To say that techno duo Pan-Pot have had a successful few years would be a bit of an understatement. These two Berlin beauties have been setting the electronic music scene on fire as of late with their special brand of big room techno, their stellar soundscapes and an unwavering passion for what they do.
March sees them start a new chapter as they launch their own label, Second State – aptly named as they move into the next stage of their careers. After a long day of recording, they found the time to sit down with a beer and reminisce on their sell-out tour, their London Showcase in March, and give me the skinny on what we can expect from them and their new imprint.
Last year you celebrated your 10-year partnership with your sell-out X-10 tour. How do you think your sound and attitude towards making music has evolved since you started playing together? Tassilo: When we started together 10 years ago, it was a very precise music taste we had; very minimal oriented. Over the years we’ve definitely opened up a lot, which we are really happy about. We’re getting back to real techno, tech house. We also love to do housier stuff; we had some deep house tracks out too. We’ve become more open minded.
After touring you’ve continued to play all over the world. Has there been a place on your travels that you’ve been to that has really inspired you? Thomas: Luckily we had the first two weeks of the year off! But I’d say, this year we were so inspired by Australia. It was the first time we’d been there. We rented a car and drove this great ocean road from Melbourne to Twelve Apostles. It’s great to get some time together when were not sitting in the studio or DJing, and it was a completely different surrounding for us, more like a buddy tour! And Rainbow Serpent festival was so inspiring. Last year I’d have said Burning Man. I had no clue what to expect, and it was a crazy fucking thing! Then Hawaii years before... There are so many beautiful places on earth that have inspired us.
You’ve got your biggest London show to date coming up with London Warehouse Events on the 15th March. How you feeling about it? Tassilo: Very excited! The whole period we have right now is so exciting. We’re starting our own label, and it’s our baby. We’ve tried to do as good a job as we can. This London Showcase is the third showcase we’re doing with our label, so we’re excited and nervous! Over the last few years our love for London has grown so much. We love going there, have a lot of friends there, and always have a great time there.
So you’ve got your own label, Second State, due to launch in March... Exciting! Where did the name come from? Why did you feel now was the time to launch your own imprint? Tassilo: We decided at the end of 2012 to do our own label, but we wanted to take our time with everything, including choosing the right name. We had so many evenings of brainstorming. Second State references the second stage of our career. We’ve been sticking to Mobilee for ten years; that was the first part and this is the second. This is our own little world, our own little state where we can do whatever we want to do, with whoever we want to do it. It’s a little bit of an ego driven thing, but in a good, honest way. Secondly, we’d had ten years as artists with time to think. Five years ago I thought about it, but it would’ve been too early. We were collecting so much experience within the Mobilee corporation. Then in 2012, Thomas said, “Let’s go for it.” We felt it was the right moment to do something of our own.
Thomas: With a label, you have to do it once and you have to do it seriously. Five years ago, we didn’t have enough power or experience – now we have the contacts and the money, and it’s just the right choice right now.
What can we expect from the label? Is the plan to use it primarily as a platform for your own sound, or to discover new artists? Tassilo: Originally we wanted to release our own music at first then slowly look out for other artists. This has changed a bit, as our very good long-time friend Clint Stewart has actually become our first artist. He’s given us some amazing tracks to release. Other friends have given us some great tracks too. We realised when we start the label, people are going to give us great music, and we can’t just not release it because we’ve said it’s for our own stuff. So now we’re keen to do a great A&R job. But we don’t want too many artists initially; we want to let it be gradual but consistent. We have two other fresh and unknown artists at the moment too.
Thomas: We both want to have a family thing, not like a supermarket label where you bring releases out from anyone. We’d love to have just a few artists behind us. Two is enough to start with, then we can concentrate on them and grow slowly. It’s really important to us that we take care of them. We want to have a core of artists, friends and good people.
You smashed it at Amnesia Opening last year... Any chance we’ll be seeing you on the Terrace this time round? Tassilo: Well we actually have a Music On residency for the Fridays. We’re playing six times with them. We’re definitely playing the main floor and maybe even the Terrace...
Thomas: (Laughing) The Terrace, everyone wants to play there. You have to do something to get to play the Terrace! You seem to have to play the main room for a few years first.
Tassilo: We also have a couple of dates with Carl Cox at Space again, and we’re going to invite him to Berlin. I think there’s another party we’re playing too... We’re playing way more gigs than last year anyway, so we’ll see you there!
Some DJs keep themselves to themselves and it’s purely about the music, but when I see you play you let your personalities show. As DJs and producers, how important do you think personality is in this business in comparison to the music? Tassilo: It’s everything!
Thomas: Yes, you shouldn’t bite the hand that feeds you.
Tassilo: In the end, you’re an entertainer. You’re not just the nerdy guy behind the decks mixing two tracks into each other. Those days are over, sorry! When I go to a club, I want to be entertained and have fun. I can’t have fun when the guy up there isn’t interacting with the crowd. We love it up there. It’s very exhausting, we have to travel all the time and all that bullshit, but it’s all totally worth it for the two, six, whatever hours. There shouldn’t be a disconnection between the DJ and the crowd; they should be one.
Thomas: We always have fun because to us that’s our rave time. We don’t go out at the weekends because we’re playing so we rave behind the decks!
People compare a musical duo to being like a marriage. What would you say was your best moment and your biggest fight? Tassilo: Ha! Well I can tell you about the biggest fight... It was about five years ago, standing in our studio, and we had this fight about, I don’t even remember what it was, and we were seriously standing in front of each other almost punching each other’s faces! It took two days before everything was okay again! But we don’t have these bad moments anymore. I mean sometimes yeah, we have off days, Thomas is moody or I’m moody (Thomas: Er, I’m never moody!) But we just accept it. After ten years we both feel so confident about our partnership that we totally accept each other’s moods and situations. We’ve had so many good times, nothing else matters! We’ve had so many great parties; I can’t even pick the best. That’s the reason why we still enjoy it so much.
Finally, what can we expect from Pan-Pot the rest of this year? Thomas: Well we’re booked until the end of the year, we’ve got Kazantip Festival, we’ve got our own Sonar parties again, and some personal exciting things going on. Looks like it’s going to be a good year!
London Warehouse Events present Pan-Pot Showcase on March 15. More info here.