Pig&Dan, aka Dan Duncan and Igor Tchkotoua, have been producing and performing together for more than a decade. With their forthcoming album due to drop this Spring, we just had to sit down with them to chat about their distinct musical style and what we have to look forward to.
Let’s take it back to where it all began… Duncan knew from a very young age that music was his calling. He grew up in a musical family and was encouraged to pick up an instrument by the tender age of 4. He was actually the one who insisted on a rigorous schedule to learn piano at a high level and his parents were kind enough to oblige.
"After that I left school and started working at the first Virgin Megastore and, once again, thanks to my parents, they got me in because of their musical connections with Mr. Branson.”
With a strong educational background, all that was left was moving forward to start his career. Duncan completed his engineering degree at Kingston Polytechnic and applied for a job at RAK Studios in London, all by the age of 17.
"I got my foot in the door answering late night calls as the night receptionist and continued to work my way up to making tea, etc. After four years of intensive work, I finally was granted the job as being the in-house programmer. I was, in fact, one of the only two in the UK at that time, so I got some incredible jobs with the likes of the Stone Roses and The Cure.”
And this was where Duncan was able to pick up some of that “real world” experience.
“All through this process, I was just picking up all these tricks from incredible producers and bands alike. In my downtime, of course, I worked on my own projects and I was a true raver back in the late 80s. I tried to use my knowledge to enter the dance music scene.”
After RAK, he continued to grow and develop his style. Duncan ventured into working on a relatively new style of Drum and Bass. He would add breakbeats on top of House grooves and these tracks were well received by the underground community.
"This started to work well and the scene exploded with me and my partners riding that wave for over ten years together under the name INTENSE. We were deeply involved with LTJ BUKEM and FABIO. And I toured world wide, DJing with them back in the day.”
It wasn’t until 1999 that Duncan met Tchkotoua. And it was truly a chance meeting.
“We met on a plane to Mallorca where Igor is from. I was talking shit in the row in front of him about me being a resident at Ministry of Sound. And he leaned forward and said, ‘I’m a DJ/producer as well.’"
The two producers continued to talk about music and life throughout the whole trip and by the time they had reached their destination they had swamped numbers, but never contacted one another. It wasn't until much later that a mutual friend urged them to meet, little did they know, they already had.
"We share a special synergy in the studio that’s a very hard thing to do when you’re in a creative process. The rest is history.”
Over the years, the two have played many a show at many a venue. But one still comes to mind as an all time favorite.
“There are a lot of memories that come to mind, but if I had to pick one out it would be playing the main room at Cocoon in Amnesia, Ibiza. This was an epic milestone for us both. So many times before we had been on that dance floor looking up at the DJ, wishing to one day be up there. We had finally reached that goal. It was one of the most nerve racking experiences. I recall not even being able to hold the pitch on the decks properly because my hand was shaking so hard for the whole three hour set. We played there many times after and it always had that affect to some degree.”
One of the significant milestones in their joint-careers was playing Next Generation in Frankfurt.
“We were asked by Sven Vath to come and play an event called Next Generation at the Cocoon Club in Frankfurt. He invited a few DJs he felt could be something for the future to join him once a month at the club. After our first trial, he actually invited us to play some of the other events along side him. Sven is the godfather of Techno and we were honored to play alongside him on so many occasions. It was just mind-blowing.”
Pig&Dan’s style is unique and memorable. It is a collective of their individual and collective experiences. When asked to describe their music, they hit the nail on the head, naturally.
“Dynamic, Euphoric, Uplifting and Nonlinear. Pumping yet melodic. Smiley face music that girls like too, even though it has a dark edge.”
There is something that sets them apart from other DJs and producers. Their goals?
“Obviously it’s to take people away from everyday crap and let go. We always try to look at a set as a sort of sexual experience. This might sound weird, but a lot of DJs just come in and bang it out. If you just enter and bang it all the way, it’s boring and noneffective after a certain amount of time. We like foreplay and we like to build up to musical orgasms. Sometimes we even take it down to take it back up.”
Their new album is definitely something to keep an eye out for.
“Modular Baptism is the most organic record we’ve ever made. We did a lot with analog synths and did a lot of the work live. It has a large range of style, all falling under the umbrella of the techno genre. There is a lot of depth, as far as there’s tracks that are totally about taking you on a journey. Like ‘Vangelism.’ And there’s others that are pure hands in the air madness, like ‘The Saint.’ It is definitely a dynamic album with a lot of love put into it.”
If you get the chance to witness them behind the decks, chances are you will be hearing some of their new music. They say they only make music that they would play in their sets.
"We only write music for us to play, in a weird way. That’s how we roll.”
Now, even though they have been in the industry for quite some time, they have managed to keep the spirit and energy alive in their music and performances.
“We are seriously ambitious chaps to say the least. This is what we are meant to do, as far as we are concerned. There’s nothing we love more than enjoying a moment with people, that split second when everyone is in the same vibe.
No what what religious beliefs or nationality, we are all just having a ball together. And that is a very inspiring energy to be a part of.
Music is what makes the world go around, it’s unity and it’s in our blood. Don’t fight it, just get your dancing shoes on and come join the fun. Life is too short not to.”