My Life in Songs Pekkuliar
My Life in Songs takes a glimpse at an artist’s life and career, finding the records that were influential along the way. For this edition, Pekkuliar leads us through Fabric dancefloors, Greek house parties and the soundtracks throughout.
Photo by Eduardo De Jesus, 2015
‘I would like to say that I definitely don’t consider myself an artist, as a start.’ Pekkuliar begins. ‘No, I think of myself as someone that is very passionate about music, that is really interested in getting to know more about it’. The DJ has been causing a stir in Barcelona for just under two years, when he came from London’s dark heart as a part of Kommuna 2, a collective doing everything they can to occupy the city with their sets. Aside from captivating a crowd and constructing his own studio, Pekkuliar is a record collector primarily. He’s moderately new to the game, but holds modesty where it counts, not letting his hobbyist outlook on his career blur his razor sharp obsession with what he’s playing. ‘Many disagree and say that DJing is a form of art, I agree with that to an extent. I would say that you need to create something from scratch to feel that you are an artist. I think this sort of creation can give you the right to call yourself that’. For My Life in Songs, Pekkuliar opend his record collection and searched for the music that defined his highs, lows and the choices that lead him here.
By Reuben Tasker
#1 Fix: 'Flash'
It was an quite important part of my life when I started getting introduced to house and especially techno back in Greece because I changed my surroundings. I changed the people I was hanging out with and I came together with a nice group of people that I’m still friends with today.
This is one of the tracks that I remember from that era. Fix is an alias of Orlando Voorn. It’s funny that I chose something Detroit techno from a Dutch DJ and producer but the track was released in 1989 or something like that (1992) on KMS, the label of Kevin Saunderson. Him, Derrick May and Juan Atkins were like the first that started Techno music In Detroit. So KMS was one of the most important labels of the genre.
This track I remember was one of the first records that I bought, I got introduced to this sort of music when I was like 20 but I didn’t really have money for records and I was just enjoying the process of going to parties, enjoying the music. Some of my friends were DJing and I was happy to listen to the music. Then I got the bug when I was around 22 years old. I was collecting very cheap second hand records, and one of them was this. I remember the time it arrived I was extremely excited to have it, even though I didn’t know how to mix. My mixing was horrible, my friends were like really patient with me but only to have this beautiful piece of music I was really excited.
The track uses some beats from P-Funk Allstars and George Clinton so I found it fascinating how, by sampling something completely different, you can get yourself a sense of a beautiful piece of techno music and yeah I got hooked with it. Definitely one of the favourite records. From all the general influences of the past especially Detroit techno: Jeff Mills, Derrick May, Robert Hood, Drexciya, this one in particular has a special place in my heart.
#2 Choice: 'Acid Eiffel'
When I was back in Greece I was really good friends with IliaZ. A lot of my friends were DJing and everyone had a different style; some of us were more into Chicago house and Detroit techno, some of us were more into the Neapolitan looping techno, others were more into electro techno so there was a lot of different influences.
At some point, I have to admit, I was stuck a lot with hard techno, Chicago techno, ghetto funk–– things that were a little bit more intense. But every time I found myself listening to something like ‘Acid Eiffel’— it was very inspiring because in my eyes you could call it, I don’t know, spiritual electronic music. It’s music that is exciting and with a lot of different emotions rather than just the pure energy of dancing. When I first heard it I thought there’s a lot more to this music rather than just intensity or just... fun, if you must. Really inspirational and unfortunately quite expensive.
At that point, I think I just DJ’d two or three times with my friends. I didn’t have my decks, I wasn’t playing in parties or anything I was just like levving a few things and I was trying to find my own path or something.
#3 Basic Channel: 'Phylyps Trak II/II'
So I arrive in the beautiful UK ––in one of the most demanding periods of my life–– going to a new environment, feeling like you have to make things happen. I wanted to study but I had to find a job as well to support myself. Going as a Greek to London ten years ago, it was impossible to survive if you didn’t have your parents supporting you. The first few months, going to Morrisons or Sainsbury’s was like your walk of the day, of the week. Because we were so passionate about music the only thing we would do is to go parties, go to Fabric. One of the important people in my life, IliaZ, was living there for a couple of years. I used to live with him so our life has had the same sort of history as well.
I still remember it was July and I had to buy a raincoat to protect myself and I thought like dude this is messed up y’know it’s freaking July. But I found myself in a situation like that, I had just been out of a bad breakup as well. I found myself a little alone, challenged a lot and it sounded like knock, knock knocking on paranoia’s door. When you wake up you’re alone, you go to work, you come back it’s like a repetitive loop–– that’s not really pleasant.
So I discovered this beautiful piece of music, a Basic Channel track, which is Maurizio, one of the most important producers of the dub techno genre. I was introduced to him before in some remixes as Maurizio but I discovered Basic Channel a bit later in 2006. I was just so hooked because it’s like a perfect loop with just a few elements changing. It’s 13 minutes and 13 seconds and puts you in such a state of mind of appreciating the loop that you’re stuck in. You’re like ‘okay it is what it is’ and just follow the loop, a cleansing loop. The track really helped me and actually it still helps in many situations when I feel stressed and that I’m thinking too much. For me it’s meditation music because you are stuck in this beautiful loop, having sudden changes of energy and you’re focusing on this constant movement.
Basic Channel: 'Phylyps Trak II / II' (Basic Channel)
#4 Frogsnatcher: 'Dream Rabbit'
Then good things started happening. After the first year I got a more sturdy job, I started feeling more comfortable as well at the time. I started having a lot of fun because I met some really nice people and then the most beautiful things so far in my life happened. We moved in: me IliaZ, Frankie (DJ Tree from Slow Life) and a lovely lovely Italian girl called Monica. It was so exciting, it really felt like family from the very beginning. We spent so many moments together, so many experiences like I honestly believe that these three years of my life were the best.
After a lot of trips, festivals and parties we got hooked with this track that we didn’t know at that time. It was from a set from the RPR guys — Raresh, Rhadoo and Pedro. They were ruling the world at that point and, to be frank, their sets back then were amazing, ‘cos they were mixing so many different styles of music. It was really special for us, especially for someone like me that, I would say, was quite stuck. It started to make me think that I really need to open up myself a little bit if I want to DJ. It’s a beautiful, funny little number that has a repetitive vocal saying ‘everything is everything’. It’s so catchy, so effective that after a point you find yourself smiling so much. I don’t know, maybe because you are thinking ‘everything is everything’, take it as it is. Even the word ‘everything’ is so beautiful, so fulfilling and maybe this atmosphere: the people that you love, enjoying the music - this is everything. This is everything you want.
.#5 Point Blank: 'A Game of Two Halves'
The next song is quite influential to me as well. It is from a group based in the UK called Point Blank, actually an alias for important producers of the 90s including Swag. The track is called ‘A Game of Two Halves’ and it’s again going more in my direction, more dark and moody, but it’s such a beautiful piece of music. It’s around 12 minutes long and it has a hypnotic rhythm with a beautiful female vocal that is just hypnotising you and keeping you in a trance. After the breakdown there’s 90s magic with a bit of acid and a bit of a melody–– like the stuff they were making back in those days and it’s not really used any more.
This is why this was an important track for me, and I’m looking for more and more tracks from that area, getting more and more into this direction. Hopefully when I’m going to produce I would prefer it to be like that, to go for more a free-floating [sound] rather than having a specific sort of direction, what the music is like right now.
Actually it’s quite important because it reminds me again of one of my best friends. We used to listen to the track and were impressed by how simple it was yet how many emotions it could awake. Kind of melancholic, perfect soundtrack to reflect on my life in London before I decided to move on here in Barcelona.