Interview: Pig&Dan

For well over a decade, Pig&Dan have been jamming in the studio, producing musical adventures that hold their signature sound.

Pig&Dan’s productions have been released on renowned labels such as Cocoon Recordings, Soma, Bedrock, Terminal M and Plus 8, with the duo collaborating and remixing some of the greats including Underworld and Innercity. Of course, no dance music CV is complete without an extensive touring diary, of which Pig&Dan have in spades. They have visited the likes of Ultra, TomorroWorld, and Awakenings, on the festival tip, while gracing the decks of the world’s best club’s like Amnesia Ibiza, Crobar Buenos Aires, and Womb Tokyo.

See also: Premiere: Pig&Dan – Growler (Original Mix)

This month, the esteemed Techno masters have released their highly anticipated fourth album, coming hot off the heals of their #1 charted (and exclusive DHA premiere) ‘Growler’. Coming in the form of a 14 track LP, entitled “Modular Baptism,” the album sees Pig&Dan returning to their techno roots after experimenting with a more ambient approach on their last album, “Destinations Unknown”.

Anticipating the album and their always busy Amsterdam (an international) touring schedule, we managed to catch up with Pig&Dan’s Dan Duncan at an Amsterdam café (read: café, not coffeeshop) for a chat about the city, the album, the need for a global education awareness and more.

“It is about getting lost in that sound…not thinking about religion, color, or nationality.”

What was the very first element that would ultimately become “Modular Baptism”?
We’ve never actually made anything intentionally. We have inspirational bursts where we write lots of tracks consecutively. Since we live in Majorca, we are not surrounded by trends. We don’t live in Berlin or London, where things happen that flash in and out, like minimal techno. We are very lonely, so we never had to make a track with anything in mind. We are very much experimentalists and this album is the most experimental album we’ve ever made since it’s all hands on. Everything is played live. We made 14 or 15 tracks in this style, so we thought they might lend themselves to an album. These things grow themselves and that’s what happened here.

Obviously, there is a consistency in the sound, though. You’re last album was ambient, so you must have had some like minded approach to the productions…
…True, but the last album was different because we wrote it over years. Every time our brains needed refreshing and wanted to get away from the 4 on the floor, we would work on that album. It was more of a refreshment period, of which we ended up gathering together. In fact, John Digweed asked us if we had any tracks for a chillout album and we said we had around 15 of them. John wrote back and said forget the chillout, let’s just use all the tracks and make a full album. Actually, he asked us for more tracks to make a double album.

When you have all the tracks ready, what is your approach to constructing the final tracklist? Do you see it as a journey from a point A to point B? For example, I see ‘Growler’ as a very distinctive mid-point in the album…
Absolutely! Since we are DJs we look to cause a trip, and to build up sets with a crescendo to a maximum beat. We look at it very much like sex. We like to have foreplay, so we designed the album along those lines. It starts really chill and moves into full on old school, acid-y madness. Of course, we selected the tracks as a journey, but one you don’t just have to listen to only in a club environment.

Were there tracks that didn’t make the cut?
Oh yeah, of course…

…So, out of 14 tracks that made it, how many didn’t?
We are quite prolific, so we write 1 or 2 tracks a week (sometimes 3 or 4). It was more a case of finding the continuity amongst the records we had. We have a lot of records we’ve never released and just play in DJ sets, unless the time comes where they are appropriate. It is kind of sad we never wrote an album just because we wanted to write one. We have written a load of tracks which fit under an umbrella, which is where this title comes from…”Modular Baptism;” in that, we come from the old school where we only use analog synths, Moogs and 303s, and we had been gradually moving away from that over the years. Now, we’re back on it.

Regarding the tech, if you could isolate a specific piece of gear that was vital in making this album, what would it be?
Probably the Roland System 1 or the Moog Sub 37. With the System 1, it is not just an SH101, but has a lot of different synths you can import into it. It lent itself very well to the project.

We also recorded some of the album in Mexico at a friends house who has an equipment rental company. He brought in a Fatty Moog and some other synths, which added another edge. Everything is pretty much analog. Even the drums came from the TR808.

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