Q: What do you get when a failed gangster, train driver and conservationist walk into a bar?
A: One hell of a party.
The Chronic Cowboys, aka Donald Leary, Rufus White and Trevor O’Neil, are a long way from their childhood career aspirations (and parental / system expectations), but once you’ve heard this triple-threat DJ partnership cause their usual stampede onto a dance floor you will realise they made the right choice.
The Cowboys have been an integral part of the Lucky Life brand since long before the launch of the record label, playing at many of our earlier parties as we first began to establish our name across this magical island of Ibiza. From Es Vive Hotel’s Experience Bar, Sands Ibiza, The Bermuda Ibiza Boat Parties and the old Booom Ibiza, the Chronic Cowboys have helped shape the sound and the vibe of not just the Lucky Life parties, but even the essence of what we are about, and who we work with in this dynamic industry.
The Chronic Cowboys at Booom Ibiza 2014
The Chronic Cowboys at Pacha Ibiza 2016
Formed in the early Naughties in a tiny pub in Ibiza, the original Cowboys were Donald and Rufus, a couple of cold-weather refugees using their mixing skills to scrape rent. Despite hailing from opposite sides of a fiercely contested border, Yorkshire-born, Northern Soul fan Rufus and Glaswegian techno fiend Donald discovered a common theme in their contrasting backgrounds. “We love the possibilities of dance music,” says Rufus. “It brought us to Ibiza and gave us a life neither of us imagined. Now, every time we step into the DJ booth, we can take the crowd some place they’ve never dreamed of going.” Given their open-minded approach it’s not surprising that third member Trev is a Bristolian junglist whose first musical memory is listening to his mum’s Bryan Adams tapes, but luckily, he found his own sound with new inspirations as he grew older 😉
Their sound is a product of these disparate influences, put through a Balearic filter to produce a unique strain of sunshiny house music shot through with irreverent samples, dark techno licks, and rumbling West Country basslines. This sounds like a tall order but the Cowboys would no more consider merely mixing two records than their namesake would contemplate riding a bike to work. Rufus, as Native Instruments’ product specialist for Ibiza, ensures the trio is always armed with the best and latest in hardware and software. And they’re happy to press into service whatever decks, effects, gadgets or gewgaws are in arms’ reach. But for them, technology is only a tool. The cutting, sampling, looping, spinning has one simple goal: To pump up the party till it goes ‘pop’!
Drawing inspiration from crowd-pleasing jocks like Fatboy Slim, Andy C and Mauro Picotto, the Cowboys have cultivated the art of taking music seriously, but not themselves.
“If I were a cowboy,” Donald says, “I’d be John Wayne and have a gay horse.”