A 10-year friendship and career has proven prosperous for Greg and Voitek of Catz ‘n Dogz, having come a long way from their Sunday radio show in Szczecin, Poland. Regulars on the San Francisco-based Dirtybird, and their own Pets Recordings, the guys have a lot to discuss when it comes to projects, especially having just put out a new Body Language compilation on Get Physical.
We met up with Greg and Voitek at a trendy Brooklyn hotel before their last Verboten party here in New York to find out more about their past, their works in progress, Pets Recordings and even what their parents think about their careers.
Read the interview below, plus peep the supplementary pics, tracks and videos. Also click here to buy their recently released Body Language compilation on Beatport.
Tell me a little bit about how you guys met and how you started taking your music careers seriously.
Voitek: We met in Szczecin. Our hometown was about 400,000 people but the clubbing scene wasn’t so big. I was doing a lot of parties, putting flyers everywhere, and into promoting what I was just starting. Gregory had a radio show. We just met to exchange music, because back in the days it wasn’t so easy. Ten years ago the Internet was just starting.
So you started off throwing parties, but were you already producing at this time?
Voitek: We were producing but more like –
Greg: Just for fun.
Voitek: I had Magic Music Maker, which is like Garage Band.
And the radio show you mentioned Greg having was the same radio show you guys both ended up hosting on Sundays?
Greg: I started a program with chill-out music but that was initially just a test. The both of us started a normal show, and we moved it to Sunday. That wasn’t the best idea because we started to play a lot of gigs in and outside of Poland. On Sunday we would just be dying, hungover. That was fun – a cool period.
How has your chemistry evolved since then, ‘cause you guys obviously like each other? How long has it been?
Greg: Since 2002 or 2003.
Voitek: And we’ve been releasing music together since 2005 or 2006.
Voitek: In the beginning we were just smoking weed, driving in the car listening to music and throwing parties. Gregory was studying and I was in high school. He got a job working as a tax officer and I went to college. We started playing in Poland more and more, things were going well, and then we noticed it was really hard to handle the daily life with music, so we became professional and started releasing music.
In the beginning it was weird because Gregory was playing more deep house and I was playing hard, but then we met somewhere in between. This is our style now.
What’s the support from your parents like? How do they feel about your career choice?
Greg: They were always a bit stressed because there are like five or ten artists from Poland, so it’s not that popular. Before when we were explaining to our families what we were doing, they were like, ‘What’s that? How can you make money from that?”
Voitek: It’s just that the probability of you being from Poland and successful in electronic music is just so little, that I can understand why.
Right now we’re in a good position because electronic music is really mainstream, but back in the days, like six or seven years ago, we were the weird people with turntables.
When did you become 3 Channels?
Greg: That was our first project and we started in 2004.
Voitek: There was another guy in the beginning, and that’s why it was 3 Channels. He was my best friend from the choir I was singing in, but it didn’t work out because he wasn’t keen on compromises. You know, working in a team is all compromises.
Greg: Only the first EP was made with him.
Voitek: Now we always do everything half half. Otherwise it’s too complicated.
Listen to this 3 Channels remix of Claude Von Stroke’s “Who’s Afraid of Detroit” from 2007.
So the switch to Catz ‘n Dogz was because you lost the other guy?
Greg: No, we were doing 3 Channels for a long time, but then in 2000-something, Claude Von Stroke got in touch with us about a remix, so we made a remix for him. Then we decided to switch to Catz N Dogz because 3 Channels was more techno and tech house. We wanted to have a wider range of music, so we changed the name and started from the beginning. That was a tough decision because Three Channels was already well-known, so we needed to build a name again. It took some time but we’re really happy with it right now.
How much time do you guys actually spend apart?
Greg: Most of the time we spend traveling and waiting.
Voitek: Well since our profile is getting bigger and we’re traveling more, Gregory decided to move to Berlin because like that he can be more with his girlfriend and work more on music with me. I’ve lived in Berlin for six years.
Greg: Our hometown is only one and a half hours from Berlin.
Voitek: Our studio is in Berlin and we’re starting to work on a new album now.
Talking about the future, what are your plans for the rest of fall and winter as far as touring, producing, projects?
Greg: In December we’re doing Australia for the first time, so we’re really excited. We’ll do The BPM Festival, with our label party, Dirtybird’s party, and Winter Music Conference in Miami.
Voitek: We’re starting to focus a lot on the label, Pets Recordings. We’re going to keep working for only three labels: ours, Get Physical and Dirtybird. These are our three most important platforms. We want to definitely do more label parties with our friends, and maybe play longer sets in some clubs.
Check out this interview with some of the Dirtybird crew by Pioneer’s DJsounds at the Dirtybird BBQ in London earlier this year.
How is Pets Recordings developing, and who are some emerging artists we should look into?
Voitek: We just recently signed new artists like Squarehead and Trikk. The label is mostly like a mixture of deep house and the UK sound. This is what I’ve noticed when we get demos or someone sends us music – it’s a really weird mixture. We never wanted our label to have a certain sound, but actually people started to notice one.
Right now we’re doing a compilation for next year so we’re collecting tracks, and we just signed a few cool artists.
Greg: We’re really happy about the Uffe release. The next EP is going to be Rachel with a Kink remix. The music video is already made. And next year Pets Recording is definitely releasing an album, though we don’t know yet by whom.
Voitek: We’re doing an album as well with Dirtybird. Before the interview we were on the phone with Von Stroke and we were discussing next year. It looks like we’ll be playing a lot of Dirtybird parties next year, as well as Pets parties and some Get Physical ones. I think working in teams is much better. We want to focus on team gigs instead if single gigs. Of course single gigs are always cool because they establish you as a single act.
What’s better about the family act?
Greg: It’s much more fun! Last time we played in Ibiza and Space and after the gig we had to do a photo shoot with all the guys from Dirtybird. We were there until like 12 pm and it was so much fun.
You told me that Von Stroke just called you guys out of the blue? That’s how you guys got started with Dirtybird?
Voitek: Yeah, I think he just liked our music.
How does it feel to get so much praise for your work from big artists like Von Stroke?
Voitek: We were running around the room, jumping. We were like kids getting a PlayStation.
Greg: We still get excited about a lot of things. It’s a lot of fun for us.
Voitek: We just finished our Body Language compilation and it’s also like another chapter in our life. We’ve been thinking of doing a compilation for a couple of years so we put a lot of tracks that we really like, and we asked a lot of friends who did exclusive tracks for us.
Preview this remix the guys did for Soul Clap featured on their Body Language compilation.
We’re also working on an audiovisual project as well, but it would be more like in a gallery instead of a club environment.
Awesome! How did that come about?
Voitek: It’s in its very early stages, but it’ll be some sort of mixture 3D mapping, music and music videos.
Greg: That’s the thing about the label. We don’t want to only focus on music. The first idea was to promote Polish artists, but working not only with musicians but also with video artists or photographers, or even independent clothing brands. We want to connect everything with the label.