A duo who barely need an introduction, Dense & Pika is the DJ/production project of Alex Jones—Hypercolour label boss—and Chris Spero, most widely known for his work as Glimpse. Their collaborative journey started in 2011 with a number of white label releases, and it wasn’t long until the world recognised their talents – playing on some of the biggest stages around the globe, as well as releasing a string of EP’s and remixes on Hotflush, Hypercolour, and Adam Beyer’s Drumcode.
No strangers to our shores, the duo are back for another tour of Sydney and Melbourne. We were lucky enough to speak with them before their tour kicked off.
Hi Dense and Pika, hope you are well! Last year you did an interview with Mixmag who named you ‘the most unique act in modern techno’. When you hear statements like that does it inspire you or does it add a level of expectation that you feel you have to adhere to?
It’s always nice to have nice things said I suppose. The main thing for us is to try and be as honest as possible with ourselves about our work and just try our hardest whether it’s in the studio or in a club or at a festival. That’s all you can do at the end of the day.
You are one of the few acts on the scene who can be identified by only listening to a couple of bars of any of you tracks. Your sound is very distinctive. How long did it take you to develop your sound or was it something that happened as soon as you sat down to produce together?
We’ve been making music together for a long time and we both approach our studios in very similar ways. Our sound was never a calculated move or even a conscious one for that matter. It was more a result of having our own individual approach to it. Techno is such a broad genre and there are so many people making techno now. It’s important to have your own angle or view on it if you want to progress. If you follow your own path musically a natural identity will appear in your music.
Chris, we read that you were inspired in those early days by the Acid techno styling of the Liberator Crew. I can remember going to one of the squat raves in London around 2000. It was a pretty wild. Do you miss those parties and do you still partake in some acid techno?
I used to go to illegal raves a lot when I first started out simply because it was the only place I could play. Sometimes I’d wait for 20 hours to play and sometimes only to about 10 people but occasionally there might be 2,000 people there. I also love the energy of those early acid techno records. I still try and maintain that raw energy in our records today.
We read that you did a collaboration with Sepultura drummer Igor Cavalera. How did that come about and when will the results of that session be released?
Our manager at the time had a hook up. We were both big fans years ago of Sepultura so when we heard that he was interested we jumped at the opportunity and booked some studio time with him. He very nearly broke the drum kit.
Who do you rate as techno producer currently doing unique things? And what about them stand out to you?
There are so many great producers out there at the moment so it’s hard to pick just a few. I’m a big fan of Jon Hester at the moment. Very classy and understated playable techno.
Your Kneaded Pains label is going from strength to strength and you are also currently doing label nights across Europe. Any plans of aiding something like that in Australia? And what do you have lined up on the label release-wise?
Yes, we’d love to do something Kneaded Pains related in Oz. We love curating the night and booking the line-up. It’s a long way to fly everyone though.
You recently remixed the new Boys Noize single, ‘Killer’. Did you ever think when you started out that you would remix a Seal track?
That was a really really tricky remix to do. Obviously, the original is completely untouchable, so it was important to have a completely different angle on it which I think we succeeded in doing.
Anything in particular you are looking forward to on your upcoming Australian tour?
We are both big fans of Australia and have been going every year for a while and always had great gigs. Lots of food and some sunshine as its winter in Europe at the moment.
Dense & Pika’s can be found at the below venues in Australia this weekend:
8th December – Warehouse Collective, Sydney (Daytime)
8th December – XE45, Melbourne (Nighttime)
9th December – Smalltown @ B3, Melbourne