David Brian Pezzner is the Californian creative writing music for vision and function and not just dancefloor’s. His artistic flair is clearly an integral part of his identity as music makes up only a small portion of his output. Pezzner teaches electronic music writing concepts to anyone who will pay him money. Pezzner sleeps exactly like any other man but, as you will no doubt have noticed, he is not an orthodox painter of the old school, but rather a modern artist. A designer.
After teasing it with a series of superb singles, Get Physical will finally unleash Pezzner’s much-anticipated Body Language mix. A longtime label associate, Pezzner writes, composes and teaches electronic music to a consistently high standard and releases it on Visionquest and Freerange amongst others. Pezzner has been right at the heart of Get Physical for a couple of years now, and in October and November 2019 the first singles from this mix were released to a great reception. Pezzner now joins a roll call of previous Body Language inductees who include M.A.N.D.Y., Modeselektor, DJ T., Francesco Tristano, Dixon, DJ Hell and Junior Boys.
As well as writing music for nightclubs & headphones you also ‘compose music for vision and function.’ How, if at all does your approach vary when producing a club-ready track compared to say a listening album?
It’s interesting how my intents with writing music have evolved over time. In the early days, my main goal was to make bodies move while making things easier for DJs by creating tunes that were easy to mix. This was all achievable by following some basic rules – nice long percussive intros and outros, consistent tempo everything snapped to multiples of 8 bars.
These days my objective is a little different. I’m not thinking so much about DJs. I just want to make art.
2019 was the year of the eco-revolution. As a touring artist, it is not always easy to avoid long haul flights, single-use plastic and ethical food due to the nature of the job. What role if any do you think artists have in the global eco-conversation?
We have a long long road ahead of us. Of course, it’s important for all of us to do our part by reusing materials and consuming ethically. Sadly that’s only scratching the surface of the problem, which is the manufacturing of these materials and foods in the first place.
If any artist is going to try to actually make a real ecological difference, they will need to assume the role of the activist and help educate and energize their fan base to make a change. Because we will never be able to recycle away the production of these materials. We will never ever be able to choose away unethical farming practices. The problem is infinitely larger than that and it lives in our government, and in the hands of large corporations.
The real change is going to come from a collective mindset that sets the bar for what is acceptable and hopefully, the change will happen at the root of the problem.
How do you feel about how much club culture has changed and become more visual, showy, and flashy, with LED screens, lights, lasers and so on?
I’m a fan of art, performance, media, lighting. I love new ideas and the oneupmanship that comes with it. I can’t say that I always love the flashy lights. Sometimes I feel like I’m looking at Resolume clip art or some typical clubby bullshit. But pop club culture has always been super flashy and lazery.. pew pew!! But I can certainly appreciate some thought-provoking art and media on stage.
I was there at Mutek when Amon Tobin debuted his ISAM performance and it really blew my mind, and arguably changed the face of electronic music performances forever. Now we see video mapping all the time, and when it is done right it’s really cool!
On the other hand, I saw Four Tet’s most recent tour, where he made a sort of artistic statement by doing his whole show in the dark with no lights, and I have to say, I left the show feeling a bit underwhelmed. I mean, the music was fantastic but I didn’t feel like I was experiencing anything more than a large room of people listening to Four Tet. I felt like the lack of visual was more distracting than having something visual on stage because, without the visual focus, I found myself being easily distracted by the people around me.
How much research do you do before you play a club in terms of who is on before and after, what the sound is like, the size of the room and so on, or is it your job to adapt to all those things on the night?
I think as a DJ its important to be prepared for anything but show up armed with knowledge. It only makes sense to me to do a little homework so that I know what to expect. The first time I played in Japan in 2002 was a bit of a disaster because I hadn’t done my homework and asked the right questions, showed up playing the wrong vibe for the room and watched as this dance floor cleared out fast. It is not a good feeling to travel across the world only to ruin a dance floor.
How hard is it not to repeat yourself in the studio and evolve with each release, but at the same time stay true to your own sound? Do you wrestle with this? What have you been most proud of in your life to date?
Is hard to not be derivative sometimes but I’ve learned to come to terms with the process of building upon my sound and being ok with putting a twist on ideas I’ve had before. I mean, that’s what makes my sound, my sound. Honestly, if you are an artist trying to reinvent the wheel with each piece you will lose your mind.
Experimentation and evolution is important but I always fold that into the body of techniques I’ve developed over the years.
Finally, if you could produce a track with anyone past or present who would it be and why?
Send David Byrne over. Please.