This past weekend, Dance and Rave had the opportunity to sit down with arguably the two greatest DJs Spain has ever produced. DJs Chus and Ceballos are master of their craft and pioneers of the Iberican sound. These guys have spent the better part of the last 20 years touring the globe and it was a pleasure getting to chat with them for a little while before their set. So, I behold, our latest artist profile.. Chus and Ceballos:
First off, we wanted to congratulate you guys on the success of the debut album and we were wondering if you could give us a little feedback in terms of how the album turned out and how your fans reacted.
C+C: Thank you. Before we were doing like a track here, a track there, but we never sat down in the studio and took the time to make a full album. So we felt it was the right time, after so many years, we took time and after the set at Burning Man, it was really the spark of the fire to start the album. The audience response has been amazing. It was something different because for the first time it was more for listening then a dance floor track. We really wanted to make like a real song, and not just a track. The feedback from the media and fans and everyone has been like amazing. We really loved the experience to do a full album, it was hard work, but yeah we love the experience and we are so happy with the album.
How did you guys settle on the title Nomadas for your debut album?
C+C: Nomadas means nomads in English, right? And that’s because our lives the last like 7-8 years have been like that, right? We’ve traveled so much without a studio, like we don’t have a home, so we are like nomads. We word it like that, because the history of the album, one of each track is like an experience we have all around the world. We’ve been lucky, because with our job we have the chance to go to very different places and meet very different people and finally the album is the experience of all of that
So it’s a whole culmination of things?
C+C: Yeah pretty much
You guys are known as the pioneers of the Iberican Sound, How would you guys describe it and how does it separate from other types of music?
C+C: It started a couple years ago in Spain, we had to put a name to the sound that was happening. That sound kind of put us on the map like “hey we are here” because before, there was nothing like that in the country, and in that way we’re pioneers. We’re in the group of pioneers saying “ok this is what is happening now in Spain”. We are from a place that has a lot of Latin influences, with a lot of rhythm in the group, but at the same time we are in Europe. We’re right with all the European sound, but then we have some influence from American sounds as well like New York and stuff from the late ’90’s. So all that mixed together, is like the Iberican sound.
So do you guys have a preference as far as DJing vs producing?
C+C: For us, it’s like the yin and the yang, you can’t have one without the other, right. It happens to us very often when we are playing too much, we need the studio and then the opposite, right? When you are so many hours in the studio, you need the action and to keep up with the crowd. It’s like a yin and yang. For us, the best experiences is when you DJ one of your tracks and the reaction is good, that way you feel really relieved with your work.
Do you have favorite countries or clubs to play?
C+C: We feel lucky to have many venues. Like Brooklyn, or Pacha. In Montreal, Stereo is like legendary to us. The terrace at Space in Miami is another place.
Those are the residencies you guys hold, correct?
C+C: Yes, so we’re lucky to have those. Places like Exchange and Sound over in LA. And in Europe, Ibiza Is amazing in the summer, or Sankeys. There’s so many, it’s difficult to pick.
Would you prefer a large festival type gig or a smaller club like show?
C+C: We like everything.
Playing big rooms and festivals and big crowds of course it’s fun too. We can say we do better work with a medium-sized room and a longer set, that’s our preference.
You guys are known for extended or marathon sets, what kind of freedom do these extended performances allow that you might not find in a typical one or two hour performance?
C+C: For us, its difficult to play like two hours. We need minimum like three hours, because we like long sets, we believe like long sets you get to know the crowd, you understand the crowd, you understand the sound, that takes some time right? It takes time to follow their lead, we believe as djs we need to go to the club and read the crowd, and try and tell a story to the crowd. It also allows us to concentrate and take the time we need to warm up.
For us, we need more than two hours to warm up! And for us we’re always, always, always, the last set, never like a two hour set.
Are there any routines or things you like to do before specifically before going on stage?
C+C: We like to make sure we do a soundcheck, right, especially in a new place. Because it allows us to visualize our night. We like to go before the show and check out the place, the size, the sound, we are not that picky to be honest.
What advice would you give upcoming DJs and producers trying not only to get into the scene, but to stay relevant as well?
C+C: Advice I would say, first of all, we’ve seen many people passing through. Those that stay in the business, of course are talented, but they work hard. It’s a business right? They’re focused on their job and not focused on the party or drugs or too many girls, right? Be consistent and very serious with your work, and patience because it takes many years to be good. Another thing is, try And develop your own sound, especicially if people can recognize it. It’s important to listen to other djs, but don’t over analyze it and love your own sound.
And break the rules! All the time! (Laughs) If you try to copy someone it doesn’t work, because someine is going to do a better job than you. The business is so competitive if you do your part and really believe, then you can make something happen.
After a great discussion with Chus & Ceballos, who were incredibly down to Earth, we shook hands and they proceeded upstairs were the guys threw down an incredibly groovy and flawlessly mixed three hour set for the lucky attendees of LiFT Nightclub.