Chus and Ceballos are the in demand DJs dominating clubs around the world
Touring since 2000, the DJ/producing pair Chus and Ceballos are one of the most well-traveled and in demand musicians of their generation. With 861 gigs (and counting), 519 different venues, and 57 different countries under their belts, the electronic duo has been spreading their infectious vibes and incredible beats to hundreds of thousands of listeners.
And if you've ever wanted to get in on the action, here's your chance. Chus and Ceballos will be re-routing their European tour to the US for two incredible shows on the East Coast (one in Washington DC and another in New York). It will be a once in a lifetime opportunity to witness the DJs spin their trademark tribal house style known as the Iberican sound.
So before you see them up close and personal, you can get a chance to learn more about Jesús and Pablo, the men behind Chus and Ceballos. We recently spoke to the duo about where their love of electronic music first began, the artists they would love to collaborate with, and more!
What was the first time you both remember really falling in love with music?
Chus: Music has been part of my life since I was very young, because from an early age I would listen to my father's record collection. He was into the classic Disco Sound so I've grown up listening to bands like Earth Wind & Fire, Chicago, Chaka Khan, Donna Summer, Barry White or The Jacksons to name but a few. I have fond memories of this music. When I was 14-years-old, I would take my father's tape recordings on cassette and edit them by cutting and pasting. Then I started to scratch his vinyl records! So you could say they were my first DJ experience and the beginning of all of this.
Ceballos: I fell in love with music since a very early age. My sister used to play 80's music on her stereo and at that time I realized that music meant more to me than to most of the people that I knew. So I began looking for friends that shared the same passion. Then I got my first small keyboard when I was 13 and from an early age I was composing my first melodies and playing with other friends in what was our first electronic band.
Who were your earliest musical influences? How have you seen them affect your music today?
Chus: Obviously the Disco Sound that I grew up listening to. Then in the early 90's, I had the chance to travel to Portugal as a resident DJ of a very popular Club in Algarve, Kadoc, and there my love for House Music began. I was fortunate to share DJ booth with artists like DJ Vibe, Deep Dish, Masters at Work, Eric Morillo, David Morales, Roger Sanchez or Carl Cox among others. The 90's were really inspiring years for me.
Ceballos: I believe that the music that you listen to when you are a teenager is the one that will always stay in your mind and keep coming back to you when you are in the creative process of making music. Even if the 90's was the music of my generation, the 80's music was my favorite. Depeche Mode was one of my favorite bands, followed by others like Massive Attack, The Cure, and later Underworld, Prodigy among many others.
How did you both fall in to DJing? When did you both decided to come together and form a group?
Chus: I started my career like a DJ in my hometown when I was 15, I was really passionate about music and I knew from the very beginning that music was what I wanted to do in life. After a few years of a career in my hometown I found my place in Teatro Kapital were I was resident DJ for many years, Pablo (Ceballos) was a young producer and used to bring me his demos to the club. After a few years there was the coincidence that we quit working at the same time with our old partners and decided to give us a try. From the very first moment in the studio the magic happened and some of the tops labels like Defected or Yoshitoshi were immediately interested in releasing our first productions. After that, we decided to bring the same chemistry that we had in the studio to the DJ performance and start working as a duo.
Take us behind the scenes of your creative process. How do you conceptualize a track from start to finish?
Ceballos: One of the most important steps is to decide what do you want to do before you start and having in mind that target. We look for an inspiring element that fires up the creative process. This part could be a good loop, a vocal or a nice melody riff. The second step is to build the beats and the bass, the milestones of our music, and finally the arrangement. We're always looking for a good climax and some unexpected moments to keep the attention of the listener. It's always a great inspiration to think in which club and moment we will play the track, close our eyes and build the track with that flashbacks.
What does being an independent musician mean to you?
Chus: To us it means everything. We don't believe in being a musician without being independent. Music is about expressing yourself and if you are not independent, you and your message will lack power. It's that easy.
What goes on through your mind while you're performing live?
Ceballos: We always have butterflies in our stomachs before we perform live. From the moment we start, we forget about everything and enjoy the moment. When we play, we like to take the people on a musical trip, share a journey where we are the captains of the boat, bring them to different beautiful places, and take them for a full experience.
What's the biggest difference performing in The States versus Europe or other countries?
Chus: We really like to play in the US. Some of the best festivals and clubs around the world are there for a reason. Every city is different, but the common point is that people in general are very open minded and they go the club to have fun. You find the same people in very different parties and they travel to see their favorite DJ's all over the country; they are very supportive. In the US the people work hard and party hard. In Europe it is a bit more of a cultural thing. People follow a certain type of electronic genre and they pursue a certain sound and dress in a certain way according to their "tribe." Electronic music there has been rolling for so many years so its not as new and exciting for them, but Europe is still the continent that leads in what is up and coming in the electronic scene.
How has social media or changed the way your operate as musicians?
Social media opened the direct communication between us and our crowd, so the fans are constantly updated with the latest music, DJ sets and news. It's a big help for networking with other artists, too. It is a total game changer.
What is the biggest thing you've learned since entering the music industry?
That you have to be yourself to get to the top. You have to find your own sound and if you are trying to imitate someone else or if you are in this business for the fame or the money, you won't make it. Music is about passion and hard work.
What is the biggest misconception people have about DJs?
That they think that we don't do anything during the week, that we are always partying, and that traveling a lot is fun. This is so far from reality. We work really hard during the week on music production, our podcast, our label and researching.
If you could collaborate with any other artist, who would it be?
We would love to collaborate in a near future with some talented artists like Disclosure, London Grammar, M83, The XX, Gauzz, Bonobo or Rayko. All of them brought electronic music to a different level, combining vocals, beautiful melodies and complex music landscapes with outstanding productions.
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