Catz 'N Dogz's Voitek: "If we had to play just one kind of club, we wouldn't be happy"
Catz 'N Dogz (due at NORAD this Saturday, November 23) has had a smashing year so far. In addition to being invited to create a BBC 1 Essential Mix, the powerhouse duo has collaborated with a mother lode of impressive acts, including Eats Everything, with whom it put together a whole EP.
See also: The best EDM shows in Denver in November
The masterminds behind the tongue-in-cheek-named Pet Recordings, Catz 'N Dogz has also released tracks on some of the best EDM labels -- Crosstown Rebels, Dirtybird and more -- and when you hear the act's signature playful sound, you'll understand why.
The group's sound traverses subgenres from disco house to techno, always with a whimsical thread of groove meandering through the productions and track selection, and all while paying homage to the roots of electronic music (hip-hop and disco in particular) and keeping a finger firmly on the pulse of the future. We recently caught up with the duo's Voitek to talk about vocal sampling libraries, the new Step label and much more.
Westword: I've heard you've been doing some film-related projects -- can you tell me how you got started doing that and what that's been like for you?
Wojciech Taranczuk (Voitek): As Catz 'N Dogz, we are always trying to get involved in some different projects, so right now we are also changing up our design, and we asked one of our artist friends to create a special series of illustrations for us as well, and we might work with a really famous jazz musician from Poland for a special compilation -- we're not afraid to take these special kind of projects.
Our friend from Warsaw asked us to do this film project, and we said yes. It was fun, it was a really weird experience to play music in the cinema while people are watching the screen. It was a really tough experience; the day before we played a really long party with an after-party. And we were really prepared, we rehearsed a lot for that.
What was it like to be tapped to put together an Essential Mix? What are your thoughts on how it turned out?
We were preparing for this for a really long time, it was one of our life goals to do it, once our PR guy told us that we were going to do it, we kind of knew what tracks we were going to put on it. We put a lot of our -- maybe not classics that people would know straight away, but our personal favorite classics. The feedback was amazing, BBC has such a big menu, it's a pretty decent mix.
You've managed to incorporate vocals into your tracks in some very interesting ways -- are there any other instruments you'd like to experiment with?
We are right now working and creating our own vocal sample library, so every time we meet somebody interesting that's keen to do it, we ask them to do several recordings, and then we chop it out, and our library is growing and growing. And then we don't have to sample other people's records and ask for the rights to do it. I guess we work with vocals so much because, I think maybe it's because I was singing in a choir for seven or eight years.
And somehow, vocals, as an instrument -- it's something about the right frequency, and maybe because house and techno, it's very, how you say...sometimes vocal is something that gives it more soul. It's hard to think why, but it's just something about the right frequency, and it's also very plastic. You can do so many things with vocals, especially now with all the effects and instruments that are available, somehow it's one of the most plastic instruments. There's not that many instruments with frequencies that you can stretch like that.
When you started integrating your sets instead of playing back-to-back, what would you say was the hardest part of forming that partnership?
Spending so much time together outside of the club. Playing always was fun. In the middle of when our career kind of kicked off, we had a couple of crises, but musically wise, it's always been really fun. There was never a moment when I was like, "Oh, Gregory, you're going in the wrong direction, and I think we should talk." I have to admit, we are very lucky because we know a lot of people who didn't make it longer than two years.