Pascal & Pearce have been on a wild ride since their double disc debut album, Passport, was released two years ago.[one_half last=”no”]
The duo attests to a music career that has catapulted them from determined producers looking for a break in the dance music industry to established artists topping the bills of many of South Africa’s biggest events.
A quick gaze at their Facebook page leaves one in no doubt as to their popularity in the career they are carving out for themselves, with no less than twenty-five gigs listed for December alone. That’s almost a gig a day! For close on two hours we kick back at their studio just days before they jet off to Ballito Bay to start the madness that is affectionately known as ‘silly season.’
When I arrive Dave [Pearce], charmingly referred to as ‘Disco’ by partner-in-crime, Pascal [I assume short for ‘Disco Dave’], explains that they are doing some re-edits of their set to, firstly, create a bit more dancefloor oomph in parts and also to have a few variations on hand so as to keep things interesting. I suspect this is as much for their own sanity as well as to ensure they keep things fresh for the their fans.
“It’s like so many gigs, compiled with so much music, there’s just no time to like, reflect…”
Pascal reflects on the two year blitz that has gotten them to this point of their recently released follow up record, One Night Only.
“It’s like so many gigs, compiled with so much music, there’s just no time to like, reflect and when you [do] have time to have a bit of introspection you can see time go by so slowly but when you’re always so busy it’s just like… it’s a blast and before you know… 3 years now.”
As much as it’s a tried and tested cliché we all hear over and over again, hard work, determination and grabbing your opportunities when they present themselves sums up the trajectory of the P&P success story. But I do get a feeling it’s more than just that; the duo seem to have an acute awareness [aweh-ness, yoh!] of where they fit in the EDM puzzle and what they want to achieve. Of the two Dave seems the more relaxed and easy breezy, although when he gets going, I sense he really gives it all. Pascal could very well be an insomniac; he has a restless nature, can be quite philosophical at times and I bet his ambition can keep him awake at night.
A chance meeting with one of the members of Locnville, while said duo were shooting their Sun in my Pocket video at a club in Cape Town, was the big break P&P grabbed; “I was on a call downstairs and they were filming in Chevelle and I saw them so I went back upstairs and I said to Dave ‘yoh Disco Locnville are downstairs’ and Dave was ‘okay cool, sweet’ and when we left I was driving and I think Andrew walked outside the club and I was like ‘Disco this is it bru, go chat to him and tell him we ‘d like to do a remix,’” recalls Pascal.
“It was actually lank funny”, adds Dave. “You know when you’re standing there and someone just kinda walks up to you and you’re thinking ‘what do you want… what’re you trying to steal’ [laughs]. “He was really stoked to meet Dave ‘cos he’d like seen us at a party, he was like ‘aweh bro’ and we got the parts and went back to the studio and ‘made it rain’” exclaims Pascal proudly. ‘Making it rain,’ meant that Just Music’s Karl Anderson loved the remix and so started the relationship they have enjoyed ever since with the indie label. When they finally had their album ready they made sure Karl would take notice.
Dave recalls, “We went and printed this fancy cardboard folder with our logo and included a bio sheet… it was like a shiny CV / CD package. I remember a year later Karl said it made a big difference.”
“At that time it was like the ‘risk moment’ factor for us,” adds Pascal. “We were like broke ass as hell, and it was like 300 bucks to print this thing,” laughs Dave. Therein is the moral of the story though. Grab your opportunities and when you do, make ‘em count![/one_half] [one_half last=”yes”]
It’s now two years, umpteen gigs, plenty of media attention, a compilation album release, a SAMA nomination, a plethora of remixes that includes a recent one of the Duck Sauce track It’s You which the duo senses has been a big step forward in getting noticed in the international circuit and now finally their follow up to debut album Passport called One Night Only.
“This new album was a bit different to the first one [on how they approached things]. The first one we kinda laid down all the tracks and then thought about vocals. This time we had a vague idea which vocalists we were writing for. The hardest part was actually turning them down. One song actually went through ten different vocalists…’ recalls Dave.
They both agree that One Night Only is a big step forward adding that the songs are better structured now and production levels have improved. But thankfully they haven’t strayed too far from what works for them.
“I think that with the first album we didn’t want to stick with one genre and it kinda made every song different. That was the same theme this time around. Each song is different stylistically, but what I think the main core difference [from Passport] is that our timing is a lot better in the sense of where our placement is and our understanding of blending is a lot better. Not to say Passport was a bad project, it’s just that that was a lot of excitement whereas this has a bit more maturity [control],” says Pascal.
Dave adds, “For me the thing that sticks out most with this album is track arrangement.” He explains how Passport had quite long tracks with long instrumental parts, whereas now “for this one we’ve gone more for a listening experience. There’s only a handful that have a sort of DJ mix section and these are only like 30 seconds [instrumental mixing section]. We went for a lot more ‘radio-edit’ if you will… more songs. So if you pop the CD in your car you’re not going to get like a minute intro and minute outro of just drums for DJs to mix.” The good news though is that online [iTunes, Beatport etc] the longer club mixes are also available for DJs.
Pascal & Pearce clearly feel blessed with the opportunities they have created for themselves. Naturally they have their eye on the international market although they do subscribe to Anderson’s advice of ‘slow and steady,’ rather than rash decisions to get noticed overseas.
“A No.1 hit on Beatport” emphasises Dave is one way to get those gigs so they’ll patiently keep writing the songs until one blows up on the worldwide circuit. Until then they have a relationship built firstly on the foundation of being co-conspirators in this entity known as Pascal & Pearce coupled with a firm friendship that has since developed; “Because we’ve become friends through our mutual goals, as opposed to having been mates first, I find that our reaction to things and to each other is more respectful whereas when you’re mates first, there’s a line that you can cross. I think that’s the important thing that makes this relationship work so well.”
Friends for life? Let’s hope so! Pascal & Pearce are a ride worth catching and seem well set to take on the world when it looks up and takes notice. Until then we can all enjoy them as one of our top local superstar dance acts, blazing a trail of EDM hits across the country.[/one_half]
Pascal & Pearce Details