Mood II Swing Vocal) (Nervous) – Kim English
Free (Mood II Swing Extended Vocal Mix) (Strictly Rhythm) – Ultra Naté
Don’t Mess With My Man (Mood II Swing Main Vocal Mix) (Virgin) – Lucy Pearl

Interview: Mood II Swing

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