HigherFrequency  DJ Interview


Pako & Frederik Interview with Jonty Skrufff

“Apart from England there is probably not a single country in the world where club music is as mainstream as in Holland. Every year, for example, Dancevalley makes the 8 o'clock news, not because of any particular problems that occur, just the fact that Dancevalley happens to be regarded as a major news item here. We also have relatively relaxed drug laws here, which means the dance scene and parties are not so stigmatized. In fact, unlike in other countries, dance music isn’t even as drug-taking music particularly.”

Though not quite as famous as their Dutch counterpart Tiesto, Frederik Borgesius and Sekander Raisani are mainstays of Holland’s electronic music scene, consistently producing A List DJ supported trance and progressive house tracks ever since they teamed up in 1993. Setting up their own label Majestic Music in 1996, they consolidated their status with tracks in Bedrock and Global Underground and more recently launched 2 brand new labesl Sitrep and Taboo Records (intended for more disco orientated cuts). The need for two new labels, they tell Skrufff, is because of some wily locals who’ve cottoned on to the power of the web.

““We started having some problems over the Majestic company name with some farmers from Friesland, way up in the north of Holland,” they explain, “We had a hard time negotiating with them (they speak in an unknown tongue) so we decided to drop the name and come up with something new.”

> Interview : Jonty Skrufff


Skrufff (Jonty Skrufff) : Todd Terry told Skrufff last week that he now releases records purely to boost his DJ bookings and career: what do you make of that?

Pako & Frederik: This seems to be the case these days, though still it’s a strange way of looking at a record label. How are 18 year old students – that don’t have a lot of well paid DJ gigs yet like Todd Terry - supposed to release their debut twelve inch if they won’t sell enough to break even? But then again, for an artist starting out today, he or she can do a digital release doesn’t need to find a couple of thousand pounds to press their record up. A few years ago a kid had to invest quite a lot of money to get their first release out there whereas now there are a lot more possibilities for being noticed.So - although it's weird to see how much the industry has changed during the last 5 years - it is all for the better. It fits in exactly with the do-it-yourself attitude that house music is about in the first place. In the 80s, for example, Chicago house kick-started a situation where DJs that couldn’t play a note musically could actually release records (OK, this started already with disco in the 70s, but house music made it even easier). In the 80s small independent labels could kick the major label's asses. Now it seems that a kid who makes a good tune on their dad’s laptop can go a long way without even needing to find a small independent label that wants to press up the physical records. Whether it’s still commercially viable to run an indie label s a good question, but you still need to get your music out there.

Skrufff : Your biography refers to your new single Complete Nansanso having a kick that will get your neighbour calling the cops': have you ever been arrested when DJing?

Pako & Frederik : Just last week we were at an after-party in The Hague, after Digweed’s gig and we were making a lot of noise, loud music, shouting, and two persons there were acting out a marital dispute in full effect. We think this pissed off some of the neighbours because they called the cops. Within 5 minutes the police came and forced entry into the house but were bravely thrown down the stairs and out the door by our hostess. They then came back with a vengeance waving a search-warrant, which had some cool autographs and stamps of such important people as the local D.A. on it and forced their way in properly. By this point, of course, we were all sitting around the table, (after wiping the footprints off), listening to Barry Manilow and playing a nice game of Scrabble. The police still decided to take the hostess away because of her previous bad manners at the door, but as it turned out the DA was a fanatic Scrabbler too so she was back in 10 minutes to finish a great game of Scrabble.

Skrufff : Now that you’re older (and wiser?) have you changed your attitude to disturbing neighbors, or Pako towards spraying graffiti?

Pako & Frederik (Frederik): Well yes, I’m older… but I never seem to grow up. I still end up pretty often playing marathon sets at somebody’s house after the official gig for example. Those spontaneous gigs often turn out to be great parties too.

Pako & Frederik (Pako): I still love graffiti in any form, and like dance music, coming out of the underground, it’s generally accepted as an art form these days, its really cool to see artists who were already into it and making a name for themselves back in the 80’s and 90’s now being accepted as serious artists. You can see their work in galleries, video clips and commercials.

Pako & Frederik Interview with Jonty Skrufff

Skrufff : Fellow Dutchman Tiesto's emerged in recent years to become the world's most popular DJ: then there's ferry Corsten, you guys, Armin Van Buuren, Marco V, why are so many Dutch DJs at the top of the DJ tree?

Pako & Frederik : It could be for a combination of reasons, maybe it’s because in international music terms Holland is really too small to have a scene on its own, we cannot be as self-sufficient as other European countries are, therefore teaming-up with people abroad could is a natural thing to do. Maybe the fact that we come from a small country makes us go abroad easily (even by accident, if you take a wrong turn you’ll end up in Germany or Belgium). It also helps that we are taught different languages at school, especially when you do turn up in Germany by mistake, you want to ask the way back home quickly.

Skrufff : The press is full of stories in recent years about increasing tensions over immigration issues and cultural assimilation of Muslims in Holland: how much has changed in the last ten years?

Pako & Frederik : Holland has changed a lot. It’s still a liberal country, but not as liberal and forward thinking as it was in the eighties. Though having said that, back then the Dutch had such a big mouth (towards other countries), that maybe foreign media are being extra hard on the Dutch now. Its like: if you always tell other people not to curse, and you curse once, you can be sure that people won’t stop reminding you that you went wrong that one time. The Dutch have been such smartasses in the 80s that we kinda’ deserve extra scrutiny now. But also from the people in Holland, it can never hurt to look with a critical eye towards one’s government.

Skrufff : It seems like clubland is suddenly full of DJ duos, why?

Pako & Frederik : It’s probably because waiting around in airport lounges for hours is so boring when you travel alone.

Skrufff : You have another new label called Taboo: what behaviour do you personally consider taboo?

Pako & Frederik : None, we’re Dutch remember.

Skrufff : DJ culture has always been notoriously debauched, what's been the most decadent situation you've encountered over the years?

Pako & Frederik : Chilling on a 100 foot yacht in Brazil, 13 sets hours in Cancun, $2,500 drinks bills.. Lovely sunsets in the Dominican Republic..It’s all kinda’ decadent to us, we’re just regular milk drinking folks.

End of the interview

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