Mixtape + Interview: Chus & Ceballos

Sounds for the Weekend! Known for merging house, techno, drums and creating their trademark ‘Iberican Sound’, Chus & Ceballos have presented KALTBLUT with a special mixtape to get your blood pumping the weekend! The two have been headlining clubs and festivals, serving up killer cuts for 15 years now, with no signs of slowing down with the release of their newest album, ‘Nomadas’ on their own Stereo Production label. Press play and read up on what they’ve been up to this summer.

KALTBLUT: You both started your careers in Madrid, what does this city mean to you? What are it’s people and culture like?

Chus & Ceballos: Madrid represents very well the archetype of the Spanish people and culture. It’s a friendly city that welcomes everybody, very open minded, that likes to go out and celebrate life socialising, eating outside, dancing, so music is an essential part of our culture. Our hometown is a very inspiring land that shaped our characters and personalities of what we are today, like artist and like persons. As you can see we are proud of Madrid and we invite you guys to visit there anytime and experience yourself if you’ve never been.

KALTBLUT: You’re known for the trademark ‘Iberican Sound’, can you explain what this to someone who hasn’t experienced it?

C&C: Let’s start with the meaning of it, we found the word Iberican to tell the people who we are and where we come from when we started producing music together, since there was a very interesting and unique musical movement placed in the Iberian peninsula (Spain and Portugal). The Iberican Sound nowadays is a blended of organic elements with no musical boundaries, where house and techno have merged with a common elements, the drums, the groove, the sense of rhythm, a touch that identifies us, where percussion and rhythm are inseparable elements of melodies and ethnic vocals, like Yin and Yang.

KALTBLUT: How do you feel this has evolved during the time you’ve produced music?

C&C: The challenge and the beautiful thing of electronic music is that is continuously evolving and the Iberican Sound that we started back in the day has been evolved in the same way. During all these years electronic music passed for so many different faces, techno, tribal, progressive, electro, minimal, deep house and now back to the organic house and melodic techno, from all that periods we took inspiration to make our original sound richer, and learning from some mistakes of following the wrong pad at some point, we learnt that the key to last long in this business is to stay true to your principles, but evolving and adapting with the new sounds. Regarding the sound we can say that our productions today are cleaner and simplified, with less elements than before, we learnt that less is more, if you can make a track and tell an history with just a few elements is closer for the people to understand, the mixing and mastering process is easier and the track will have a bigger impact.

KALTBLUT: Do you have any tricks of the trade?

C&C: As producers we always start a track from the foundation, the beats and the baseline, we are very focus on the groove and the drums, that’s the milestone of our sound, but without forgetting the soul elements like vocals and melodies. Music is all about the message. I think one of the most difficult things in this job is to find your own sound, something that the people can identify, so we love when people say this sounds like Chus & Ceballos. As a DJ, we always love to start and finish our DJ sets with something special, those intros and outro, edits or bootlegs that remain in people memories.

KALTBLUT: How has this summer treated you? Are you ready to take a rest during the winter, or does the music not stop?

C&C: Summer treated us very well, Ibiza season has been one of the best so far, with great shows at Space, Blue Marlin and Sankeys. We were coming back and forward to America, where the highlights of the summer were to play at EDC Vegas and our residencies at Space Miami, Output Brooklyn and Stereo Montreal. We are now starting the album tour so we don’t have time to rest, we love what we do so doesn’t take that much effort to keep going, we’ll rest in the next life!

KALTBLUT: What has been the longest time you’ve spent in the studio?

C&C: When in the studio, the rule number one is that there is not rules, and when you are inspired the best is don’t stop and go with the flow, the time doesn’t exist, I remember to have sessions of 20 hours and sometimes realise that we didn’t eat in the last 10 hours.

KALTBLUT: You’re well known for your marathon DJ sets, is it hard to keep a constant flow of energy, keep the crowd connected to the music, etc?

C&C: We have to be physically and mentally prepared for a long running and do it only in places where we are specially connected to the crowd with proper sound system conditions, lights and a comfortable DJ Booth. A marathon set is something that should happen naturally, not forced. The most difficult part is to don’t lose the flow, when the inspiration keeps going and going for hours, you have the chance to play those special tracks that are more difficult to play in a 2 hours set where you have to go straight to the point, those tracks creates special moments, the ones that your audience kept in their minds, that journey is the reason why we love extended sets.

KALTBLUT: What have been some of the most influential tracks you’ve played/heard this year?

C&C: So many! Here you have some of them; Sandrino, Frankey ‘Acamar’, &Me ‘Woods’, Trauma ‘Kiraf’, Audion, Troels Abrahamsen ‘Dem Howl (Joris Voorn Mix), Editors ‘Our Love (Salomon Mix), Aphrohead ‘Let’s Prance (Radio Slave & Thomas Gandey Last Communication Remix), Danny Tenaglia ‘Dibiza (Joseph Capriati Remix).

KALTBLUT: You’ve played at some of the biggest clubs around, is there anywhere that you’ve not conquered yet that you’d like to take on?

C&C: We have great memories when we’ve played in UK but to be honest not as much as we’d like, we would love to play more often and bring our Spanish heat to the Britain. For some reasons we never played in South Africa or India so definitely we are looking forward to visit these countries at anytime soon.

KALTBLUT: What can we expect from your new album ‘Nomadas’? What does it stand for?

C&C: The album reflects our different and diverse musical backgrounds, influenced over the years by travelling. It’s ethnic, melodic and deeper than our usual dancefloor tunes. We wanted to conceive the album like a total experience, that’s why every single detail is so important in ‘Nomadas’. We loved to work with all the artists involved in this project, from the photographer who made the photo-shooting till the graphic designer and video team. We’ve made official video clips for most of the tracks, where the visual landscapes emphasise the music message offering the audience a complete experience.


KALTBLUT: How did you see certain vocals working with certain tracks?

C&C: We approached the vocal collaborations in two different ways, some tracks started like an instrumental, then we decide to go a step further and add some vocals, so we work with a vocalist that fits on the musical range of the song. Some other vocal tracks were written from the scratch with the singer, so we usually start writing something to inspire the vocalist and then collaborate to shape the track in a way that both are happy. The creation process always bring you nice surprises in the way that some projects start in a way and then they finish in a completely different way as expected.

KALTBLUT: Did anyone help co-produce the album?

C&C: We have collaborated with a few artists, singers and producers, we have 2 songs along with Leonardo Gonnelli, ‘Soledad’ and ‘Abisinia’, both tracks have hypnotising vocals that really stand out from the rest, ‘Abisinia’ performed by GiGi, an Ethiopian world music singer, it’s a profound incursion to our deepest ethnic roots, aiming new musical landscapes unexplored till now. We also loved to collaborate with such a talented artists like Quilla, Astrid Suryanto, Cevin Fisher or El Chino Dreadlion to name but a few.

KALTBLUT: Do you have one particular track that you’re most excited to release?

C&C: We are very proud and satisfied with the album, we love every single song and all of them have a huge personal value and a very special meaning for us, is extremely difficult to pick just one. We just released ‘Abisinia’ and ‘Black Rock City’ we are very excited for the upcoming ones: ‘Been a long time feat. The Fog’ including Mark Knight Remix, ‘Back to Basico’ including Ninetoes Remix and the vocal collaboration with ‘Astrid Suryanto’, ‘All I want’ including mixes by Henry Saiz, Marc Marzenit and Technasia.

KALTBLUT: The album is released on your own Stereo Production label, when and how did this label begin?

C&C: We started producing music for many other labels, but we understand that we really need our own label and brand to stand out from the rest so in 2000 we founded Stereo Productions. Since day one, we had a big follow, many DJs and producers identified themselves with our sound, we became very popular in a short period of time and we grew up so fast. We used to press thousand of vinyl copies till the digital big boom. Some of the first Stereo references are now vinyl collector pieces. A very inspiring time in our lives. Nowadays we keep the same philosophy of the label, a genuine style, global, supporting talents from not only our country but worldwide. As a good team, we have Stereo as the flag we carry on this long trip.

KALTBLUT: Do you find it best to work under your own rules during production? Or do you like to work in a certain time frame to hit deadlines?

C&C: It’s good to have certain deadlines to make the project happen, but the creative process usually is not a friend of rushing, so it’s good to take it easy at the beginning and after it’s good to have a deadline to reach the finish line. In general we don’t have a certain method to start the productions, sometimes we begin with some beats, sometimes a baseline or some vocals, anything that inspire us enough to complete a track around that first rough idea.

KALTBLUT: Your album artwork reflects that of wild animals and emblems, is there a hidden message behind all of this?

C&C: Our music has the power of the drums, the strength of the percussions, ethnic and primitive roots, that’s why we like to identify our sound with the wild animals, the emblems represents our ethnical musical background that are always present in our music, and the rest of the organic designs represent the soul that we like to imprint in our tracks, it’s our philosophy: the rhythm and the soul, music for your feet and your heart, that is the language behind the artworks, our message.

KALTBLUT: Do you get a chance to step away from music once in awhile, or is it constantly in your day to day life?

C&C: Between the label, the music production and the touring, music is most of the the time in our day to day life, once in a while we need a break and we  take some time off for us and our families. We find very important to have a balanced life in this crazy world of night life. The last year has been very hectic with the release of our first album ‘Nomadas’, so probably after New Years we’ll take some deserved time off.

KALTBLUT: What’s been a huge moment for you two this year?

C&C: This is a great year, in terms of production the biggest moment was to see how our first album showed the light, we made a big effort on this release and was great to see the great feedback is having. In terms of DJ’ing to play at Ultra Music Festival and EDC Vegas for the first time was a big accomplishment.

KALTBLUT: Are there any other new projects coming up?

C&C: We just started the Worldwide Album Tour. We are also really happy with the attention that our label Stereo Productions is taken lately, we are super excited with the upcoming releases including the album singles and remixes so to be focus on the label and the album tour is our main goal for the next months.

KALTBLUT: Any tips for aspiring music producers?

C&C: All the tips finish in one: “Be yourself and find your own sound”, something that identifies you and people can recognise, if you sound like someone else, no one else is going to find your music special and you’ll never stand out in this competitive world that is the music.

‘Nomadas’ is out now on Stereo Production records!

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