Riveting Riffs Logo One Electronic Firefly - Music From Spain
Electronic Firefly 2024 Interview Photo One A


Electronic Firefly 2024 Interview Photo FourThis story begins in Spain during the year 2017, when violinist Silvia Carbajal Sanchez was asked to organize ten musicians and to be the artistic director for a big New Year’s event in 2017.

Silvia explains what happened next, “That was not when I met Charlie (Perez-Íñigo now her husband). I needed an electric cello for the project and another person recommended that I call him.

It was a difficult time in my life and Charlie became my friend and he helped me in many aspects of my life. At the time I was living in a small village called Villarejo (located in La Rioja, Spain) and he started to visit me often.

He also recommended me for a show called “Music Has No Limits,” and that is when we started to work together. We toured with them, and we started our relationship. We have been together ever since. It was after we left “Music Has No Limits,” that we started Electronic Firefly.”

In 2023 their daughter was born and for two performing musicians that has brought its own challenges, but more on that later.

The two world class musicians have also expanded their music careers and in addition to performing sometimes as a duo and other times for solo gigs, they now also are DJs.

Charlie takes us down the DJ pathway, and how it began, “We like playing our instruments with electronic music, so we managed to mix some DJ music with the instruments. We would play a song and then mix some things.”

Silvia picks up the conversation, “We make a DJ session and between the session we will greet the guests at the hotel, because we usually work at hotels, bars or restaurants. Sometimes we will play (our instruments).”

Charlie adds, “Then we return to the DJ table and mix. It is a very creative activity, because you will never make the same session twice. It is impossible.”

At the same time, they both tell us that there is a lot of improvisation that takes place.

Being a neophyte to the world of DJ music, our appetites for more information, wanting them to pull back the curtain to reveal what goes into being a DJ, just continued to grow.

Silvia makes the point, “You have to know the people who are listening to you, their moods and their ages. You have to know what they want to listen to and what they feel. Sometimes they are a little bit down and sometimes a little bit higher.”

“The difficult thing is you have to know so much music, so you are able to play (the right kind) wherever the mood leads, not too much and not too little,” Charlie explains, and continuing he says it gives them flexibility versus playing as musicians, “Because we have more time to interact and make music. We play maybe four or five songs in three hours and with mixing and playing we have four hours to do whatever we want. We can organize it however we want. It lets us be more creative and (allows) us to develop other skills.”

So, what makes a good DJ?

“You definitely need to have good music, because now the music we put into our sessions is prepared (in advance). Now the music is well-produced, so you don’t have to do anything special to make it sound better than it is. You just need to have good music and to do a good mix. When one song is ending, and the other is starting you have to mix them. That is what you play. You can make (people) feel happy,” says Silvia.

Both of them say together, “You can make them move and dance if that is what you want. You can make them feel nostalgic.

Silvia continues, “Now the music is well-produced. You don’t have to do anything to make the music better than it already is. When one song ends, and the other song is starting you have to mix them. At some point you have one song (made from) two. The public that is listening to you don’t realize they are listening to both together.

It also helps make it easier if you are a musician. I am not saying you have to be a musician to be a good DJ, but it does make it easier.” Electronic Firefly 2024 Interview Photo Five

Charlie adds, “If we didn’t know anything about music it would be difficult. We know when two songs do not match and when they are different, with different tones. You recognize if one song is in C and the other one is in B and they really shouldn’t go together.

With today’s technology it makes it easier. We like to have fun and adjust the two speeds until they are the same. All of the time we are correcting, because one song goes faster, and the other one goes slower. For us it is like a game.

A lot of musicians are not into being a DJ. They think it is not something that deserves your energy or time.”

Silvia picks up the conversation, “In fact, it is very difficult here in Spain, to find a musician that can also be a DJ. We work with the Radisson Hotel Group, and we play our instruments, and we DJ. For the last month we have been also working with another guy who plays the trumpet. We now have a friend of mine coming from Barcelona. It is rare that people are both a musician and a DJ.”

“Our profile is not easy to find. We are doing the job of three people, the technician, the DJ and the sound engineer and we are the ones who have to do everything,” says Charlie.

Again, since we are new to the DJ world, we wondered what type of equipment they use.

Charlie becomes my instant tutor, “You need a mixing table. That is the most basic thing you need. Sometimes you need a computer, because some mixing tables will not play your USB drive. The key to being a DJ is knowing how to know how to use the table very well. There are a lot of things you can do, and we still have to learn a lot. It takes a long time to master.”

Silvia picks up the conversation, “Nowadays the system is modern. Before, you needed a DJ table and two plates at least. Now you have the entire system together. We have a controller. (Previously) when you mixed two records together you did not have a machine to help you. The speed and the tone you had to mix by ear. Now you can choose the volume for every different track, and you can hear how it sounds first. There are a lot of tips and tricks, so everything goes super easy.

You need a good DJ table, a computer and good headphones. You have to work at home and search for good music every week.”

“Every song has four or five or more remixes. You have to listen to a lot of things and download the one that you like the most. For the same song you have a lot of different information that you can hear,” says Charlie.

In terms of how often Silvia and Charlie perform as DJs and how often they play their instruments, it is split pretty even, and as already mentioned, sometimes they are called upon to do both.

Charlie digs into this a bit more, “We have a contract with the Radisson Hotel chain, and they give us a lot of gigs, four or five for Silvia and another four or five for me, every month. Then we have another four or five gigs per month for (other events) and those are only playing.”

“If someone in the hotel tells me that they like what I am doing. I always try to explain that I don’t feel like I am a DJ. To (think of me) as a DJ is a complement and (helps) make my performance even better. I am always trying to learn new things. I don’t feel that I am really a DJ. I am a violinist, plus I am a DJ. We don’t sell us to work as DJs, we sell us to work as musicians and artists,” says Silvia.  

So, we are looking at this very busy schedule and all the work that goes into it and we wonder how in the world do Silvia and Charlee manage all of that, plus are parents of a baby girl?

Silvia says, quite seriously, “The explanation is very easy. We don’t have time for anything. (She repeats the word anything). I can only watch a movie once in every two or three months. In fact, this weekend on Saturday, I was working from seven until eleven at night. After that, yesterday I went to a club at three in the morning to make only two songs. This morning (Sunday) from one to four I (worked again). You can imagine this weekend was just crazy. During a normal week I work in a high school in the mornings for a few hours.”

Charlie adds, “We are going insane. It is too much. We are not sleeping or eating sometimes. There is no time for anything.”

However, they are both quick to express their appreciation for Charlie’s parents who help out and live near them in Madrid and when Silvia’s parents visit from another part of Spain, they assist as well.

Silvia and Charlie just finished telling us how busy and hectic their schedules are and then they spring this teaser on us, “We have news for you. We are preparing a new project. We will have some news soon about a very important project.”

That is, it? You are going to leave us hanging in suspense? That is just not fair (this writer is grinning). You know what that means folks, you will have another Electronic Firefly interview to look forward to in the future.

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This interview by Joe Montague  published November March 6th, 2024 is protected by copyright © and is the property of Riveting Riffs Magazine All Rights Reserved.  All photos and artwork are the the property of  Electronic Firefly unless otherwise noted and all  are protected by copyright © All Rights Reserved. This interview may not be reproduced in print or on the internet or through any other means without the written permission of Riveting Riffs Magazine.