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Sunday 29th, January 2006
Pierre Pienaar aka P.H.A.T.T.

Trance.nu check in with the super-talented hard trance starlet, Pierre Pienaar. Famed for his productions under the P.H.A.T.T. alias, 2006 promises to be Pierre's biggest year yet. Don't miss this full feature for the latest on his work with Monster Hard, talk of future collaborations and his highly anticipated move from Africa to the UK, plus a lot more! Anyway, enough of the ranting, let's get on with the raving...

<strong>You're first major-production emerged at the end of 2004 on, then, the newly-found Monster Records. Since, you're the driving force behind sub-label Monster Hard and have been releasing on other major-imprints, including Tidy, Masif and Nukleuz. How was last year for you?</strong>
Last year was an incredible year for me. I pretty much concentrated only on the production side of things and it really paid off. 'Levitation' was a successful track on Monster Hard and I had a lot of remix work streaming in from various labels. apart from that 'Global Panic' entered the number 10 spot in the UK Dance charts which was a great surprise and showed that there's still a market for the harder side of music.

<strong>What was your biggest release from the year?</strong>
Well sales-wise it's got to be 'Global Panic' without a doubt. My remix of Charlie G 'Sleepless' also seemed to draw a lot of attention and got support from Dave Pearce on his Dance Anthems show on BBC Radio 1.

<strong>You hooked up with Technikal on 'Global Panic' right? Have you got plans to return to the studio with Alf? </strong>
When Alf and I were on our Australian / New Zealand tour at the end of 2004 we got in the studio (that was the first time we were physically in a studio together! 'Global Panic', 'Black Magic' etc., were all produced over the internet) and produced a melodic, yet thumping trancer called 'Promise'. It's actually to be the next release on Monster Hard this year. But since then it's been hard for us to take some time out and work on a track together again. Alf has been busy engineering for a lot of producers as well as doing his solo projects and I've also been swamped under remix work and working on my own tracks. But we will be putting our heads together again in the future and produce a follow up.

<strong>Rumour has it you're gonna get in the studio with Lost Witness wonder Simon Paul. Can you tell us more?
</strong>Yes, a few months ago Simon approached me to remix their upcoming Lost Witness track called 'The Best'. I also did a remix of Fatkid 'Voca Me' for his label World Of Trance and then he asked if I'd be interested in doing a Lost Witness vs. P.H.A.T.T. collaboration sometime. At the moment we're working on other projects together which is more house orientated and under different aliases, but we'll definately get working on a proper trancer soon!

<strong>What else have you got planned on the production-front for 2006?
</strong> I've done a lot of work for Nukleuz lately and have 4 remixes lined up to be released over the next few months with them. 3 of which is P.H.A.T.T. Remixes and another under my name Pierre Pienaar which sees me going the melodic trance route. That's a sound that I'll be pushing a lot this year. Then there's also my track 'Eternal' which is going with Monster Tunes. It's my favourite track from myself and what makes it so much better is that Jennie Rix, a very talented singer / song-writer and most importantly friend has done the track with me. Look out for her name this year as she's got a lot of things lined up. Another P.H.A.T.T. releases to look out for is 'World Apart' with Kate Smith on vocals. I'm currently in negotaitions with a major label on this one so keep your eyes peeled for that one. There's also the long-awaited P.H.A.T.T. Remix EP on Voltswagen Recordings which contains my remixes of 'As The Rush Comes' and 'Calling Your Name'. Tranzlation has also picked up the collaborated track of myself and Shaun M called 'African Dream'. 2006 is going to be a busy year!

<strong>At 21 years old, you're still young. How do you think this affects you in a competitive scene?
</strong>I'm quite lucky in the way that because I live so far away from it all I don't really get involved in the competitive side of the scene and don't really worry myself about staying with the trends and being the 'biggest' name in the industry. I make music that I like. If other people like it then it's a bonus, if some don't like it, tough.. I know there's a lot of ugly things going on in the scene and a lot of snobistic behaviour, but peronally I've not had anything thrown my way (or if I have I'm just to thick to notice, haha). I've worked with people like Steve Hill who's been in the scene for a long time and who are legends and they don't speak down on you because you're young or new to the scene and there's a lot of mutual respect. So to answer your question I don't really think my age affects anything at all. It all comes down to talent and how your present yourself at the end of the day.

<strong>What advice would you give other young hopefuls trying to break into the music industry?</strong>
People think that it gets tougher to break into the scene nowadays but that's not true at all. Yes, there is more upcoming producers now, but there's also a lot of new labels opening on a monthly basis, and with digital downloading sites starting to increase in popularity it's less of a risk for labels to sign new talent because they don't have the expense of pressing vinyl / CD etc. The best promotion tool is to go on production forums and to post your tracks up on there. The people on there are usually very honest and keen to help out with tips and tricks to increase your skills. Then there's also sites where you can upload your tracks like Soundclick.com. It opens your music up to a very large audience. Finally, don't get disheartened if you send your demos to big-name DJ's and labels and you don't get a reply or they don't sign your tracks. You just need to keep sending your tracks and keep doing what you do. Your production quality will increase..I still learn new things with every new track I make so don't be disheartened if you listen to your tracks and it doesn't sound as good as the tracks out there in the clubs..you'll get there if you work hard enough.

<strong>And, where do you anticipate yourself in 5 years? </strong>
I haven't really thought that far ahead..I just take it on a day-to-day basis. But if I have to think of the top of my head I'd like to venture into producing a bigger variety of music. I listen to all kinds..I can enjoy anything from Mozart to Marilyn Manson ! I'd definately like to open my own label(s) along the line as well. I'd also like to concentrate more on DJ'ing and to play all over the world..especially in Japan, Amsterdam and in the Americas. Apart from all that I'll just keep on doing what I do and try to enjoy every minute of it !

<strong>As well as producing, you DJ. What gigs have been highlight for you so far in your career?</strong>
The Oz / NZ tour I had with Alf Bamford (Technikal / Solar Scape) was very memorable. Not only was it my first international gigs it was also the first time Alf and I met in person (after having produced 4 releases already..) If I have to single out one gig that I really enjoyed it was when I played at Overdrive in Cape Town, South Africa. It wasn't that big a crowd but the atmosphere was really great and you could see that the people who was there wasn't just there to get drunk and take drugs, but because of the music, and that always gives off a good vibe!

<strong>Where can we catch you in 2006? You're touring Australia and New Zealand soon, right?
</strong> I was approached by DNT Productions for another Oz tour yes. Originally we planned it to be in January / February but I had to cancel from my part as I'm in the process of moving over to the UK so I can't make any fixed arrangements at the moment. But another tour is on the books so keep watch on my website for dates.

<strong>At the moment, you reside in South Africa. You're planning on moving to the UK soon. What prompted this move?</strong>
Well, I studied in the UK and I really liked the way of life. It makes so much more sense for me really since most of my releases are in the UK and DJ-wise it'll be a lot better because I tend to get bookings and once the promoters realise I don't live in they UK they cancel the bookings which is fair because it's a lot of expenses to go through for them to pay for transport / accomodation etc. I got an offer from Lee Stacey (Former A&R of labels like Difuse, Phantom Trax, Pitch Control, Execute and many more) to help out at his new company LSP Music (www.lspmusic.co.uk) so once the working permits are sorted I'm moving over to London.

<strong>What's the dance scene like in South Africa?</strong>
I actually live in Namibia..which is the country above South Africa and it's quite different. In Namibia itself the scene is pretty much non-existant. You don't get trance / house / hard dance clubs or events. I have played in South Africa however and there's a lot of potential..especially in Johannesburg and Cape Town. Cape Town is such a great place and has all the right ingredients to be one of THE party capitals of the world..beaches, nice warm weather, up-for-it crowds..But from what I've heard it's struggling..the events and clubs can't pull the crowds that they want to.

<strong>For the trance-anoraks out there, what's your top ten right now?
</strong>When I play out I have to admit that 80% of it is pretty much my own tracks...But then I don't see anything wrong with that because what's the use of me producing them and not playing it out. It's the best way to develop your own style and sound.

01. P.H.A.T.T. featuring Kate Smith - Worlds Apart [Original Vocal Mix]
02. Stu Allan - Take My Hand [P.H.A.T.T. Instrumental Remix]
03. P.H.A.T.T. & Jennie Rix - Eternal [Original Mix]
04. Elegance - Natural High [Original Mix]
05. Ralph Novell vs. Bas & Ram - Powerstroke
06. Fatkid - Voca Me [P.H.A.T.T. Remix]
07. P.H.A.T.T. & Solar Scape - Promise [Original Mix]
08. DJ Mad & TFT - Daydreaming [Original Mix]
09. Lee Haslam - The Future
10. Nish - Sagitarius [Alphazone Remix]

<strong>Finally, thanks for your time and all the best for 2006. We'll catch up sometime soon to see how things are going.
</strong> No worries, thanks for having me!

<strong>For more information check <a href="http://www.rebirth-productions.co.uk/" target="_blank">www.rebirth-productions.co.uk</a></strong>

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