Pig&Dan: 20 Years of Dance Floor Domination and Brotherhood

Beatport chats with the formative dance music duo Pig&Dan about two decades of crafting cutting-edge sounds and their forthcoming retrospective album, 20 Years: Pig&Dan — dropping October 7 via ELEVATE.

10 min
Pig Dan Beatport 20 Years
Sept 9, 2022
Cameron Holbrook

It was back in 1999 that Dan Duncan and Igor Tchkotoua first crossed paths on a flight to Mallorca. Both parties had already enjoyed a glistening career in dance music, with Dan holding down a residency at the fabled UK nightclub Ministry of Sound and Igor quickly rising through underground circles through his production alias Tropic 39. They banter about the music industry, trade hedonistic rave stories, swap numbers, and never call each other again.

That is, until two years later, a mutual friend reintroduced the pair in the city of Palma. Eventually, connecting the dots on their previous encounter, they enter the studio together, and their musical chemistry ignites with a pure and inventive dance floor furry. As a result, their lives become inextricably linked, giving birth to one of electronic music’s most influential and prolific duos, Pig&Dan.

Since their debut release on Sven Väth‘s Cocoon in 2002 and their first appearance at the label’s namesake club in Frankfurt, it wasn’t long before the duo started holding down their own residencies in Ibiza and Germany. As their clubland presence grew, so did their production prowess, bringing their distinct sound to formative labels like Bedrock, Truesoul, Drumcode, Tronic, Crosstown Rebels, and founding their Onolog and ELEVATE imprints. With hundreds of shows and records under their belt, Pig&Dan’s experimentalist and tag-team ethos on stage and in the studio has ensured that their dance floor offerings never go out of fashion. Instead, they’ve become the stuff of legend.

It’s been 20 years since the formation of Pig&Dan. In celebration of two decades of genre-crossing ingenuity, the pair is gearing up to release the retrospective record 20 Years: Pig&Dan — dropping October 7th via ELEVATE. The album features 20 tracks, one from each year since the creation of the project, and serves as an opus of their phenomenal contributions to dance music scenes worldwide.

We spoke to Dan and Igor to learn more about their thoughts on this milestone achievement, how they approached the formation of this album, their studio synergy, and more.

Check out Pig&Dan’s ’20 Years’ chart on Beatport.
Pig Dan Beatport 20 Years 2

Hey Igor & Dan, thanks for joining us! How are you enjoying your summer? Any highlights you want to tell us about?

Thanks so much for having us! Summer is still very much in full swing where we are based in Mallorca, and it’s been a great summer in general with amazing events (so good to be back) and also some good sweatbox studio sessions.

You two are celebrating 20 years of your Pig&Dan project together. How does it feel?

It’s pretty hard to believe, really. To have a brotherhood that’s lasted so long and still is very fresh, inspiration-wise, is a real milestone for us. I think it’s safe to say that we have proved that the synergy we share is solid.

You two first met over two decades ago on a flight to Spain and ended up connecting in the studio two years later. What was that first studio session like? When did you two first realize you had a unique musical synergy?

The first sessions were strange because sharing a creative space is often challenging — you need to let your inner ego aside and work with compromises. With that said, we clicked straight away, realizing that our mix of balearic house and drum & bass influences had something that we felt could be unique in some ways. Adding those two edges together brought a sound that some say is easy to recognize, even when we produce different genres.

What are some tracks (or artists) that you two first bonded over during your “hedonistic” trips to Ibiza in the early 2000s?

Well, Sven Väth was very much our mentor in these times. We spent many days and nights at after parties with Luciano, Ricardo Villalobos, Richie Hawtin, Monika Kruse, Marco Carola, Adam Beyer, plus many others connecting with the backbone of what has become the techno family of today.

After releasing your debut single, “Oh Yeah,” on Sven Väth’s Cocoon Recordings, how soon after did you begin playing out together? Can you recall any special/memorable early gigs?

Well, it was when we were asked to play at Sven’s event called “Next Generation,” where he invited unknown names to play alongside him at the legendary Cocoon club in Frankfurt. That’s where things really kicked off for us. We were the only DJs who were invited to play at the event again, and then we became residents at both Cocoon residencies in Frankfurt and Ibiza. This pushed us into a new world more rapidly than we could ever have expected, and it was thanks to Sven and other promoters who supported us back then and stuck their necks out to book more unknown artists, as we were then. That risk element seems to have changed these days dramatically.

The 20 Years: Pig&Dan – Sampler I EP is out now. Buy it on Beatport.
Pig Dan Beatport 20 Years 1

Was there a specific Pig&Dan track that you believe helped you two break the mold and start gaining international recognition on the dance floor?

I think it was a number of records that perhaps fit within that time and helped us prove that we were real and passionate about what we create. We wrote what we truly felt and never really followed trends thanks to the fact we were based in Mallorca, which is often shielded from what’s “going down,” say in Berlin or London at that time. We just did what we really felt was pure to us, and luckily it connected with the people who support us!

Tell us about your forthcoming 20 Years of Pig&Dan album. With hundreds of tracks in your catalouge, how did you two go about deciding what made it on the album?

We actually figured out that you could play over 60 hours of our records alone if you did a set (haha)! This project (I won’t call it an album) is about musically exploring where we have been in the last 20 years. We have some milestone tracks that we have reworked along this musical journey, some more extensively revised than others, plus new tracks that push the envelope right across the spectrum. Deep melodic sounds all the way up to fast explosive techno.

Since forming the project, you’ve seen the global dance music scene go through many cycles and phases. How has your love affair with the scene shifted, altered, and grown over the years?

We have seen a huge shift due to everything being originally about music until the social media generation started to come to light. It was very much about how a producer produces, and a DJ performs. However, the shift has become clear that now even events sometimes book DJs based on their followers, not their musical background.

I think music always moves, and it’s become a very solid scene compared to the old underground days. Techno is far more widely accepted, which is incredible. However, the focus on image and social media presence is somewhat of a significant letdown on what we all fought to create here, which was deep from the soul. It was all about building a scene that’s real and full of passion, not perception!

Although social media has opened many doors for some people, it also created a wall between the whole point of letting go and losing yourself in music. People are sometimes more concerned about filming themselves somewhere than actually being somewhere and forgetting what the world is outside of that event.

The 20 Years: Pig&Dan – Sampler II EP is out now. Buy it on Beatport.

Cameron Holbrook is Beatportal’s North American Editor. Find him on Twitter or Instagram.

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