Catz 'n Dogz have a message for their younger selves.
"Don't take all the drugs someone gives you at a party," Wojciech Tarañczuk says.
"That's good advice," Grzegorz Demiañczuk says, laughing. "I would say, pay less attention to what other people say," he adds. "Don't follow music trends."
Their advice is as poignant today as it would've been a decade ago, but, in all honesty, neither guy would go back and change much. Since 2003, the two have risen from party purveyors in their hometown of Szczecin, Poland, to shining stars on the Dirtybird label. They've received recognition for tracks at Winter Music Conference, hung around Resident Advisor's "Top 100 Artists" list, and had their latest LP, Basic Colour Theory, appear in DJ Mag's "Top 10 Albums of 2015." They're proud of where they are and how they got here. And, they admit, they're pretty sentimental.
"There are moments when you're young and you don't know everything," Tarañczuk says. "You can learn from those and grow, and that's really cool."
"If you already knew everything, that would be boring, no?" Demiañczuk adds. "Sometimes the best part is the discovery."
For a duo that earned its name because of its members' bickering — people used to say they fought like cats and dogs — Demiañczuk and Tarañczuk seem to get along remarkably well. "We were superdifferent from the beginning, though," Tarañczuk says. "We had different personalities and completely different music backgrounds and friend groups."
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At the time, Demiañczuk was the focused introvert who loved deep house and hypnotic sounds — he could get lost, like Alice, down a rabbit hole of melody. Tarañczuk, on the other hand, was the easily distracted extrovert who listened to funk and disco. "I get easily bored with one thing," Tarañczuk says, while Demiañczuk can dig deep in one direction. "This is how we balanced each other."
Over the years, the two have grown into one person, one creature. "A cat-dog," Demiañczuk jokes.
"People used to always ask us: 'Who is the cat, and who is the dog?'?" Tarañczuk says. "And I used to say Grzegorz was the cat, but now, not really. I've become a bit more moody with age, and Grzegorz has really opened up."
"Our music interests have also become really close," Demiañczuk adds. And though the avid crate-diggers now often pull out similar-styled vinyls, the tracks they bring to the table are just different enough to fit like pieces in a sonic puzzle.
Despite their differences, both are quick to point out how they benefit from the other. For Tarañczuk, he needed a bit of focus. For Demiañczuk, he needed a bit of motivation.
As a teen, Demiañczuk wanted to be a DJ, and he would spend hours downloading MP3s from the internet, trading them with other music enthusiasts as far away as Chicago. He says he met a lot of great friends this way. But people in his hometown were snobby, overinterested in what they thought was cool. "It made me not want to be a DJ," he says. "But when I met Wojciech, he was completely different and played music he really liked. He was risky, but he was really good."
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When Demiañczuk was 18, soon after they'd begun DJing together but before they'd assumed the Catz 'n Dogz moniker, he turned to Tarañczuk and asked, "How long until you think we stop playing?" They both agreed they'd probably stop in the next decade.
Now, a few years past 30, Demiañczuk thinks his younger self would look at him with a kind of skeptical admiration and ask, "Can you really handle it?"
"I would be surprised that I can put up with all the traveling and playing all the parties and still feel inspired. It's really a lot. But I still find it inspiring and really love it."