The Legend of Pan-Pot

This German duo is helping the underground infiltrate the mainstream

Benedix and Ippen.

Benedix and Ippen.

Even though Electric Daisy Carnival sells out almost instantaneously to hundreds of thousands of fans, it takes a lot for underground heads to get excited for the electronic dance music-stacked lineup. This year, it’s Berlin techno duo Pan-Pot, who got jaded ravers to sit up and take notice. Tassilo Ippenberger and Thomas Benedix have found great success in Europe thanks to relentless touring, and a sound reputation for playing dark and intricate, yet bouncy sets that get any party moving.

The name Pan-Pot comes from a dial on a mixer that controls the left and right channels of audio; as the knob goes one way or another, the sound is out of balance. And this is a perfect analogy for the duo’s tag-team approach when they play: keeping in balance with one another, the music and the crowd. That the pair played Cedar Rapids, Iowa—not a town known for its thrilling music scene—before coming to Las Vegas for EDC on June 21 is astounding, but this only goes to show that the sound of the underground is resonating all over this country, not just with the usual suspects.

How does it feel to be playing Las Vegas? And how crazy is it that you played Iowa before here?

Ippenberger: Playing in a new city is always exciting! We love new adventures and new places. Somehow, everybody thinks it’s crazy that we played in Iowa, but we’ve got to say, it was really fun and people were totally into the music.
Benedix: And this is probably the right moment.

Why is now the right time to take part in a festival such as EDC?

Ippenberger: The right time is now, because the underground music we play finally, really has arrived in the U.S., and especially at festivals like EDC. People got more into it and are now happy to hear techno at big festivals.
Benedix: They’ve called us, and we’ve come.

Have you visited Las Vegas before?

Benedix: No, not yet.
Ippenberger: Just know it from the movies.

What perceptions do you have of the city?

Ippenberger: Lights, fast-speed nightlife and many people with different purposes.
Benedix: Casino?

You’ve played EDM-forward festivals in Europe, such as Tomorrowland, and also Mysteryland USA, so it’s not necessarily a new thing for you to be playing alongside lots of EDM acts. But what does it mean when more underground artists such as yourselves start breaking into the American festival circuit?

Ippenberger: It is just nice to see that music is no more a local phenomena. It goes way beyond geographic borders. Being part of such a movement is an honor.
Benedix: Also, festivals usually try to appeal to a broader audience and, of course, lineups are made to please people with different music backgrounds and taste.

How do you see the electronic music scene in the U.S. shaping up?

Ippenberger: If we consider the underground scene, I would say that the influence of cities like Detroit and Chicago still exists, and it definitely keeps delivering its great cultural value to the U.S. scene—and Europe too!
Benedix: On a more general level, EDM is definitely what comes first to my mind when thinking about U.S. at the moment. But the U.S. has also always been the home of pure and great underground techno. Big history here!

When it comes down to it, what’s more fun for you to play: a festival or a club?

Ippenberger: I don’t really have a general preference. Of course, club dance floor sets are completely different vibes than in festivals. Clubs create a more intimate crowd, while in festivals, there is more dynamism and overwhelming feeling. From a DJ perspective, both settings are very gratifying if everybody is enjoying.
Benedix: Although I could point out that, depending on our mood of the day, we could feel more comfortable in playing in one setting rather than the other.

Do you see any major/obvious differences between American crowds and European crowds? Or even South American crowds?

Ippenberger: Probably the level of intensity and duration of an event affects the way the crowd lives at a party, and this of course clearly varies from country to country and their legislation. I would say that in Europe, the scene and the dance floor look slightly more liberal than in the U.S., [whereas] in Europe you have cities like Berlin where clubs run for days. Club policies are different [worldwide], and this has an impact on how people spend their night in a club or festival.
Benedix: I would say the same for South America. It really depends on the venue, whether it is a festival or a club. Nevertheless, people from the scene seem to enjoy it and are not afraid to show enthusiasm on the dance floor. It is about music and fun. It is a universal language and people enjoy the same way, no matter where we perform.