PIG & DAN: UNCHARTED TERRITORY
We chat to techno duo Pig&Dan about their superb new downtempo record
Since getting together in 1999, Pig&Dan have pretty much always released dancefloor techno — until now, that is. 'Destination Unknown' is an artist album that explores the breadth of electronic music genres — from chill-out to trip-hop, ambient techno to digidub and jazzual vibes.
“We always created other styles of music in the past, however we felt it was time to show our true musical colours under our artist name that is most well-known, even though it's known for the dancefloor sounds,” the guys tell DJ Mag. “Over time we've had the great honour of meeting and working with fellow musicians and singers that we really clicked with both personally and musically,” they continue. “We felt it was time to create an album that shared their inputs — and here is the result.”
Pig&Dan have always made a diverse selection of music under the techno umbrella, but this new genre-traversing album demonstrates their skill as electronic music all-rounders. This is some of the finest downtempo music you will hear all decade. Aqeel, aka Californian singer Glenn Anthony from Zombie Kids, is the main vocalist on the album, along with their pal Giacomo, who hangs with them in Mallorca where their studio is based.
They've also recruited funk guitarist Tim Cansfield, reggae vocalist Paul de Swardt, Soul Camp founder Werner Niedermeier, Spanish jazzer Jaime Rosello, aka Ruspei, and soundtrack guitarist Joan Bibiloni. Dan's dad, Malcolm Duncan, guests on quite a few tracks too. He was one of the founding members in '70s soul act The Average White Band — the sax player.
“It was a massive influence being surrounded by the whole soul movement in the USA in the 1970s,” Dan tells DJ Mag. “My father was very close with artists such as Marvin Gaye and Chaka Khan, and this of course when being a child had no real impact because you’re not aware of their so-called status.
However, their amazing musical influence I’m sure is in there somewhere. To this day I look at Marvin Gaye as one of the best songwriters that ever set foot on this planet. I’m extremely honoured to have been lucky enough to have been connected with them — and of course the rest of AWB.”
Dan has worked with his dad before, when he toured with his old drum & bass band Intense, and says it's easy to work with him as they share a kind of brotherhood. “That ['70s soul/funk] era was something that I’m sure will never repeat,” he says. “However, I do feel that their passion in dance music has a lot of similarities to today, in so far as being devoted to getting people on the dancefloor to let their hair down.”
As well as 'Destination Unknown' being a refreshing surprise, it's also surprising that it's coming out on Bedrock — John Digweed's acclaimed label that usually puts out quality forms of house and techno. How come? “Basically, we were requested to send a track over for a chill-out compilation and sent over a lot of material for John to choose from,” says Pig, aka Igor Tchkotoua. “He then called and said, 'Lets put the whole lot out as an album', and he suggested that we make another whole second side to add some different flavours to the musical soup.”
The guys — who first made their name with a string of releases on Cocoon — say they could have gone down the route of putting 'Destination...' out on their own label Elevate, but felt that Bedrock's history, reputation and muscle was going to propel it further to success. “John Digweed’s support on this project has been overwhelming, and if anyone can help a project like this to be accepted and cross over, he’s for sure the man to do so.”
The guys are already making plans for a second 'Destination Unknown' opus, although fans of their quality techno tracks need fret not — they've just finished a Marco Bailey remix for Carl Cox's Intec label, and will continue rocking dancefloors — and writing techno tracks on planes in-between — for many years to come.