Sunday, February 26, 2017

Black History Month: CAJMERE


Curtis “Cajmere” Jones was born in Chicago in 1967. He had early childhood dreams of being a doctor but eventually shelved the idea and attended University of Illinois as a chemical engineering major in 1991. While in the undergrad program, he made music as a hobby using a bottom tier keyboard, a basic four-track machine and a cheap drum machine. Never taking it serious, he was fully committed to building a career as a chemical engineer. Post graduation, he attended but eventually left a masters program at UC Berkley and returned home to Illinois where he produced his first record in 1991, “Underground Goodies Volume 1”. The following year he released what went on to become one of the most important records in the house/club genre entitled “Coffee Pot” aka “It’s Time For The Percolator” (Cajual/Emotive Records).

Cajmere grew up in a musically rich environment with a dad who was an occasional DJ and a budding musician. Because of this, he developed a love and deep understanding of the 80s house music sound that was deep rooted in Chicago. His music was very much influenced by this movement and after his first two official releases, he teamed up with a Chicago based vocalist, Dajae to produce “Brighter Days” which entered #2 on the Billboard Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart. Interested in going in a different, more techno direction for a bit, Cajmere began using the moniker Green Velvet in 1993. In ’95, under the name, he produced the hits “Preacher Man”, “Answering Machine” and “Flash” which became a #1 US Dance hit. By 1999 he was Djing regularly using both names and released the full length album, “Constant Chaos” on the Music Man label. He released a second Green Velvet album on Warner Bros. in 2000 and began scaling down his Green Velvet appearances to just live performances as a band with two other musicians. He was still DJing out as Cajmere and gaining more attention in Europe than in the US. The third Green Velvet album “Walk In Love” came in ’05 and the following year, he announced he had become a born-again Christian after overdosing on magic mushrooms, marijuana and more. In 2015, he collaborated with fellow house legend Claude Von Stroke to form the duo “Get Real” and embarked on a world tour.

Cajmere has released some of the most important records in dance music from the early days of house to the present using various aliases including Geo Vogt, Half Pint, Curan Stone, Gino Vittori and more. His sets regularly hit Ultra Music Festival, Tomorrowland, Electric Daisy Carnival and other huge stages around the world. Catching one of his performances is a bucket list item for many dedicated fans of house music. Full Discography HERE.

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