Pig & Dan met nearly 20 years ago. Since then they have pretty much been on an endless trip round the world from major festival stage to influential club set. Their techno sound is a big one that fills cavernous spaces with pummeling drum programming and dramatically crafted synths that make for a real adventure. Terminal M, Drumcode and their own Elevate label are the mighty outlets that serve it up, while they also return to Cocoon with ‘Reset Your Baseline’ on November 9th after 13 years away.
What do you love and hate about each other most?
Dan: I love Igor’s creative chaos, he has something that really makes our sound unique musically. I’m a studied musician so it’s very inspiring to have his chaos influence my rules. On the other hand, Igor tends to see things in a negative light when he’s tired.
Igor: I love Dan’s ability to take a sound and make it extremely fat and special, I call him the human equalizer because he can hear frequencies that bats don’t even hear!
What I don’t like is that he can be very dramatic making the simplest things. Drama Queen sometimes but what can you do, he’s a Virgo….
How hard is it to stay fresh and current and in the public eye in the fast-moving dance world? Do you have to think about things like this or do you just do you?
Dan: We do what we do and never think about it. I think creativity has to be given freedom or else you’re just a designer instead of an artist. Staying current isn’t always the key goal here, but longevity in your career, and being able to deliver something consistently for many years. If you are always what’s hot, that’s impossible.
Tell us about the launch of Odyssey – why now, and why at fabric?
Dan: We and fabric have had a very long history of working together, and they came to us with the idea to start something new. It’s concept that something that was common back in the days when events were totally based around the program of the night and how it would flow. With Odyssey we use genres to help build the night gradually, as if it were a journey. We have chosen artists and producers who we consider are a master of their own genre to make this an effortless transition from one set to another. We have never held our own event, and it was one of those things we always wanted to do, so when it was there for the taking – we didn’t think twice, and that it was at fabric was just the cherry on the cake. It’s been exciting since the first launch, so we are looking forward to seeing where it goes.
What is the aim of the night, the musical vibe, who is it aimed at, will it be more than just a party, will you bring in your own visuals and productions?
Igor: Yes, we have added a whole new look to Room 1, using the stage as the booth for our live set, so that there is a clear interaction with the DJ/MC and the crowd. We have worked closely with the lighting engineer to set a new mood for the club, as well as our own visuals for the live show and we were blown away with the launch. As for the musical vibe, Dan mentioned that it’s treated like a journey, and that’s the best way to describe it. Starting out with deep house and more melodic vibes, through to more high energy techno and electronica. This gives the evening a chance to grow and develop organically rather than a mish mash of sets which don’t support one another in a line up.
How different can you play at your own party vs as a headliner? Will you feel freer to push the boundaries?
Dan: We really always push boundaries, of course our live set held a very different twist, however our DJ sets will remain us being us. Of course, your own event is always going to enable you some freedom in all that you want to do, as it’s your own vision. When you headline a gig, it’s amazing, but you have to be aware of the crowd, the brand and also the DJ before and after you, which dictates often what you can play. We like to get a little wild, and the live set went above and beyond what we could have expected.
How live is your live set? Is it created on the fly, or do you play loops and trigger patterns already made? What are the hardest parts about it, maybe making the gear speak to each other? Or communicating while playing so you know where you are heading?
Dan: We have a backbone of tracks running on Logic while we add live vocals, synths and percussion. This gives us a very versatile core that enables us to manipulate everything on the fly. We put everything we have on the table and it’s a chaos that is very much happening at that moment, but that’s what makes it natural, fun and impulsive!
Igor, mental health is a big issue in this industry and we know that you took off 2 years to go into recovery. Was there sufficient help and support for you from people in the industry and people around you etc, after you took a two-year break for recovery or should there be more?
Igor: There was no support from the industry whatsoever, not for me at least. Even when I came back after 2 years it was a really big eye opener at how fast everything has moved and changed. It’s a brutal industry, where you can be forgotten very quickly. It was a tough time, as I soon came to realise it was going to be like starting all over again and there was no one to welcome me back and hold my hand, expect Dan of course. Yes, that did unfortunately bring us both down to rock bottom. It was a lesson for us which I think now has made us both stronger and more resilient than ever before
What do you guys do to stay fit, healthy and sane on the road? Do you have fitness routines, sports you do, foods you eat and rules on how much sleep to have and so on?
Dan: We tend to eat as well as we can, staying away from airport and airline crap on the way. I exercise three times a week at home doing interval and boxing sessions, however on the road it’s important to keep every last drop of energy you’ve got. Hotel gyms are always an option which can sometimes help get over the jet lag too. We also drink coconut water when playing, we stay alcohol free and it’s a lot easier to get up the next day, no matter what time you went to bed.
Igor: Yeah, as Dan mentioned we are both relatively healthy on the road. We try to avoid big dinners, and I stick to clean eating and have done for years now. We do not smoke or drink either, which has a huge impact when you are in a club two or three times a week. Sleep is key – everyone needs to learn to factor in more of that into their lives. And that doesn’t mean sleeping on a plane, that’s never the same as sleeping at home, being in your own bed and taking time for yourself.
Dan – what are your thoughts on the recent self-shredding Banksy? Would it add value for you? Would you be mad and prefer it in its original state?
Dan: I think it was an incredible way of showing how good he is at shocking people even after 20 years of being on the scene. Personally, if it was my piece I would have been a little upset after bidding on it, that it then destroyed itself nearly, but I have heard now that it’s become more of an asset in his entire collection as an artist because of this amazing stunt. For sure it’s added value to his art in general.
How did you come to have one of the biggest collections of his work in the world? Why do you love his work so much? Do you know who he is?
Dan: My best friend introduced me to his work when he was completely unknown, and I was instantly hooked on his art because it had substance and a message to it. I don’t own one of the biggest collections (I wish I did) however I built and represent one of the biggest collections on the planet. This came about when another dear friend had seen Banksy prints on my walls at home and said he really was into it. He asked if I would purchase some for him and this was the start of this incredible journey.
We started small however when the value started to rise my buddy decided to invest larger amounts into originals and help starve the market (Force Economize). This in turn helped fuel the want for his works at an early stage. We were fuelling the fire however purely because we both loved what he does, it wasn’t an investment-based decision. Through years of working closely with Banksy’s team and friends I’ve become rather well known and respected in the scene. I have more experience compared to most and I’m very much involved with buying and selling his art on a regular basis.
I’m all about real collectors and not people who flip art, I won’t get involved with anyone unless I feel they’re the real deal and in it for all the right reasons.
Dan – growing up around such influential musicians as a result of your father being a famous saxophone player – how much did this influence you? Why not end up playing more formal instruments or being in bands and so on? Does your dad appreciate what you do, does he understand techno?
Dan: It was incredible to be surrounded by many musical greats through my childhood. It was clear from the age of four that I had music in my blood. While growing up I learned piano and drums very seriously out of my own choice and all of what was happening around me rubbed off for sure, in more ways than I probably know, as I was too young back then to really take it all in.
I was in a band called INTENSE for many years touring the globe playing Drum n’ Bass live with 11 others on stage including my Father. We were actually signed to Sony Japan and Good Looking Records globally. This is why live was something both Igor and I wanted to do but wanted to wait to get it right before taking that step.
My father fully understands the whole rave movement (Techno included) because he was there at the start of it all going to warehouse raves due to the fact his close friends were putting them on.
I understand you plan to release on other labels of rate first time this year – why is that? Will you sound different when producing for other labels?
Igor: Yes, we are planning to release on different labels because it gives us more exposure to different audiences and different markets and it also gives us a chance to put out different genres or types of music, so we can show our whole spectrum. We don’t like to just produce one type of sound or genre, we believe we are always evolving and changing without losing our signature sound.