Exclusive Interview with Catz ‘N Dogz
Thinking back to the only pet I ever had, ran away due to my lack of attention and care, I’m not in the best position to make any statement about animals. So what have Pets recordings, Catz and Dogz in common? Is it the fact that there are two Polish groovedoctors who love animals? Well, it’s no secret that the duo from the city of Szcecin in Poland named Grzegorz Demianczuk & Wojciech Taranczuk, aka Catz ‘N Dogz, are given lots of love when it comes to their releases. The discography of the two as well as their list of major festival performances equals the act to a modern day superstar DJ duo that has earned everybody’s respect in the scene. Their sound is tech house and is always forward thinking with a clear love for no nonsense and driving rhythms. We asked them ome questions in the run up to their gig at Park Am See Festival this Spring.
First things first: How much of an animal lover are you guys?
Well of course, we love all animals and none have ever been harmed in the making of our music. Our name is obviously inspired by them. We were looking for a new artist name after our previous 3Channels. At this time I bought a cat and Voitek bought a dog, also in this period of time we were behaving like cat and a dog together on the parties
How did you two meet in the first place?
We actually met thru a friend. The local scene in Szczecin was not so big and whenever a new person arrived, everybody knew. Szczecin is just a 400k people city. Voitek was running the streets putting up posters on every wall and at the time I was still not sure if I wanted to DJ. but I started a radio show in the local radio and eventually Voitek joined me. We played minimal, deep house and a variety of electronic music. At this time there was new club opening and I asked Voitek if he would like to play with me. After this we played there every 2 weeks and for 3-4 years we were inviting a lot of people from Berlin to play and became great friends with many of them. I think it was 2003 when we first started playing together.
Your first project together as Catz ’N Dogz dates back from 2007 and was your first release on Dirtybird. Was there any connection with that release and the new name at that time?
Claude VonStroke liked our 3Channels stuff and he asked us for a remix. We made one and it was released on a limited vinyl and it became pretty big. After that we decided to change the name and start from zero on the new label with a new sound we were into. When we met the dirtybird guys and even though we were playing different music them we knew that they were a great team for us.
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How do you typically work? Do you go into the studio with a full pre-set idea for a track or do you play around until you find the right vibe and develop an idea around it on the spot?
It depends. Sometime we do evening sessions when we play with our samples, instruments and something comes from it (like our track “Something” that will be released soon). But usually we go to the studio and beforehand we discuss what we would like to do or what direction to go. When we have the track in the loop we look for the inspiration and look at what we can do and where to go with it. Usually we never know where we’re gonna end up with the track and its pure improvisation. Same with our DJ sets too.
Can you give us a head start of your upcoming (and running) projects that we can expect soon?
We are currently working on our 3rd full length artist album. Recently we’ve been keeping 1 or 2 weeks free to work in the studio or go somewhere looking for inspiration. We’re creating our own sample banks and have invested in a few keyboards. Its always hugely chaotic when we start but right now we can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Our new release on Dirtybird has just come out and we’ve also been working on some remixes, one of which is for our friends dOP on Circus Company.
Another big project we’ve been working on for the past few months is the latest installment of our label compilation. We’ve been collecting tracks from our friends and some new artists and ‘Friends Will Carry You Home III’ will see its release on the 5th May.
How do you experience the difference between working on singles and an album?
Because an album has more tracks, it really has to have an idea/theme behind it. The tracks need to complement each other and tell the listener a story. It’s basically a tale that we want to tell you, inspire you and it show what’s on our minds in this period of time. We experiment a lot and we’re always looking to have a lot of fun and discover a lot of new inspirations. The album is a long process, during which we experience a lot of feelings. Some good, some bad. But its very rewarding. Our EP’s and singles are much quicker for us to create.
How is working together the easiest for you guys when you’re not in the same studio at the same time?
Most of the time we spend in the studio together. Voitek is very good on the production side. I’m more of a tech geek. We are a great team, however being a DJ/producer duo has a lot of positives and negatives. Sometimes we want to kill each other haha. But in general we have far more pluses than negatives. Working in the studio together has definitely bred more creativity in both of us.
How do you go about in selecting tracks as a duo? Does a track have to be approved by the both of you before it gets airtime?
Haha good question! I remember when we were playing vinyls we were ordering a huge list of records and than we were flipping a coin to see who would get which! We used to try and be the first to get into the record shops in Berlin with our list. It was like a race.
After all these years we now know who’s playing what and trust each other. We do like to surprise each other though, and it’s still a lot of fun to play b2b. The funny fact is that when we listen to promos or buy the records in the shops, nowadays we rarely buy the same tracks. The most important thing for us when we play is the atmosphere. We check out the club, people and party where we’re gonna play and adjust our music to it throughout the night. We still have a lot of promotors telling us that we surprised them with our sets, which is a real compliment for us.
And how do you prepare for a gig, do you have any ‘out of the ordinary’ rituals before going on stage?
We always try to eat a good polish sausage, lots of garlic and a few shots of vodka before a gig. That’s our standard rider.
Do you have embarrassing stories about each other?
Of course a lot, just look at us. But maybe not for here…
How has your experience with the Dutch crowd been so far?
This year we had an amazing party with Michel De Hey @ Tolfler in Rotterdam. The crowd, sound system and atmosphere was great! We’ve played in many cities in Holland and it’s usually very good. The Dutch scene is very mature, the clubbing culture has a great history and there’s a lot of good producers, clubs. The crowds are musically educated and it’s fun to play.
You’ve been a regular guest in Amsterdam last year and we look forward to welcome you again in May at the Park Am See festival at the Watergate stage. What is your connection with Watergate in Berlin?
We are residents at Watergate. We play the club on average about 5 times a year and also do our label Pets label nights there. We love to play both rooms as they have completely different atmospheres. Luckily we get to choose which room each time so we adjust to what we’re feeling at that moment. Upstairs we play more hypnotic and a bit darker. Downstairs its more wild and unpredictable. We also made a track for the Watergate record label.
Which talent would you tip us to keep an eye on in the future?
There are so many talented artists and producers and we would love to know them all and release their music / listen to their sets. Often we’re very inspired by a warmup DJ or by the demo from people we meet. We’ll always try to invite them to play with us or to release on Pets. This is whats happened with guys like Nick Monaco, A1 Bassline, Bearright, Uffe, Walker & Royce, Trikk, Kixnare….
At which performance, other than your own, can we find you dancing during Park Am See?
Pachanga Boys, Manik and of course our friends from Watergate
What are your tips for young producers and DJ’s who want to grow as an artist?
We usually say the same thing, trust your own taste and do what you feel inside. That may sound obvious but that really is the key. If you’re doing something that you’re not feeling, maybe because it’s currently popular, people will notice and you’ll eventually get bored. Also don’t give up. It takes a lot of time but its worth it. And remember that you need to put 100% of YOU into it (that usually means you have 0% for other things)
Allright, thanks guys, see you in May!
Pachanga Boys | M A N I K | Digiteria | Doctor Dru | Prunk | Tiefschwarz | Catz ‘N Dogz | Ruede Hagelstein | Marco Resmann | Matthias Meyer | Sebastian Wilck & Stassy | NiCe7 | Marcel Freigeist | Dirty Bastards | Faux Couture | PONY | KIMOU | Kevin Duane | Charlotte Thorstvedt |