Behind The Beat: Redux
“Some of the best moments in life are the ones you can’t tell a soul about.” – That was a tweet by @gsElevator, a douchy financial industry twitter feed that I followed in my previous life as a software developer for traders. At the time I read this, I thought it was a hilarious allusion to rich old wall street moguls doing drugs and cheating on their wives.
#1: Some of the best moments in life are the ones you can’t tell anyone about.
— GSElevator (@GSElevator) June 10, 2014
If there’s anything I’ve learned since leaving that part of my life behind to pursue my passion in music, it is that just because you can’t tell a soul about these great moments, it doesn’t necessarily have to involve something that you shouldn’t be caught doing. It could just be that nobody would understand.
DJ Harvey once said in an interview that the crazy thing about rock ’n roll is that it happens inside of people’s heads, and we can’t really document that.
The night (or late morning if we’re being accurate) that I met Matt “Bauhaus” aka Wyser and Carlos Torres aka CT of REDUX falls somewhat under the former category and somewhat under the latter. One thing that I can say is that the people you meet and the friendships you form when staying out well past the time when your parents warned you “nothing good happens,” are ever rarely dull.
The purpose of this article isn’t to add to the mystery of REDUX, however, but to shed some light. I had the chance to sit down with TheMID residents, while hanging out in their green room with them after they opened for Body Language. They recounted their lives, their upcoming shows at Spring Awakening and Afterlife, as well as the typical questions that anyone would want answered.
They were kind enough to do an OTB exclusive Guest Mix, so tune in and read away!
Only The Beat: Did you two have musical careers before you met each other?
Only The Beat: Tell us about it.
Carlos: As a DJ I used to play a lot of gallery art shows and private parties I put together
Only The Beat: what year was this?
Carlos: 2000-2001 and on. About 5 years into art shows and private parties but, didn’t throw myself out in any scene. Then in 2009 I did a gay night in Wicker Park called Boy’s Room. It was a really cool indie electro harder edged gay night. It was not the norm that you’d find in Chicago’s Boystown neighborhood so it did really well. Matt had heard about it and showed up at some of my parties, was impressed, and we ended up talking and connected.
Only The Beat: Matt, tell me about your career
Matt: I was in bands before as a drummer, guitarist in mostly punk rock and hardcore bands, and would tinker around on my buddies drum machines making sort of industrial music at the time. I started djing from my Mom’s old disco records to be honest and this is back when dance music was still considered “gay”!
I still have all my drums and musical equipment but, I just didn’t like working with the people I was with. They either couldnt put down the drugs or drink to broaden their musical talents and endeavours or to just simply have a drive to achieve more with their ideas. That’s what lead me to djing because, I simply didn’t have to deal with other people only myself and my own business and musical means.
Only The Beat: How did you meet?
Matt: We met at CT’s Boy’s Room parties in Wicker Park. I saw it was going down and drawing a crowd. I stumbled in because I wanted to see something fresh. I was frustrated and looking for a new scene in 2009 around Chicago that wasn’t the Boystown norm. I saw Carlos was doing something in my neighborhood and I couldn’t help but check it out. It was everything! He was even playing music that I was playing at that time and I thought, “we would fit great together!” and the rest is history.
Carlos: It did take a few months to create Redux. We were more electro influenced back then. Then we did a collaborative night, then we went on to do other gigs together. Then decided that we played so we’ll together that we should create a duo. At the time duos weren’t that interesting, but now, duos are so popular. There are even a lot of producers teaming up for their deejay sets but, back then most weren’t.
Only The Beat: Where did the name come from?
Carlos: We came up 1000 different names. Tried them for a few days nothing worked. Eventually, REDUX came up which means a return to something. We’re both gay and we play house music, which was very lacking in that community at that time.
Matt: Right when we said the name, it just stuck! It’s a very general name that you’ll find in anything today. Even Kaskade has been using it but of course he’s not using it correctly otherwise, he’d be getting back to his funky house roots.
Also, we’re Chicago natives it’s REE-DUX, not REE-DOO, as in French. When we said it, it just clicked. It meant something to us in a way that we wouldn’t have thought it would. At the time it encapsulated everything about us. It was our return to our roots.
Only The Beat: At what point did you decide you wanted to do music together?
Carlos: It was a few months in. Around February 2010
Only The Beat: Fast forward to today. Walk us through your workflow. Do you simply tag tracks or does each person do a separate part of the division of labor?
Matt: In general we do b2b one on one usually. If we do full on six hour sets, which we’ve been known to play before, we’ll do a few at a time back to back
Carlos: We are so fluent with each other that we don’t even really practice anymore together. We dropbox eachother’s tracks and just fucking vibe.
We know the room and how to present it and it’s completely natural. It literally just happens right there in the moment. We play out so often that it’s almost like a practice session even though it’s live in front of people. As to still get the magic and heat of the moment vibe through our sets. That’s our approach.
Only The Beat: Matt, every time we’ve played together we do 3+3 with “veto rights” meaning if you have the perfect track to play, you play it. This subsequently become my new favorite way to play b2b. Why do you do this if that’s not even how you play with Carlos? Where did this idea come from? blows my mind…
Matt: I love doing that! It creates a flow with another DJ that you just don’t get out of one person’s style. We are comfortable enough to do 1 track and follow up with each other because though our styles are the same, our tracks and artists that we play are very different yet they just meld together seamlessly. We’ve been playing together over 6 years now so, we just read each other. We don’t really practice together anymore since we already know what we’re going to play even as we’re being booked. However, in any trade, practice makes perfect!
People know us for our Disco sounds but, we play everything in our own style.
Only The Beat: How would you describe your sound?
Carlos: We are definitely a DJ of the people. It sounds cheesy as fuck, but we get booked to play all kinds of different genres. Being able to play sets that fit the shows we’re booked for is also an opportunity to educate the crowd on what they like. Not to fill the room with what we want per se, but tweaking what we want to play but in connection with what the audience wants to hear.
Matt: Our sound is our name. It’s a revival of what was so prevalent in electronic music that we now play today mixing the old and the new.
Only The Beat: What is the future of music?
Carlos: The ultimate breaking of every genre known to man. As of today, genres are broken. EDM culture is sampling old school into the new school. Hiphop has even merged with EDM, and even pop music has gotten back to being produced by electronic artists. It’s breaking genres as we know it today. The future of music is whatever you make it to be. Eye of the beholder sensed. Everybody has the means of making music today even from their handheld phones however, it is the amalgamation of every genre known to man that is the future of music.
Only The Beat: How does that future impact you?
Matt: It doesn’t.
Carlos: We are DJ’s with integrity. Especially since we play with a lot of mainstream acts. We know we gotta put our set together based on what we’re playing for our audience.
We always say, “…ehhhh dude do u really wanna play this song? ..Not really? Well then don’t fucking play it!!”
Matt: If you’re a DJ with integrity who is true to your roots and your sound, you can do it without making any compromises to simply play great music.