Catz ‘N Dogz: "People would think we are from Holland as its sounds similar to Poland"
How do Eglė Sirvydytė, Matthew Herbert, Maurice Fulton and Jamie Jones fit into one sentence? Just call Catz ‘N Dogz, as the Polish house duo surely know the answer. The guys from Szczecin released their third studio album called ‘Basic Colour Theory’ last year and it was followed by a great remix pack in 2016. That’s where all of the above-mentioned people met.
Catz ‘N Dogz, probably the most successful example of dance music export from Poland (they did the Essential Mix back in 2013) are on their way to Vilnius where’ll they make their debut in Opium Cub at the Jäger Blow-Out season closing on April 15th. Before the trip, Grzegorz Demiańczuk and Wojciech Tarańczuk flipped a coin to choose who will be answering my questions. Grzegorz won!
How was ‘Basic Colour Theory’ met around the world – I mean, do certain regions like certain tracks better, have you noticed that in your shows for example? What was the most interesting album review you have read? By the way, are album reviews relevant at all today? Do you read what journalists write about other people’s music?
Album did really great, we’re very happy that it was played in the radios all over the world a lot as that was one of our main goals. Most of people tell us that they like to listen the album as a one piece, which also makes us very happy as that was the mission. I think the most popular track was ‘Get It Right’, the for this one was just nominated to Berlin Music Video Awards, which is great as we were working with amazing people. In the clubs we play the remixes or the edits that we did for the album tracks as the album is more for car or home listening.
We were happy about the reviews because most of the journalists noticed our inspirations and were saying that it was well produced. We put a lot of effort in preparation before the album and also we were trying to get our production skills to another level. The best for us I think was that DJ MAG picked the album as the album of the year.
I read the reviews from time to time, some of the reviewers are very professional and you can really trust them but there are also a lot of people who are not prepared and they just follow the hype or what other blog wrote.
Is it harder or easier to make already a THIRD artist album? I mean, do you see it as a challenge to surpass the previous one, or do you know the methods and follow the path you trust?
After the second album we took a break and we were just releasing singles and remixes. When we had the idea to put out the 3rd album, for the first half of a year we were listening a lot of music, a lot of music from the time when we were getting inspired as a young guys, a lot of music from the 60-70-80-90s. We watched many documentaries about the jazz musicians, blues, different music scenes, 90’s rave parties, 70’s disco. We got inspired a lot. We also upgraded our studio, bought a lot of hardware, basically we did everything we were always dreaming of when we were staring producing.
We had the concept and we started to work, we invited a lot of people, made a huge bank of our own samples and vocals. And than we changed everything like 3 or 4 times.
The main goal was to have a solid album with a story. 3rd album was a big deal for us and we wanted to use all the experience we get in 10 years.
Was the remix album something you planned in the very beginning when working on the album? Did the remixers manage to surprise you?
The original album is more songs concept, you can listen it in the car, when you’re on holidays or in the radio. There’s not much stuff you can play in the club. When we were working on the tracks we did a lot of edits and club versions ourselves. We know it’s a good remix material and we invited mostly our friends or people we know or get inspired from to work on the remixes. The results are great I think.
How did you start working with Eglė Sirvydytė?
Was great to work together, we were working over internet. Both ways, in the studio or online, are comfortable for us to work. Eglė’s voice is unique and beautiful, we were very happy that we will work together and its one of our favourite tracks on the album. Eglė wrote the lyrics and we did a few versions of the track.
Hey – also Green Velvet and Peter, Bjorn & John as guest vocalists – that’s really impressive. Whose idea was that and how did you work with these artists?
We did a lot of research looking for unique vocals and artists. We know Green Velvet personally and we have played few parties together so we knew we were going do something one day. Peter, Bjorn and John we meet through our manager and we decided to experiment a little bit more here. Working with vocalists is very inspiring and expands your production knowledge. We learned a lot during the whole process.
Pets Recordings is a very colorful and productive label. Which of you does the A&R? Do you have a bigger team to help you with everyday hassle that a label requires? How do you attract names like Eats Everything or KiNK to release on your label?
Thank you, it’s our baby, we were doing everything by ourselves, from A&R to pressing the vinyls and uploading snippets, until last year. But as you know it was a little bit too much when you play 10 or more parties every month and want to produce the album. Luckily we meet amazing people and we work together now with our label manager Marta. She’s helping us a lot and her energy is very inspiring for us and for the label.
We do A&R together. We basically talk about it every year and send each other new music. Having a label is sometimes frustrating but 99% of time its’ the best thing ever as you discover new music and are able to play it first. Eats Everything and KiNK are our good friends, we always put a lot of effort in every release promotion and production wise so I think people know we try to keep the very good quality.
Many Lithuanian electronic music lovers know Poland for festivals – for example the legendary ‘Audioriver’, where many of us saw you for the first time. Do you remember your first relationship with the festival? How many times have you played there?
I remember there were always few buses from Lithuania. We were there first time in 2004, I remember, on the first edition that was called ‘Astigmatic’. That was our first festival ever and we loved it! We have played there many times and it’s an amazing place to meet all your friends and listen to good music.
What would be your ideal festival lineup if you were bookers and no budget would limit you?
We are working on our own festival called ‘Wooded’ in Wroclaw, Poland. We are trying to create our ideal festival with our friends, but we know how hard it is.
I would definitely make something like ‘Fusion’ where there’s no advertisements, there’s not only music but the whole festival is a magic place where you can experience a lot.
What was your most important gig so far?
I think my first gig ever when I discover I can actually mix.
What was the biggest mistake you have made as a DJ?
I switched off the CDJ in front of 10k people once!
What is the best about Szczecin? If you had to send your friends over there for a day, what would they absolutely have to see and do?
Szczecin is 500k people city, it’s not that big but it’s very green, it’s definitely nice to go there in May, see the river, go to the forest. There’s an amazing philharmonic building with perfect acoustic. It was voted as the most beautiful building in Europe last year.
Is it more important for you to be loved and appreciated in Poland, or abroad? How do you divide your gig time between home and abroad?
We have always put the biggest attention in Poland and for Polish scene. When we started the label, the main mission was to promote Polish artists. Even when nobody was caring of the music that we play, we were always trying to support local scene, as we think it’s very important.
Right now we play mostly abroad but we do our festival in Poland, also every year we do our own warehouse party, and we did a big Polish tour with the album. We play festivals from time to time and gigs in the clubs. We love to come back here as there’s always a lot of friends and creative people. We work with many Polish artists, most of the album production was made in Warsaw, album cover, too, and music video.
Last years has seen a steady influx of more 'international' artists of previously quite homogenic in this sense dance music area. Romania, Poland, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Estonia - bring it on. Why do you think it happens? Is it just the power of internet or people’s wish for 'exotic'? Have you encountered any stereotypes about Eastern Europe you had to break in the 'old' Western Europe?
I think the potential is huge in our region, it’s just a matter of time, people are very talented and I’m sure it’s gonna happen soon. When we started to tour in 2005 we were one of the few producers from Poland touring internationally. People would think we are from Holland as its sounds similar to Poland.
Anyway it all changed a lot after we joined the EU and after he football championship so I think we are not exotic anymore.
D.D. 2004 - 2016
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