Bill Kouligas grew up in Athens and worked as a graphic designer in London before moving to Berlin in 2008, when he founded the landmark experimental imprint PAN. The label’s first release published material by Kouligas’s own long-running solo project Family Battle Snake.
As a teenager in Athens, Kouligas was into hardcore, new wave, and post-punk. He played drums in several bands and became involved in London’s underground experimental scene when he moved there to study. PAN emerged from the noise scene in which Kouligas took part in the mid 00s, and was originally set up as a way to document the music of his friends and explore his graphic design interests. Early on, Kouligas developed the label’s singular visual aesthetic, which is characterized by a screen-printed PVC sleeve over an inner cardboard shell displaying photography or artwork, together with artist Kathryn Politis. Since its inception, PAN has focused on drone, noise, electroacoustics, sound-design virtuosity and conceptual projects (via artists like Florian Hecker, Valerio Tricoli, Keith Fullerton Whitman, Rashad Becker and James Hoff) but its scope has long-since widened to include experimental dance music from artists like SND, Heatsick, Lee Gamble, Objekt, and M.E.S.H. Kouligas’s discerning taste for unclassifiable, groundbreaking output also yielded the celebrated 2016 release Serpent Music by Yves Tumor, whom Boomkat described as “filling another as-yet-unnamed niche between the eyes of hypermodern styles” in the vein of all other PAN releases. The label’s roster also includes reissues and obscure outsider music dug up from the relatively distant past.
Kouligas combines his activities as a label head with solo work and collaborations as a musician, producer and DJ. He has worked with Joseph Hammer, Destroy All Monsters, Sudden Infant, C Spencer Yeh, John Olson, Christian Weber, Chris Corsano, RLW, and Kouhei Matsunaga, among others.