Pavel Petrov is a legend in his local Bulgarian scene as well as throughout Europe. He runs the EXE Audio label, as well as an evening of the same name in Sofia. He has released on Exploited, Glasgow Underground, Suara and Lapsus Music and has taken the Bulgarian techno scene forward with everything he does. Now he’s finally offering his debut album Youth on his own label on October 1 and it’s a wide spectrum of lush sounds. Here we talk to him about all that and more …
How are you? How has your summer been so far?
I’m fine, thanks for asking. Summer has been a blast so far, regardless of the circumstances. And what I mean by that is that in these uncertain times it was pretty risky to open up the best place to party, but I can finally say it was the best step I could take. .
How are things in Sofia now that the lockdown is coming to an end?
Sofia is empty during the summer and I guess it was a bit boring there. New restrictions are knocking on the door but I don’t think they will be as strict as they used to be. In the meantime, we are building the EXE Club Sofia program.
Did you start playing again after confinement? How did that happen ? the vibrations, the big pieces?
Yes, I started playing in Bulgaria and also abroad. It was great to interact with people again! Distancing is still practiced but at least I can see my crowd! The vibrations are even more “alive” than before. I had an illegal reservation in Lebanon which was amazing as it was hidden in the mountains of Beirut. Really crazy times I can tell.
Can you tell us a bit about this album on EXE AUDIO? Why was now the right time to release it? What motivated him?
Well, the album was created and made during lockdown. This LP is my art in its apotheosis, I put my energy and my soul to get the LP that I always had in mind. I got the idea for this first solo album on New Years Eve and locked myself in the studio until it was done. Most of the tracks bring their own character, all influenced by the ongoing events related to the lockups. I guess you should listen to them properly so that you can feel these vibrations yourself.
And can you tell us a bit about the influences that have influenced this work?
The biggest influence was the great desire in me to make my first album. I definitely focused my whole mind and soul on this. It was enough.
How much has the pandemic and being at home changed the style of music you composed, its mood, and its vibe?
Not a lot. I’ve always been super positive, always have been and still am.
How much does your residence normally influence the music you make? Do you make music with the audience in mind?
My residence does not influence my work in any way. I’m doing what I love right now and you can define it by my production in the past – different genres all the time. While my tracks are being created, I always like to imagine how the crowd would react to every drop, every sound and every detail, especially when it comes time to arrange it.
Is this an album for the club or the house rather you think?
Definitely a club album. Lots of dancefloor bangers!
If we had 24 hours to party in Sofia, what would you advise me?
EXE CLUB until 7am and then I know this special place for afters where you can see the whole city, listen to underground music and have a good time.
Can you tell us a bit about EXE and your motivations for starting it?
EXE was our salvation from the boring times when there was no right place for me and my friends Chavdar and Kala (we started EXE together in the past). Then we became a quality label for nightlife. Now, this is something that everyone trusts. And from this year, EXE Beach Bar is a revolution. Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, sometimes those exclusive Thursdays – wow. Everyday beach, quality cuisine and good cocktails. What an atmosphere!
What material did you use, when and where did you write it? Does it matter?
I use Logic Pro X, then for the LP I used hardware items like the Moog Sub 37, Roland TB-3 Boutique, Roland TR-09 Boutique, Roland AIRA VT-3 and Novation Peak. Yes, this is important, because the recordings always give you that special uniqueness.
Can you tell us about three pieces of music or literature that have been very influential for
you in recent years?
I would say Maceo Plex – Mutant Robotics. I don’t think there were any other works that influenced me so much.
Finally, what is the last record you bought and why?
I found this super old school track released by Suara. It is called “Code Red” by Sylvie Moziars. I love the Japanese sample and the arpeggios. Takes me back to the golden years of real techno so I bought it with pleasure.