On October 25 at the Bellevue Hyatt Regency, the band Good Co will play as part of Steamcon V, Seattle’s celebration of a Victorian-era science fiction aesthetic. While Good Co is not a Steampunk band specifically, its model of Electro Swing fits with the ideals of Steampunk fans by incorporating retro sound samples, specifically those from the swing and jazz eras, into a modern context.
Electro Swing started as a sparse few offerings on albums based in other genres. The style grew in popularity as some artists began to model the majority of their offerings on jazz and swing samples. Electro Swing is more popular in Europe, as exemplified by performers like Caravan Palace, who have shared the stage with Good Co at Neumo’s in Seattle. Good Co is the only practicing Electro Swing band in the United States, founder Carey Rayburn explains: “Sampling laws are less restrictive in Europe, so it’s easier for artists to use those samples in their music. One of our goals for the US is to not only build our band’s popularity, but also to make more people aware of Electro Swing here in the States; to bring Electro Swing over here. It’s the kind of music that, once people discover it, they find that they love it.”
Singer Sasha Nollman describes the music as “Cab Calloway meets Daft Punk.” This description reflects Electro Swing’s combination of American jazz music with electronic sounds to create what Rayburn calls “life-affirming music.” Their shows are described as high-energy, with a strong element of crowd interaction. Rayburn clarifies that the music is not old-fashioned: “As soon as you hear the music you see that it’s really modern music with some retro references and materials.” A sample of Electro Swing can be found through the free album offered here. Rayburn also helps produce a regular Electro Swing night; information on this and Good Co performance dates can be found on the band’s website.