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For the past five years, Pachanga Boys—the DJ superduo of eccentric Mexican disco-wizard Rebolledo and German minimal house producer Superpitcher—has yielded one terrific album (We Are Really Sorry), one insanely popular Burning Man camp (Mayan Warrior) and two strange record labels (Hippie Dance, You and Your Hippie Friends). They even found a fan in Karl Lagerfeld himself, dejaying two Parisian Chanel runway shows. In between, they’ve found time to tour the world separately and together, playing a rock-heavy set this summer at MoMA PS1’s Warm Up to a very happy and loyal crowd on a rain-soaked Saturday afternoon. We talked to Rebolledo as the pair return to town with a special extended set.
Eduardo Davidson and José Fajardo pioneered the Cuban style of “Charanga” music but after it was brought to NYC it mutated and the “happy-go-lucky” Pachanga dance was born. What, if anything, did you mean to imply by sharing your name with this storied style and mutated genre?
In Mexico we call Pachanga a great party where dancing, sweat and laughs are involved. Pachanga in our case is not a reference to the dance style.
Maybe it was more Luis Guzman’s two-timing henchman “Pachanga" from the Carlito’s Way then?
Nope. Fan of the guy but still not a reference. Jejejej.
Allegedly, Superpitcher heard you singing in his shower years ago & asked you to do some vocals and the first Pachanga Boys track “Fiesta Forever was born. Now that you’ve arrived and you have your method down pat, do you guys sing and harmonize in the shower together to cut new tracks and fiesta forever?
Certainly! We just installed a double shower in our new studio equipped with state of the art microphones to capture the real deal. Treating the water sound in the recording so it's not annoying and disturbing is a bit of a challenge but it’s worth it.
Do you generally work separately or together in person if time allows?
We always work together. That’s why sometimes it takes so long for us to deliver new stuff. The Pachanga magic always happen when we’re in the same room having immediate feedback from what we’re doing.
Are there any other successful German-Mexican coproductions that you guys have come across? Is “Germexican" a genre now?
Not that we know of! Aksel (Superpitcher) is turning Mexican anyway so soon the combination will not be as exotic—we will be just a Mexican duo.
Can we please make “Germexican" a genre now?
I wish! Adolf would have loved it.
What is your favorite thing from Superpitcher’s home country and his of yours?
My favorite things from Germany are the people, first of all, the cars, and how organized and well done they are. Aksel is in love with Mexican food, mescal and Clamato. He appreciates the people and the actual places in Mexico, and comes quite often.
You once played a 25-hour set and claimed that you still didn’t have time to play all the records you wanted. What would be the perfect length party for you and where do you think such a thing would go down?
Twenty-five hours was too long already. Our minds were playing tricks on us at some point. What we were not expecting at all was the crazy pain in our back, legs and feet, which was not easy to deal with in the last hours. The way we play, we try to create moments as well as be coherent within the context, so some “right moments” just didn’t happen or slipped away. In such a long set there are so many factors that can change the direction of the music that it's hard to play all of what you want.
Your sets at Burning Man have become rather iconic. I’ve listened to this year's at least five times and I’ve never even been to “the playa." Is that the place that you feel is most open to your deep wandering style, or is there somewhere else you can name?
First of all, thanks a lot, I’m really flattered. I really try not to be the guy that idealizes Burning Man and gets everybody dizzy with all these “It’s the best place” stories, but at the end it is a super special spot where you can really go into more mental storytelling, while deejaying and the whole setting is so beautiful and unique that it’s just perfect for that and very welcome by the crowd. In general that’s how we try to play but of course it’s not always possible. Our 25 hour set was a little bit like that in a way, even if the setting was kind of the opposite. It was beautiful also but tiny and dark.
Why was the time right for a U.S tour now?
Why not?!? We’ve had pretty busy schedules for the last few years with Pachanga-related stuff as well as our solo projects, so in the past we were only able to do a few East Coast cities or sometimes just New York, which we love. But now was the time for out first trip together to California—L.A. and San Francisco—which we always wanted to do, but was just a bit complicated to make happen. Then we come back to Miami, NYC and for the first time Denver and Chicago. I think it’s gonna be fun!
How has your experience on your respective labels, Kompakt and Coméme, influenced the music you both make together?
I guess they were just our backgrounds that helped make us look at one another, but when we started to make stuff together by accident, we realized the result was not really fitting either of us so we created Hippie Dance and the little universe around it.
Are either or both of you actual hippies? Where did this “Hippie” theme come from and why are you both so enamored with it?
About that hippieness…I guess nobody would say that either of us is actually a textbook “hippie.” We’re both peaceful, love flowers and most of all love freedom, but for Hippie Dance we created our own approach to the concept that has nothing to do with patchouli or not showering. It’s more about creative freedom and to dance the world into a better place.
There’s an innocence and childlike beauty sorely lacking in dance music today in your Pachanga Boys ethos of “love, beauty, simplicity.” If the PB were a children’s story, which do you think they'd be?
The Pachanga Boys story would be I guess somewhere in the crossroads of Tom Sawyer, Peter Pan and Cinderella—with a later curfew. Two cool simple boys who never really grow up, like to hang around by rivers spreading joy and overdress a little at night to go out and have some fun. No lame stepsisters in our story though.
You guys seem to create a fully fleshed-out world all your own. Not just in your productions, but also in your whole mythos. Any specific writers, filmmakers or other non-musical artists that you take inspiration from to accomplish this?
Yeah, the range of things we enjoy is so wide that there’s a bit of influence from all of it in our aesthetics, and as a result, our little “Pachanga World.” From movies, soundtracks, folk music, food really anything can be an actual influence in what we do in one or other way. It’s really hard to mention specific names because there are so many in so many ways.
OK, now let’s end with a bit of fiction: The real Pachanga origin story is pretty well-documented. Would you care to weave us a fantastical fictional tale about it that we could print?
To be honest, this story of the Mexican and German guy meeting in the Caribbean and then doing some music together is just a made up thing to distract from our reality. The true story is this: We've known each other for twenty-five-and-a-half centuries, we are made of stardust (purple and orange, of course), and we travel around galaxies on our cool golden jet skies. In one of our joy trips we ran across the earth and found it beautiful, but we also noticed that it was kind of stressed and lacking a bit of swing so we infiltrated into the society by adopting human shapes, learned some very interesting stuff and now we are trying to give something in return!
Pachanga Boys play ReSolute Thanksgiving Eve at Baby’s All Right on Wednesday, November 25.