Interview: Experimental DJ Duo Sand Pact

Sand Pact is a North Carolina-based experimental DJ duo, whose members Kaanchee Gandhi (Kg) and Alex Fresa (Ax) explore universal rhythms and reconstructed dance beats through a unique and improvisational dynamic. We first discovered Sand Pact's music at the Geechebond music showcase in Durham back in February and we were blown by their beats, layered rhythms, and incorporation of samples. After that night, we made it our mission to get in touch with KG and Ax for an exclusive feature/interview on Dopecausewesaid and thankfully we have accomplished our objective.  

Enjoy our Q&A with the talented duo and afterwards be sure to follow them on social media and definitely stream their latest project "Malleate".  

How did you two connect initially and decide to form Sand Pact? Also, does the name "Sand Pact" have a special significance?

Ax: We had both been friends for a few years before Sand Pact started. I had been experimenting with music production since I was a teenager and would occasionally DJ shows in the area.

Kg: I didn't really know anything about music production when I met Alex. He taught me how to DJ with Virtual DJ and we would cohost my show on NC State's college radio WKNC. That was our freshman year of college and last summer (before junior year) he asked me if I'd be
interested in working on an album with him.

Ax: The name came to me on a whim  and stuck with me close to the album’s completion. “Sand” sort of represents the eternal and a forever, which works nicely with “Pact”, a promise.

Tell us about the first mix you guys created together. Is it cringy to listen to in comparison to where your music is now?

Kg: Ha it's not that cringy to listen to yet because we only made it like 8 months ago, but it probably will be after a few years. For that first mix (off the album) I feel like I was doing the bare minimum blending songs together. With this recent one on Jerome, I was much more comfortable with the programs and felt I could experiment more with reconstructing the songs until it created something really new.

Ax: I actually listened to the first mix I ever made the other day. I could tell that I definitely was still learning the ropes but it was nostalgic to hear again and actually wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be! I know I had a lot of ideas at the time so contextualizing them through music came pretty easy for me. Learning to fine-tune also comes with experience, so I tried not to worry about that too much at first.

With your mixes having so many layers and intricacies, how does a Sand Pact mix start and how do you decide that you've added enough effects, drums, etc. to it?

Ax: Typically it’s easiest for us to approach a new mix the same way we approach our live sets. We’ll play with a certain mood or idea with a couple of tracks at first and then just see where it goes. The same sort of thing happens with effects and added sounds; we generally just search for something that helps the tracks feel more like our own rather than just a playlist we threw together. There’s a lot of freedom you can find through blending different musical styles and we try to go down as many different avenues as possible.

Congratulations on being added to the roster of performers at the upcoming Hopscotch Festival in September. How did you guys get that gig and what are you most excited about for the opportunity?

Kg: Thanks! The person who books Hopscotch attended our debut show in November and a few more after that and asked if we'd be down to play. It's exciting since we've been a project for less than a year now and we really love the festival.

What do you enjoy most about sharing your mixes with a live audience?

Ax: I think our live sets are the most enjoyable part for us because it’s fun not knowing what’s going to happen. We don’t pre-plan too much, we just try and keep it really raw and nothing is off limits. The trial and error back to back element is exciting and we love getting to experience the hybrids while the audience is too.

Kg: I also really like that every show we play is different from the next. We just played a show at Savage Weekend in Carrboro that was super different from anything we had done at that point--we both used our own CDJs and reworked our songs with looping and pitch shifts
until they were almost unrecognizable.

I really loved the "Malleate" album that you guys dropped last year. I honestly hadn't heard anything like it before. How are you planning to follow that up?

Thank you! It’s always tricky for us working on new things since we’re both full-time students living in different cities but we’re currently working on a couple of new things that will be out very soon. We’re also trying to incorporate more of an visual element in our work moving forward and have been exchanging ideas for our next project. And of course lots of shows!

Stream "Malleate" by Sand Pact --

Connect with Sand Pact: Bandcamp   Facebook   Twitter