Greg and Voitek are two friends behind Catz ‘N Dogz. The duo worked their way from humble beginnings to international acclaim, boasting performances at the hottest venues in Europe and abroad, their own record label, chart-topping singles and LP’s. With multiple projects in production, performance, and organization, Catz ’n Dogz have already left their paw prints on the global stage of electronic music. Even with these accomplishments, Grzegorz and Wojciech are not slowing down — in fact, the best is yet to come. It is safe to assume that them will continue to bring out the animals in us all with their innovative, dance-inducing sound.
Now, they return to Dirtybird as collaborators with the brand-new EP ‘Raggadagga’. While Catz ‘n Dogz and Claude VonStroke have known each other for ages and both have remixed each other in the past, the latest EP is their first full collaborative one. The veteran producers’ decades of experience come together for two completely different sounding pieces of music.
We caught with Catz ‘n Dogz to talk about their new ‘Raggadagga’ EP.
Electronic Groove: Hi Grzegorz and Wojciech, thanks for your time today. Your new single with Claude VonStroke – Raggadagga – is out now. As we understand it, you three have been long time friends and collaborators. Can you tell us a bit about your relationship and how you guys met?
Catz ‘n Dogz: Hello there! Yes, we know each other for a very long time. I found the first email we received from Barclay (Claude VonStroke) from 2006:
Hi – We love the sound of 3 Channels. I was wondering if it would be possible to get a remix of Claude VonStroke’s ‘Chimps’ from them for Dirtybird Records? If not, we would like to invite them to do a mix later
Back then we were doing our first project called 3 Channels. In the end, we agreed with Barclay to do the remix of the ‘Who’s Afraid of Detroit’ track. But as you see the first option was ‘Chimps’. Later we met, I think in Berlin or San Francisco, for the first time and we really liked each other. We sent some demos to Dirtybird and released our first EP as Catz ‘n Dogz. Barclay also convinced us to make the first LP.
EG: What was your collaborative process on ‘Raggadagga’? Was it recorded live in-studio or over the internet together? If so, did it prove more challenging not to have any facetime with each other in the studio?
Catz ‘n Dogz: Barclay lives in Los Angeles, Voitek is in Madrid, and Greg in Poland. Because of the COVID, it was not possible to meet live. We sent Barclay the first draft of the track with the vocal and we were going back and forward. Usually, that’s the best way to work for us on the tracks when we do collabs.
EG: You came up in the relatively small city of Szczecin, Poland – you had a radio show in the city as I understand it? How’s the scene like there? Do you think it gave you a unique perspective that allowed you to break the more traditional molds that were becoming so popular in hotbeds for electronic music in Europe like Berlin and London? What were the challenges you faced in an area that wasn’t as popular?
Catz ‘n Dogz: We were very lucky as Szczecin is very close to Berlin, it’s just 1-hour drive and when we were starting we were able to listen to the best DJs as they were coming here to play. The scene here was very good with cool local artists, few underground clubs, and as you said very cool radio station with all the local DJs having their show there.
Definitely, our biggest inspiration was coming to Berlin and we were able to visit it every month to buy new records and meet friends. Of course, the next step for us was to move to the Capital city, but as we were so close to it, it was very natural. We already knew a lot of artists as they went to play in Szczecin. Voitejk spent there 10 years and I was there for 4 years. That’s was a very cool and creative time for us.
EG: It’s unique that you’ve expanded beyond the dance music scene to collaborate with big names outside of the genre, namely some indie greats like Peter, Bjorn, and of course, the Detroit hip hop legend Phat Kat. Do you find traversing genres a challenge, or is it more effortless to apply your sound to a variety of different types of music?
Catz ‘n Dogz: Yes, we love it, its challenging and it’s inspiring us. We love to work with live instruments, vocalists, experiment with different styles, and we also work with hip hop artists. Later when you do club music you can get very inspired and expand your production skills. Also, it’s cool for us to sneak something different to club music. I know we would be more popular or successful if we would stick to one genre, but for us, the most important thing is to always learn something new, move forward, and have fun with what we do.
EG: If you could collaborate with any artist, living or no longer with us, who would it be?
Catz ‘n Dogz: There are so many artists we would mention here, but just to name a few we would love to do something with Prince or Quincy Jones.
EG: Is there any artist who’s had the most influence on your sound?
Catz ‘n Dogz: We always admired Laurent Garnier who was always a forward-thinking DJ that was never afraid to experiment with different genres and always open-minded.
“We love to work with live instruments, vocalists, experiment
with different styles”
EG: Are there any lesser-known artists that you’ve been into lately and are playing out in your sets that we should know about? What makes them cool?
Catz n Dogz: We have 2 record labels Pets Recordings and Step Recordings, we do a lot of A&R and it’s a lot of fun for us to discover new talents around the world. Definitely, the new EP from Norus on STEP is a record that we are listening to a lot, Polish artist Das Komplex has a very cool unique style. Third Son is also very unique and his sound is always unpredictable.
EG: Amidst the Coronavirus pandemic, artists have had challenges as they face a lack of available shows to perform and an inability to travel with ease. How has your experience been thus far? How are you responding to the pandemic?
Catz n Dogz: We talk with the artists on our label and also other DJ friends, and for everybody, it’s a hard time. We didn’t DJ live, only streams from March till July. We focused on music at home, we produced a new album in 3 months with 12 music videos, and in general, we were looking for inspirations and trying to relax.
In Poland, the pandemic somehow was not that hardcore like in the US, Spain, or Italy. The level of a new infection is very low compared to other countries and the same with fatalities. We were lucky to play a few open-air shows in August in Poland and the energy was crazy. We were really missing each other and playing together.
Hopefully, this will end soon and maybe it will change the way of thinking for some people that we should take care more of our environment, planet, and ourselves. Also, appreciate more what we all have and where we live.
Catz ‘n Dogz & Claude VonStroke ‘Raggadagga’ EP is now available. Stream and buy here.