Electronic music has always been an exciting genre that always has something new floating around it. Monstercat is one of the main places I go to for new electronic music, and I have always been curious about them. Therefore, I asked to interview the Pegboard Nerds, one of MonsterCat's most successful acts. I ask questions that cover main points of their history together as a band and discover things that are pretty awesome about them. With Uncaged and also Global Gathering to be on their busy schedule, they managed to find time to answer my long list of questions.
MRD: How did the Pegboard Nerds form?
Well we have made music together for 10+ years. But specifically, we started Pegboard Nerds towards the end of 2011, with the intention of making our own music under our own name, shifting the focus away from doing what was basically remixes only. We’d talked about it for a long time, but there was always that “one more remix…” which made it take forever. We had to make the move however, because making music started to feel like boring routine, and a drag, and that is not really conducive to making big and exciting dance music! We really just wanted to try, and still try, to be the best we can be, on our own four feet. We never looked back! It’s a brave new world :)
The Uncaged Tour is just over the horizon, have you ever done a tour this big?
What has the music life for you guys been like since you've signed to Monstercat?
Busy :) We are not technically signed to Monstercat, it’s more on a track by track basis, but as you can see we have a really close and strong relationship. We feel like we’ve grown with Monstercat, which was already pretty big back then, but now has gotten so much bigger and is still growing. We’re always working on new tracks and look forward to each new song we can put out.
On Monstercat Wikia you've been known as the most popular artist on Monstercat, how do you feel when you hear things like that?
Actually we didn’t hear that until we read it here.. Wow, that is humbling and nice :) It also feels.. weird, in a positive way, if that makes sense. I mean we had no idea what would happen when we formed PBN.. And now.. This! Amazing. Monstercat is such a great community, very supportive and interactive and vocal about how they feel.
How much has video games or/and video game music had an effect on your music.
It’s probably ingrained in us from our childhoods, so it’s more of a subconscious thing a opposed to actually referencing games and music from them when we work. The thing about old school video game music is that they had a very limited toolset to work with, and practically no effects or fancy production tools, so the melodies HAD to be catchy and great. So some of the vibe and feel probably/hopefully finds its way into our melodies as well :)
What do you guys see as the perfect live set up when it comes to songs setlist and live equipment?
We think a set should be kind of like a journey, with highs and lows, contrasts, fast and slow. We usually cover a pretty wide range of genres and tempos in our sets. As for live equipment we are just doing straight up DJ-set as of now, but of course we dream of maybe doing something more live based and hopefully we will do in the future. It’s just that it’s so easy to travel with a couple of memory sticks and a headset!
What is your favorite song you have remixed so far?
Hmm good question. J. Viewz - Far too close was fun, but I guess the Alive remix was our favourite so far, as everything kinda came so nicely and instinctively together. But we try and make every remix our “favorite” at the time of producing it, because you gotta have that feeling when you make it. I translates into the production, gives it soul.
Do you plan on remixing anymore songs? If so, would you remix songs from genres that seem out of place to your genre?
It’ll probably happen, but it would have to be a really interesting song for us. Sure, that’s the most exciting! Which is why we are trying to avoid remixing a straight up electro track, or a dubstep tune, etc..
Have you guys ever been to the United Kingdom? Or if not, do you ever plan to?
We have played several shows there: Last year we played in Exeter, and we did Global Gathering, Reading & Leeds (missed Leeds due to really bad traffic unfortunately! :( ), Creamfields and Manchester (Haunted House with Knife Party). Also, this is written as we’re going back to play Global again this weekend so that should be fun, can’t wait for the artist lounge burgers!
What is the ultimate venue you would want to play?
We played some pretty sick venues/places already (EDC bass pod, Reading festival and Red Rocks) :) For maximum grandeur and flair probably something like mainstage EDC Vegas or Tomorrowland? For gritty, up close, intimate and downright sweaty raging, any small club with a crazy crowd!
What do you think about sampling in songs nowadays? Do you think artists like David Guetta do it too much?
It doesn’t matter.. We have a saying: “Whatever works”. If an artist samples and uses it in an interesting way, or uses little bits and bobs to create one shots (we do that a lot). Of course there are more exciting and less exciting ways of utilizing a sample, but at the end of the day it’s the end result that counts.
You said on Facebook your genre of music is "crazy shit". As much as I agree, would you be able to describe what crazy shit consists of?
Haha! It consists of whatever we feel like making on any given day, because it can be most anything, a lot of it never being released. Actually it’s amazing that anything makes it to release because (and this has been said by many before us, but it is so true) a track is never finished, it is abandoned because you have to (deadline/release). It’s kind of taken from you, and you have to let it go, haha. It’s also referring to how we almost cannot believe how insane the process of writing a track is.. It goes through so many stages. The pre deadline paranoia one is the worst. The best one is when a bunch of sounds suddenly goes from being a incohesive mess into actually being a concept, a TRACK. It’s such an elusive point during the production process, but it’s clearly felt every time. Fascinating!
You have stated you have too many influences to name, but what is your main influence?
Too many to name ? lol! But really, there is no main influence, it’s way more faceted than that..
You've had a few comments on one of your Facebook posts, but one caught my eye saying "Come on PBN. You guys have changed and it's terrible. Go back to your old roots when you made the most amazing music...." How do musicians like yourselves respond to this kind of comment?
Well first of all, things move incredibly fast in today’s world, but we can’t help but smile when people are referring to music we made 1-2 years ago as our “roots”.. We’ve barely begun defining our own roots! Technically, and as far as Pegboard Nerds’ timeline as a whole is concerned, that is indeed our roots if you want to use that word… We’d rather say that our roots are the music that defined us 10 years ago, 15 years ago and made us want to make music ourselves. Stuff like The Prodigy, Chemical Brothers, Orbital, etc. Anyway. We usually never actually respond to comments like that, but we read them (sometimes) and discuss them. We don’t want to water down our own music by doing a “Disconnected 2” or “Self Destruct 2” or a “Fire in the hole 2”. That’s why they are strong tracks and have their place in our history, because we made them and then moved on.. We don’t want to “rip off ourselves”, you know?
What songs and collaborations have you got coming up for the near future you would like to tease?
We have a raunchy trap-influenced track coming up, as well as collabs with Cash Cash and Destroid.
You have a great following and you have had things like necklaces being made based on Pegboard Nerds, how great does that make you feel?
We love it!! It’s unbelievable to see people go and do their own things with something we cooked up together in a basement outside of Copenhagen one rainy night. We have a big bag of necklaces, pearler beads, combos of both, and a kickass hero flag at home as tour souvenirs :)
What is the signature song of the Pegboard Nerds in your eyes?
Self Destruct (At the time of writing, lol)