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All the British References Duke Dumont Snuck on Katy Perry's "Swish Swish"

The Nicki Minaj-featuring single sounds so familiar for a few UK dance music-related reasons.
Lauren O'Neill
London, GB

Katy Perry's Witness era is a very strange one. As far as I can tell she is having a crack at a more '''''urban''''' sound, whatever she thinks that means, and I am not sure it is working out particularly well. Today we're presented with "Swish Swish" (hear it above), the third single from Witness, which will be released on 9 June. Lyrically it's pretty packed wall-to-wall with repurposed internet-era platitudes like "don't you come for me," and the whole thing leans quite heavily on a third-act Nicki Minaj feature.


But what is most interesting about this Katy Perry song for us at Noisey UK is just how British it is. Produced by poppy UK house DJ Duke Dumont, when you pull the elements of the song apart, its two main bedrocks are Britain all over. Maybe Duke thought most Katy fans wouldn't have heard of the references, sneaking them onto a chart-destined pop hit by a huge American artist. In any case, let me show you:

DJ Le Roi ft. Roland Clark – "I Get Deep" (Original Mix)

If you feel like you've heard that "they know what is what" line at the song's very start, then you're right. It's been pulled from this deep house cut by DJ Le Roi and Jesus Jackson AKA Roland Clark, which hits about 1:48 into the six-minute tune. Granted, Le Roi and Roland are from Switzerland and New York respectively, but the British connection comes up when you listen to how Roland's vocal has been distorted. That takes you to:

Fatboy Slim – "Star 69"

The best-known version of that vocal was used in this early 2000s Fatboy Slim track. That warped take on Roland Clark's straight talking line is then what you can hear a number of times over the course of "Swish Swish".

What They Say – Maya Jane Coles

Did you think the bassline on Katy's track sounded familiar? It's possible that you know it from another Nicki Minaj song: "Truffle Butter," the Pinkprint bonus track that features Drake and Lil Wayne and (rightfully) took on kind of a life of its own. Both "Truffle Butter" and "Swish Swish," then, are indebted to UK house star Maya Jane Coles, whose ridiculous "What They Say" bassline was repurposed for both tracks.

Quite what Duke Dumont was trying to do by chucking these Brit references onto a Katy Perry track is not really clear. They almost harken back to the pop house sound that swept festivals and radio a few years ago, when Disclosure were at their peak 'playing every event and soundtracking all teen summer parties' stage of domination. It's a sound indebted to the underground club but also firmly divorced from said club, cleaner than its sticky floors and loo cubicles with doors that hang off their hinges. Other production credits on Witness list involvement from Hot Chip and Jack Garratt (?) so this won't be the only Brit fingerprint we'll see on the album either.

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(Image via YouTube)