Sometimes you hear a track that you just can't stop playing by an artist you haven't heard of before and when you go digging you find this person has a huge musical history behind them. Such is the case with Savas Pascalidis. A Berlin native, Savas has been djing from an early age and has released on many top labels including most recently NON Series and his own - Sweatshop Records. He played here during the summer at a Hidden Recordings party at TBA Brooklyn and we had a chance to chat but he kindly made time for a guest mix to accompany the interview! Enjoy both!
CGNY: Hi Savas – thanks for taking the time to talk to us! We’re excited to have you as a guest mixer! Can you tell us a little about your musical journey – where and when you got started?
Savas: I started in the Mid-80s as a record collector and DJ in Germany by playing Italo disco, electro, house, Miami Bass, freestyle, breakdance and disco stuff. Then got naturally into acid, New Beat and finally techno around 1990. I was hosting one of earliest "techno only" nights at that time.
CGNY: From the beginning were you drawn to music that moves you, dance music or did that evolve over time?
Savas: It was always about dance music like I mentioned above. I was never into rock or anything else besides club or dance music. I listened to disco when I was like 9-10 years old.
CGNY: You are making releases NON Series – “Mechanic” from that EP, I played so much and I’m still not tired of it! When you were here in June for the Hidden Recordings party you talked a little about your process – ie. working on a track and leaving it be for a bit – can you tell us a bit more about that?
Savas: Usually I record long jam sessions. Then I don’t care about them anymore as soon they are recorded. After a few months I’m checking out what I have on my hard disk and very often I’m surprised as I don’t remember most of my tracks. I do this because I was putting out tracks too fast in the past and didn’t like them after few weeks. So this process helps me to really get a distance with what I’m doing. Mostly it feels like I didn’t do these tracks because I really don’t remember them and hear them for the first time like I’m listening to a new record at the record store.
With the track “Mechanic” it was the same. I found it on my hard disk and it was recorded in 2011 and I had forgotten about it.
CGNY: I heard it in so many different sets and podcasts so it was most definitely a popular release! What was your experience playing in NYC –both recently and previous visits? How do we differ from European crowds – if we do? I think as a city we’re more fully embracing techno these days.
Savas: It’s a great experience always for me to play in NY. It’s one of my favorite towns in general and I’m always excited. The NY crowd got more into techno again recently than it was like few years ago when everything was more electro or minimal I guess.
There’s not much difference from European crowds to me. I think in Europe its more part of our culture than it is in the US but as it’s a global music and with the Internet the differences nowadays are really small.
CGNY: Who are some of the other artists you admire musically – doesn’t have to be techno oriented!
Savas: I’m not really an admirer of any music group etc. besides Joy Division maybe. Never visited any concerts in my life. I like clubs and club music. Mostly I’m disappointed when I hear a track live and it sounds different than on the record.
The people who influenced my sound mostly in techno / electronic music were Kevin Saunderson, James Pennington, Jeff Mills, Robert Hood, Daniel Bell, Joey Beltram, Underground Resistance and Robert Armani
CGNY: What other career might you have chosen if not music?
Savas: I didn’t really have to choose something. I started djing as a teenager because I was passionate about it and all came very naturally to me. I never did anything else besides make a living from music.
CGNY: What have been some of your most memorable gigs?
Savas: Too many to mention, but travel-wise I enjoyed this year playing in New Caledonia which is really far into the South Pacific ocean and had a great time there.
CGNY: Name a person living or dead that you’d love to have a cappuccino with?!
Savas: Too many people I would like to have met. Maybe Stanley Kubrick. I would love to ask him some questions :)
CGNY: With regard to gigs – what’s coming up this year for you? Any future stateside plans or other parties you’re excited about? I know you also played Berghain recently. What is so special about that club? How much does living in Berlin (your native city) affect your music?
Savas: I’m playing constantly every weekend in Berlin or abroad. What’s so cool about Berghain is that it’s the only club where I feel free to express myself musically. I feel I can do almost anything there and there are no boundaries. I'm playing lot of tracks there which I don’t play in other clubs. I’m not a resident and I enjoy every time I can play there very much. Berlin is for sure affecting me as I go out a lot and meet and hear lots of different djs. Even if I don’t like to get influenced you can't control that really.
CGNY: If you had to pick one track to take with you into eternity – what would it be and why?
Savas: It almost impossible, but if I had to choose one it would be Suburban Knights “ The Art of Stalking”. It’s one of the greatest pieces I've heard. It’s so dark and menacing and I never got bored listening to it in over 20 years.
For more information about Savas go to: http://sweatshop-records.com/
Find Savas here : https://soundcloud.com/savas-pascalidis
Enjoy this exclusive guest mix by Savas