In Focus 002: Pig&Dan & ELEVATE

In Focus 002: Pig&Dan & Elevate

The second edition in our In Focus series delivers an interview and mix from one of Spain’s premier techno outputs, Pig&Dan and their ELEVATE imprint. Having seen releases on Soma and Drumcode over the years, the pair are perhaps the foundation for their nations techno culture, alongside guys like Paco Osuna and Cristian Varela.

Read on the hear how their ELEVATE label came to be, and what struggles they faced in the early days. As well as an excellent tracklist consisting of tunes from Wehbba, ANNA V, Joran Van Pol, and of course Pig&Dan. This is In Focus.

Let’s go back to the very first release on ELEVATE, why did you decide starting a label was the right step?

Both: Since the beginning of our career we believed that the best way to differentiate ourselves was making our own music, as we were living in Mallorca and didn’t have much access to promos and contacts it was much harder to make it in the music industry as there was no internet and pretty much you had to buy vinyl.

We decided to open our first label (out of the six we have had) called Submission to release our own music and make our way into the music industry. We were very lucky to have an investor that helped us with the label as in those days (early 2000s) you needed the cash to print vinyl.

Not many people know, but actually ELEVATE is our sixth label and probably the most mature of them all as it’s a product of the experience we have acquired running labels for 15 years.

And what was the biggest struggle you faced in the beginning?

Igor: Without internet and living quite far away from the scene, getting known and putting your music out there was pretty tough, also having the cash to be able to put the music out and print vinyl was a massive challenge.

Was there a moment or a release when you thought ‘this is it’?

Dan: Not really, if we have learnt something from this industry it’s to not have any expectations because you never know what’s gonna happen. Generally the complete opposite to what you may expect; when you think a track is a hit many times it isn’t and tracks that you think aren’t gonna do well do really well and surprise you.

The internet and services like Spotify have allowed almost anyone to put out a release, do you think the ease of access is good for the industry or has it only filled the stores with mediocre music?

Igor: Well it has its benefits and its disadvantages. Positively it’s much easier to get your music out there, it’s much easier to open a label as you don’t need to print vinyl or cassettes, and it’s much easier to get contacts or get in contact with people all you need to do is write a message on Facebook or Instagram these days (or any social media outlet) and you can get through.

I think we are becoming more and more a spoon-fed society, where we have to do less and less to become skilled in a certain way. The thing is, experience is extremely important, it makes a massive difference but I think it can be undervalued these days too.

For example: (I’m going to sound old here, but this is how it was and how it is) It took me many years to become who I am now, to acquire a taste in music and refine my ears, hours and hours of looking through vinyl in record stores, and when you went to a club and heard a track you liked it could take you ages to find it. Now a days you just Shazam the track and download it for free or buy it online and in five minutes you have it. Instant gratification. People don’t have the curiosity to hunt for music anymore.

Same with beat matching, although it’s not the most important thing about DJ’ing, it took me years to master the art of beat matching, now you can sync with CDJ’s or Ableton without knowing how to even DJ! You can say the same thing with production to, a lot of people produce music but it’s not enough with knowing there’s a whole process where you mature and the music you make and or your taste evolves. I think these days that process doesn’t exist because it’s all spoon-fed, so there is more mediocrity in general, and this can apply to many more things than just music.

What label continually impresses you besides your own?

Both: There are several labels these days, I really like Second State for example, they are pretty constant with their releases, and I also really like Clash Lion, it’s a brand new label but with a great sound.

Tell us what’s next for ELEVATE?

Igor: Music, music and more music! We are super excited about the releases coming up this year, a lot of the tracks on this mix are brand new or have just come out. Our first EP of the year on the label is out on March 9 called The Earth.

We have the legendary Mark Broom releasing an EP on ELEVATE, an artist that has been around for a long time and makes amazing techno. We have some great remixers coming on board like Shall Ocin and Reiner Zoenneveld, so we’ll be revealing those soon.

We are also going do a remix competition in conjunction with Native Instruments where the winner will be releasing their remix with us, on ELEVATE and we are studying the possibility of doing events so we have got a lot to keep us busy for this year and many more to come!

01. Pig&Dan – Intro
02. Pig&Dan – The Earth
03. Sly Faux – Lyrebird (Dubspeeka remix)
04. Uakoz – Indifference
05. Aitor Ronda – Urkleboot
06. Sinisa Tamamovic – Triangle
07. Joran Van Pol – Captured
08. Pig&Dan – Cryptic
09. Fiberroot – Greasy
10. Wehbba – Kernel Panic
11. Anna V – Neuronic
12. Saturn Storm – Hardass

Pig&Dan’s The Earth EP is available March 9 on ELEVATE.