EDC Artist Spotlight – Pierre Pienaar
“The offer from Insomniac Events to play at EDC came out of the blue for me, so I had to pinch myself at first…”
United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Italy, Sweden, Canada, USA, Australia, Poland are some the countries you think of when you hear trance. When you think of great productions, top producers or top DJs, it can be easy to overlook artists in some of the more remote areas. But thanks to technology, the impressive sounds of Pierre Pienaar are being heard all the way from Namibia, Africa.
For some it may be the first time they are hearing his name, but his tracks are making waves and he is showing that talent is found in all corners of the earth. An incredible breakthrough year in 2019 along with some big plays and trance fans want to know more and see more.
Hopefully his talents will keep promoters and buyers investing in his presence at their shows near you.
Thank you for taking the time to sit with me today. You are on the verge of making your US debut, at one of the largest festivals in the world, EDC Las Vegas. How nervous are you? For you personally, how has the journey been to get to this point in your career?
Thank you for having me Danielle.
The offer from Insomniac Events to play at EDC came out of the blue for me, so I had to pinch myself at first. I’m not with an agency and don’t have a manager getting me bookings or who has contacts, so it’s a big deal for me and shows that hard work does pay off and you don’t always need to be part of the so-called “inner-circle” to get good bookings.
I think being voted into the Trancepodium top 30 last year gave me a big nudge. I’ve had a long career already with a lot of ups and downs, so I’ve been taking it step by step and working towards goals I put down for myself, getting a collaboration track out with Paul van Dyk was one of those big moments and this is another big check mark.
Your latest track Pangea, out now on Vandit, is amazing. What was your inspiration for this track? Are you happy with the airplay it has been getting?
My inspiration for the name was because of the current times we live in, it’s important for the world to be and stand together, like all continents used to be under Pangaea. I’m always appreciative of the support I get from anyone, whether it’s the superstar DJs or the resident DJs or even the bedroom DJs. In fact bedroom DJ’s are usually the ones actually buying my music so their support is very important for me.
In saying that it’s great to always have support from Paul van Dyk and Ferry Corsten on my music, and my tracks normally ends up in the top 3 of Corsten’s Countdown, so I’m thankful to the people that actually vote for it as well!
You have so many alias, how do each of the alias help you with your creativity? You recently made a post about doing a new P.H.A.T.T track. Can you tell us more about that?
It’s a combination of the fact that I want to make my creativity flow and the fact that I’m a perfectionist and like things to be kept nice and neatly. So with every alias, it has a specific crowd and audience so people know what they can expect. It’s also no secret that I ghost produce for various artists in various genres, so through that I get inspiration to try new things.
Trance will always be my biggest love and driving force, but I also enjoy a lot of other music. I don’t understand music-snobbery and how some people can listen to one genre only…but each to their own.
P.H.A.T.T was the alias that gave me my breakthrough and it’s a sound I made my own. It’s the kind of hard trance I liked when I was growing up, with influences of Dumonde, Cosmic Gate and Alphazone’s sound at that time. For a few years I had put that project on the back burner as my uplifting trance tracks under my own name was the prime focus, but I started bringing it back again last year just for fun, and the response has been great so far.
You are living in Namibia, Africa. How has your geographical location helped or hinder you for accessibility for gigs and bookings?
It’s one of the first things that usually comes up in regards to why I don’t play out that much and why most booking agents don’t take me on board. It’s difficult living so far away from where events are because of the costs of getting me in to Europe. Locally I’ll play about one gig a year as there’s not much of a market for my kind of music unfortunately. So it’s always been a big hindrance in that regard, but at the same time, I also feel it gave me the focus to concentrate on my production skill a lot more and we generally have a good quality of life here.
You also, recently posted about a DJing competition for the local scene in Southern Africa, can you tell us more about this competition? How would you describe the overall trance scene in Southern Africa as compared to Europe for example?
It’s for We Are Trance in Johannesburg that is run by Dirkie Coetzee and I’m international resident for them. South Africa has a very different set up than here in Namibia as they are 50 million people and we are 2 million people, but generally trance is a very small niche here compared to Europe and you have to rely on a small community of regulars to support events.
One thing that is the same though of all trance fans around the world is the love and passion they bring to these events. Dirkie has been doing amazing things with his brand I’m hoping it’ll keep growing and attracting a wider audience.
I know you are a lover of cats, why are cats special for you?
I’m a lover of all animals and don’t really have a preference to be fair, I’m a dog person just as much as I’m a cat person, growing up I’ve had guinea pigs, chickens, hamsters, budgies, fantails and fish as pets, but it just so happens that there was always a cat in my life since birth. They can look after themselves and I can relate to their moods. We don’t own cats, they tolerate us.
Finally, if you could only live by one motto, what would it be?
I don’t believe in the motto “If you believe, it’ll happen”..or anything along those lines… That’s bullshit. “Get off your arse and make it happen!”