CHUS & CEBALLOS with SEAN MILLER at Boa-Redux (270 Spadina), Saturday (October 2). $20 before 2 am, more after. www.boa-redux.com. Rating: NNNNN
Throughout most of the world, the dance scene has been suffering from lower numbers and adjusting to life after the big dance music boom of the late 90s.
On the island of Ibiza, though, things are still going strong in the Spanish party town where house music was first introduced to Europe in the late 80s.
Every summer, thousands of partiers make the pilgrimage to the mega-clubs and beach parties. You can find a huge party there pretty much any minute of the day or night.
Spanish DJ/production duo Chus & Ceballos (aka Jesús Lopez Esteban and Pablo Ceballos) have emerged over the past few years as two of the leading lights of the town, both for their production work and their deep dark tribal DJ sets.
"Ibiza has been the place where everybody wants to go, so it has become more and more popular," Chus explains via e-mail. "It has changed, but it's still an important reference point."
"Nowadays it's more commercial, and it's become a massive place," Ceballos adds. "It lost the essence many years ago but is still the world centre of dance music."
Describing the island as the world centre of dance music is a pretty strong statement, and one sure to spark a heated discussion among the old guard of American house music, but there's a lot of truth to those words. Some may look at that scene as just another resort town for middle-class Europeans with money to spend, but it's also where industry insiders look to predict the next trend.
The sound that Chus & Ceballos are pushing these days is suited to big rooms, late nights and full-on partying. The disco roots in their take on house are well concealed, but don't assume that means they don't know their history.
"In my opinion, house music is the evolution of the disco sound, and I had been listening to this music since I was young," explains Chus. "Bands like Earth, Wind & Fire, Style Council, First Choice, Loleatta Holloway and the first productions of people like MAW, Frankie Knuckles, Eric Kupper and François K - they're the ones I consider the beginning of house history and my contact with the house music."
Both have careers as solo DJs, but they've really made their name with their sets as a team. As Ceballos explains, it's the combinations of their styles that allows them to keep an audience's attention over the long sets they're known to play.
"Chus starts out the night a bit deep house, a bit more underground. He pulls the people in and makes them want more and more. Then I continue with the progression, taking it up and down until the end, when we go back-to-back, where everything is possible - special effects, a cappellas, whatever we can do to make everybody enjoy our set."