[Interview] Chus and Ceballos Bring Us Together
Photos by Teddy Williams
The duo Chus & Ceballos is known from the far east to the far west. Recognized for their capability to bring people together in a very unique way, Chus and Ceballos make their way to Atlanta from Madrid to play to a packed dance floor at Wildpitch Music Hall. The night was full of so many different kinds of people. Young faces, seasoned house heads, an ethnically diverse crowd, all united by the music, together as one, just to simply experience the professionalism of Chus and Ceballos. The community of Atlanta has never been more pure, true, and unforgiving for who they are and where they come from.
I honestly felt like I had somehow time warped back to the early days of the Warehouse in Chicago or Paradise Garage in New York, which isn't much of a surprise. Chus and Ceballos’ music resonates so deeply and creates such an indescribable energy within. Once they hit the stage I could sense the anticipation from everyone in the room. Everyone was on their toes, ready to be carried away into a feeling of euphoria.
I met with the duo before their set to discuss topics such as their early years as DJs and producers, how they met, their recent travels, etc.
I know both of you are known to be regular residents at many clubs around the world such as Pacha, Space, and Stereo. How has 2016 been treating the both of you so far travel wise, production wise, and project wise?
[Chus] To be honest, it has been one of our busiest years ever (laughs). We were touring with the album at the beginning of the year. Then we enjoyed the beginning of the summer season. Another tour in Asia. Some new places in Europe. Another residency in the US. The summer season in Ibiza. So it has been very hectic. Busy, busy, but it’s good.
[Ceballos] We’re doing very well. We’re taking care of the label (Stereo) we’re doing very well, it’s doing better than ever. Every single week we put out a new release. It's a lot of work.
How do you guys do that? Do you have people helping you put that together with the mastering, mixing, and getting the release out there?
[Ceballos] We have a routine. We have people that help us with the marketing and system networks. With the mastering and the mixing. We have various groups of people to help us do that.
[Chus] 15 years ago, when we started, we did everything. You know? Just ourselves. But now, we have to have a good team around.
[Ceballos] He used to do the designs for the vinyls. And I used to press the vinyls. Distribution, mixing, mastering, composition. It was crazy.
[Chus] They were great times, to be honest.
Let’s travel back in time a bit to after the opening of the club Teatro Kapital in Spain during 1994 and before founding Stereo Productions in 2001. Where were each of you in your career and in your lives? Was Chus and Ceballos a project that was just being founded? Or where you two working together quite in depth during this time frame?
[Chus] It was the first house club in Madrid. I was invited to be the resident DJ there when it opened. It was an honor for me. I spent about ten years working there.
[Ceballos] That was before Stereo, before Chus and Ceballos.
How was it exactly that you two met? Was it a music based interaction, something that just happened randomly in Spain?
[Ceballos] I was a youngster. I am a bit younger than Chus. I was in University and trying to make it in the music industry. That was around the time I met him. I brought a tape demo to the club. The first time I met him he was like, “Well, you know, it’s ok." Three or four years later, I finally released my first records. And then he said, “Ok, this guy is starting to get it. He sounding a lot better." At the time I was working with a partner and he was working with his partner. We got the same set time, we met, and we thought, “Hmmmm, let’s give this a chance." That night, the click immediately happened.
[Chus] “That Feeling” was the first track we produced together. Not bad for the first track.
Was it just going up to Chus to give him a demo? Or did you know each other before that?
[Ceballos] Chus and I grew up in the same hometown, in the suburbs of Madrid. Back then the electronic music scene was extremely small. There was only a few people. A few DJs, a few producers. Not like today, where it's this massive scene. We were close enough.
[Chus] We all knew each other, right?
[Ceballos] We all knew each other. There was no internet back then. So we would meet, exchange ideas, share music. It was a small community, but very active, and everyone was interactive. Chus and I knew each other from the very beginning.
What was the reasoning behind teaming up as a duo? After you guys played a killer b2b set? Was it for production purposes?
[Chus] When we started, I was a DJ, Pablo was a musician. Then he learned to be a DJ, and I learned to be a producer. Now we do everything together. These things really work. So why do anything else? It’s easier when it's a good friend and we get along. Why develop individual careers? A duo has way more power and success. Two heads are better than one. However, you have to sacrifice the egos. But, at the end of the day it’s worth it.
What are some of your favorite artists or genres outside of electronic music?
[Ceballos] Uff, fuck, so many. In that couple years I’ve really discovered jazz. Miles Davis, is like, wow! It’s very far from electronic music. It’s a love for me.
[Chus] I love real Disco. Which is still kinda dance music, but with a live band. But the classics are so different. I really love that kind of music.
How do you spend your down time when your decompressing from studio work or gigs?
[Ceballos] I really love spending time in nature. I like to swim, I like to bike, go for a run, love to get some fresh air. What I like the most whenever I have free time, I go escape to nature. Love getting lost in the moment. That’s what I like the most.
[Chus] I love to spend time with family and friends. Get some good food, good wine, have some laughs, and a good time overall.
Have you guys ever played in Atlanta before? If so how was it and when was it?
[Chus] We’ve played a few times. The last time I remember it being pretty good. I think we played at Opera.
Are there any big projects you guys are trying to tackle before the end of the year? What are some of your professional or personal driven goals you want to accomplish?
[Ceballos] After the release of the album last year, which was more deep house, downtempo. More a listening experience. We’re moving back to more dancefloor tracks. We are looking to collaborate with new people like Boris and Adrian Hour. Very interesting collaborations coming out in the winter. We just finished our summer compilation Balearica.
[Chus] It’s more deep house. We are basically house DJs and producers. We are known for our tribal / tech house sound. Now we are really trying to do something more techno. Explore new sounds and make some new tracks with a bit of a drive.