Video: Detroit Swindle on Building a Live Rig Without Relying on a Laptop

Arriving on the underground dance music circuit in 2011, Detroit Swindle, founded by Lars Dales and Maarten Smeets, quickly gained a following for its soulful, dance floor ready productions and genre–spanning DJ sets.

Between running A&R for its own label Heist and a heavy touring schedule alongside house legends like Kerri Chandler, the group has already carved out a place in house music history.

Though live sets have always been key to the success of the Amsterdam group, Detroit Swindle has only recently made a concerted effort to ditch the laptop during performances. Using a combination of digital and analog gear, including classic keyboards and a host of sequencers, we watched as the performing duo Lars Dales and Lorenz Rhode recreated and tuned their tracks for the sound system at Smartbar, an iconic house music venue in Chicago.

The new collaboration between Pioneer and Dave Smith, the Toraiz, acts as the brain for the duo's live setup. Similar in functionality to the MPC, the group uses this machine to sequence and MIDI clock their gear, as well as to launch samples and stems.

Another workhorse of the setup is Elektron’s Analog Rytm, the 8–voice analog drum machine and sampler that recently replaced the company's famed Machinedrum. This machine's ability to layer samples on top of analog percussion makes it a versatile tool that can add a much needed punch when tuning for systems like a Funktion–One.

It’s not all sequenced syncopation and rigid quantization, though. Lorenz, who is credited with creating patches for the Dave Smith Instruments OB–6, takes live improvisation to a level not often seen in house music acts with his Prophet 6, Fender Rhodes, and talkbox running through a Nord Lead 2.

We did catch one laptop behind the booth, however. Their reason? It hosts the perfect Korg M–1 emulations without having to lug around an extra synth.

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