Caramel Mafia is a regular resident of Berlin’s biggest Hip Hop and RnB clubs, he plays across Germany and the rest of Europe. This talented DJ who is currently living in the Netherlands shared with us his essence as an artist. Do you want to know more? Then read this exclusive interview below!
1 – How did you come up with your artistic name Caramel Mafia?
I had my first DJ-booking before I had a name and when the promoter asked for my name to put on the flyers I only knew I wanted something personal, that describes me as a person and what I am doing. Actually a friend of mine always called me Caramel. She always gives people those weird names and Caramel was mine. One night, we were standing in the kitchen at a house party and had one of those “drunken conversations”. My friend told someone that I was a DJ and this person was like, “You play HipHop? Let me guess your name is Mafiaboy or something …” One drink later, everyone called me Caramel Mafia (laughs). I liked it because it describes the contrast of the music I’m playing. On one side you have the nice and catchy R&B-tracks you’ve heard on the radio and on the other side I’m playing hard rap songs you would hear in some underground Strip clubs in Atlanta. I think the name also describes some aspects of my personality pretty well.
2 – In which way?
If you would ask my friends how I am as a person, they would probably tell you I’m a very nice guy, who is very patient but if people get me angry and try to test me you don’t want to meet me. (laughs)
3 – What can fans expect to hear when they listen to your mixes?
I would say they get Mixtapes where I was putting a lot of thought and passion. Most of my tapes are live recordings from a live set I was playing somewhere. Of course, it’s a way to express myself but I think it also shows a little bit of a person who loves to travel and party and who gets his inspiration in this way. And of course it comes with some Berlin flavor on top.
4 – I know you have been a DJ for more than 7 years. What’s the best DJ anecdote you can share with us?
I don’t really have crazy stories to share. The worst thing that happened to me was that my laptop was shutting down because of an update that automatically got installed. So while I was playing my Laptop was shutting down with the yawning Windows-sound. The funny thing was that people though it was part of my show but it wasn’t. (laughs) But one of my favorite anecdotes is this one: There is this girl who was at my very first show and who always came when I played in Berlin. Over the years, I could see how she met another other girl, how they fell in love, how everything developed between them and finally last year they got married. I was very honored when they asked me to play at their wedding. It kind of felt like we grew up together. From teenagers to real life. From my first time playing at a club to now.
5 – Now that you are doing a lot of promotion of your music, How did you feel after being featured on the Dutch TV show “College 010”?
It was an amazing chance to be featured on the show. I moved to Holland for six months to do an exchange semester for university and in my second week, I was already asked if I wanted to be part of this show. “College 010” opened some doors here for me and some people recognized me in the streets. It was fun doing this but it was also a little bit weird getting filmed all the time especially when you play at the club. I felt kinda watched all the time. (laughs)
6 – What’s your current marketing strategy as a musician? Do you have a manager?
No, I don’t have a manager or an agency. I haven’t found any yet that would match me.
7 – Who would you love to collaborate with, past or present?
I’m not really producing yet but that is the next thing I’m trying to get in. Since I’m having a very broad music taste, there would be so many different artists I would love to work with. People like Disclosure, AlunaGeorge, The Ting Tings, Cakes Da Killa or Lano McNasty inspire me.
8 – What issues do you think young musicians are faced with today?
From a DJ-Perspective everyone is becoming a DJ nowadays, which is fine because It’s great that people love music and look for a way to express themselves but I can see it’s getting harder and harder for newcomers to get chances to present themselves to an audience. Sometimes it can be frustrating if you go to a club or a festival and you hear bad DJs. Sometimes it really looks like it’s more about who you know and how popular you are than how good you can spin. Some promoters also take advantage of new acts and try to make them play for free all the time. It’s often not about giving newcomer a chance, it’s only about making more money and that’s not cool.
9 – Who do you think has been your biggest musical influence?
Hm, that’s very hard to tell. It’s probably a mixture of different people. But it’s also because people inspire you for some time and then you see others that inspire you even more in this moment and so on. I think this is something very natural and also part of growing as an artist but also as a person. In the beginning it was people like Aaliyah, Missy Elliott and Ja Rule. Later on people like Crime Mob, Rasheeda and Bobby Valentino. Lately, I listen to a lot of music from the UK and Holland and I go to clubs that play electronic music like Berghain or Ministry of Sound and I think all of this is also inspiring me at some point.
10 – What’s your fave thing to do when you’re not working on music?
In my free time I enjoy doing sports, travelling and spending time with my friends. Music is involved in everything I do. When I meet up with friends the first thing we do is check out the new music every one of us found.
Exclusive Interview: Jenna x On Debut Single “When The Party’s Over..”
Jenna x emerges in 2021 with “When The Party’s Over..” which is an incredible debut single that plays equally as well at the party, at the afterparty, or the next morning. Definitely, the best asset is her melodious singing voice. Scroll down and learn more in this exclusive interview.
1 — First of all, how would you describe your sound?
My sound is constantly evolving within Pop, but it’s more cinematic. I envision each of my songs as a scene from a film and try to capture everything that would be there—the temperature of the sunlight, the scent in the air, the city sounds, and the words that are being spoken.
2 — Why did you pick “When The Party’s Over..” as your debut single?
It was the exact type of sound and message that I wanted to release as my debut single. I also think that it’s a good representation of me as an artist because it’s a song that I really tried to be honest with myself about, as well as the other parts of myself that I am revealing, like my inner thoughts, emotions, and philosophies.
3 — Is this song based on a personal experience?
Yes! The party in my song is both literal and figurative—I, like anyone else, have gone to a party or a large gathering just to fill the emptiness I was feeling inside, only to leave with a greater sense of loneliness. I’ve also felt like I have nowhere to go emotionally, which is the figurative part of the song.
4 — What’s your favorite line from it? Why?
The entire chorus is my favorite part, especially the “will there be anyone to watch me die / someone just shows me how to cry” part. I think they really capture the essence of the song and are the parts where I am the most direct with what I want to say. The second half of the chorus is almost like a cry for help you can’t ever let out.
For me, they usually come together but for this song, the lyrics came first. I had a clear idea of what I wanted the song to be about lyrically and then used the melody to fill in the blanks.
6 — Given the situation the world is in at the moment, do you miss partying?
I’m not the type to usually enjoy large parties, but I do really miss gatherings with my closest friends. But who knows—by the time this is all over I might be dying to go to a huge party.
7 — What makes you different from other singers?
I like to think of my music as very visual—I always try to paint a picture with my music and focus on what the music is painting. Each sound is like a color I use to paint the song, and the way they are delivered are the brushstrokes.
I think I had a lot of phases where I was into different types of music and different artists. I grew up listening to singer-songwriters like Stevie Wonder and The Beatles. I was always fascinated with how brilliant and revolutionary their melodies and lyrics were. Later in my teens, I had A Great Big World’s albums on repeat. A part of me is also in love with classical composers, like Elgar and Rachmaninoff. The second movement of Elgar’s Serenade for Strings is one of the most beautiful pieces of music I’ve ever heard.
9 — When you’re not at the studio, how do you usually spend your time?
Usually prepping for studio time! But if I’m not working on music, I’ll watch movies or binge a show. Right now I’m on season 4 of Criminal Minds, and it’s been sucking me in. I’ve also been really busy these days with my new release and everything that goes along with it, but I’ll still find time to video chat with my friends and listen to my favorite albums on repeat.
10 — What are your plans for the upcoming months?
Working! I have an EP coming out in February, so I’m prepping for the release and other music that I’ll release during this year. The upcoming EP is part two of the story of loneliness I started telling with “When The Party’s Over..” and the more colorful, visual part of the story, so I’ll be working a lot on perfecting that. I also hope to be wherever I can be with my music, doing whatever I can to express myself through it.
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Dar.Ra Talks Latest Single And Confirms New Album In 2021 — Interview
Following the release of his latest single “Rise Like The Sun” along with its proper EP, Dar.Ra also plans to drop a new album in 2021. ‘Ballads For The Down-Trodden’ has been confirmed to be out by the end of January. In this exclusive interview, the British artist talks about the recent single, the most important details on the upcoming album, but also his various side projects, which include his own radio show.
1 – Can you reveal to us the name of your upcoming album?
I have two new projects out, a single called “Rise Like The Sun” with 6 killer remixes. One from Columbia and one from Sri Lanka from a killer Producer called Vidula who did the “Lights” remix from the new kinda normal album.
I did the other mixes which have a tribal House feel and an Ambient 6 am Chill Out mix. All mixes have a Sunshine title, from UK Sunshine mix, Indian Sun mix to Australian, Indonesian, USA, and Columbian mix. It’s all about not being dictated too in your time here and “Rising Like The Sun” every day of your life.
The other project is more of an alias back vibe and is a compilation of slower more Ballad type songs that I have had released over the years. I am doing a radio show called The Kusha Deep Radio show which is going out around the world through various Radio outlets and I did this show which featured some of the laid-back tracks I’ve done and I thought it would make a great album of torchlight songs. The album is 12 tracks long and is titled ‘Ballads For The Down-Trodden’ and is out later this month.
I am also working on a new album of songs for the spring with a new single planned for the first quarter of the year release.
2 – Were there specific things that helped you get creative?
I’m always inspired by life, it’s hard not to be unless you shut off from what’s going on around you. Even in the middle of a global pandemic, I had two singles out “Stand Up For The Heroes”, “Rise Like The Sun” and the ‘Whisky n Honey’ EP plus two remixes out. I also started doing a new project which is now syndicated around the world called The Kusha Deep Radio Show, which started off playing tracks that I had out over the past 25 years.
I also started doing a TV show with a Washington DC-based journalist MJ Godfrey which is a cultural review show looking at things happening in the UK and the USA. I’ve also written the next album to follow up on 2019’s ‘New Kinda Normal’. If you stay open to ideas and let them flow it’s a natural vibe for staying creative.
3 – Are you discovering new sounds on this new record?
I explore different sounds all the time, I’m getting known for merging styles and creating new hybrids like Rock Step a vibe that featured on the ‘New Kinda Normal’ album which mixed the elements of Rock and EDM together which you can feel on tracks like “Nightstepper,” “The Beat” and “Heart Shape Pill.” There’s also a genre called Gothic Soul which you can hear on tracks like “The Lights” and “Whisky n Honey.” I was feeling the Latin vibe on “Rise Like The Sun.”
I wanted something uplifting that holds no allegiance to what’s happening in the charts but has a classic Santana vibe mixed with that Gothic style vocal.
The actual record itself is truly global, the mixes and mastering were done all over the world, the drums recorded in Italy, the Horns in Portugal, the rest in the UK. I love that about the technology vibe that you can work with people everywhere now.
4 – How many tracks will there be on the album?
The album ‘Ballads For The Down-Trodden’ has 12 tracks and “Rise Like The Sun” single has 6 mixes on it. The new album will have around 12 tracks on it as well, value for money I say!
5 – What themes will the new album explore?
The new album has some wide themes such as loyalty on a track called “No Time For Tears” which has a cool Rock vibe about it. There’s a track about power struggles with relationships on “Don’t Make Me Beg.” There’s a track about migrants looking for a safe place to call home on “Renegade Serenade.” At the moment, it’s looking very love-oriented in one way or another.
6 – Did you collaborate with other artists?
I do work with other artists when the vibe is right. I’m doing a track with a producer called KDX in the UK, a Deep House kinda groove.
7 – What makes your latest single “Rise Like The Sun” special to listeners?
It’s honest, it’s real and it’s played with passion.
8 – What exciting projects can we expect from your label Kusha Deep Records?
All the above and more.
9 – Can you tell us more about your 2021 tour?
We were supposed to be doing a US tour last year, not sure how things will pan out this year but would be good to get out on the road again for a bit.
10 – The global pandemic forced the music industry to try innovative things. What do you think about private live zoom concerts?
I played Rock the Lockdown back in May and we had a few thousand people all rocking out to the set. I also did a US online tour in the summer which broadcast shows into the venues from my studio. I’ve been doing lots of interviews from Brazil to America, Australia, and the UK online which is ace as you don’t have to drive anywhere. Less hit on the climate and you can hit so many more people with a live stream if it’s set up properly.
Nothing will take the place of a jam in front of people, but I think the live stream is here to say alongside the live gig. I love technology though so it’s all good in my book. Be safe out there and looking forward to partying with you all soon!
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Quickfire Interview With: SOUNDQ
Hailing from Krakow, the cultural capital of Poland, Kuba Kubica aka SOUNDQ carries the flag of innovation when it comes to producing electronic music. The interview below is very clear and gives you a deep insight into his art. Scroll down to read his answers.
1 – You’ve been composing songs since…
Year 2000. The year when computer records got screwed by the two 0s was the year when I started programming a dodgy Korg workstation.
2 – You got involved in the music realm because…
I found it liberating not to have to depict anything. To be able to express what I feel without saying or drawing what it was.
3 – Your sound is…
As incomplete as I am. There’s always at least one element causing some imbalance. You’re never quite sure if it all won’t fall apart.
4 – Your biggest inspiration is…
I am most creative when I’m deadbeat and stressed out. So, in a way, pressure inspires me – or rather makes my creative juices flow faster.
5 – People should listen to your new track “Bad Lot” because…
It offers a glimpse into a complete world – fatalistic, sexy, and dangerous.
6 – If you want to know who SOUNDQ is, listen to the track…
“Bad Lot.” And if you’ve heard it already, give “This Heart” a spin.
7 –Your most memorable career moment so far has been…
Crossing the Ural Mountains in -30 degrees Celsius to play a death metal gig in Jekaterynburg.
8 – Your dream is…
Long forgotten the moment I wake up.
9 – Your next release is called…
“Disco Turista Antifascista.”
That’s a tough one. I’ll go with “My Kingdom” by Future Sound of London.
11 – Your favourite place to write songs is…
I love coming up with ideas when I’m traveling. Not a lot of occasions for that in 2020 though.
12 – If you weren’t an artist, you’d probably be…
An Instagram influencer pretending he’s a XIXth Century French flaneur. All dressed in epoch clothes doing product placement for travel gear and shit.
13 – You’ll only stop making music if…
I don’t think I have it in me to stop.
14 – In a few years, you want to be…
Able to go out without a mask, play gigs, laugh together with large groups of people. Travel to big cities and get lost wandering through them.
15 – What are you doing for the rest of the day?
It’s evening already, so I’m going to be busy writing music till late.
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