Owner of ONO Records and sub labels ONOMAR and ONOBOTS, Jan Pienkowski loves to create and share his unique blend of music and sounds. His music/electroacoustic/physics training and deep affection for house, techno, dub, world, classical and jazz bring a diverse palette of textures, grooves and acoustic spaces. While his studio work for labels, dance, film and video game projects grows in demand, Jan is equally at home behind the decks making people dance in clubs and festivals across the globe (Barcelona, Madrid, Mexico City, Hong Kong, Warsaw, Montreal ++).
Back home in Montreal, Jan DJs in the best spots the city has to offer (SAT, Salon Daomé, Stereo Bar, Peopl/UN, Kanalbar) as well as making festival appearances for Mutek, Elektra, Black & Blue, MEG, Divers/Cité, Nuit Blanche. He has been a resident artist at the Société des arts technologiques [SAT] (one of the most unique digital art spaces in the world) for over ten years, producing and performing DJ/VJ/LIVE events and interdisciplinary immersive live shows as well as developing and teaching music production courses.
Jan's constant quest for pushing the boundaries of electronic music and live performance has given him the chance of collaborating with the Opera of Montreal, to be the music and sound composer for the film RE-GENERATION commissioned for the UN COP21 Conference on Climate Change in Paris, the music director and performer in DOMAGAYA - an encounter of Aboriginal Cultures and Digital Arts for the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada during the 400th anniversary of Quebec City, as well as to be chosen by the British Council as the Canadian Representative for the Cultural Leadership International (CLI) initiative.
My music path has been a circuitous and far-reaching one. Having initially learned clasical piano in my early teens, my 80s synth music influences quickly lead me to explore the keyboard with a different approach, before switching gears to play guitar in rock, blues and jazz bands, as well as directing and performing in Cabarets. My university studies in Physics lead me eventually to apply to the Electroacoustic Music programme, through which, in combination with early MUTEK Festival editions, I was exposed to the envelope-pushing possibilities of electronic music production and live sets.
Apart from playing live sets solely focused on the dance floor, over the years I have had the opportunity to play and produce shows mixing electronic music with Classical, Opera, Jazz, Chinese, Mongolian, North American Native music, live video, live film cutting/painting, experimental/modern dance and theatre. All this in stereo formats and also surround sound environments ranging from 4.1 to full dome 25.4 speaker setups.
These days, I am developing a new live set to take on tour in 2019, featuring modular and classic synths, the piano, Rhodes and the electric guitar. I presented the first sketch of these sounds last August at MUTEK Festival in Montreal and I plan to develop these ideas in many directions for 2019.
Take a listen to my MUTEK set recording below.
The first year that I bought my DJ setup, I spent countless hours, days, months, practising mixing on turntables... staying up long nights trying to understand each song's construction and finding techniques for mixing them. Spending all this time dancing in my living room, I eventually began to feel the need to organize parties, connect with other djs and to learn how to create the appropriate atmosphere during the course of a night with an audience present. Hence, my monthly Gallery Nights appeared and my DJ career was born.
Since those early days, I have DJed over a thousand gigs - spanning the Americas, Europe and Asia - in clubs, lofts, rooftops, terraces, outdoor festival stages, side walks, back alleys, bridges, radio stations, studios, museums, factories, restaurant kitchens, swimming pools, parks, forests, beaches, boats, barges, parade floats, and I feel more passionate than ever about this art of playing, dancing, digging, learning and listening. DJing is a big part of who I am and there is no better place for me to feel ALIVE than behind the decks.
Take a listen to my dj set recordings below.
There are many sounds that I am interested in exploring with my music and I draw inspiration from the following styles: Ambient, Dub Techno, Electro, Classic Synths, World, Jazz, Classical, Deep House, House, Afro House, Deep Techno, Techno.
My productions have been released on my own ONO Records, ONOMAR and ONOBOTS labels, in addition to Griffintown (Mile End), Monsieur Musique, Soloman's Forest Records, Finite Records, as well as finding their way onto compilations with artists such as Misstress Barbara, LSG, Max Graham, Ian Pooley, Chromeo, Nuclear Ramjet, Mike Shannon, Mateo Murphy, Pheek.
However, the biggest wave of my output lies a head and is fast approaching, with a number of EP releases and two full length albums in the works for 2019 and 2020.
Take a listen to my music productions below.
I have been a music and sound composer for many film and video game projects, bringing together electronic sounds with classical and world music. I enjoy having specific themes to work with as they focus my mind on the atmosphere I need to create. This is a very natural way for me to work, as I also use this approach for my non-film music - where I conjure up a picture or a film scene in my mind and focus musically on the atmosphere I see and feel.
For my sound design work I can get quite geeky. From my own sound fx design, field and studio recordings, to searching sound libraries, I do a lot of research to make sure the correct sound atmosphere is created for each scene down to the last detail. This can range from my bouncing and rolling coins on side walks, steps, floors to get the right sounds for CGI coins in a film; to distorting my recordings of trains to a point where they sound like ghosts in an an abandoned steel factory; to finding the correct sounds of middle eastern cicadas at various places and times of the day, where their sound is different from other parts of the world and can vary drastically according to the light and temperature present.
Take a look at my Film and Video Game Project Reel below.
Here is a calendar of my official DJ and LIVE performances, as well as the presentations of select projects. You can choose to narrow down the list by clicking on the options in the menu below.