It’s no secret that here at Chase The Compass we’re big fans of Glasgow based DJ and production duo, BARRIENTOS and ILLYUS. Barrientos wowed us back in October when he produced his much loved Halloween Mix for our free mix series (you can download it here) and now both the boys are making the trek to London to headline our first ever party, Chase The Compass Presents. Riding high off the back of their smash release “Do Anything You Wanna” plus their new EP “Ballin” on LOVE & OTHER, Charlotte sat down with the duo for a quick chat ahead of CTC’s friday fiesta at Nomad club (TICKETS HERE) to find out what makes them tick.
Charlotte: First up, tell us about how you two started working together and a little about your dynamic? Do you think that when comes to music production two heads are better than one? Ivan: I was in the mindset for a while that I never thought I would enjoy working with another producer, down to the fact that I make music in a particular way that others (i.e. everybody) would see as pretty neurotic! Fortunately, Illyus seems to take well to my crazy and it means we’ve both hit a flow that works really well for us. So now, yeah I guess I reckon two heads are definitely better than one.
Illyus: I would say 2 heads are 100% better than one (if you get on with the other guy of course.) A second pair of ears always helps especially with opinions, making music on your own can sometimes get stuck in a certain mind set. We started working together because we were both individually working with our now manager KEVIN MCKAY. He had the idea of putting us together, think he felt because of our backgrounds and production styles we’d make a good match. Our dynamic is mad because we come from such different backgrounds but in our case that’s good thing. We always have a laugh and come up with ideas individually or together.
You’re both based in Glasgow, Scotland and have been releasing on cult Scottish imprint, Glasgow Underground. If we only had 24 hours to see the city where would you tell us to go and why? Illyus (pictured above): Well Ivan will tell you to go and see Paisley because that’s were he’s from ha! Start your day with a sub-crawl. It will allow you to get off at every subway stop in Glasgow, experience some random boozers, see the city & meet various characters plus with every pub comes a drink! Night time hit the Subbie (aka SUBCLUB) which is in my mind one of the best clubs in the world.
Ivan: That’s a total lie! I would never recommend anybody to visit Paisley. Yeah of course Subclub is the one to visit first but there is such a wealth of clubs and club nights in Glasgow it would be cray to dismiss them. Clubs like La Cheetah, Arches and Saint Judes are all doing amazing stuff so definitely hit them up. And also grab a burger from one of 1000 specialist burger restaurants…
You’ve just dropped your latest EP, Ballin’. Can you tell us the story behind this particular release? How long does it take you to create a track together and what kind of kit do you currently use? Illyus: Ballin’ came about because of my hip hop background. I loved the sample and suggested it to Ivan. We just felt the track had potential to have real attitude. Once we worked on the bassline and Ivan added his magic to it the track was done. It usually doesn’t take us too long to create a track. Both of us bring something else to the table maybe that’s why it works. Currently using Arturia Analogue Lab, N.I. Maschine, Logic 9, Krk vxt 6 speakers & a Rme Babyface soundcard. We are also loving the Arturia plug-ins at the moment.
Ivan: I love the Arturia plug-ins. I don’t care whether you consider yourself an analogue connoisseur or any of that crap, it sounds every bit as good as the analogue versions. Don’t get me wrong though, if I had thousands and thousands of pounds to spend on the analogue kit I would buy it but unfortunately I’m a poor student! I also just got Maschine Mikro and I’m totally in love with it. I had my eye on the Roland TR8 but I’m not so into the drum machines. I love being able to modify my sounds so much so that they’re different from the original sounds. I also love being able to load my own customs samples onto Maschine and go from there. I also get a lot of leverage using the NI Absynth. They’re really great for making pads from scratch. I also just got hold of the Overtone DSP EQ plug-in, and I’ve been mucking around in my personal home studio with it – I’m running some vocals through them and it’s giving them this gorgeous warmth to it. Recommended!
You’re about to play in London for the “Chase The Compass Presents” party series, what kind of tracks can we expect to hear on the night? And hidden gems up your sleeves? Illyus: I have a few things that I think Ivan is going to be scared of and may be even pull a suspect face. 100% some sneaky things. We also have new material we want to try out. All in all, we just hope we can bring a good party to CTC.
Ivan (pictured above): I never plan these things. It’s always more fun to be nervous about it because you don’t know what to expect. That forces you to play off the crowd, see what makes them tick and play some tunes that maybe they haven’t heard before that they’ll like. No pressure then…
You’ll be playing the party in a B2B (back to back) format. Does playing this way make your job easier since there is two of you to select tracks? Do you still get nervous before you DJ or is it completely natural? Ivan: We found a nice flow when we played together for the first time over in Edinburgh. Illyus played some tracks, I played a few then we sort got into a nice vibe and went from there. Really enjoyed working that way but you never know, it could be different for this London gig. I love the nerves, it’s a big part of why I love performing. Ever since I was young, I’ve been performing music (e.g. recitals, orchestral performances) and I have the same routine to help steady my nerves. Total adrenaline rush but once you’re there and playing music it’s a different game. Unbeatable.
Illyus: Not so long ago we had our first set together and everything felt natural and easy. We very much flow of each others ideas on the decks. I always get nerves mixed in with excitement. It’s still a very new experience that people want to book us for our music. Feels surreal.
What’s up next for you guys? Where can we see you play this summer and when can we expect some new music? Illyus: The big one for us that we are playing in Ibiza this summer, can’t wait for that. We’re also playing in the Sub club back in Glasgow soon which should be a good one. Music wise we have just finished a remix for Madtech and are also doing a Romanthony one plus a few other. We are also doing a new EP for LOVE & OTHER again and another GLASGOW UNDERGROUND release will be happening.
Ivan: We have a few releases sorted for now, so aside from them it’s all about continually writing. Keeping the pressure up is important.
Finally, if you had a magic compass that could take you to any time in history, anywhere in the world, where would you go and why? Ivan: Anywhere between 1910’s – 1950’s. 1910 so I could catch the tail end of Debussy’s work and anything after that so I could witness the birth and flourish of jazz.
Illyus: I would love to experience the 70’s. The disco era is a guilty pleasure of mine. You would probably find me in some shady new york club wanting to take over the decks.
Catch Barrientos and Illyus play B2B this friday the 30th of May at Chase The Compass Present at Nomad, Old Street, London. TICKETS HERE or on the door.