Saar de Pisica, minimal's kitten

Interview by France Missud

Pisica, it means little cat in Romanian. Pisica is the name Benjamin and Gilles chose for their minimal techno party collective. Friends begin in April 2017. The Romanian Minimal is poorly represented in France. They are fans. These two amateur DJs decide to organize their own parties. Everything comes together very quickly. Thousands of Parisians flock to each event, the greatest DJs from the French and international micro scene are scheduled there. Four years later Pisica is exported throughout France and HLE and Saar (their aliases) are moving everywhere.
On the occasion of his visit to Marseille for two events in which he was invited to mix ̶ Planète 51 and the Delta festival ̶ I was able to speak with one of the two founders of Pisica, Gilles, aka Saar.
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- Hi Gilles, how do you would you introduce myself?
I would introduce myself as an organizer of associative evenings, I am also a DJ in my spare time. I have just finished my business school in Bordeaux and I now intend to fully embark on the evenings.
- I don't understand. Are you getting started?
By that I mean that I intend to get started professionally. Before, we organized evenings in an associative framework (note: their evenings allow, in parallel, to finance associations for animal protection) now, I intend to devote myself to it full time. Despite the Covid I am quite confident and I understood that this is what I like to do.
- Precisely, as an organization, how do you handle these anti-Covid measures?
Everything was at a standstill for a year, it was very complicated for a lot of employees ̶ some got help, but not all ̶ and now that it is picking up, we are having a lot of new restrictions imposed on us. During the summer we did not know what we could do or not, there was a kind of legal vagueness, we could not organize indoor parties for a long time, we were imposed gauges (for the number of people), we had to find fairly large places while ensuring that it was not very far from Paris if we did not want to harm our public, in short, it was quite restrictive indeed, even very restrictive. Fortunately, we were able to be flexible to still offer cool events to our audience.
- Are you fed up with all these rules?
At the organ level, that's for sure, I'm very fed up. There are some who unfortunately have not been able to bounce back and are still on stand-by at the present time. It's hard to stay present with all these standards. Every second Parisian evening was canceled, sometimes at the last moment, suddenly the teuffeurs had to ask for their reimbursement, which was not always at the rendezvous ... Now there is the sanitary pass ... we must be sure. adapt. Yesterday, a friend of mine couldn't come home for the evening because he didn't have his identity card, yet he had his pass. Yes, I feel fed up, but we hope this will all be over soon. We believe it.
- We often decry the techno party orga, warehouse, we accuse them of '' being too business, sometimes not respecting their customers. What do you think?
What I found is that, finally, those who have something to complain about represent barely 5 to 10% of our audience. Many are accommodating but unfortunately they are not the ones we hear the most.
But no, I do not think disrespecting my audience, we offer affordable prices, our beer is really not expensive for example, 7 euros a pint, compared to other Parisian party places it's super reasonable.
Moreover, I take this opportunity to say that, now, we sell Chouffe at 9 balls. (laughs)
- De la Chouffe in warehouse? Wouldn't Pisica gentrify a bit?
Yeah, that's it, you've got it all figured out (laughs) we're going to make pre-made cocktails too. But no, in real life, we always remain underground, even if we sometimes want to increase the prices - especially with all these new restrictions which give us a lot of work - we try not to exceed a certain price for our audience, we wants to put it well at the base, that's the principle. We try to make sure that everyone is happy with it, we and the public find it more honest.
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- We say that the organs are obliged not to be too kind in order to establish themselves more durably. For room rentals in particular. Is that true?
I would say that you shouldn't be too nice , but not dishonest either, must find a happy medium to still be respected by the collaborators. Before, we were sometimes too nice and it ended up falling on us. In fact, we have to act within the rules, even if some people don't like it. For example, for closing times, we really can't please everyone. But I would say that if sometimes you have to be a little harsh, you still have to be able to look at yourself in the mirror at night. Tell yourself that even if it was complicated, that we had to make a decision that did not please the employee, the customer, or anyone ̶ because we were obliged to do so by the public authorities ̶ bah , we had to do it because we want to stay in the long term.
- The government ... and profitability too, right?
Obviously, we still need to a minimum of profitability so that we can continue our activity.
Besides, I would like to make a little parenthesis about the organization of free-parties. I find the concept great: the free party where you give what you want. It's my favorite evenings, I feel good there. But this militant anti-government movement has its limits: there are often excesses, accidents, drugs too (we are not going to lie to each other) and people are not all self-sufficient, it is a utopia. It makes us sound like marginalized people. It would have to be supervised by security, first aid workers, but all that costs money. Do not forget that if it is a passion, it is also a profession and if you want to offer quality events, with quality music and security, well, it is investment, galleys, stress, a lot of work and you have to charge and set a real price.
After that, I personally never organized a large free , quite a few small, it is true without the approval of the town halls and it is perhaps easier said than done. But in the long term, it would be cool if the orga could find common ground with the public authorities so that there is a minimum of security while keeping the libertarian spirit. At the same time, it would be necessary that the town halls and the teuffeurs put each one of the good will, which is not really won, and even seems to me, in my opinion: impossible. (laughs) It's an endless debate.
- Comment tu would qualify your audience?
I would say that there is a bit of everything, for the microphone it is 25-30 years old, an audience who behaves rather well, quite wise. But we've also been doing techno scenes lately (in addition to the microphone one), it changes a bit, it's a bit younger. I like the techno atmosphere, I've been playing it recently under my alias Saartek, you'll understand the pun (laughs).
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- By the way, how did you like playing techno? >
For the record, I had to go to a party in October with some friends, and when I arrived everyone people were too crowded and the evening was already over. I was on my own, but I remembered that I had another friend at an LGBT party in a house nearby. When I join her everyone is half naked, in liberated mode, the atmosphere is really deadly. And surprise a friend of mine is mixing techno. It turns out that I have a techno playlist in the USB stick that I always have with me, some will understand why (laughs). Suddenly, I ask him if I can play a little, and for two hours I enjoy myself, a revelation. From that moment on I started to take an interest in certain artists and began to mix more and more. The microphone is great, but sometimes when the tracks are a bit slow, and you're mixing on your own, you get bored a bit. Techno is faster, it allows you to really let off steam.
< b> - You're not afraid that the second techno scene will bring in a crowd that the first one doesn't like?
No, I find it good that people who come for the microphone can discover techno and vice versa. And then, we still keep a bigger microphone stage and an artistic direction focused on it. In any case, we know how to manage all types of customers, and to use Macdonald's slogan, we want to say to our audience: come as you are. (laughs) We accept everyone.
ALM France open air from September 2019
(open air from September 2019 , photo credit: Arthur Lacour)
- So, are you moving more techno now?
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No. I still like the microphone just as much, I am also slowly starting to produce it, I have a track that will be released there, on vinyl, on Pisica Records 003. Now that I have finished my studies I have more time, it takes a lot, it's work, but once you've released a track you're super proud of yourself.
- Let's talk about you. The Saar that we see in the evening, it is rather distant, reserved. How are you everyday?
On a daily basis, when I am with people I know, I would say that I am a little eccentric, a little crazy around the edges, I consider myself a nice person, although sometimes I could take bad habits with certain associates in the middle.
< b> - What do you mean by bad habits? Are you trying to tell us that you made mistakes?
It would be a lie to say that I didn't made no mistake, between the pressure of the collaborators, the government, the room owners, profitability, the galleys ... when I'm at a Pisica I'm a little stressed, I may have had a little cold behavior , rude, I don't have time to talk to everyone, I can't remember all the faces ... but I don't purposely be distant, I really try to make an effort. Afterwards, I am also obliged to play a role, I learned to distance myself from certain people or behaviors because we cannot please everyone and sometimes I made mistakes but I always try to keep myself. question.
- You arrive sometimes to party as a customer? Can you relax?
There it was a bit complicated because everything was closed for a year and a half and during the two summers when it reopened a bit I finally worked a lot or was invited to mix right to left. But I still enjoyed a few evenings such as the Inception and we hope it will quickly return to normal, because yeah, I miss it a lot.
- Besides, tell us a bit about the other collectives. Which ones do you like?
There's Possession that I like, I'm still really this kind of rave environment, I like the underground, free side. Afterwards I like Micromat, it's a new fairly qualitative micro collective. I have heard about Kilometer 25 of course, I have to go there. Otherwise, Centrale93 is nice, it's an industrial wasteland opened by Yoyaku, I went to see, I thought it was cool. There's also the Pampa, another wasteland that Kumquat launched, I really liked the intimate side. I haven't yet had the opportunity to do Ciel Aubervilliers, neither the Noisiel farm opened by the Rexclub and the Badaboum, nor the Vincennes racecourse, but I'm counting on it.
- What are your next projects? < / div>
Tonight (August 21, 2021) we're mixing with my friend Mateba from the Micromat collective at the Planet 51 party near Marseille, and the Next week we are opening the Delta festival on Prado beach.
My plans are to continue producing sounds, to continue to organize Pisica with Ben (we are currently looking for places) . We also have a big open air scheduled for September 25 with black Plague, it's Axel Picodot's label, it's techno. We are also thinking of organizing a festival by 2023/2024. Then we would also like to open a small industrial wasteland in winter perhaps, if we have the place, if we have the authorizations, we think about lots of things.
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