DJ Cam’s latest single, Uncomfortable, is out today. Jennifer Hore caught up with the DJ to discuss his latest offering
DJ Cam is known for his fusion of jazz and hip-hop. First hitting the scene at the tender age of 17, Cam has since established himself as ‘a pioneer in the world of underground hip-hop, trip-hop, and the dance scenes’. Now working with luxury group LVMH, he talks to LOOKK to discuss his jazz roots, his musical weapon and why it’s hard being a DJ in Paris.
Tell me about your first ever gig…
My first professional gig was in Paris when I was 17; it was the first time I was paid to play music. It was a strictly hip-hop party with 1000 people attending, but 80% of the crowd was male! The night was really hardcore, but with a good vibe and some excellent dancers.
Where did you pick up your musical influences?
My father was a jazz record collector and my mother was really into classical music, so my influences come from jazz, funk, soul, and of course hip-hop tracks.
How do you adapt to the changes in the industry whilst staying true to your style?
My skills are still fresh, and my musical culture is my weapon. I spend a lot of time online discovering new bands and new artists in every style of music, this ensures I stay on top of the industry.
What would you say was the biggest difference in the industry since starting out in ‘94?
Back then you had to go and find music. Now everything is on your computer in five minutes.
How would you differentiate the vibe between Paris, New York and Tokyo?
Paris is stylish and a little bit snobbish, New York is rough and in Tokyo the audience really respects the artist. In France it’s not like that, sometimes it’s tough being a DJ in France.
What has been your career highlight so far?
From doing a remix for Miles Davis and Michael Jackson, to working with Guru and being remixed by DJ Premier — everyday is a highlight of my career.
Your music has been described as a hybrid of jazz and hip-hop, why did you combine the two?
I used to be a hip-hop DJ but I love a lot of different genres. [The hybrid fusion of hip-hop and jazz] is very impulsive. The jazz music is often very difficult to understand, so I try to extract the most beautiful, melancholic part of a jazz record.
Do you have a set of tracks you always go back to?
The key is to play universal tracks or classic tracks in each style of music. In hip-hop it would be a Dr Dre track, in rock it would be Seven Nation Army by The White Stripes, and in soul it would be any track by James Brown.
Who else on the music scene have you got on your radar at the moment?
I’m really into a French band called Reflex, they’re making a mix of electronic music and pop with a modern 80’s touch. They just did a remix for me for Uncomfortable.
What sort of sounds are you into right now?
Right now I’m playing a lot of slow disco and new disco, it’s fresh, soulful and puts you in a good mood.
Have you got any other projects you’re working on at the moment?
I’m working for luxury group LVMH, we’re doing lots of sound design for them. I’m also working on my new album, which is going to be a soundtrack for a movie! We’ll also be releasing a remix album called ‘Westside,’ with remix’s by James Curd, FaltyDL, Reflex, Drop Out Orchestra and Blockhead.
Check out the first remix of Uncomfortable here.
— Jennifer Hore