*written by Lau Ferreira Featuring 4 new original cuts. Following up on the release of…
Pavel Petrov is a man on the rise right now. A killer producer, he’s earning increasing kudos for his skills behind the decks too, while it’s no exaggeration to say that he’s putting his home country on the electronic music map courtesy of his work at his EXE Club, which over the years has earned a reputation as its country’s finest nightclub. What’s more, Pavel is a versatile guy too: from techno to house, he’s equally adept at playing both. Crucially however, both his productions and the music he plays tend to maintain a keen sense of soul which pretty much epitomizes the man’s approach to his craft. Little wonder then, that he’s beginning to earn favor from some of the scene’s biggest names. His latest work is a real statement too. Entitled ‘Youth’, it’s his debut LP, and comes out via his EXE label too. What’s more, it’s a thrilling listen from beginning to end. With the album about to drop, we put some questions to him.
Electronic Groove: Hi Pavel, welcome to EG. How was this year for you? What was your opinion on how the Bulgarian government dealt with the situation?
Pavel Petrov: Hello to all readers and followers of Electronic Groove. I wish I could say it was fine but it wasn’t! So many ups and downs. Periods like this are shocking for everyone. My whole life is circling around music and entertainment. Both closed. The only thing left was my beloved studio. In the end, I was really satisfied because a lot of new ideas for production and business were born because of the pandemic. Me and my crew decided to build another party place but this time at the seaside. EXE Beach Bar was born. I managed to finish my first solo album in 3 months and that makes me very happy!
EG: Is the government in Bulgaria generally supportive of the arts?
Pavel Petrov: No, it’s not. I wish I could say the opposite but this is the most conservative government in the EU for modern arts and especially events. My country has a lot of amazing locations for live streaming or outdoor events but it’s impossible to get permission, especially for young people.
“I can surely say that my whole EXE crew has been an irreplaceable part of the Bulgarian musical scene
for the past 8 years“
EG: Do you see yourself as a sort of figurehead for the musical scene in Bulgaria in a way? And is this something you’re conscious of when you play abroad?
Pavel Petrov: I can never make such a statement for myself, but I can surely say that my whole EXE crew has been an irreplaceable part of the Bulgarian musical scene for the past 8 years. I can say I’m a lucky guy to work with these good, honest, and strong people. Also, there are a lot of great DJs in my country compared to most countries I was touring before the pandemic. I think I’ll be back on tour soon. Usually touring in Europe, South America, and Asia but most of the countries are still closed. A lot of clubs were forced to close down, and numerous festivals were canceled due to the pandemic, so it will most probably be hard to create new long-term contacts and options for bookings.
EG: Can you tell us a bit about your creative vision for EXE? And how was this vision realized?
Pavel Petrov: I could say that I am one of the visionaries in the team, yes. Teamwork is the main element in our work. If one part is missing it’s not gonna work and we all know that. If you remember the 90s animation VOLTRON I can compare my team to it. The process is about the experience we want to deliver to our customers. Мy main responsibility is to determine and arrange the full DJ program including all international bookings of both venues. Another significant part of my daily routine is to keep an eye on the marketing and the physical look of the clubs. Sometimes our guests like to steal or break some things from the interior, so they need to be replaced.
Electronic Groove: Can you tell us a bit about who does what at the club and who is involved?
Pavel Petrov: Chavdar is the creator of the beautiful designs for both venues, of course, strictly monitored by (laughter). Boris is the lucky guy with the ability to see 5 years ahead in the future. Peter is the lawyer and the good guy, I’ve always been the black sheep but can there really be a good crew without one?
Electronic Groove: The title of the album is ‘Youth’. What’s the thinking behind the name here?
Pavel Petrov: Since ancient times everyone’s been wanting to stay young forever. I am currently 34 years old and it’s a really interesting age for me but sometimes I catch myself dwelling on the fact that I’m getting older or get intrusive thoughts that I can’t enjoy life the way I used to before. At the same time, I don’t believe these thoughts are healthy so I choose to stay young without any further thinking. And here we go – ‘Youth’.
Electronic Groove: Do you have a favorite track on the album? Is there one track in particular you’re very proud of ahead of the others?
Pavel Petrov: Yes, my favorite one is ‘Astro’. It’s about our hard times during the pandemic and our elevation as individuals, our soul power! ‘Jasmine’ is another important one for me. It’s because I played every single note there 100% from my soul, without any thought process behind it. I simply poured my very soul into it. Another one I really like is ‘In Existence’ because it is a dancefloor bomb and people are always reacting big time! Basically, 80% of the album is absolutely playable.
“I just prefer to push my label with my own production so people can make a better connection between me
and the label’s sound”
Electronic Groove: Why was now the right time to release an album? And what does the album represent for you?
Pavel Petrov: I was about to release another album a few years ago but I wasn’t ready. I felt as if something was missing, wasn’t the right time, etc. While now, I just felt as if it’s the right time, so I just went for it. I think it will go big and both DJs and fans will appreciate it. Again, as ‘Astro’ the full album represents different moments and highlights from my personal pandemic experience!
Electronic Groove: You have been releasing music now for over 10 years, principally on other people’s labels. Was relaxing via EXE something that was very important to you then?
Pavel Petrov: Well basically it’s great to see how the sales are really moving. It’s not about the money but the numbers. I do not release my tracks on the label just no other label wants them. I just prefer to push my label with my own production so people can make a better connection between me and the label’s sound.
Electronic Groove: We listened to a really awesome video of you online from Sisyphos in Berlin recently. Can you tell us a bit about that night? And will you be back on the road soon and if so, what are you most looking forward to about it?
Pavel Petrov: (Laughter) Yes, Sisyphos was an amazing experience for me! What you listened to was from my 1st time there. I couldn’t record my 2nd time there due to technical difficulties but that was my best set there. I was supposed to start first and I was wondering why they put me first in the timetable. Then I realized the odds were in my favor because after the 15 mins of ambiance intro, without a single beat ‘Hammahalle’ was packed so the mix was built up from 118 to 126 bpm for 30 mins, then I reached 130. The connection with the crowd was absolutely deep. I will never forget this amazing night. As for what you’ve listened to – yes, a night to remember for sure!
I have a few small tour dates here and there but it’s still not as it used to be. I am really looking forward to the legendary BPM Festival this January in Costa Rica. A great gig got canceled in Fuse – Brussels with Boris Brejcha and that’s very disappointing but I hope this one can be replaced soon. At the end of September will be my 3rd official India Tour in one of the best venues in Delhi and Goa.
Electronic Groove: Lastly, tell our readers something about you that we don’t know!
Pavel Petrov: Everybody thinks I’m a shortie because of my photos on Instagram I guess. NO, I am a tall guy! 1.90 cm! So please keep that in mind.
Pavel Petrov’s ‘Youth‘ will be out now on 01/10 via EXE.