A Sit Down With DJ Chocolate Puma
The dawning of the 21st century saw the rise of their latest project as what they primarily go by today, Chocolate Puma. Their most recent release, which features Junior Sanchez, Arama, and Todd Terry came out on Dim Mak, one of many they've decided to put out on a label other than their own. At first, they chose to release tracks on their own labels because at the time, "we felt there weren't any labels to release our music, or the ones that were around weren't right for us.
"To us, It doesn't matter where or when or even how one likes to dance, just so long as they do because, after all, we make dance music."
Can you describe what dance music means to you?
It means everything. Thats a difficult one. It means everything, our whole life has changed because of dance music. When we heard the first house records back in the eighties, we thought like Holy shit this is so cool, we want to hear this for the rest of our lives. And even better if we could make it. So in that way it means a lot, it changed the whole course of our lives.
How does it feel for you knowing that people are coming to hear especially to see you play and to hear your records?
It feels very good especially because we play our own tracks now. When someone DJs they may play two or three of their own productions, years ago it was tricky to play your own stuff. For us now, because we have made so many tracks over the years we never had a chance to test them out on the dance floor quickly. Now we can make the records and test them directly on the dance floor instantly and its more fun than ever.
What are your thoughts on the dance music explosion in North America. Did you ever see it coming?
Did anyone see it coming? We understand a lot of people think its a negative thing and do not like the whole commercial side of whats going on right now. But in the end its still about kids having a great time. And what we see when were playing in North America is that kids that used to go to the big EDM concerts are now discovering other kinds of dance music. They are curious and very hungry for other stuff, and for us is so much fun to play there now.
Do you think most DJs/producers today are too focused on getting a top track?
I mean before we were here, we were in the studio thinking about this gig, and you get inspired by the idea of playing such a big, energetic crowd and that reflects whats going on in the studio.
You have quite an extensive repertoire of aliases. How might you go about defining Chocolate Puma?
When we started Chocolate Puma, when we made "I Wanna Be U", we didn't think it would fit the other projects. At that time we also had a project called Jark Prongo. It was more techno. Now, we only have this one project, Chocolate Puma, but we still love to make more techno stuff, or vocal stuff, or future house, or whatever you call it. The difference between Chocolate Puma and all the other projects is that for now, anything goes. Back in the day, we would have different projects for different styles. I think it's also a sign of the time that people are more accepting when artists are do different stuff. Especially this year, you see different artists making trap or moombathon, or bass-house, and people love it.
How do you think that a life spent in music has affected you as people? Do you think youd be any different if you were doing anything else?
Well its difficult to judge yourself. I dont know if I have necessarily changed but being in the music industry you do become more open minded, and youre doing something you really love to do. Its not like when youre learning something at 17 but by the time youre 25 you dont like it anymore. This is really what we like and what we feel.
Musically Prince has always been my greatest inspiration. My daily inspiration comes from my fellow musicians. From Rammstein to Todd Terry.
Your latest hit Space Sheep with Oliver Heldens has been on charts all over the place and seen great attention. How does it feel to have been in the industry for the time you have and still be reaching these charts?
We feel so blessed that were able to still touch a lot of people with our music! Thats what its all about, making something that we love and to see that other people feel what were doing. That never gets old.
Most wrong action of yourself, for which you are still ashamed.
Was during the first mega music experience of veronica. 2-unlimited occurred for us.
The beer was free and I was already on my way. I then blew Ray's microphone out of his hands and screamed at 20,000 people "we're going to fuck you in the ass !!!!!" (you had a club hit with that type of text in it) and then I screamed that everyone had to sit on the floor, in the blubber. Incidentally, only 4 people sat down, were my friends.
What was it like being a DJ/producer during the rise of house music?
Its totally different than now. Because back in the day being a DJ was totally separate from being a producer. We happen to like both. I like to be a DJ but also liked producing music or playing piano or playing drums. Later it became a mixture. Now its like if youre a DJ you have to release records to get gigs. If youre a producer you cannot make money just producing, you have to get out and play. So back in the day that wasnt the case. You had typical DJs and you had producers, some guys like us did both, but its different.
In a quarter century of career, you had to live more than one moment ... What memories could really have influenced you in your attitude?
There are so many ... The years go by so fast. Today may be a good memory, if you play tomorrow in another place, you can forget the day before quickly.
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