Dense & Pika: Two heads are better than one

If you're not yet acquainted with Dense & Pika it's about time you took notice. Ben Smith hooked up with them for a chat and got the low down on the formidable duo, ahead of their upcoming date with Scuba for Hotflush.

Mike Warburton

Last updated: 24th Apr 2015

Image: Dense & Pika 

When they first cut their teeth on the dance circuit, questions were raised about Dense & Pika's concealed identity. With time, they increasingly made themselves heard with raw innovative productions that could no longer be ignored. 

Since emerging from under the moniker, they were revealed as one part production dynamo, Glimpse, other part label owner of Hypercolour, giving reasoning to their diverse sounds when taking to the studio. 

Their Colt EP (below) was a real turning point, a meticulously crafted piece of wax, riddled with industrial tones and riveting nuances that really set it apart.

It even managed to permeate Noel Gallagher's playlist, of all people, but more importantly led to them being touted by gargantuan techno label Drumcode and accelerated a formidable partnership with Scuba's Hotflush imprint.

That hook up will be in full effect on Saturday 28th March at Steelyard, London for Hotflush presents Reflexion backed by Function. And with that it led us to linking up with the soaring duo and getting down to talk business. 

You're playing Hotflush presents in London alongside label boss Scuba and Function, a real techno feast which we've come to look forward to from yourselves and Scuba. What is it about Hotflush that you think has made it such a successful techno imprint of late?

Hotflush is a great platform for lots of different styles of music other than just techno.  I think a lot of their success is simply down to the open minded nature of their A&R ing.

Rather than just focusing on one particular strain of techno or house, they are open to many different ideas and styles.  But always end up sounding like a Hotflush. We are releasing our fifth EP with them in May this year. 

And are you looking forward to playing for a London crowd again? 

It's been a while since we played in London, so yes we are looking forward to it. 

What was the thinking behind starting the Dense & Pika moniker, your time must have been already heavily consumed with work, Chris' Glimpse moniker and Alex starting up Hypercolour?   

We have been mates for over 10 years and many of our musical tastes align so it felt like a very logical thing to do having both done our own thing up to that point.  Everything is more enjoyable when there are two of you. Travelling is way less boring and producing is more fun. 

As we've followed you through the years it's almost as if you've found your place in dance music over the past year or so, with the likes of HotFlush and Drumcode regularly seeking out your services. What's the journey been like from starting out to where you are now? What have been the major changes in your careers since you started out? 

It's been good so far. To be honest, we didn't have any big expectations with it in the beginning. The first three records came out without anyone knowing who was behind them and we have only done two interviews up to now.  

We also had no plans to release anywhere else. Hotflush was a great touch early on. Since then we have had lots of support from various different areas, which is nice rather than just focusing on being techno purists or whatever. 

Your productions also seem to be getting bigger and bolder as well, is this a path you intended to take with your sound? 

We don't gear our studio sessions towards any particular sound and we have our own way of working. We rely on these processes to come up with the music rather than sitting down with a specific record in our heads and trying to translate only that record.  

That can be quite a restrictive way of working.  Our studios change over time as we introduce new bits of kit and this effects the output a lot.  

At the moment we are using a lot of modular stuff, lending itself to a much looser experimental approach which can be heard in the tracks at the moment. 

So how's your label Kneaded Pains fairing at the moment, we've been loving the recent stuff from Moss (below), is there anything else we should be looking out for?

Yes we have lots of new stuff coming out on Kneaded Pains including some new material from us. The most recent EP is by Blake Stone and is a personal favourite. We also have new tracks from Sodeyama, Ste Roberts and more.  

We also caught wind of Noel Gallagher being a big fan of your Colt EP, what are your thoughts towards that, it certainly caught us by surprise?

Yeah we were fairly surprised too.

And have you got anything else on the way from yourselves on the way that he could perhaps latch onto?

We have an EP out 30th March on Hypercolour, May on Hotflush and something on Drumcode in June. We have just collaborated with the drummer Igor Cavalera which we plan on releasing in the winter. We also have a remix of Digitalism out this year. 

Head here for Dense & Pika gig dates

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