Really happy that this interview happened the very last minute! Sugahspank! & The Swing Shoes are appearing on December 23rd, at ILION Plus, along with The Jumpin’ Bines, so prepare for a pure fest! Until then…

Let’s start with an introduction of Sugahspank! & The Swing Shoes project. How did it come to life?

In 2008 Sugahspank! heard a demo by The Swing Shoes – who back then were an instrumental gypsy jazz trio – through a mutual friend. We’d already heard her album ‘The Incredible, The Invisible‘ and loved her voice. Sugahspank! was looking for a band to play live with, so we met, played a few tunes together, and from that first meeting it became apparent to everyone that we had a certain chemistry. We did some shows that were well-received and since then we’ve been growing together musically, gradually developing our style through live performances.

What should we expect from the upcoming live appearance on December 23rd at ILION Plus, along with The Jumpin’ Bones?

A fun Christmas party!

As Sugahspank! & The Swing Shoes you have released a great neo-soul/electric blues full-length ‘A Holy Show’ back in 2014. How was this experience?

A Holy Show‘ was recorded live at Megaron in a day. About half of the songs were worked out beforehand in live performances, and the rest of the material was well-rehearsed. We wanted to capture the excitement of our gigs in a studio environment.

Do you prefer the live experience or the studio one and why?

I think that we consider ourselves first and foremost a live band. All our material, original or otherwise, is worked out and tested on stage, because that’s the best way to tell if a song is working or not. We tinker with the arrangements until we are satisfied with the results. We believe that our music is best recorded live, not in layers, because the energy of a band playing together has to be there, or else it will sound sterile.

Let’s separate this a bit! Please talk about what you are currently doing as Sugahspank!, as well as the Swing Shoes…

The Swing Shoes have a monthly residence at Kapnikarea every second Monday of the month, playing all-instrumental sets. Sugahspank! is also playing live with Gumbo Ya Ya, a New Orleans style big band, and is currently working on some experimental hip hop beats with Dj Marble (The Happy Dog Project).

Do you believe that the Greek soul/neo-soul/blues scene has progressed through the last “crisis” decade?

I really wouldn’t know. I don’t think we feel that we are part of any scene. The Swing Shoes were considered part of the swing scene in Greece, and Sugahspank’s album was more of a hip-hop style. Our musical influences are far and wide, but the blues is something that we all like; we believe that our music is soulful and danceable. As we all came from different backgrounds, we’ve developed our style organically, through trial and error, without thinking of labels, although both the blues and soul are definitely there in the mix, along with gospel music, funk, rock, etc.

Which artists would you point out as the most breakthrough ones for 2017?

Anderson .Paak, Eyedress.

Should we expect your 2nd album as Sugahspank! & The Swing Shoes within next year?

We began recording our new album in early December at Downstroke Studio. The basic tracks were again recorded live in a weekend. It will feature ten songs, eight originals and two covers, and hopefully will be out by late spring.

Fell free to end this one the way you wish…

We hope to see you at one of our shows.

Christos Doukakis