It is the extrovert personalities of Catz N’ Dogz duo, Grzegorz Demianczuk and Wojciech Taranczuk (Greg and Voitek), that, even just over emails, immediately stands out. This character trait consistently bleeds into their sets and productions alike, and has fuelled the meteoric rise from local DJs in Sczesin, to world-renowned festival headliners and respected label owners.
Their label, Pets Recordings, is on the brink of its biggest project to date. Last year it released a three-part compilation called ‘Friends Will Carry You Home’, and now is planning the 33-track ‘Friends Will Carry You Home Too…’ to be released in March. It features unreleased tracks from A1 Bassline, T.Williams, Breach, Justin Martin, Tom Demac, Jay Shepeard, Eats Everything, the late Martin Dawson and the label bosses themselves, and as they explain; the two CDs reflect the two distinct aspects of Pets Recordings output.
Ahead of their show at Bugged Out! and the release of ‘Friends Will Carry You Home Too’, we discussed the compilation, Berlin, the effect communism had on Poland’s music scene, and why Pets Recordings is like a fusion restaurant.
Firstly tell us a little about yourselves, the label, and the electronic music scene in Poland.
We both come from the same city Szczecin. It’s just 1.5 hours drive from Berlin. Maybe thats why we we’ve always been influenced by the German techno scene. We started doing parties in a small, 300 capacity club around 2004/5 and after released our first record on Trenton Records as 3channels, it went fast from there. We also had a radio show for a couple of years. It was all really kinda natural I would say: doing more music, meeting new people all the time. A lot of DJs really wanted to come to play in Szczecin because it was very close so you could even do gig in our hometown and then play an hour later in Berlin. Also the vibe in our city back in the days was really cool.
Talking more about history: because of communism, we didn’t really have any club music in Poland until the early 90’s. When the border opened finally it was like a jungle; suddenly everything was available so the market went nuts. We had a lot of raves with Marshal Jefferson, for example. Tresor had a lot of fans in Poland and in some of those parties there were like 3000 people or even more. After this it all died down and then around 2002 kinda came back with a new Berlin sound.
In our hometown there was a lot of people playing when they were starting their careers, for example Ben Klock when he used to play electro, or people from WMF, or Gigolo. Around 2007 a lot of our friends moved out from Poland to the UK to look for work and I (Voitek) also moved out to Berlin. Now it’s like every other country in Europe – in big cities there are good parties from time-to-time, in Krakow, Posnan, Sopot but not really any big scene. Warsaw is definitely the place with the most stuff going on.
You’re in Mexico for BPM Festival at the moment right? A long way from Bognor Regis. How much, generally, do your festival sets differ according to location, and what can we expect at Bugged Out?
We actually changed the name from 3 Channels to Catz ‘n Dogz because in the end people never knew what to except from us. Usually when we talk with a promoter in the car before our show they always say that they are looking forward what we gonna play that night. It really depends on the crowd and vibe. The thing is that we were first DJs and then became producers. When I (Voitek) used to play alone I was known in our hometown for actually playing everything, sometimes even hip-hop. Recently after a couple of years being into slower stuff we noticed we play much harder now. We have a lot of new stuff coming out on our label so will probably play a lot [of music] from Pets plus some new edits we’ve done.
Explain the thought process in choosing the artists and tracks for the forthcoming Pets Recordings compilation.
We very rarely take tracks from people we don’t know because, for us, the context is always very important in music. When we decide to release someone we don’t know we always exchange some emails or sometimes even meet for a chat. We want to be surrounded with nice people with vision. We decided to make the second part of “Friends Will Carry You Home” because we felt it was the right time to step up a bit. It’s a very big project including some clothing, art project we are launching right now, a lot of new videos good artwork and many months of choosing the tracks. The first CD is definitely only for club, second is only music you wouldn’t normally hear on Pets. It’s very important for us to do different styles and different things, keep it interesting.
Do you consciously try to reflect the diversity of Pets in your Catz N’ Dogz DJ sets too?
Let’s be realistic, at a party it’s sometimes very hard to play many different styles. Not everybody that comes to the club is really into music, actually most people that are at a party are there because their friends are going or they got drunk and decided to go out. Let’s say 1/5 parties you get to play whatever you want without any adjustments. We always try to break out a bit and challenge the crowd though, we like risk when we play.
The tracklist takes in artists from all over Europe, and from the US. Presumably that was deliberate?
The idea for our label was always to connect Poland with other countries using our contacts and our knowledge. We want to show that music can sound the same no matter where you are from. Polish people have a nationality complex, we never agree with this, we don’t like that reviews in magazines are separate for Polish music and from music from the “outside”. People in Poland sometimes book less known artists from Germany sometimes because it’s cool to book a German DJ, not necessarily a Polish DJ. We don’t agree with this way of thinking and we’re gonna fight it! People should be judged by what they do not because where they are from. We will always work with people from all over the world, it’s kind of like a fusion restaurant.
There are a number of Polish artists featured. Was promoting local talent to a wider audience a high priority?
Yes we are always trying to support young talents from Poland and I have to say sometimes it is not easy because a lot of people are doing music and don’t want to release it because they are too shy. One of the tracks on the compilation we even helped mixing because we liked the idea but the mix was not there. I hope our compilation will help some more young producers get motivated.
Apologies in advance, but.. Do you have any favourite tracks on the compilation?
The good thing about the compilation is that it surprises us all the time. The Jay Shepheard track for example doesn’t sound like a club bomb but when you play it people go crazy, the same with Tom Demac – ‘Emerge’. We’ve been playing this as a set closer for a couple of weeks and sometimes I even cry, but I mean in a nice way. It’s just so emotional and people are like in the cloud when this track is on.
It must mean a lot to have a track from the late Martin Dawson on there.
What is to follow the compilation on Pets Recordings?
We have couple of really exiting singles and eps. Some new polish artists another Eats Everything EP and Uffe as well, also our friend from San Francisco Nikola Baytala is doing an EP. Exciting times.
Friends Will Carry You Home Too is released in March on Pets Recordings.