Chus & Ceballos are constantly on the run. Whether they are smashing dance-floors during marathon DJ sets in Ibiza, or braving the freezing Canadian cold to headline a music festival, or in their studio making their signature Iberican and tribal-tech productions, the raw drum-driven energy pulsating through the Spanish duo's never seem to have them breaking a sweat.
Recent summer releases like “Soledad” released on their Stereo Productions imprint is a rhythmic, Latin-flavored dancey sunset tune with smooth velvet-like vocals and has been one of the most popular tracks in Ibiza. Their latest ‘Balearica 2014’ compilation is a testament to the evergreen tribal tech-house scene in Isla Baleares and showcases the best purveyors in the space. But after constantly producing original club weapons, remixes and globe-trotting all over the world for well over a decade, the duo are finally gearing up to release their first album. And in the current music climate, this is the most opportune time to do it with artist album releases becoming more of a statement to extend their artistic prowess than, 'just another record'.
I caught up with the guys regarding their new compilation, forthcoming album and the summer in Ibiza and their process of how they go about their iconic marathon DJ sets.
What was the process behind constructing your ‘Balearica 2014’ compilation? Did you have a certain theme that you wanted to convey? What are your favorite tracks on the record?
Balearica is a summer project where we attempted to deliver our most musical, organic and sensitive side. The main goal is to spread the word about the rhythms and melodies of Ibiza that inspire us every year, a reflection of the experiences of people around the world live when they come to the island. Everything in our country revolves around the Mediterranean culture and everything is connected like the food, art, and the music.
Every single track in the compilation is special, they have all been selected with love, but if we could only choose one track, it would be 'Soledad', a collaboration we did with our dear friend, the Italian producer, Leonardo Gonnelli. He’s a real talent to look forward to seeing in the upcoming years.In no time, 'Soledad' has become one of the most played tracks in Ibiza, with support from artists like Carl Cox, who received the track exclusively in Miami during WMC 2014 and hasn’t stopped playing it since. To name a few others, Adam Beyer, Joseph Capriati, Solomun, Nic Fanciulli, Seth Troxler, Jamie Jones, Nicole Moudaber, Mark Knight and Roger Sanchez are all supporting the track in their sets as well. We’re extremely happy :))
With the electronic music explosion, Ibiza’s summer parties get bigger and bigger each year. What have some of your showcases been like? Any interesting stories?
This year we had the opportunity to play the famous beach club, Blue Marlin on Sundays and it has been an absolute revelation. We found the perfect place for us, where the energy of the people and the magic of the venue has us hooked. Ibiza is about living in as many ways as possible and one of those ways is certainly the day parties, and another is the sunsets, and Blue Marlin is the perfect place to witness a complete Balearic experience!
On August 17 we played the 10th anniversary of Blue Marlin and it was an amazing party where we played for over 5 hours! The crowd would not let us go and we were completely devoted to the euphoria of such an important celebration. The most fun part? The number of corks from champagne bottles flying everywhere while many other bottles were used to shower the overheated crowd on the dance floor! Truth is...it was crazy! We also did the anniversary of Cafe Ole at Space, another of the great temples of the Ibiza nights.
Your remix of Shakira’s “Dare” and your original “La Colombiana” have been very well received this summer? Did you go out to the World Cup? Did you play any parties in Brazil? Could you talk about the country’s club and electronic music culture?
Yes! They are two very big summer tracks that put you in the right mood. You can’t help but dance, and in every place we play, people request us to play those songs and the crowd reaction is always amazing. The Shakira remix has been on the radio over and over since the World Cup and “La Colombiana” was released on Tronic Music, our good friend Christian Smith’s label.
Unfortunately we couldn’t attend the World Cup this year - the Ibiza season and summer festivals have kept us super busy, but we would have loved to attend! We play soccer regularly in Brazil and we love it. The people are so nice, very funny, and have a great sense of rhythm...music is in their blood! Brazil is definitely a growing country and the nightlife is a reflection of that evolution. Some of the best clubs in the world are in Brazil and it is a usual stop for even the worlds top DJs.
You guys have always stuck to tech-house and tribal sounds in terms of your productions and DJ sets, which is obviously why you’ve created a recognized name for yourselves in the niche. Would you ever consider shifting away from the sound to experiment with other genres?
Our sound has continued to evolve over the years, but we maintain our essence and the Iberican touch that identifies us, where percussion and rhythm are inseparable elements of our style...kind of like yin and yang. It is important to have an identity and to be true to your principles. We consider ourselves music lovers and we like different styles, it's something you can see on our sets where we move from deep house to techno easily. So this question - if we like to experiment with other sounds - comes at just the right time because after many years of singles and remixes, we are working on our very first artist album, where we are exploring new sounds and squeezing our heads to give our fans a new vision of Chus & Ceballos.
Could you share some tips on how to play marathon DJ sets?
To make a marathon set happen; the most important thing is to really know the club and the crowd. You have to feel comfortable and confident with your audience since they’re the ones who set the pace of the set. The second thing is to know your music very well and be prepared to put that particular track in that special moment to grab the attention and the excitement of the crowd. And of course, don’t hurry the mix downs and your transitions have to be smooth. The musical selection must be well chosen, fit perfectly to the mood and energy, and stay connected to the crowd to be enjoyable for many hours. It’s essential to be well rested - being fit helps a lot since it really is a big physical effort. And definitely be careful with the alcohol. Start slowly and keep the ‘shots’ for the end (lol) or you won’t last too long. So keep it fresh so the journey through music will be as long and enjoyable as possible.
What other plans do you have for the coming months?
As we mentioned before, we’re working on our first artist album. We’ve been remixing artists of all kinds and publishing singles on our own label, Stereo Productions, and other top labels for over 15 years, but we really feel that it’s about time to work on something very personal, such as making our first album. We approached it from several angles - we wanted to remake some of our classics, bringing them back to life with new versions, while other tracks are completely original, and others are new versions of songs that marked our career. There are also several vocal tracks, something that is missing these days in electronic underground music. Some people have forgotten the power of a song and its message. After many months we are in the process of finalizing it so we hope to present our new baby before the end of the year.