Nick Coles catches up with the Welsh Hard Dance duo ahead of an exclusive reunion set in the UK this weekend…

Let’s go back in time, where did all start for you guys, and deciding to join forces and play together- the first time I saw your name (Cally) was on a Dance Planet tape around 1994 I think? 

Cally: I started DJing in ’93 when I became resident for Southern Exposure, which at the time was Wales’ biggest rave event. I met Juice’s brother Shaun at a rave and he took me back to one of their legendary house parties. We all became friends and started making music together under the name GSI. Juice soon after began DJing. After both DJing solo for a few years I was offered a set at Dreamscape, at the time one of the UK’s biggest rave festivals. They wanted me to play b2b with a female DJ I hadn’t heard of before. I asked if I could play b2b with Juice instead, as we had a similar taste in music and knew each other well so it just made sense. They agreed and on the night within the first 10 minutes of our set the room went from 300 to 3,000 capacity. It was an unbelievable moment and we both said we should do it again. The rest as they say is history!

Obviously a lot has changed since those early rave days, is the scene in Wales still thriving?

C&J: Wales isn’t quite as thriving as it was a few years ago. That being said it seems to be a similar story throughout the UK at the moment. So many venues have closed over the last several years, events have stopped and the ones still going have gone from monthly to just a few a year. There are so many reasons behind this and we’ve had many a discussion about it. We could do an interview just on this subject alone.

As a duo, you have conquered some pretty amazing things together, what would you say the top 3 pinnacle moments have been over the years?

C&J: Playing Escape Into The Park on our home turf every year until it sadly ended in 2011. The reaction we received there was like nothing you’ve ever seen. We’d be playing to a good few thousand people all literally screaming and singing at the top of their voices for the whole set. Every year the crowd went right back a good few metres outside the marquee as not everyone could get in. Even outside they were all singing and dancing. It was incredible. Second to this was our mainstage booking at Qontinent in Belgium where we probably played to about 20,000. Defqon. 1 in Holland was also another epic one for us and a real honour to play there.

Last year, you decided to go your separate ways as Cally & Juice, much to the disappointment of many – why was this?

C&J: We actually split up on NYE 2014 which was the last date of our End of an Era Tour. Last year it would’ve been our 20th year together so we took a few select bookings as part of a 20th Anniversary Tour. There were a few reasons behind the split, our taste in music had changed over time and there was a change in priorities for us both. Also we felt it was better to end on our own terms and when we were at the top of our game and not be forced to make changes to adapt to the scene which had changed so much.

You are reuniting for a one-off gig together in Exeter on the 3rd May for Hindsight. Being your only (and no doubt much requested) set together this year, what made you decide to do this at Hindsight?

C&J: When we split up we both said the door would be open to the right opportunities. Hindsight was always a favourite event of ours to play and has such an incredible reputation in the UK hard dance scene. Also everything about this coming event showed us that Hindsight still has so much love and passion for what they do. The line-up for this event is incredible and we’d imagine any hard trance fan attending will be in hard trance heaven!

How is all the solo stuff going?, You always seem to be up to something…

Cally: For me things are going fantastically. I’ve been spending lots of time over the last couple of years working on my sound and developing my skills in the studio. I’ve actually not released anything for probably around 7 or 8 months, as every time I’m about to finish something, I realise I’ve learned so much I need to go back to improve it. I do have 5 or 6 tracks either finished or close to finishing and I’m so excited to get these out as they’re technically and musically far beyond anything I’ve ever done in the past. I’ve also had incredible reactions from a few big producers I’ve sent these too to get feedback from.

Juice: For me, I wanted to pursue new challenges in life, which is one of the reasons we went our separate ways at the end of 2014.  I now consider myself very lucky to still be able to pick and chose the gigs that I play.  When you guys asked if we wanted to do a Cally & Juice set, it was a no brainer. As Cally, mentioned we have loved playing Hindsight over the years and feel that you guys reflect the love for this scene, just the same as we do. Apart from that I’m off to DJ in Canada for the first time in May (which I’m very excited about) and, after that, I have been offered a couple of other exciting foreign gigs, which are being fine-tuned at the moment.

Being an interview for DMC, I have to ask about the dual-foot scratching – will this ever continue, or be locked in the C&J vault of memories?

Cally: It’s hard to say for sure as conditions have to be right, e.g. not a low ceiling, enough space to stand next to the CDJ etc. Hopefully we’ll get chance to do it again and maybe even at Hindsight! If not then it may stay in the vault of memories along with Juice’s handspin on a 1210!

You’ve never been shy to throw scratching into your sets, where did this angle to your DJ sets stem from originally?

C&J: We were both big fans of the DMC Championships and always loved the performance side of DJing. Even though it’s very easy to just hit the sync button these days there still is an art to it, or can be for the more talented DJs out there.

Your set together in Exeter is billed as a Hard Trance classics set, what can people expect from you guys? Will you be playing trance records on 45 like you used to in your infamous Helter Skelter sets?

C&J: We’ve not yet discussed our set so still not 100% sure. Also it will depend on whether we use vinyl.

What are your 3 favourite Hard Trance tracks of all time ?

Cally: I honestly hate listing favourite tracks, there are just too many to choose from and my taste changes all the time as I hear new tracks or remember amazing old ones. For hard trance though I would have to mention Megara and DJ Lee, Derler & Klitzing and the labels Space Flower, United Ravers, EDM Records. Actually now lots more are springing to mind, I need to stop or we’ll be here all day, haha!

Please tell us, what the most ridiculous scenario you guys have ended up in over the years as globe-trotting DJs?

C&J: Being drunk in a bar in Ireland and accidently pouring a pint over a bride to be’s head who was on her hen do, picking up a hitch hiker (Ireland again) who’d just been rammed off the road in his car then giving chase in our rally tuned Subaru Impreza rental car, making a pilot abort his landing, or waking up in a Taiwan Hotel covered in slices of ham and cheese (don’t ask!). We probably have literally hundreds of mad stories like this and have always said one day we’d like to put them all in a book.

Finally, will you guys ever be reuniting on a more full time basis?

C&J: We achieved more than what we set out to and left such a mark on the scene. When we announced our retirement as a duo we were overwhelmed and aren’t ashamed to admit quite tearful at some of the comments left by our fans. We both took a day off just to go through them all there were so many. It was clear we really left our mark and gave our friends and fans so many amazing memories. We’re happy to let those memories live on and although we’re sure there will be the occasional offer we’ll get we won’t be able to resist, we’re sure now that’s all there will be. So if you do see us announced to play a gig anywhere, and if you’re a fan, try not to miss it, *cough cough* Hindsight!