Dean Grenier & Pilo are fresh from the release of the killer new Berlin-inspired ‘Take Form’ EP on Tiga’s Montreal label Turbo Recordings. Released via a limited 12” vinyl run (and online with a digital extra), the record has already picked up support from tastemakers like Maceo Plex, The Black Madonna, Anthony Parasole, Etapp Kyle, Dave Clarke, Benjamin Damage and Terence Fixmer. It is an impressive stamp on the scene from two highly rated emerging talents. We caught up with them this week to discuss the collaboration and the story behind the tracks.
Electronic Groove: Thanks for joining us guys, congrats on the new EP. The new material was crafted after a weekend session in Berlin. Before touching on the release itself, what was the highlight from that weekend?
Dean Grenier & Pilo: Hey guys, thanks for the invite. One of the most memorable portions of that weekend were the waves of inspiration felt by both of us watching Anthony Parasole at Berghain. The music he wove together was really affecting us. It was this amazing blend of atmospheric, noisy soundscapes, subtle but incredibly powerful. It felt really experimental in a way, the juxtaposition of driving pulsing drums with these really abstract and amorphous textures. It’s something we both talked about a lot in the days to follow in the studio.
EG: Is there anywhere else in the world for you that holds up to the Berlin scene?
Dean Grenier & Pilo: I think there are amazing music and club scenes all over the world, but Berlin has what I believe to be some of the most generous and supportive crowds I’ve ever seen. This leads to a dynamic where the DJ feels really confident and empowered to take risks and push ideas to their furthest extremes; you feel safe to go just about anywhere and that makes things exciting.
EG: Can you tell us about the journey from the club to the studio? Did you have any particular goals in mind heading into it?
Dean Grenier & Pilo: We have a synergy in the studio that is really ideal, we both have strengths that are complementary, often one of us will focus more narrowly on melodic, synth or groove components, and the other will dial in the drums or sound design. We work rapidly and freely. We get along well and there’s really no ego getting in our way, born of mutual respect and a shared desire to create something special.
EG: Can you describe the record in 3 words each?
Dean Grenier & Pilo: Euphoric, powerful, radiant.
“Communication is key. Generosity is key. Mutual respect is critical”
EG: Production-wise, what are some of the essentials that went into the making of the EP?
Dean Grenier & Pilo: All of our sound and drum sources are analog synth based. Cameron works with a lot of bespoke and custom-built channel strips in Ableton, and Dean likes to compose melodies using step sequencers and generative tools that allow for a lot of chance and randomization.
EG: Going way back to the beginning. Do you remember the first time you guys met?
Cameron: I contacted Dean over Twitter to purchase records from his label ‘Sister City’ plus I wanted to book him and Hej Fund for my new techno event ‘Substance’. It was relieving to see there was an artist out in Los Angeles that had similar tastes in production & I was eager to get in contact him. Shortly after that, Dean invited me to his show with Hej … opening for Kiasmos at the Echoplex in Silverlake and we’ve been homies ever since.
EG: What’s the most recent “new” thing you’ve learned about one another?
Dean: I learned Cameron is a fantastic cook and a very good house guest.
Cameron: I learned how much of a hard worker Dean is! He is always working on something, graphics, emailing, on a business call or music, all hours of the day. It’s truly inspirational how much he can get done in one day!
EG: What do each of you look for in producers when considering collaborations?
Dean: For me writing music is a pretty intimate activity, so I find I have to feel comfortable with them as a person, someone I can let my hair down around, otherwise it doesn’t work. Communication is key. Generosity is key. Mutual respect is critical.
Cameron: I feel there needs to be a connection beyond similar interests/passions and more of a synchronicity in personality and artistic vision. It’s hard for me to work with someone, I need someone that’ll keep me on my toes or otherwise I get bored and uninterested quite quickly.
“All of our sound and drum sources are analog synth-based”
EG: Should we expect more collaborative work moving forward?
Dean Grenier & Pilo: 100% yes. We view this as an ongoing project.
EG: What else are you looking forward to over the coming months?
Dean: Pilo moving to Berlin!
Dean Grenier & Pilo’s ‘Take Form’ EP is out now. Stream and buy here.