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Pan-Pot: Pressing Vinyl

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Pan-Pot aka Tassilo Ippenberger and Thomas Benedix first met at Berlin’s School of Audio Engineering and instantly clicked; first releasing on Anja Shneider’s Mobilee Records and then steadily dropping new records on us ever since. They are able to administer a unique sound that moves the dance-floor like no other having celebrated 10 years together this past year with their X Tour. 

Pan-Pot have managed to develop a world-renown prevalence throughout the dance music community whilst staying true to their roots; their highly successful Second State imprint serving as a platform for events, fashion, videos, interesting stories, and more! 

With their pulsating basslines and epic builds, Pan-Pot took to Mysteryland this year and DT had the pleasure of catching up with them during the magnificent festival. 

Welcome back to the US, thank you for taking the time to sit and chat with us at Mysteryland today. What is it that you guys are most excited about here today at this wondrous festival? 

Tassilo – Well, we are most excited about being at a very famous historical place right now. This is where Woodstock took place back in ’69. And we’ve actually been looking forward to this gig for quite some time now. It’s a big event with an even bigger lineup. Good to see friends that we usually see abroad. 

Have you ever played at Mysteryland before over in Europe? 

Thomas – No we haven’t, which actually adds to the excitement and now we’re playing on the same grounds as freaking Woodstock! That makes it that much more exciting. 

What’s your take on the ideology/culture of Mysteryland itself? 

Thomas – We really appreciate the range of music that’s been brought here.  Looking at the festival map, we saw that there’s a stage called ‘Vinyl Only’, I think that’s really cool that ID&T would bring something like that.

Tassilo – They also did a really good job of making it seem like you’re in a fairy tale version of real life. With all the art installments and props they really went the extra mile.  

Just walking around you can kind of imagine yourself right in the middle of Woodstock during 1969. So touching back on the vinyl stage, what are your thoughts on that? 

Tassilo – That’s some stuff you don’t really see festivals doing. We have a vinyl only event back in Germany called ‘Open Air’, which we actually played at a couple of years ago and that was a lot of fun. It’s good and supportive for the vinyl market and the people who are collectors. On the other hand, I don’t think it’s good to promote something just based on the fact that it’s vinyl only. Mysteryland has just the right formula and it’s definitely an awesome median to support. 

Thomas – We just started our own label recently and in our case pressing vinyl and having those releases doesn’t generate much money without having the digital sales as well. 

Tassilo – We both started with vinyl more than 10 years ago and we still want to stick to that whole median because it’s part of the entire culture. Supporting it, listening to it, and playing it is all still part of the culture. 

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Do you remember when the last time you played vinyl was?  

Thomas – We usually don’t play out at a club, I have a setup at my house in one little corner and we’ll invite some friends over and throw parties here and there and just have fun with it. 

Tassilo – My studio is just packed with vinyls. It’s just a part of history and also our careers, so we can never let that go. 

Awesome, so I heard you’re coming to Governors Island this July. What party is that for? 

Tassilo – That’s for The Hyte Park Festival and we are also gonna have a little party afterwards too. I guess you could say it’s an ‘unofficially official’ one but that’ll be announced later on. 

Great to see you both playing in NYC more often. We’ll definitely be there for that. So let’s talk about the launch of your new label, ‘Second State’. You had the first release, titled ‘Cells’. Would you say you’re going to market a certain sound on the label? I see the tracks you’re putting out as of late are between 124-126 BPM which are a lot groovier than your usual sound. 

Tassilo – Exactly. But we don’t have this exact signature sound of like, “this is how our Tech-House should sound, this is how our Techno should sound”. I think we still incorporate those “Pan-Pot” elements though – the darker stuff, the way we work with different effects and elements. The range for us is quite open and i’m sure you can see that with our ‘Cells EP’– one side is more Techno when compared to other labels such as Drumcode and others have more of a Tech-House feel. That’s pretty much what we try to stick to – having an open format. It’s kind of like how we play – sometimes we’ll play hard and fast techno sets and sometimes we’ll slow it down and play the deep house, Tech-House sounds. 

And that’s what being an artist is all about right? Having the courage to paint the canvas however you see fit. Definitely respectable to hear from big names such as yourselves. So I know Anja Schneider has had a great deal of influence on both of you as artists. What are some things you plan on incorporating with ‘Second State’ that you might’ve picked up along the years? 

Tassilo – We started with Anja and Ralph more than 10 years ago and all started the Mobilee label more or less together like a family. It’s been something we’ve loved since day 1 and it’s definitely something we’re keeping in mind for our own label now. We’re getting everything started now as we made the first release. We have 2 other acts on the label, so we’re not focused on gathering as much talent and as much music as possible, we’re just focusing on the finding the right people to work with. That way there is a lot of quality that’s released with the ‘Second State’ name. We like artists who are here for the long-term and can bring their own thing to the label – not just music. For example, we have Clint Stewart on the roster and he’s an amazing writer, so he’s writing the press text for his album. Then we have Hinz & Ruhmhardt and Stephan Hinz is an amazing web designer. 

Thomas – So everyone brings something to the table and it’s pretty cool to see a family like that grow together. 

Tassilo – Yeah, and the most important thing is communication. We talk every day with our guys about music and what we like and what sounds good – discussing tracks. So it’s a really nice procedure of creating music as well as choosing music – and not just for our label. I tell them all the time, it’s good to have other outlets for your art – don’t just think you should release with us. So we try our best to connect them with other labels and partners. 

That’s a pretty cool direction. So tell us more about the overall vision for ‘Second State’. Do you have a 5 or 10 year plan in place? 

Tassilo – You know, as much as a 5 year or 10 year plan make sense to have in terms of release schedules and whatnot, we actually don’t. Reason being, today’s market is just so volatile. It’s changing every day and I think with new labels popping up every day – the ones that are going to stand out are the ones that can react and mold themselves accordingly and not just stick to one set plan. I know some labels are very organized with a release plan of 25 that are already prepped and ready to go and we just didn’t want to do that. 

Thomas – The main reason for that is if something doesn’t work out, there’s no taking it back. There are labels that just stick to that one sound – it might work for them, but it’s not gonna work for everyone. We don’t have a time schedule for our releases after the first one. We feel like it is much better to have a bigger gap between releases rather than just trying to desperately fill those gaps with lazy releases – because once your fans see the quality isn’t there then the reason for support and listening to your label isn’t there either.  

Tassilo – Another thing we chose not to have is a financial plan for the label. We’ll do whatever it is we need to do to keep running the label – but it’s more of a platform to be able to release whatever we want to release. 

Thomas – Especially nowadays with all these labels mostly releasing junk material – it’s crucial to be able to separate yourself from the herd and stand out.  

Tassilo – At the end of the day, it’s perfectly okay with us if our label stays as a small-time independent one. It’s more of an idealistic form of expression.

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It’s awesome to hear that coming from you guys. To see artists being just that – artists, is pretty inspiring. I can name plenty of labels who do it more so for the money than the art and they have weekly release schedules that kind of turns you off to the label itself. 

Thomas – Yeah! And some labels have these HUGE artist pools. We want ‘Second State’ to really have a limited pool so that people will know our faces. They can associate an artist with our label. It’s more personal to us – to the talent and to the fans. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against these big labels, but when you throw a label party…who is it in the end? 

Tassilo – In both of our careers we’ve learned that’s really important. Thomas and I have made it to a point where we earn enough to make a comfortable living. Looking back on it now…we could’ve made SO much more money if we had done it for that reason. That is not what we were in it for! Even now, we skip out on some of our fees, just to make it happen. Clint Stewart might come with us and we’ll pay him through our earnings from the gigs we play. Why? It’s just support for friends and artists that we truly believe in. 

Thomas – It’s also nice to give something back. We both started off so slow and it was really hard. If we can take some of that pressure off these new younger artists – they can focus more on the music because that’s bigger than anything. 

Pan-Pot plays at The Hyte Festival set to take place at Governor’s Island in New York on July 12th and 13th. More information and tickets can be found here: www.hyte.net

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