In June the Midwest Man was able to snag an interview with Compact Disco, one of Chicago’s hottest up and coming Dj duos. The duo consists of Conquistador, Nick Bernstein, and Dj Monsieur, Henry Persaud, both of whom bring an electrifying new twist to electronica. The Midwest Man sat down with the duo in their stomping grounds at the Filter Coffee House in the Wicker Park neighborhood of Chicago to discuss their rise to fame and the ride so far.
The Midwest Man: So, first question anyone from Chicago wants to know, Cubs or Sox?
Nick Bernstein: Cubs.
Henry Persaud: No opinion, little league, following the little guys.
Nick Bernstein: Aero Autobody & Fender’s team, that’s where it’s at.
The Midwest Man: How’d you pick the name Compact Disco and what got you into Djing?
Henry Persaud: It was Nick…not a finer story, no other names, COMPACT DISCO THAT’S IT! I thought for a while it was Compact Dj. I made a Photoshop of it, it was embarrassing. A kitten with lasers, it was absolute sh*t. I changed the image once I figured it out. I did this back when my Dj name was Dj Tyrannosaurus-Sex. I changed it because it was awkward in front of adults. Back in San Francisco at Pier 39, “we’re Compact Disco and I’m Tyrannosaurus-Sex!” Back when we were The Compact Disco.
The Midwest Man: How long have you guys been at it?
Henry Persaud: Just about two years. Two years, two months and [check’s the date] six days. We bought each other necklace’s to mark the two years.
The Midwest Man: Hahaha.
Henry Persaud: [Straight face] Why are you laughing?
The Midwest Man: Being that you two started young, what did your parents think or say?
Henry Persaud: They used to care, they used to be on my d*ck. It’s a general not caring [on my part].
Nick Bernstein: My parent’s couldn’t give a corner of a sh*t.
Henry Persaud: The lack of care that Nick’s parents had transferred onto mine. [Laughs]
The Midwest Man: Besides Chicago and San Francisco, where else have you two done shows, or future shows?
Nick Bernstein: [We have a] thing with Madison, opened up for Nostalgia. [Madison] is bringing us up in early July [and we’re] opening for Dirty Disco. But [we’re] thinking of combining…. Compact Disco, Dirty Disco…you get it.
Henry Persaud: [I’m] going back to England over the summer. Bedford, I think. Booked with the same guy who set up All Time Low.
The Midwest Man: How did you get your name out there?
Nick Bernstein: We started at a church, where we met, through a band thing….So yeah met at that, sucked at that. I don’t want to talk about that.
Henry Persaud: Yeah, I’m done. We’re not talking about it. [Laughs]
Nick Bernstein: But, yeah, Luke saw something in us. Luke said his dad had some large space and it became, commercially, a success. The opener was Lucky Date, before he was big, back when Midnight Conspiracy was Members Only.
Henry Persaud: Jaja was there, shout-out to Jaja. We sounded terrible; we had no concept of beat matching. Back when we were just using Abelton. From there we got enough press for a loft party on December 5th 2009. It was called Digital Breakdown, which is now known as RKTR. From there we did more loft parties and entered the DEAD FAME remix contest, lost, but Louis Kha [from Midnight Conspiracy] contacted me. It took off from there.
The Midwest Man: So in addition to Midnight Conspiracy, what other artists have you done shows with?
Nick and Henry: Well Designer Drugs twice, soon to be three. Passion Pit’s Dj set, Peace Treaty, Lucky Date, Midnight Conspiracy, Afrobeta, Destructo. [Destructo] was the first person to bring Justice to the United States and he signed the Chemical Brothers, and we have Doctor P and Flux Pavilion coming up.
The Midwest Man: You mentioned you have an upcoming show with Doctor P, Flux Pavilion and Designer Drugs, how does that feel—to play along side some of the biggest names in dubstep?
Nick Bernstein: Pretty…pretty…I still haven’t gotten over that I was a resident [DJ] at Delorian Nights, our buddy Vladimir Zaytsev makes everyone look fabulous.
Henry Persaud: This euphoria.
Nick Bernstein: I cannot help but look like a total idiot. To get up in front of the crowd and just go, “YEAH YEAH (Nick throws his hands in the air)!!” I become a different person.
Henry Persaud: My favorite thing ever: I opened for Afrobeta, and we found ourselves recorded on YouTube. “Compact Disco 1, 2 and 3.” As if we were someone worth recording [at the time]. This is how we’re playing, this is how we can improve.
Nick Bernstein: It was really nice to finally have our sets tapped.
Henry Persaud: [Laughs] it was a video of us dancing around like idiots.
Nick Bernstein: [On the topic of recoding live sets] We were filming in Detroit [at Detroit Electronic Music Fest] for LessThan3, the funniest moment was when Skrillex got up and said, “I love the D!”
The Midwest Man: Now that Compact Disco has come this far, is there anything else you guys would like to say or anyone you want to thank?
Henry Persaud: Thank Apple for making the MacBook, and my parents. I don’t want to say I could have done it without them [parents], but we probably could have. [Laughs]
Nick Bernstein: Midnight Conspiracy, no one could have done what they did and by so much. They really helped us.
Henry Persaud: Oh, and my friend Breanda Fedie. She was texting me and I was telling her I’m in an interview and she wanted a shout-out. Also, we’re working on a Midnight Conspiracy remix and I want that to be spot on. I want people to cry. We finished our Blood remix contest too.
Nick Bernstein: We let everyone release their own remix, but we chose our favorite.
Henry Persaud: It’s going to be The Blood. We got Sleepers, Swampp Cat, Spencer Lemi Vice. We’re trying to get Beatport and a label, should be out next month.