In the mainstream electronic dance music realm, most of the top talent comes from the Netherlands and Sweden, with France, Italy, Germany, and the United States following behind. Chemical Surf, making waves in their home country of Brazil and now poised to impact the global market, is disrupting this balance and adding some much-needed variety in the Europe-North American dichotomy.
For one, the duo composed of brothers Lucas and Hugo Sanches goes by the mantra “RIP genres,” both in terms of their own live shows and the music they produce. Tracks like “Paranauê,” out on Spinnin Records, add more traditional Brazilian music elements to a progressive house foundation, while their sound has enhanced collaborations with other global artists, such as “Pow Pow Pow” with Kaskade.
Chemical Surf started garnering attention after winning the V Rio Music Conference Award’s “DJ Revelation” category. This distinction led to an EP tiled Teremoto released on Martin Garrix’s STMPD RCRDS and spots at Rock In Rio, Lollapalooza, Ultra Miami, EDC Las Vegas, and Beyond Wonderland.
As Chemical Surf get ready to fly higher in their career, we had a chance to speak with them after their latest track and collaborations.
Tell us about yourselves: how did you get into producing and DJing?
We are Lucas and Hugo, two Brazilian brothers who have dedicated our lives to music. Our contact with music began when we were children. Our parents used to bring instruments to our house and always encouraged the study of music. When we were teenagers, we got into music production and started making electronic music on a regular basis. Since then, it’s been a big adventure.
How did you come together as Chemical Surf?
In 2005, we started producing our own tracks and decided to start a duo. “Chemical” comes from the idea of experimenting with different sounds, like chemists do in a laboratory. “Surf” refers to surfing the waves of music.
Your motto is “RIP Genres.” Who or what influences your sound?
We are not attached to any specific genre. We believe music is about feeling and great creations come from mixing different perspective and influences. This is and always will be our mindset for the creation of music.
You recently collaborated with Kaskade and released your EP on Martin Garrix’s STMPD Records. What was your experience working with these two major producers?
Collaborating with Kaskade was a great honor! We are big fans of his work, and he also enjoys our music a lot, so it was amazing to finally work on something together. The EP on STMPD was also a release that made us really happy, since we could share different sound ideas in a label that we admire.
You recently dropped single “Paranauê” on Spinnin. What was your process for putting together this track?
“Paranauê” is an expression that comes from Capoeira, a Brazilian dance and martial art. It has a strong meaning for the Brazilian culture, and it was great to collaborate with Zafrir on this one. He’s super talented, and we are really happy with the result.
You’ve performed at a few major festivals: where do you prefer to DJ, at a festival or at a smaller club?
We love both of them! In festivals, we get in touch with big crowds, and the feeling of exchanging energy with so many people is really unique. In clubs, we have the opportunity to play longer sets and show more of our repertoire, building a story.
Since you’re from Brazil, how would you describe the dance/EDM scene in Brazil?
Musically speaking, currently we have a very unique scene in Brazil. Some years ago, the biggest part of Brazilian producers was trying to do same thing as the international artists, but in the last years, we started to develop our own style of music and this is being recognized all over the world. We have big festivals with more than 20,000 in Brazil, where the headliners are all Brazilians. We are very proud of this.
Chemical Surf’s profile has been growing. How has releasing on labels such as Spinnin helped you break internationally?
We are really happy to see how our music is reaching different parts of the world, and it’s great to have international fans with us. We usually tour on Europe yearly and we were going to debut in the USA this year, but unfortunately it got cancelled because of the COVID situation.
You have collaborations with Steve Aoki, Afrojack, and R3HAB lined up. When can we expect those?
Oh, we just can’t wait to show these tracks to everyone! Each one of them was really special, since we were working with artists we truly admire, and the results were three explosive tracks! You can expect powerful drops that we can dance to in big festivals when we all go back to the dance floor.
Where would you like to see your career go?
We are always trying to innovate and bring fresh perspectives to music. We want to evolve more and more, creating sound formulas that were never heard before and, of course, showing them to as many people as possible! For us, the biggest reward is seeing our fans enjoying our tracks and having a good time.
Ivan Yaskey is a Philly-born EDM and synthpop enthusiast and interviewer who recently relocated to beautiful Boston, MA.