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Rennie Pilgrem - The Pilgrem�s Progress

Author: Rezo
Wednesday, 16 July 2008
British breaks producer/DJ Rennie Pilgrem is hitting Chinese Laundry this weekend so 3D's Rezo got on the phone to talk playing live, mp3s and video games.

Rennie Pilgrem is one of the forefathers of the new school breaks 'genre' and the founder of Thursday Club Recordings. While more widely known for his skills on the decks, the Brit DJ has recently also returned to performing live.

'Yeah, we're about to go out again and do some more in the way of touring,' he says. 'We did some gigs in Spain and Glastonbury and it has been really good and a great way to play things off the album. I think the vibe you get from the crowd and the vibe you get from that side of doing things is a very different thing. You're sharing a communal vibe with the people on stage with you. My background was in bands and I actually fell into being a DJ and now it's come full circle. I see this as an evolutionary thing - a parallel thing - and it opens it up to a lot of people who don't see it as mindless dance music.'

Pilgrem's new album Skin follows a long list of achievements spanning years and years. It's material that he's been working on for some time as well - some tracks even conceived in our very own country.

'A couple of tunes off it came from my last tour of Australia - things I'd done in hotel rooms,' he admits. 'In England, physical album sales in stores aren't looking so good so it could be a last album type of thing. Right now, I'm thinking about showing that I don't just do dance stuff but I work with real singers and instruments. I can worry about doing the other stripped down dance stuff separately. I want to do things that push the envelope a little.'

Pilgrem takes a moment to consider his label's role in his future.

'The label is really changing and the musical landscape is something that is your own destiny,' he begins. 'Record sales are pretty bad, as I said. Even if you're selling as much vinyl as mp3, it's still low. The label hasn't done much because I've been working on other things with bits and pieces happening in the background. I've also done some music for Sony for the PlayStation [Pilgrem wrote a tune for the latest Wipeout title] and I've been getting my sound into movies and commercials [such as Football Factory]. That's how you can make up for the old way of manufacturing, given buying music is all but gone.'

Having just relocated his studio after the building he called home was closed down, he's quietly been setting up a new studio and is now concentrating on the tour.

'It's funny because last time I came to Australia and played, it was the first time for a long that people were on a bit of a downer about breaks,' he says. 'People were on about electro and stuff so I've been trying to go back to the roots and trying to show people what is good about breaks. I actually pioneered doing seven virtual decks on my laptop last time, as well as some CDJs - and that's an area I hope to explore again really.'

WHO: Rennie Pilgrem
WHAT: Plays Club Club at Chinese Laundry
WHEN: Saturday 19 July