German Techno Duo Pan-Pot in Conversation
One of Germany's finest techno duos Pan-Pot discuss networking at bad parties, the creative power of Berlin and their respect for Slam
The unparalleled and always invigorating Berlin-based DJ/production duo of Tassilo Ippenberger and Thomas Benedix, aka Pan-Pot, will take to the most infamous basement booth in the country as the pair smash the Sub Club sideways alongside Scotland’s own techno pioneers Slam. Pan-Pot’s meteoric rise to the top of the techno scene is mirrored by their equally impressive ascent of Mobilee Records, the imprint that acted as a platform for the pair to bring their haunting, melodic stomp to dancefloors worldwide. With a second long player in the works and a three-disc compendium of all things both Pan-Pot and Mobilee due for imminent release, a tentatively demotic Skype was long overdue…
What are the beginnings of Pan-Pot and how did your relationship with Anja Schneider and her label Mobilee come about?
We met at the SAE (an audio engineering institute) in Berlin in 2003 where we were studying and realised that we shared a similar taste in music so we started making music together and putting on parties. We put on a party at this park in Berlin and invited Anja to play but unfortunately it was pretty quiet so we had a lot of time to talk! Everyone loves Anja as she has this radio show we had been listening to for five or six years which is great for electronic music. She told us about a new label she was starting which was Mobilee. Two months before the label launch we sent her our first promo which turned out to be the second Mobilee release, so even though the party was pretty empty it was really good for us.
Is it a good thing to be identified with a trademark sound then? I mean, I in a totally complimentary sense…
Sometimes. You get that with other artists too and with us people do say "oh fuck it’s a new Pan-Pot tune, it’s exactly what I want from these guys" but it’s important to have your own ‘signature’ in your sound and I hope that’s positive. Our sound has definitely changed since we began. We started making music in a very experimental way which was more striped down with a lot of sampling and effects. Now we have definitely developed to more melodic, powerful stuff. We always use some darker sounds and try to create some atmosphere in our tracks.
The music's character happens out of the process of hearing the loop that we’ve been working on for days and just adding little things so the basic sound has to be something that’s enjoyable for both of us. People say we have this trademark sound but I don’t know. It’s hard for us to explain because in one way it sucks as you’re another guy who's said that to us but it’s just a natural result of the creative process, it just happens.”
Does Berlin, in a city with a scene that has so much going, ever feel saturated? Do you find it difficult at all to differentiate your sound?
No, not at all. You have to see it from another aspect. Berlin is the capital of electronic music and that’s good because you have so many people here to exchange ideas and it really supports your creative process. We do what we do and other people do what they do so there’s no problem to define ourselves. Berlin has all the possibilities for an artist’s life. It’s not too expensive and it’s got so much creative potential; the club scene and the music scene in general is like one big creative melting pot.
You’ve played Scotland a good number of times, what are your impressions of the scene here?
I would say the best parties we played in the UK were in Glasgow, at the Sub Club or The Arches or RockNess. It’s great, absolutely. We’ve had so many great experiences and every person we’ve met at parties is so fucking friendly, we’re big fans. I mean, I’m pretty sure they’re being friendly because sometimes we can barely understand them!
As the night goes on it must get harder to understand?
Actually it’s easier when everyone’s a bit more fucked up! Like when we’re meeting Stuart and Orde (Slam), they have such a hardcore accent and they’re already making fun of us ‘cause we can’t understand them, you have to really concentrate on the 'awkcent' (awful but endearing attempt at a Glasgow accent).
You seem to have a really strong connection with Soma and Slam?
Yeah, we played in Ireland with Slam years ago and we had to travel to the party in this tiny car and it was just us and the driver for a few hours so we definitely got to know each other pretty well! We started working together, remixing and playing each other’s parties and it all came together. We’ve always wanted to remix Lifetimes (a Slam track from 2001) and the 20 Years of Soma compilation was the perfect moment to do it and it ended up as one of our personal highlights of last year.