They’re named after the boat crew from Apocalypse Now but whilst they admit to loving the smell of house in the morning, there’s nothing mysterious about Brit duo PBR Streetgang’s mission. Formerly promoters of long running Leeds night Asylum, the pair are regular ‘Terrace ‘technicians at Space Ibiza and were one of the first names to play in Croatia at seminal beach-party The Garden Festival. In fact, their first releases were also off Zagreb-based Red Music Records, meaning PBR Streetgang are something of an authority when it comes to matters of Dalmatian Disco. VIBE caught up with Tom and Bonar shortly before their set at Hideout Festival to talk studios, boat parties and their recent bombastic remix of Lana Del Ray’s Ultraviolence.
The last time VIBE saw you in action was in London at the end of 2013. What’s been going on since then?
Tom: We’ve finally finished our own club night Asylum last October. It’d been going 10 years, it took up a lot of our time, so there was mixture of relief and a bit of sadness, but it now means we’ve got more time to focus on making music. We’ve been spending a lot of time in the studio, heads down and it’s been a mixture of that and trying to balance the increasingly busy gig life really.
Bonar: Yeah the studio’s been the focus. We’re doing less of the 2 or 3 weeks stints on the road and more 2-3 days, then back to making music, which is cool. I’m also in the process of building our own bespoke studio which is very exciting but because I’m a nerd I’m building it all myself, i’m not letting anyone else come in, so I’m having to learn about physics- which I was rubbish at school!
Tom: It’s been about striking a balance. We’re now choosing our gigs, turning some down, just to maintain focus.
Bonar: Oh, and we played Fabric for the first time in Feb of this year. For Brits, If you’re a boxer you wanna box in the Albert Hall. If you’re a DJ, you wanna play room 1 Fabric so that was amazing!
You’ve just released an official remix of Lana Del Ray’s Ultraviolence. How did that come about?
Bonar: We did a remix of a friend of ours called Charlotte OC - just out of friendship. They have the same management, who then got in touch with the offer.
Tom: It was amazing but there was pressure. I can remember walking past a massive billboard of her thinking “Right...Yep....OK!” Then going into the studio trying to do good job. Fortunately they were happy with it!
You’re now back in Croatia - where it sort of all began for you with the seminal The Garden Festival in 2006 and your releases on Red Music. Yet in other ways a major turning point for you was your Ibiza debut in Space back in 2008. So what feels most like home?
Bonar: Hmm....they’re so different.
Tom: We’ve been coming to Croatia for 7 or 8 years. It’s amazing. Croatia’s got a really good thing going. It just seems to hit a bit of a chord with everybody.
Bonar: It’s very different to Ibiza- but - well we feel just as home there too, having played for 6 years. I got married in Ibiza last year. You can’t really say - they just have their own qualities.
Unlike Ibiza, Croatia’s got a predominantly Brit crowd. Does that factor into your thinking when you’re putting together your sets in Croatia?
Tom: It’s not so much the UK thing. You think more about the specific crowd - like with a boat you think about the smaller party vibe, on the stage you think about records better for a big venue, tougher, housier.
Bonar: It’s a balance. People are on their holidays - you do have that at the back of your mind. It’s not like you can cheese it up, but people wanna have fun. But, at the same time you can get away with certain things you wouldn’t in a club on Saturday night in a city in England because the people that are here are really into their music. They’ve come to Croatia, not the more obvious Ibiza - so they know what they’re doing, in a lot of ways you can actually test out new material and get people a lot more responsive, a lot more into it.
Croatia’s known for its boat parties. What are these like to play on? People being unable to leave must be a factor...!
Bonar: Definitely - in a good way. There’s things you can do on a boat that you’d never get away with otherwise, real curveballs. We love it - we’re named after a boat!
Tom: Last year we played a track from The Who - which is a perfect example of this-
Bonar: You’re out on the ocean-
Tom: You’ve got everyone, not going anywhere. We’ve got you! There’s an excitement of being able to dig in and do whatever you like!
What have you guys got planned for the rest of the year?
Tom: We’ve got Festival no 6 in the UK, and a series of We Love’s in Ibiza in Sept. So the end of summer’s looking good.
Bonar: Then just hopping back in the studio - which will be complete by then. You should come have a look!
You’re named after a boat. Your Croatia and Space Terrace veterans. So what’s best- boat parties or Afterparties?
Tom: Oh my god what a question! I’m a massive fan of afterparties. I get on an afterparty and can’t get off. I could be there two days later - as long as I have food and beer I could keep going for days
Bonar: It’d have to be a boat party. You’re on the water and you have a captive audience, they’re not going anywhere
Tom: That’s a promoter-perfect answer then - we’ve covered all bases!
Lana Del Ray - Ultraviolence (PBR Streetgang Remix) is available now on Polydor.
Words: Ally Byers