Home Featured Feature: Petar Dundov [Interview + Premiere]

Feature: Petar Dundov [Interview + Premiere]

21 min read

Hello Petar, thanks for joining us today, tell us where you are at the moment and what your plans are today.
Today I am rehearsing for live show for tomorrow’s performance in Das Haus in Zagreb.

Would that be a typical non touring day for you? Or do you follow any set, regimented schedule while at home?
When I am not touring I work in my studio in Zagreb. Usually day starts with short trip to market and then I cook a lunch for my family and afternoon I go to studio. I like to have a steady week rhythm, it helps me calm my mind from weekend craziness.

Your music fits the traditional definition of techno quite well but we do see it crossing over into other genres such as progressive house, how do you see the music you make being categorized and what do you how to convey to the listener?
My roots come from techno, but as my sound developed further I started to use more elements in song production. As things grew in complexity sooner or later you will deal with relations of elements ie. harmony and progression. It was natural process and it happened spontaneously. As I am not a purist in a sense of style, my main drive was to create moving music. On the end it is all about expressing sincere emotions with sound and people can capture that very easily.

Early in your career one of your better known and most frequently used alias’ was Brothers Yard, what was it that finally led you to want to release music under your own name?
In the beginning of my career I had many aliases. It was part of development as I was interested in different aspects of electronic dance music. After while I was able to find a particular style and in that moment I decided to start writing music under my own name.

Has growing up and living in Croatia had any effect on the music you make?
I am sure that living in Croatia had a major influence on my musical development. You can plant a same seed in a different turf and end up with distinctly different flavour. Maybe one of the important aspects was growing up in a country where you had to do everything from scratch. It makes you develop lots of different skills to survive the elements, so maybe thats my music can be so diverse.

The festival scene has grown quite a lot in Croatia in recent years, have you seen a correlation between that and more quality music coming from new Croatian artists?
Of course there is a connection, it is much easier for young artists to decide to pursue music career and stay longer active in the scene when they can witness the abundance of festivals popping up every year. We have many talented people that can now find their place under the sun.

What Croatian artists should we expect big things from in the future?
Just to name a few, Jan Kincl & Regis Kattie did a great album recently, fusion of tech house and jazz, really cool stuff. Ilija Rudman just released new album, constantly developing his unique style. Also check Andrologic, young artist from Zadar, recently he did some great progressive and deep house club gems.

What food is considered a delicacy in Croatia?
Anything with white truffles.

I think some of your most captivating records have been the long ones, ‘Distant Shores’ and ‘Tenth Plateau’ in particular come to mind. Are these pieces you set out to create or does something happen during the production process where you know you’ve got an idea which can be worked over a longer period, ultimately resulting in something very special?
When I compose music I never think about duration. It is true that some of the recent works I did were quite long, but that is only because of the increased complexity I mentioned before. I want to bring a listener to a particular place and it just takes time to develop the atmosphere where original message could be delivered. Also to dig deeper in to emotion you need longer narration, movement trough different chords and for particular musical sentence to repeat sometimes takes couple of minutes. If you get all the elements right you can take a listener to am musical journey where time somehow stops ie. whole experience becomes like a dream, a place where time doesn’t exist. You only become aware of time passed when song is over.

You have a new two track EP coming out June 1st on Musicman, tell us about the inspiration behind the tracks and take us through the production process on ‘Once We Were Here’.
As my family comes from the Dalmatian islands I tried to make a composition that could express a bit of summer vibe from the Mediterranean coast. For other side “Once We Were Here” I thought about how would you feel while leaving the place. I wanted to make a simple melody that could modulate trough different keys, taking a classical approach in arrangement. There is something eternal in the way main theme develops, I could play it over and over and still be moved by it. All the other elements like drums, percussion, strings are structured around it to help it thrive and emphasise the beauty of the experience.

Musicman has been the primary outlet for your original music for 15 years, tell us about your relationship with them and why it’s become such a comfortable home for you.
We have been releasing many good records trough years and they gave me much needed confidence so I could grow artistically and feel free in my music expression. We have good relationship and mutual idea where we want to go with the sound.

 You’ve been a prolific remixer over the last decade or so, what is it that makes you want to take certain a project or perhaps pass on another? Is the only factor the track itself and the ideas you have listening to the parts, or is it more complicated than that?
It is always a about original track. When I listen to it if I instantly get the idea what to do with it I will take it. It is crucial thing to do, otherwise you could end up spending a lot of time trying to make it work but on the end you probably wouldn’t like it and you will break all the dead lines for the release.

You’ve collaborated with other artists on several occasions, Gregor Tresher and most recently Marc Romboy. Tell us what that dynamic is like and how you eventually get to a point where you want to collaborate with a certain artist.
Usually you connect with the music of the artist long before we get the opportunity to discuss collaboration. I was playing out stuff from Gregor and Mark in my sets and eventually we get in touch with and idea to make music together. I believe music is a kind of a blueprint of the soul and you instantly know where you two could resonate in a good sense.

You play live and are also a DJ, tell us about the pros and cons of both and do you have preference? Which would be most rewarding for you?
I like to do both, I can’t really tell which I would prefer since both types of performances I enjoy very much. One good aspect of live is that you can connect with the audience very intimately since you are performing your original music. Down side would be that it is much more demanding in a sense of rehearsals and sound checks so with usual travelling you end up with less time to relax before show. With DJ-ing you are able to play in bigger variety of clubs and you don’t need to worry about technical aspects since all clubs have the same standard players in DJ booth.

How much of an influence has music outside of the electronica been for you in the past and also present?
When I was younger besides electronic music I listened to rock and pop music it surely influenced me in some sense. Today I like to listen to jazz, contemporary or even experimental music.

If you hadn’t found a career in music, what other path do you think you would have pursued instead?
I would continue my study in electrotechnics and probably be a software engineer.

Your last album ‘At The Turn Of Equilibrium’ was released in May of 2016, might we see another one soon and when do you know it’s time?
I started working on new ideas for album and it is a right time to do it. I hope everything could be prepared for release mid next year. It is all about right inspiration.

How has the digital era changed your perception of what an artist album or EP should be?
I can’t say it really did. Maybe changed the way of producing but album as format didn’t change a lot. What i am missing in modern albums is a bit of variety. But this is a modern phenomenon, it is a compromise if you want to be understood globally.

 Your love for the Roland System 100 is well known, tell us why this is one of your favourite pieces of gear.
 This was my first analogue synth. I learned so much from it about synthesis of sound. I spent many years playing with it. It is very expressive instrument and I use it as a lead synth on almost all of my productions.

Favourite late night studio snack?
Bread and butter.

Your gig schedule looks quite full for the summer months, as usual there are a lot of festival dates, do you approach these gigs differently than a club night? If so, how?
There is nothing better on hot summer night to be out on open and enjoy the music with friends. I can’t say that regarding preparation for the performance i do things differently, but it is the place and vibe that inspires you to maybe take a different path in your regular selection of tracks.

Do you have a fondest memory of gigs past? Something in particular that still holds a significant place in your heart?
I have many good memories, but one of the favourite was when I played Wire03 in Tokyo. It was my first big festival and it was an amazing experience.

 How much inspiration do you take from your gigs into the studio, would you say a lot of great ideas are born from playing out?
Sure, that’s the best part of touring. Where ever you go you return with piece of the atmosphere, a memory of the event that inspires you to do more good records. It is like recharging your batteries, it gives you to go further, the motivation to move in to new direction.

​​What are the biggest challenges that you currently face in the industry as an artist?
Biggest challenge is to balance the shear number of opportunities and still have time for yourself.

We’ll end with something hypothetical and fun, if the final DJ set of your career was coming up what track would you end with?
I would end it with “Once We Were Here”.


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