Where are you currently based and what is the music scene like there?
-Hi, this is Chus, and I was born and raised in Madrid, capital of Spain. The Electronic Music scene in my home town has a vast history in the last three decades with many festivals taking place and renowned nightclubs like Fabrik, Space of Sound, La Riviera or Mondo to name a few. Madrid is historically a Techno city, but you can also find great spots for deep house and tech house.
-Hi, this is Pablo Ceballos, I was born in Madrid, but I’m based in Los Angeles (California) right now. The Electronic Music scene here is pretty big, and it has grown a lot over the last years, California is the home of the world known festivals Burning Man and Coachella, and has a very healthy clubbing scene was we could highlight the nightclubs ’Sound’ and ’The Exchange’ in Los Angeles where we play periodically, there are many warehouse parties every weekend, so definitely an exciting and growing scene.
How did you first start playing music and get into producing/DJing?
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 or Donna Summer.’ I Have fond memories of this music, when I had 14 years old I would take my father’s tape recordings on cassette and edit them by cut 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. A few years later, in the early ’90s, I had the chance to travel to Portugal as a resident DJ of a trendy Club in Algarve, Kadoc, and there was where my love for House Music began. I was fortunate to share DJ booth with artists like DJ Vibe, Deep Dish, Eric Morillo, David Morales, Carl Cox or Green Velvet among others. The ’90s were exciting years for me.
Ceballos: I first discovered electronic music through my sister that was a music lover and brought the first Stereo at home, it was the 80’s, the peak time of the techno-pop culture in Europe. On my teen years I got deep into electronic music through my group of friends in high school when we formed our first electronic music band, we played a few shows at local places, golden years for me they were. Right after those first gigs, when I was 20, I learned how to DJ with vinyl, and I had the chance of playing in a local bar, and from there I moved to play in a disco next town, when I was 22 I met Chus and you guys know the rest of the story.
What programs/equipment do you use?
* For Djing and as a duo, we are Traktor Djs, this software allow us to be more creative adding different layers of effects, stems, vocals, etc to a regular Dj set. It’s the advantage of being two artists in the Dj booth.
* For music producing we use Ableton Live for composition and Protools for mixing and mastering. We have an endless list of plugins and some hardware equipment that we have been collecting over the years.
What have you been working on recently?
* We have several collaboration projects coming along with Rafa Barrios, Tube & Berger, Oscar L, Harry Romero, CASSIMM and Darius Syrossian and we are also remixing music for David Morales, Denney, and Paride Saraceni. We like to share knowledge and experiences with other DJs and producers in the studio, and the result is always inspirational.
Who or what influences your sound and songwriting?
* We are two different personas with different influences but our common path was, without doubt, the American House music of the late’90s, having Danny Tenaglia like the biggest inspiration, followed by the Portuguese DJ Vibe and labels like Twisted, Tribal America or Yoshitoshi, that was managed by another big name that meant a lot in our careers, Deep Dish (Sharam & Dubfire). Put in all that in the blender with some Classic House and some early Techno, you get Chus & Ceballos sound.
Electronic Music is in constant evolution; this is the most exciting part that DJ’s and producers have to face, to keep experimenting and growing is essential to us. Our style has naturally evolved between house and techno since day one of the Iberican Sound, turning out into a stage where you can find more musicality, but keeping the groove and the rhythm of our organic and ethnic roots, our signature.
2018 was a massive year for you, what did you find most challenging and rewarding during 2018?
The most challenging no doubt has been to be in one piece after so much traveling and find time to produce music between tours. The most rewarding has to be they great welcome of our new music productions and all the love that we received in our gigs around the world, come to our minds the great times we had in places like Japan, Chile, Portugal, Spain, NY, Toronto, Montreal, Miami… so many 🙂
Your track ‘Senja in Bali’ is out now, please tell us about the inspiration behind this track?
This track was inspired and written the last time we went to Bali. There are some places on this planet with certain magnetism and energy, and definitely, Bali is one of them, that trip we took some time off to discover some remote parts of the island and at the end of the journey we mixed the track at a friend’s studio in there, Senja means twilight in Indonesian.
What do you have planned for 2019?
Apart from the collaborations and upcoming remixes that we talked about before, we are preparing a compilation for Armada music for the Miami Music Week in March. Regarding the Stereo Showcases, we recently visited Colombia, Portugal or Los Angeles and some new to come to Miami, Peru, Mexico, Spain and Chile among others. Some interesting festivals are coming up this summer too like the popular Dreambeach in Spain, Picnic Electronic in Montreal or the World Pride in NYC.
How and why did your label Stereo Productions start?
We were very disappointed with the Spanish label’s policy when we started in the late ’90s, they have a lack of personality, they were looking for music similar to the hot tracks at that moment. We were tired of that monopoly practices, and from that frustration, we decided to do whatever we felt and create our sound and a label to release our music. We had no idea what is going to happen, and we couldn’t imagine the great welcome that we had internationally. That new sound inspired many people, and they sent much music to us that we released in those first years. We started a community more than just a label, and that is the values that we still have today, that is why the Stereo Showcases.
How do you decide which artists it is that you will release?
The DNA of our label has always been releasing tracks with a good groove and with some musical or soul element, music for your feet and your heart is what we always say. Any artist that come to us with something that we find interesting has chances to release with us. We always test the tracks on the road, so that is the last filter, if we play it, we release it. We are a label very open, and we support a lot of new talents as much as other famous artists, we try to make the right balance.
What do you have planned for the 20th anniversary of Stereo Productions?
It’s going to be a big year of celebrations, where we’ll be presenting a whole program of events: a documentary that will tell the story of Chus & Ceballos and Stereo from the early beginnings, parties around the world to celebrate such an important date with guest Dj’s that has been an essential part in our history and of course some special music releases in our label, remixes of the Stereo classics, etc..
What are you listening to at the moment?
Chus: Any release from Sol Selecta, my favourite label out there right now.
Ceballos: After our crazy life and travels when I listen to music for pleasure I always pick relaxing music and Jazz, I recently discover a genius of ambient/chill music called Keith Keniff that writes under the alias of Goldmund and Helios, highly recommended.
What do you like to do away from music?
-Chus: I’m a family man, I love when spending time with my daughter, going to the cinema, theatre or just staying at home chatting in front of the fireplace.
-Ceballos: To spend time at home with my girlfriend and visit my family that I’m was very close with, they keep me sane and with my feet on the ground.
Favorite food and place to hang out?
We both love Japanese food and Japanese culture; Japan is one of our favorite places that we visit every year, every new trip we discover something new that makes us appreciate the country even more. We are from Spain, and we can’t forget the extraordinary wonders of the Mediterranean cuisine and the quality of life that we have there, no better place than home.