Rafa Barrios: “It felt like a crossfit class”

Rafa Barrios with Chus and Ceballos
Spanish tech house DJ/producer Rafa Barrios debuted in one of the most important venues in Madrid. "I had the opportunity to play together with Chus & Ceballos."

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Spanish tech house DJ/producer Rafa Barrios had his first gig in the company of Chus & Ceballos. "I had never expected to quit my job to focus on the music business."

“My first gig was at La Riviera, one of the most important venues in Madrid. I had the opportunity to play for Stereo Showcase, together with Chus & Ceballos and some other guests. I was invited because I released my first track on their label. And I was happy: the vibe was really, really nice.”

Not the best slot

“At that moment, I was 25 years old. I was working at a regular company and had never expected to quit my job to focus on the music business. At this first gig, I didn’t have the best slot, but I felt blessed with this opportunity that was offered to me.”


“II remember that I was really nervous for that first gig. My own base was a small village in Seville. Because I was so excited, I couldn’t sleep the nights before. But in the end everything went really well.”


“La Riviera is a club with a capacity of two thousand people, right in the center of Madrid. The crowd that night was young, and mostly they were university students. They were dancing all night long. In the beginning it was a bit difficult, because the Spanish are used to hitting the clubs late, after 2 am. Before then they have the ‘botellion’, where they drink outside.”

rafa barrios - Rafa Barrios: "It felt like a crossfit class"

Crossfit class

“I had prepared my set on beforehand, but in the end I totally started improvising. As I said before, my gig went well. To me it felt a little like a crossfit class. I was sweating and kept on looking at the crowd to see their response. For me, that’s still the most important thing: I’m there to make you dance, have fun and forget the routine.”


“Luckily, I got plenty of support from one of my family members and two friends, but in the background I all my people supported me immensely. After that gig, I actually hit the dance floor myself and I was surprised to experience that some people wanted to take a picture with me.”

rafa barrios 2017 - Rafa Barrios: "It felt like a crossfit class"

Winter Music Conference

“My mentors are definitely Chus and Ceballos. They gave me the chance to start in this business and I’ll never forget that. Until this day, they are always providing me with good advice and offering support in anything I need. They also invited me to Winter Music Conference this year and some other international gigs. Of course they were present at my first gig. For me it was really important that they showed up. Sometimes the big artists are not there for a debut. I’m so glad they spent the whole night with me and introduced me to their contacts. Almost as if they were my managers.”

Life changing

“The fact that my debut went so well, gave me a lot of satisfaction. After that gig, I got a lot of bookings in Spain and across the borders. If you want to grow and develop your career, you need the support of big labels and DJ’s. When you get those, it can be life changing. I hope that, in the future, I will be able to help upcoming artists as well.”

Failure was no option!

“Thank god that I made no huge mistakes, that night in La Riviera. I was nervous but I knew that I had to seize the moment. Failure was no option! After that gig I decided to leave my 24/7 office job. I asked the bank for a credit and subsequently flew around the world to meet all kinds of artists and labels. Everyday and every gig I still learn more.”

“Finally, I would like to stress how important it is to have good mentors and contacts. Your behavior towards promotors is just as important. You don’t only need to act like the artist, but as the nice guy. Look at it as public relations. Last summer I flew to Ibiza to meet a variety of artists and to have people hear my work. This I what I will always do, I will never stop. This is my passion and my dream!”

This article is originally published on October 1st 2015 on DJMag.nl.

More Rafa Barrios?

Born in 1986 in Sevilla, Rafa Barrios started at the tender age of 14 years. His songs have been heard around the world, supported and played by Carl Cox, Richie Hawtin, Dubfire, Kaiserdisco, Chus & Ceballos, Reboot, Marco Carola & others. Rafa has been playing in club’s as Cielo NY, Pacha NY, Space Miami, Riviera Madrid and Kool Beach [BPM Festival].

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