There are always a handful of records each generation which are timeless and have a monumental impact on the dance music landscape, and together with Elderbrook the duo behind CamelPhat created a stunning example of the aforementioned point with the Grammy-nominated ‘Cola’.
After joining forces back in 2008 the British DJ/producers secured a debut release on Vice Records before later going on to team up with the Spinnin’ Records, channelling their deep house sound through hits like ‘Constellations’ and ‘Paradigm’.
This year has seen demand for CamelPhat reach astronomical proportions, playing all over Europe, America and most recently performing in the Middle East. That hugely prestigious awards show in America, their plans for 2018 as well as their craziest show this year were just some of the topics the duo talked about. Join us as we go back In Conversation.
How are you feeling after being nominated for a Grammy?
I’m not sure it’s sunk in yet?!! We’ve been so busy touring we haven’t had a minute to really appreciate the nomination. Don’t get me wrong the feedback has been amazing. Literally every City we visit is talking about it with regard to our perspective gig there. I guess we feel overwhelmed and very thankful more than anything.
What does it mean to get that sort of recognition?
It’s pretty much the ultimate accolade. We’ve never went out to make a track that could potentially be nominated for a Grammy, it just hasn’t entered our mind especially as dance music producers. So for it to happen like this and at this particular time in our career is absolutely mind blowing!!! We don’t have Management or a PR Team. We pretty much run everything ourselves so it’s gonna really help propel our name across the world and hopefully open a few doors to even more quality writers and producers.
What are your best memories of the Grammies?
Probably Kanye West... I hope he’s not presenting our category ha!!!
What was your reaction when “Cola” entered the official UK chart?
Mixed emotions really... if we’re honest. On one hand you’re buzzing to think people like your music, they actually get it especially on that scale and on a track like “Cola” which is dark, downtempo and indie in many ways. Then on the other hand we were concerned (in an industry that can be quite ruthless at times) people/fellow peers would think we’ve become a crossover commercial act which is everything we’ve tried to avoid whilst making underground dance music the past 8 years. So far though, we’ve been embraced by all sides of the dance community so it’s all good!!! Our passion is tech/techno house music and always will be.
How much will you have to pinch yourselves when you go to that ceremony and are in the company of some of the biggest names from across the entire music industry?
We’re thinking about wearing 2 GoPros on our heads and streaming it haha, imagine!!? Yeah it’s gonna be nuts, we’ll probably play it cool for at least 45 seconds then be the biggest fan girls all night...
What were your honest ambitions when you first set about making ‘Cola’?
We’d been wanting to work with Elderbrook along time. Eventually we got in the studio together (February 2017) in Brixton, London. We sat down, had a coffee and explained what we wanted: ie a down tempo softly spoken indie track which pretty much reflected the cold winter mood in the room. No one had a clue it’d end up being a Summer Anthem that even now is causing serious heat!!! Maybe that’s the secret... Elderbrook being a super talented writer obviously helped too.
How do you plan on going one better in 2018 despite the overwhelming amount of success you have enjoyed in 2017?
Not sure we could ever top this year. It’s just been so positive, from the 3 x Beatport No1’s, BBC RADIO 1's Hottest Record, Ibiza DJ Awards Track of the Season and even now a Grammy Nomination...how do you even top that?!! We’re just gonna go back in the studio for the early part of 2018 like we did early this year and make a folder of records again, 10/15 maybe. Pick the best ones and see what happens. We have no plans on making another “Cola” as it’ll just end up being a poor man’s version of that track. We have no record deals or A&R guys on our back so I guess we still have that freedom that artists need when making original music.
What has been the craziest show for you this year and why?
Steel Yard, Creamfields UK. It was all a bit last minute. Basically Loco Dice couldn’t make the Saturday night so Cream asked us to cover his 2-4am slot after Marco ‘King’ Carola just days before the event. If you haven’t seen the Steel Yard it’s an aircraft hanger size arena that holds around 15,000 people. When the news broke on social media we had a bit of backlash as Dice is obviously a huge name and putting us on in his place maybe seemed a lesser deal. Anyway, we played and it completely went off!!! Everyone stuck around and the aftermath on social media was nothing but love. It’s definitely one for the autobiography.
When it comes to festival and club shows which out of the two do you prefer the most and why?
We get asked this a lot, and festivals all depend on set times and stages. Like we said previously the Steel Yard was probably our greatest ever gig so far. Everything about that night was right...but then we’ve played gigs like Chinese Laundry in Sydney that hold no more than 300 people and it was absolutely insane. The reactions from the clubbers was like we’d just scored a 90th minute winner at the World Cup...it was a full scale riot haha.
What has been the biggest B2B set you have played and why?
We’ve only done a few, being a duo probably makes it less attractive to other DJs. But the one we did do which completely went off was at the NOA Stage at Hideout this year with our best mate Marc Kinchen (MK) - he’d already finished his set before us but we dragged him up to play a few more with us. It was great fun!!!
Who do you think will be DJ/producers to watch in 2018?
So many quality DJs/producers about right now. Alex Virgo, Amelie Lens, Mason Maynard, Eli Brown and Lauren Lo Sung are all flying right now as up and coming artists. On the A List front I think Green Velvet, Riva Starr, Detlef, Solardo will continue to dominate the Tech House world. Cristoph who recently signed to Prydz will become HUGE!!! Denis Sulta, Adam Beyer & Nicole Moudaber as ever will dominate the Techno scene.
What would be your three top tips for aspiring DJ/producers trying to make that record which will help establish themselves?
1. Don’t get hung up on a track, if you hit the wall (of which there are many) just save it and move on to another idea. Nothing goes to waste but it’s important to keep the workflow and inspiration going.
2. Learn to say NO!!! It’s a powerful word.
3. Be brave, try new things...don’t copy another artist’s platform. Yes it’s cool to take inspiration but make it your own. Find a noise that’s never been heard before...run with it!!!
CamelPhat play at Electric Brixton on New Year’s Eve for a party with Ants, also appearing in Sheffield on the same night for Muzik. They’ll then complete a hectic New Year’s schedule by making the trip to Manchester for a blowout at Gorilla, and can be caught later in the year on the beautiful St Paul’s Bay in Malta for Lost & Found Festival and the Adriatic Coast of Croatia for Hideout.
Photo courtesy of CamelPhat
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