Glasgow based dance producers Illyus & Barrientos have gone from strength to strength in the short space of a few years. Known for releasing on Toolroom, Defected and Ultra, and their remixes for the likes of Calvin Harris, Purple Disco Machine, Armand Van Helden, Sonny Fodera, Kylie, A-Trak and Gorgon City. Just recently they put out ‘Let’s Get Together (feat. Karen Harding)’ through Ultra, we took some time to catch up with them on the record, how they’re doing with lockdown, and touring life as a DJ duo.
Welcome to DMC World, Illyus & Barrientos, how are you both?
We’re both really well! Obviously during current times we have had our ups & downs but we’re constantly trying to keep a positive mind hence why the music is still coming haha.
How have you found being in lockdown creatively? Has it been beneficial for the pair of you?
It’s been a weird one. Usually when touring we are always pushed for time trying get tracks or remixes finished. We love working under pressure and enjoy making things really quickly but during lockdown it’s been nice to relax a bit and actually going back to being a bit of a geek again. Creatively, it’s been enjoyable having the time to learn all sorts of new ins & outs of production. Style wise it’s also been nice writing other things than just house but don’t be fooled, that’s what we’re about and have plenty coming out.
Tell us more about your new single ‘Let’s Get Together’, how did the collaboration with Karen Harding come about?
This track has a class story !! We basically never gave up on this record. Initially we met Karen at a writing session in London. We clicked but nothing really musically came from that session.
Few months later we get sent the amazing ‘Let’s Get Together’ vocal. The version that you hear now is the first version we ever made over 1.5 years ago but let us tell you so many people didn’t think it was a track worth releasing. As music goes sometimes you take advice on and think you have to chop and change things to get a record out into the world, but after a lot of tinkering we basically said F*#K THAT and stuck with it. So here we are with this beautiful record (if you don’t mind us saying so).
As producers, who would you say is inspiring you at the moment?
In all honesty with everything going on in the world I think current inspirations go beyond music. Someone like Marcus Rashford has worked miracles for a cause during a doom and gloom time. He’s actually created something positive in all of this.
There’s a strong music scene in Glasgow, being that it’s your hometown would you say it’s helped you as artists being from there?
Glasgow is a great city full of amazing artist & music. It constantly moves in a forward thinking direction and that has definitely shaped us into the dj’s and producers we are. Even now during this Pandemic you switch the radio on or check for new tunes and you find new Glasgow based artist …. ‘Test press’ check them out!
Being DJ’s you’ve played huge shows including Space Ibiza, Ministry of Sound and The Arches, what’s been an unforgettable moment you can share with our readers?
We will keep it clean and solely stick to gig chat haha. The Ushuaia gig with Calving Harris sticks to mind. For some reason that just felt extra special, to share something like that with a fellow Scot who really has done it all in the industry. The full journey of that show from start to finish was mind blowing and coming off the stage afterwards our veins were just pumping full of adrenaline. We actually had to take a moment, we really put everything into that show.
Around advice for a new artist starting out, what most important tips would you let them know?
There’s only one real tip. JUST DO YOU!! Don’t go listening to Beatport or any other platform trying to copy other producers. You eventually wont enjoy being someone else. Bottom line, always be yourself.
What can we expect from you guys in 2021?
Hopefully gigs haha!! In all seriousness hopefully we get to go on the road again. Djing In front of people that appreciate and love your music is the best thing in the world. Music wise, we have some bangers coming out with Ultra & Toolroom. So excited for people to hear all the various directions we’re going in.
Lastly what are the big 5 tunes you can share with our readers for this weekend…
Friend within – For you
Gerry Read – Sunshine Kissing
Mac & Ward – The Feeling
Oliver Dollar – Not Enough (Paul Johnson’s Jack Nation Remix)