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.