Last year, EDM duo, Celeste & Rokuro had an exceptional year in music considering they didnt have any support from a major label, any funding, nor support from bigger powers, just their audience. The dedicated fans that wanted to see & hear Celeste & Rokuro made it happen – charting them on Beatport at #28 in House, #26 Electro House, #9 Progressive House, and #4 in Trance – during the 2 weeks, they also were amongst the top 5 of the week in EDM. They had no funding for marketing, just their hearts and desires to connect. “We called ourselves the people’s group, because we couldn’t buy our way into anything. We did buy our album of course, but like 2 times” PGX who’s always co-produced with the group joins the billing on “Signs Of Time”, a beautiful song and still up at 128 & Celeste is stunning. We wrote and recorded the vocal in an afternoon” Rokuro has remixed official Black Eyed Peas , Cheryl Cole, PGX is a US based Producer aka Paul Grundman at Bernie Grundman Mastering in Hollywood, & Celeste is a singer, producer, songwriter residing in Malibu Ca. We got to speak to the duo and get more info on their career moving forward.
Entertwine: How did you both meet?
C&R: Well “we” is really Celeste & PGX in US and Rokuro who lives in UK/Japan. We met while PGX was seeking a new remixer for my song (Celeste) almost 4 years ago now, and after that project we asked him if he had any music without vocals, he sent us some samples and that was the beginning of a beautiful friendship! We Are Not Alone came from that experience which drew a lot of early fans in and let them know who we were purely.
ET: When did you realize EDM was the genre you wanted to pursue?
PGX: “Well The US created this widely accepted abbreviation, but many of us have always called it dance music, and then the sub genres that followed.”
Celeste: I (Celeste) started in dance music before anything else originally, then was writing on my own and with others in other genres, but had been making alternate mixes of my music in dance music. I think The “pop” route was always a little plastic to all of us.
PGX : ” it wasn’t really until we saw the fans that were there for us no matter who we were, what we looked like, if we had a Disney contract or not , that we knew the “edm” crowd , that they were our people … it was more pure, and it allowed me to really get back to my synth music roots , I was a Tiesto fan , PVD, and of his Trance productions “
Rokuro:”I’ve been making dance music forever, it’s never been anything else for me”
ET: Who are some of your influences in EDM?
Rokuro: I’ve always liked anything that is really got the groove as a basis, I love Harris (Calvin) Bloody Beetroots, just the way they’re able to give the listener a lot of substance and not just being obliterated. I’m a big deep house fan as well.
PGX: Well , I echo what Rokuro is saying, he’s being modest here, I mean if you look at his soundcloud you’ll see his remixes and what they do, there’s some serious funky going on as well as a wide range of music that he loves. As a drummer, I took to those that groove really fast, grew up on heavier stuff so I like it all… and always like hearing people like Audien that do drums really well, with fat chord stacking, I love all of the classics , the SHM guys, their personal work, and then there’s all of the great Russians that have been showing us some killer songs, in fact Matisse & Sadko just make some of the greatest themes. That’s my thing, really into uplifting chord progressions and leads that make you want to take on anything life throws at you. We love so many from Norway, Netherlands, Sweden I mean I do a weekly live radio DJ set and hear hundreds of new things every month, Rokuro also is really a great influence to me, he’s often been there to help me and we’ve been there tag teaming remixes of our own…
Celeste: Well as far as the last 6 months? Songs like Revolution, Nervo/Ummet Ozcan,R3hab, I love Tritonal, they have great singers, 3lau’s been great with How You Love Me, and hearing PGX’s weekly show is great because he’ll find the most remote remixes of these mixed with all the big room songs, and it’s really easy for me to be inspired by anyone when you can hear them telling “ the truth “ and with a good singer, that’s gotta be there. I loved Audien’s Treasure remix, I keep playing that all the time.
ET: It’s incredible, with no real marketing plan and just a true desire to get your music heard, you managed to get on Sirius XM radio charts – how did you do this?
Celeste: We asked. A lot. A lot of people to support us, and there’s some things we did with our fans, some we met just by offering them our album for free if they would listen, forgoing all the Beatport sales just for a moment of their time, there were a hundred different things we did non stop for weeks to push, but the end result was that they did like what they heard, and it was a great remix of We Are Not Alone that made it.
ET: How does it make you feel?
Celeste: lasting effect, what did, was the people. So many of us (Celeste adds) have been through lots of ups and downs, being signed and dropped by majors, being told we couldn’t do something without a million dollar budget and then telling us at different times we had to change , to conform to fit a mold of the pop machine… this was a validating feeling that we would actually have more than 5 people appreciate our music… and because of that we launched into a new music writing period singing to the people now, not writing just about our trials and tribulations… PGX adds
“ yeah it was like we could speak to them now and from their point of view , we don’t feel above anyone we feel like the fans too, so we put ourselves with them and that’s where a new song called Show Me Your Light was stemmed from… it is a love letter back to those that supported us last year” Rokuro “ yeah they took my Dance With Me song and totally changed it hah! But it was really cool having that happen even across the pond , I reckon we should be able to do it again but I know we’re just getting better and better all the time”
ET: When the three of you aren’t performing, how do you spend your time?
Rokuro: We’re always, and all of us, trying to do what everyone must do which is take care of the rent , continue to make music, and make time for producing, all of those things. I (rokuro) am always onto a new version or new song to send those guys, and/or remix of some sort. Celeste “ yeah it’s not easy making a living in LA and doing music full time, I am able to continue to be a vocal coach which I’ve been doing since my teens and I have some great students that have gone on to doing a lot of notable things. PGX” I do everything all the time and barely sleep! I drive to Hollywood everyday, am a mastering engineer , collaborator in music, mixing, writing, mentoring and I almost forgot , Empire Audio which I became a part of last year with Grant Leingang.
ET: What is one of your favorite remixes you have created?
Rokuro: I really quite like this Daft Punk one for doing it right, but really all of the things we make together as original music, I end up doing a remix of because I will hear it in many ways, and that’s always fun, like the zuma beach remix : PGX cuts in” This is great because Rokuro has never been to ZUMA beach and he makes this remix called Zuma Beach for a song of ours last year … and I’ll be dammed if it doesn’t really feel like it on a sunset driving by or being there with a fire going on a summers eve… PGX” I love one I’m working on right now but it’s kind of a secret . Rokuro & I have shared remixes and sent them back and fourth making them better and better… that’s a fulfilling process.”
ET: What are your plans for the rest of 2014?
We have a bunch of songs ready to fire away at all of you out there so thanks and we’re sorry we haven’t had them out until now, we just had to get them right. We would rather the songs be right then just impulsive. The people deserve our honesty and that’s all we can promise, more of who we are for you !