Back To Back: PBR Streetgang
Leeds-based house duo Bonar Bradberry and Tom Thorpe have been working together as PBR Streetgang for coming up to a decade now, cutting their musical teeth on their homecity’s infamous nightlife, and developing into an act that’s equally known for their quality studio output on labels like 20:20 Vision and Futureboogie, as well as their reputation for using the back-to-back setup to maximum dynamic effect in their DJ performances.
However, while their West Yorkshire hometown might have be a defining city for the pair, over the past years it’s fair to say that Ibiza has become somewhat of a second home. More specifically, their residency at the legendary We Love… Space Sunday night parties. Bonar and Tom were lucky enough to have their talents recognised by the night’s organisers early on in the game, and it has since become a defining residency for PBR Streetgang.
The pair have some rather large gigs coming up later this month, not the least which will be an appearances at Fabric London’s 14th Birthday Weekend and We Love Amsterdam Special at Air. However, when Data Transmission spoke to Tom Thorpe, PBR Streetgang were just coming off what was one of their biggest gigs of the summer season. The closing party for We Love… Space took place on the final Sunday night in September, with the duo playing the closing set on the Terrace.
How much time do you spend in Ibiza during the season?
We generally just fly in, and then out again. We’re always trying to be as proactive as possible in the studio during the week, and normally the We Love guys put us up for a couple of nights, Sunday and Monday typically, and then we fly home again. Finding time to be productive in the studio is important to us, though over the summer months with our Ibiza residency and other gigs over the weekend, and other festivals that might be happening, it can be quite difficult. At the moment we’re just trying to get our heads down to make as much music as possible.
You had your Cross Flatts EP out on Newington Records this year, though otherwise you’ve been mostly putting the PBR name to a really solid run of remixes.
Yeah, though we didn’t purposely plan like that. We had several EPs out last year, on Hot Creations and 20:20 Vision plus a few other things. Following that we just got some remix offers in that we thought were very interesting and we really wanted to do, and it’s just kind of fallen that way. Now those have come out, we’re back onto doing some of our own material. And we want to have that kind of consistency with our releases too, we know that we need to have things coming out pretty regularly, and we like working that way too.
You mentioned America. You did do a bit of a tour back in May, how was that?
It was really great, we did five or six cities. We started off in San Fran and then travelled to New York, Miami, San Diego and LA. It was our first tour out there as such and we didn’t know what to expect. The highlight was definitely LA, we played for the Culprit guys on the top of the Standard Hotel Rooftop which was an amazing backdrop for a party, it’s just fantastic and they’re really nice guys. And it was great to travel around the States. We’re going back out in November to do another tour, we’re just finalising the dates at the moment. It looks like there’s going to be South America in there as well. So that side of things is exciting.
Do you think there’s a lot of demand over there for what you guys do?
Yes I think so, there is a demand for all styles of underground music in the US right now, the whole ‘EDM’ scene (as they label it) has blown up. It’s great to be able to bring fresh sounds to a different audience. We’ve noticed they tend to like bigger acts over there so the challenge is breaking into the scene and making your mark.
Let’s talk about your residency at We Love… Space. You’re playing the closing party on the last Sunday of September. How many years have you been doing that for now?
This is our sixth year, it’s been quite a while. I can safely say that it’s been a dream come true. We sent a mix CD off to the guys probably around 8 years or so ago. The party is obviously legendary, so we were very happy to get a response. They told us they really liked what we did, and if we were in Ibiza, they were willing to give you a gig in one of the smaller rooms. They took a chance on us many years ago, and we both really respect that.
The organisers really are in it for the right reasons, and really look on things from a proper music perspective, so we’ve kind of started off in the smaller sider rooms playing disco, and it’s been a case of us working our way up through the ‘system’, so to speak. This is the third year we’ve been on the Terrace, but this is the first year we’ve been given the honour of playing the closing sets, and they’ve been amazing.