Undoubtedly, Chus and Ceballos are the most solid, professional duo from Spain. Hailed worldwide for their excellent production works, including official remixes for world-renowned artists like Madonna or Shakira, they display a remarkable versatility enabling them to play in small clubs to life-size festivals. Their marathon DJ sets capture their genuine Iberican character, while their blend of styles between house and techno lie in perfect harmony, accentuating the unmistakable beat of the percussions.
Throughout the past decade, Chus & Ceballos have been the pioneers and creators of the underground movement known as ‘Iberican Sound’. This resulted in the prologue to an important saga for artists and producers, who have chosen tribal as their way of life.
We had the chance to talk with Chus & Ceballos following his latest release on Stereo Productions and warming up to their upcoming Xmas gigs at Flash (Washington DC), Heart (Miami) and Stereo (Montreal) on December 29th, 31st and January 1st.
Electronic Groove: Hello guys, thanks for the time to chat with us. You have been together for many years, how did you meet each other and when did you decide to join forces as Chus & Ceballos?
Chus: Thanks guys for having us. We both grew up in Madrid sharing the love and passion for music. I was the resident DJ of Teatro Kapital, one of the very first house music clubs in Madrid, Ceballos was a young artist trying to make himself a name on music production, he used to bring me his demo tapes to the club and after a few years back and forth, we finally decided to give it a try and work together in the studio. From the very first track, the magic happened! Our first tune together made a huge impact on the electronic scene, do you remember, ‘Groove Foundation – That Feeling’? It was the beginning of the Iberican Sound and Stereo Productions as a label.
EG: You have created the term “Iberican Sound”, a new electronic style that has become successful in the electronic music scene. How has this happened? It was spontaneous or it was something you had in mind?
Chus & Ceballos: When we started making music we were very disappointed with the Spanish label’s policy at that time, they have a lack of personality, they were just looking for similar music to the hot tracks during these days. We were really tired of that monopoly and based on that frustration we decided to do whatever we really felt, and create our own sound and a label to release our music. We had no idea what would be the result and we couldn’t imagine the positive welcome that we will have internationally. The term ‘Iberican Sound’ was created to put our origins on a map, the Iberian Peninsula, geographically where Spain and Portugal are located.
EG: How would you define the ‘Iberican Sound’?
Chus & Ceballos: As we mentioned before, we found the word ‘Iberican’ to define the who we are and where we come from, since there was a very interesting and unique musical movement happening in the Iberian Peninsula (Spain and Portugal). Chus was a privileged witness of the Portuguese underground movement in the early 90’s, so we really wanted to build a bridge between Spanish electronic scene and Portuguese club culture with the amazing talents that we met that days.
Our sound has continued to evolve over the years but is a fact that we still maintain our essence, where percussion and rhythm grooves are inseparable elements of our style, the main Iberican touch that identifies us. We really believe that it’s very important to have an identity and be true to your values.
EG: In terms of production, what inspires both to create music? Do you have a specific work routine in the studio?
Ceballos: Our biggest source of inspiration comes from the gigs. Nothing beats the feeling after a successful show and come back to the studio with a lot of ideas, having flashbacks of that night making things flow easily. In the studio we have separate roles, Chus is in charge of the groove, the foundation of the beats and the arrangement of the track. I love to investigate about hardware, looking for the proper sounds, synths, and make them fit properly. I’m also in charge of the final mixdown, summing and mastering work. To make music, we always start with the drums, we put a lot of efforts on making a solid groove, as is the foundation of our music.
“We found the word ‘Iberican’ to define the who we are and where we come from”
EG: You run your own imprint, Stereo Productions. What are your requirements for a track or EP to be signed on the label?
Chus & Ceballos: The main policy to be signed on Stereo Productions is quality music no matter what genre or style. Of course, we have to be able to play the music that we sign for the label. Music with soul and groove, music that speaks for itself, it must be outstanding in a certain way.
EG: You recently released ‘Flow’, an EP in collaboration with Oscar L. How this project born? How would you define the result?
Chus & Ceballos: It’s always a pleasure to collaborate with other producers and Oscar is one of us, part of our Stereo family. We have many common points so this project really flowed from the very first moment. The result can’t be better, we’ve created a dance-floor killer monster!
EG: You are frequent USA visitors, what are your thoughts on the current scene in the states?
Chus & Ceballos: Yeah, America is one of our favorite markets in the world, we play regularly and we feel like adopted sons over there! The current electronic scene is constantly evolving, it seems relatively new, fresh and hungry for more and more. EDM definitely opened the market to a new generation that right now is looking for something more, so for underground the time is now to take over the market and become the next big thing!
EG: What would be the difference between the public in the United States and Spain?
Chus & Ceballos: There are not two ‘same places’ in the world. The US is a vast territory and every single city is different, but we can say that the common point is the way people understand the music, in general they are very open-minded and they go the clubs to have fun and dance, no matter what the genre of music. They are very loyal, traveling often to support their favorite DJ’s all over the country, they are also very passionate fans. As Americans say, ‘we work hard and party harder’. Electronic music in Europe it is a bit more of a cultural thing, we have a large background, the fans follow a certain type of genre and do not mix up each other, they are more purist and dress in a particular way according to their ‘tribe’. The electronic music here has been rolling for so many years, so it’s now perfectly integrated into the society.
“The main policy to be signed on Stereo Productions is quality music no matter what genre or style”
EG: What’s your preference, clubs or festivals?
Chus & Ceballos: Well, we really love intimate rooms, you can connect immediately in a very mystical way with your audience, that’s priceless! Festivals and clubs are indeed a completely different experience and we have to admit that we really enjoy doing both, a festival is all about the here and now, an explosion of energy, you have to play in a very different way, very dynamic with no time to lose, people want to reach out the climax right away, they get extremely excited of gather together for a massive experience.
EG: What’s in the pipeline for Chus & Ceballos?
Chus & Ceballos: We are now focused on our second album to be out in 2018, so a lot of work on the horizon. We are also developing our label showcases to reach more cities and venues to spread the love for music and our passion, making people dance!
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