“Food for us is like a religion and it has the same amount of importance to us as music.”
Image credit: Jan Iveta
Interview by Arnold van der Walt
Croatian DJ and production duo, PEZNT, has shared a mix exclusively with The Playground from their Birdhouse Radio set. Consisting of BLACKSOUL and Mark De Line, PEZNT released the Jesse Perez remix of their hit single ‘Breakfast’ on November 2nd; the original of which was a fan favourite of Claude VonStroke’s sets which lead them to be signed on his highly influential label, DIRTYBIRD.
Known for their invigorating live performances, their music is used by DJ’s from across the genre spectrum as it’s been supported by Claptone, Brian Tappert (owner of Traxsource) and New York house pioneer Todd Terry. This has lead to them releasing music on tastemaker labels such as Toolroom, Glasgow Underground, and Strictly Rhythm.
Oozing with personality and dynamic production talent, it’s easy to see why this quirky duo remains club favourites. PEZNT‘s Birdhouse Mix is an hour-long descent into uplifting and dance-inducing house tracks that are ready-made for any party. Including original music from DJ S.K.T, Reblok, Tim Deluxe, Pemax, Classmatic, Rogue D and Our Anthem, the mix is also filled with dancefloor-filler remixes from the likes of Jesse Perez, Justin Martin, Saison, Ruben Mandolini, and Emanuel Satie. Of course, you’ll also find a couple of PEZNT hits thrown in between, bringing it all together in this masterclass of mixing.
We sat down with PEZNT and spoke about being signed with Claude VonStroke’s DIRTYBIRD label, their mix on The Playground and their divine love for all things food.
Hey there PEZNT! Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with us. Your sound has been traveling all over the globe, but there are still some people who are unfamiliar with your creations. How would you describe your own sound?
We call it house music. But it is a hybrid of old school house classic sound, techno, funk and disco. So basically it is hard to name it right. We love playing everything from deep/disco to house, tech house and techno but it has to have a proper funky groove and that is our trademark signature.
Is there a reason you decided to create house music? Why does this genre hold such a special place in your heart?
The funk and the groove is something that keeps our ears interested and our asses shaking in the studio and behind the decks and house music as electronic genre represents it best.
Being a duo, what does each member bring to the table?
We do everything as a team. From studio work to marketing and we act to each other as shoulder to cry. Almost like a married couple but we do not fight hahh. It is so much more fun doing things together.
PEZNT curated an exclusive mix for The Playground. How did you go about selecting the tracks used?
We go with the flow. Same with our sets. Basically we only think of the track we will start our set with and then we get emotional and watch how the crowd reacts. We don’t just play new music, we also like to drop classics or some old forgotten gem in our sets. For us it is about the moment. Never did a pre-programmed playlist in our life. For this mix, our approach was the same, except that instead of crowd we got a bottle of Jack to inspire us haha.
What would each of you say are some of the highlights of this mix?
Not sure what to say here, but we are proud of what we do and the music we select to play. Not afraid of vocals, in fact we love vocals. Let’s see what listeners will say about it.
Being masters of your craft, what are some of the biggest mistakes you see up and coming producers/DJ’s make? Any tips for beginners?
Expecting that everything will happen overnight. We spent 25 years in the game and now we finally see a breakthrough coming. Our advice is to follow your heart and never ever give up. Hard, but also smart work always pays off. Learn how to deal with constructive criticism without being offended and find the way how to use it to be better in making music. When we started there were basically only printed manuals. Now everything is online. Embrace that and don’t forget to enjoy.
Take us through your songwriting process. Are there any particular steps you take when putting music together?
We start with the groove and than we build the main part of the of track. After we are happy with it (or we don’t get bored after listening for 5 hours to the same loop) we do the rest. The day after the track is finished, we check the track with fresh ears and if we still feel it, we work on fixing things (if there is anything to fix), arrangement and a final mixdown. Later we test everything in the club and based on crowd reaction we decide if we are sending this music to labels or throwing it in the trash bin.
Studio work and music creation or performing and interacting with a live audience, which do you prefer?
We love people and we love to make people happy on the dance floor. We live for networking and exchanging ideas and experience with others. But also love working in studio. Basically, we spend at least 8 hours a day making music in the studio. Yup that’s right… But we think you can definitely hear the outcome and that the hard work pays off.
Gary Numan is quoted as saying: “I have always been far more interested in sound than technique, and how sounds work together, how they can be layered. I think electronic music, (in its infancy anyway) allowed us to create music in a way that hadn’t really been possible before. It created a new kind of musician.” What are your thoughts on this statement?
There’s nothing we can’t fix coz we can do it in the mix! ahahahah. Yeah you can have the best studio and best sounding track, but if the track is shit, it is shit. We are bored with flat tracks, we like changes, we like the groove, melody, vocals, unexpected transitions in the arrangement. We experiment a lot too. So for us, the sound and idea is what we prioritize. We gotta be frank, but our tracks are also sounding great too production-wise these days 🙂
Being on a consistent live DJ’ing schedule, what has been your most memorable performance so far?
Definitely playing main stages for Defected Croatia festival and Defected Amsterdam. As our sets were early, we started with very few people and finished our sets with an absolutely full dancefloor. Key thing here is that each and every person was dancing and smiling and having fun through the whole set. There is no better reward for us on this planet at the moment.
And which performance would you prefer to forget?
Basically we value every opportunity that we got to play. We can learn so much by playing different venues and for different promoters.
You were recently signed to the legendary Claude von Stroke’s influential DIRTYBIRD. What has this experience been like?
Out of this world. Claude VonStroke is one of our main idols and his label is one that sets standards in modern quality electronic music. We have been huge fans since he launched it and we are so thankful to be given the opportunity to be part of his flock.
Having released the hunger-inducing ‘Breakfast’ on DIRTYBIRD, what is your favourite breakfast-food and why?
We love to eat and enjoy the food and drinks. Food for us is like a religion and it has the same amount of importance to us as music. We love to try and eat local stuff wherever we travel (a hint to promoters). So whatever you bring on the table we will try. Trying to keep it light for the breakfast, but honestly who can be happy by eating damn healthy wholemeal cereals hah?
What 3 songs do each of you currently have on heavy rotation?
1. Shiba San – Moskito
2. 2 Players – IF You Really Want Someone
3. PEZNT ft Born I Music – Breakfast (Jesse Perez Mix)
Thank you so much for taking the time to chat to The Playground, PEZNT! Tell us, what does the foreseeable future hold for PEZNT?
A lot of new releases, a full-length album in 2019 and hopefully tons of great gigs and food from all around the world. The plan is to properly PEZNTrate this planet ahaha.
Famous last words…
PEZNT is pronounced as /ˈpɛz(ə)nt/ 🙂 and to end up with our life motto quote. “We like to describe us as something like Village People, but more village rather than people.”
Thank you so much for asking us this beautiful questions. We enjoyed answering them. <3