Rare is the electronic duo that makes a significant impact on the music scene, but even rarer is the electronic duo that helps pioneer an entire genre, establishes a twenty-year legacy for building an international powerhouse, and all the while manages to stay happily wed for over two decades. PETDuo are true masters of their domain.
Formed in 1997 in São Paulo, Brazil, the Berlin-based hard-techno sensation have been bucking trends with their non-conformist attitude and maverick-like ethos since their inception, ruthlessly carving a place for themselves in the overpopulated realm of electronic music, and establishing the group as an innovator, a vanguard that fashioned many of Techno’s popular trends.
But for Anne Gelfei and David Elie Merlino, partners in crime and masterminds of the two-piece DJ outfit, it all comes pretty naturally. “This whole journey and our career development was a mutual discovery in the music realm,” explains Gelfei. We are self-made artists, and we always push ourselves to improve our technique and find different ways of expressing and delivering our music. And a lot of times we push each other to overcome our own limitations and beliefs.”
Fused together, the pair are the yin and yang of the dance floor, and their partnership seems to have an uncanny superpower – the only way to explain the enterprise they’ve constructed. Made famous for their four-deck sets (and nowadays six-deck sets), the act have toured the globe relentlessly and have built an international fanbase of devout followers through their incessant drive and dozens of high profile festival appearances, such as Love Parade, I Love Techno, TimeWarp, Monegros, Mayday and countless others. They also run their own recording studio, engineer it themselves, and even operate two separate record labels, Cause Records and D&A Music – ventures that see them in collaboration with iconic techno producers and renowned acts like Miss Djax, Svetec, Ben Long, O.B.I., and Alex TB.
Given their success, it’s no surprise that the group have influenced a generation of aspiring artists who’ve adopted their technique for their own repertoire. PETDuo are humbled that others have discovered new possibilities in their sound, knowing their music is impossible to replicate. Their secret weapon: staying true to their mantra – machine music with heart and soul.
“E-music is composed exclusively by machines and gear,” Merlino says. “Computer, drum machines, synthesizers, etc. – it's very easy to sound mechanical, too exact, and miss the human factor of fallibility and improvisation, which brings naturally more interest and emotions to a song.”
Maintaining heart and soul is the foundation of PETDuo, and their individual love for music is the pillar that holds up the mothership. Outside the world of electronic music the two are avid music collectors with an enormous repository of vinyl records and CDs. And it’s by being a fan of music itself that the duo have gained so many fans of their own.
“We love art in general and have many interests in life. Our main goal with our music is to satisfy ourselves and the people who listen to it, so they can free their minds, have a moment of joy, and dance away life's problems.”