Photo: Vitali Gelwich (Camea)
Camea has come a long way since growing up during the heyday of Grunge music in Seattle. After releasing a slew of EPs on her own label Clink, the producer, radio show host and DJ ended up releasing on Berlin’s Bpitch Control. The title of her last EP for Ellen Alien’s label also lends its name to Camea’s new imprint, Neverwhere. Read our interview with Camea below and listen to her vinyl-only mix recorded exclusively for the Groove podcast.
Your new EP Hello Earth is the inaugural release of your label Neverwhere, which shares a name with your last single for Bpitch Control and your very own radio show. How are the three connected and what are your plans with the imprint?
When I wrote Neverwhere in 2013, I was very connected to the record as I was going through many personal transitions at the time while touring a lot. I felt like I was everywhere and nowhere at the same time, which was exciting but emotionally challenging. After the release was finished, I knew that there was more to the concept that I wanted to explore, which is why I did the multi media project with some great remixers and film director Riza-Rocco Avsar. We shot footage for the videos at a travelling carnaval that had laid temporary grounds in an empty field in East Berlin. We knew right away that it was a perfect visual metaphor for Neverwhere. After the videos I still felt very inspired and decided to start the radio show, which has been airing for just over a year, and subsequently the label. I try not to confine myself creatively by thinking too far in the future, but I’m looking forward to see what happens.
You have also run Clink Records from 2005 to 2011. Wouldn’t it have been easier to revive that instead of starting afresh with a new label?
Originally I was thinking about reviving Clink as I have been getting a lot of requests for more releases from fans of the label. But when I sat in my studio to design the music, the sound didn’t seem to fit to what Clink was in those days and what it represented. I love what we did back then and want to preserve the integrity of it, and I still might bring it back in the future, but for now I felt that it was time to explore a new concept.
Your radio show on Digitally Imported regularly features other DJs. How do you pick those guests and what is the general concept of the show?
When I invite a guest onto the radio show, the only thing I ask them is to imagine a soundtrack to the word “Neverwhere”. I want to keep it as open as imaginative as possible. The guests are usually a mixture of friends, up and coming artists that are doing interesting music, and artists that I am a fan of. I’ve had some really special mixes from artists like Locked Groove, Abstraxion, Hoj, Bambook and others.
The word “Neverwhere” is also supposed to indicate that you are, as it says in the press release of Hello Earth, feel “most comfortable in the space between” genres. What exactly does that mean in regards to those three new tracks?
I get very bored with genre words. I feel that music loses so much of its appeal once you use bland words like Techno, Minimal or Tech House. I can’t confine myself like this creatively, and usually my music ends up not fitting into the molds that the industry has built for those genres. I prefer to stay away from this and keep out of the box. When I wrote this record I just let myself go from expectations and explored new sides of myself.
While the record’s title seems rather inviting, it has a rather dark atmosphere. “After The End” and “Undisclosed Location” add a bit of dystopian flavour as well. Have there been certain topics which have informed the tracks?
In the studio I have always leaned towards darker sounds. I have a classical piano background and also grew up in Seattle during the Grunge era, where music was about expressing the deeper emotions inside of yourself and not just what’s on the surface. A lot of the moody influences in my records come from these roots. Then when I moved to Brooklyn and started producing music in 2003, I was very attracted to these quirky, Minimal Techno records that I was buying in the local shops, mostly from Germany. It felt like a form of audio-surrealism as it was totally off the path from mainstream dance music and that was exciting. The industry has changed a lot since then, and with this record I let myself go back to my roots creatively and took inspiration from these periods of my life.
How and when did you record your mix?
The mix is a combination of vinyl records that I have bought in Berlin, my new music, and a few tracks I found digging through my promos. I recorded it earlier this week in my apartment in Wedding.
Was there a specific idea you had for this mix? How for example is different from your Neverwhere radio mixes?
I wanted to find special music that people might not find in other mixes, hence the vinyl only tracks that I encoded for it. I also wanted to give listeners the experience of the type of music that you can find in record stores in Berlin that you can’t download online, so it shares the journey of my process to find music as well. The mix is a combination of ambient, deep house and techno and is very analog influenced. Including my radio show, I try to always put something different in each mix that keeps it interesting and surprising for listeners. Hopefully I have achieved that with this one.
Stream: Camea – Groove Podcast 59
Unfortunately, the download is currently only possible via Soundcloud with a registered account.
01. Leo Anibaldi – Evocation Part II (Remastered)
02. Orson – Production House
03. Lars Morston – Too Deep (AEONIX Star Chariot Mix)
04. Crowdpacer – Amazone
05. Economist – Sunday Brunch (Sierra Sam Remix)
06. 2030 – Timeworm (Deep & Biri Interpretation 1)
07. Markus Suckut – Tokyo
08. Excess Labor – ZK Bucket Shapeshifter
09. Trikk – Proto Rhyth (Black Version)
10. Camea – Hello Earth
11. Etapp Kyle – Limb
12. Coba – Gotta Get Back Home
13. Deetron – The Core