HigherFrequency  DJ Interview


Pascal F.E.O.S. Interview

It may be hard to believe but Pascal F.E.O.S. started his DJ career way back in 1984 when crowds were naive and disco and house music ruled the clubs. In the twenty something years since Pascal F.E.O.S., whose real name is Pascal Dardoufas, jumped into the deep end of the music industry to play at all the biggest clubs, including the legendary Omen in Frankfurt, he has evolved through many different genres and styles in both his DJing and production duties.

Whether promoting the sound of house, EBM, trance or his trademark techno, F.E.O.S. has managed to push his way to the forefront and get his sound out there whether it is using decks or an effects board. Now Pascal even helps others get their music heard through any one of his numerous labels and has in the past aided the careers of people like Ricardo Villalobos and Thomas Schumacher.

With a DJ with such a long history in the scene we were very interested to find out where Pascal has been, what he has seen and where is headed. Turned out to be a few surprises, including an upcoming gig with Carl Cox when the two break on through to the other side of 60.

> Interview & Introducion : Nick Lawrence (HigherFrequency)


HigherFrequency (HRFQ) : Thanks for your time. Can we jump straight into the questions?

Pascal F.E.O.S. : Sure.

HRFQ : You started in 1984, so you’ve seen the 80s, 90s and now. What has been the most exciting for dance music?

Pascal F.E.O.S. : In the beginning of techno it was great. To see all the guys doing things like clubware. To see guys doing things around music and working in clubs, starting our own club scene. I got the most impression from that. Loveparade got more than a million people. It was really great to see that. So, the 90s really impressed me. At the end of the 90s when we started that more tribal sound, that was nice and we played it until 2003 or 2004 and then we changed again. You lose some fans you know, they are still staying with the hard sound. But the problem is the hard sound hasn’t changed. It’s is still staying with one thing, no new ideas and no innovation. That is why we are changing now to do this kind of…still techno maybe but more techy house. But yeah, I think the most interesting time was the early nineties.

HRFQ : In the nineties you were very into trance with Resistance D and releasing on labels like Eye Q and Harthouse. What moved you towards techno?

Pascal F.E.O.S. : The thing is, I played techno from the beginning. Back in 1989 it became really hard, gabba started and all these other things. We wanted to go the other way round, softer and with strings and that is why we started Resistance D. But as a DJ I was always playing the Chicago and Detroit sounds. When we did it for the first time it wasn’t so trancing away like the music is now. This is the difference. If we talk about trance now it is like talking about cheesy hits music, this is the truth. So, I’ve never changed myself, that was just one of my projects. But you know I am really a DJ, I started from ’84. My boss bought me records to start playing. In the beginning when I was DJing, I wasn’t really Djing. I was just playing the records my boss gave me. He said to me, ‘When the girls start leaving the dancefloor, you can go’ so I thought, ‘Ok, keep the girls on the dancefloor’. I learnt from the beginning how to rise up, how to build up a set, how to start slowly. I never changed my style but as a DJ you always want to be upfront so you try to find another way.

HRFQ : So you are a DJ, what prompted you to take up producing?

Pascal F.E.O.S. : I always wanted to know how these guys were doing it. What was behind it, you know. When I started, I started with Uwe Schmidt [Atom Heart, Senor Coconut], one guy of Lassigue Bendthaus from EBM times. He was a really good producer. He showed me how to do it and when you are in, you don’t want to get out. And I was studying Computer Informatics before as well. So it was the perfect thing for me, computers and music.

HRFQ : You played at the Omen club in Frankfurt which is quite a legendary club. Is there anything around now that compares to Omen?

Pascal F.E.O.S : It is a legendary club because we started many things in this place. This is really a big thing. Even the Cocoon club now is nothing to compare with the Omen. There are some places in Spain and even here like Yellow, Womb and ageHa, great clubs but it’s not the same because we started new ideas in this club. With Sven of course, and we started traveling around. We could bring DJs from overseas, that was really great for us. This all happened first at the Omen so this is the unique thing.

HRFQ : How does it feel now watching German music becoming so popular? Do you feel quite proud?

Pascal F.E.O.S. : Yeah, I mean in the beginning when techno started the guys from Chicago and Detroit looked to Germany to see what was going on with the EBM thing or with Kraftwerk. That was the time when German artists were looked up to from overseas. At the end of the eighties and the beginning of the nineties we were looking at Chicago and Detroit to see what they were doing, so it was kind of an exchange without knowing it. Now, we have a lot of good producers that come from Germany and are creating new sounds.

HRFQ : What is it about Germany because most of the music seems to come from there now?

Pascal F.E.O.S : Talk about this minimal sound though it is not just from Germany. There is Kompakt and all these labels but it is also even coming from England now too. Pascal F.E.O.S : Talk about this minimal sound though it is not just from Germany. There is Kompakt and all these labels but it is also even coming from England now too.

HRFQ : America as well.

Pascal F.E.O.S : Yeah, America as well. But I don’t know how to describe the German sound. More straight maybe (laughs). I don’t know what the difference is exactly but you can hear it. Maybe it is the programming or the groove but I don’t know. Minimal, melodic and straight, this is the German sound. I really don’t know exactly what it is.

HRFQ : Do you think things will move more towards another country next? Will everyone be thinking ‘Wow, South Africa!’ or ‘Wow, America!’ ?

Pascal F.E.O.S. : No.

HRFQ : Will it always be with Germany?

Pascal F.E.O.S. : Yeah, I think so or maybe Spain. Barcelona is my favourite city. So many things happen there and the city is really special.

HRFQ : There seem to be some great minimal clubs there.

Pascal F.E.O.S : The clubs are great, the food and the people. Everything! It is just one and half an hour flight from Germany and you are in one of the best cities in Europe. You have everything you want and the people are really creative. The art of living is really nice.

Pascal F.E.O.S. Interview

HRFQ : And do you head over to Ibiza often?

Pascal F.E.O.S. : Yeah, I play at the Cocoon club every year.

HRFQ : How has it changed over the years?

Pascal F.E.O.S. : What I can see is that people are more into the techno sound. With DC10 and Amnesia, they are really great places and even Space. There is Pacha which is still a house club and there are some English trance DJs playing but the is not the hippest thing at the moment. And Sven has done a really good job over there. Six years hard work. In the beginning it was hard to find a club to play our sound but just Amnesia said OK. Now they have one of the biggest and most popular nights on the island.

HRFQ : If we can ask you a little bit about your labels, why did you start getting into the label game? Why not just focus on DJing and producing?

Pascal F.E.O.S : Tons of work. That was the main thing, I didn’t want to do all of the paperwork. And finally all the labels you work with can have the same idea as you. When I started working with a really big company like Polydor that fucked me up totally, that gives me a reason to say, ‘Hey guys, thank you that was just the test. I can see that this was the completely wrong way’. I went back underground to sell my own stuff, make my own covers and so on. It’s more work but I know where it is going and I know what I get for it.

HRFQ : You have Planet Vision, PV, HeyBabe, Omychron etc. Why so many?

Pascal F.E.O.S. : This is my DJ side of things. When you watch what a label is doing, you never expect a melodic and ambient record from Minus for example. For listeners and guys who are searching for music, they focus on certain labels. They have one label for minimal and so on. This is why I started to separate it. Maybe it is good if you are bringing some new stuff to have a new label with a few new names.

HRFQ : Do you look at other labels more critically because you run your own?

Pascal F.E.O.S. : No. I’m doing my own job. Hopefully I am doing it well. I always try to be independent of everything. In the beginning I was really happy with Harthouse but finally they fucked me up to with money. Not Sven! It was just a partner of Sven, he fucked us up. I don’t want to just be independent but also to say ‘OK you have a track? I’ll take your track and then after a half a year you’ll get your money’ . Not waiting, not blah blah blah. I had all this shit and I don’t want to see it anymore. That is why I’ve started a completely new thing with Level Non-Zero now.

HRFQ : Is running labels something you’ll do even when you have finished DJing?

Pascal F.E.O.S. : I think I will be Djing longer than I’ll be doing that. I have a promise with Carl Cox, I don’t know if he remembers. When we are 60 we will do a set somewhere. It was really a fun idea and I’ll never forget this.

HRFQ : Well now we have it on tape you have to do it.

Pascal F.E.O.S. : Maybe, yeah! I might change ideas but DJing is DJing, it’s a part of me. Music is 80% of me.

HRFQ : What is your studio setup like? Do you use a laptop at all ?

Luciano : I used to use a laptop for live sets but I don't make music with a laptop. In the beginning I was performing with all the hardware but it just become too much trying to carry the machines everywhere. So just before Ableton Live was released I got a promotional copy and just like everyone else I was completely into it. So I used it for about two or three years whenever I played live. I was playing live almost every weekend so I arrived at a point where I was tired of software. I like to touch the instruments. It was too much like a formula because you know your track and you know how it goes. I wanted to get back to the machines. There is also a risk of the computer shutting down so I reached a point and just stopped and I've taken a break from playing live.

HRFQ : Well, thank you very much for talking to us.

Pascal F.E.O.S. : Thank you.

End of the interview

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