An interview with Camea

Several of the Flux team were entranced by Camea when watching her captivate the Sleepless Floor stage at Melt! Festival this Summer. The Berlin resident has a handful of elite-label releases under her belt, including Minus and Get Physical, but she now calls Ellen Allien‘s BPitch Control her home. You only have to hear the fluid, warm, jazzy-laden house she plays to know her musical roots are unmistakably sophisticated. We got in touch to find out more:

Hi Camea, welcome to Flux. Feel free to introduce yourself to our readers!

My name is Camea Hoffman, I am a DJ and producer from Seattle but currently have my studio and residence in Berlin. I am an artist on Bpitch Control.

Tell us about your musical journey and influences, from the Seattle days onwards.

Early on I listened to classical music with my father. He was very into the Baroque period and listened to composers like Bach, Vivaldi and Handel. I started studying piano when i was about seven and continued until i was 18, and also played wind instruments in my school’s jazz and classical/contemporary bands as I grew up. I discovered electronic music when I was 18, but at first it was mostly just bad rave tunes we would go hear in warehouses and find on DJ mix tapes, I remember then we were just figuring out what the different genres were. Then over time I developed a taste for specific sounds I like — which I guess I can describe at the moment as romantic techno and psychedelic tech house (totally kidding). Ha! I hate that question….

America has a strong history of dance music – techno’s roots in Detroit, the scene in New York, Burning Man etc. Considering it is your birthplace, what do you think of the expansion of what has become known as ‘EDM’ across America at the moment?

A lot of it isn’t for my tastes but at the same time I don’t like it when people judge or classify my music, and therefore I’m a supporter of all music and creativity in general – even if it’s not my thing. I am more concerned about the mass marketing of it and people that are buying their way to the top, and that it’s hurting talented underground artists who are trying to build honest careers.

A few of us saw you at Melt! earlier this Summer. You played an amazing set. What are some of your favourite festivals and clubs to play? Have you had any unexpectedly amazing gigs?

Thank you! I had so much fun!! The energy was massive on the Sleepless Stage that night. Well, I can say I loved playing Melt!, Fusion and Movement Festival in Detroit, and my ‘unexpectedly amazing’ gig this year would probably be at Katerholzig’s first festival in Garbicz, Poland — really in the middle of nowhere — called Something Somewhere. Somehow they managed to make it invite only and they decorated the woods with little villages and psychedelic arty areas, it was around a lake. Lots of naked people, and a Funktion One surround system in the middle of it, it was a trip! A good one…

So, a topic I’m sure you have been asked about before – female DJ’s. Despite the stronghold of big names – Magda, Ellen Allien, Maya Jane Coles, Nina Kraviz, Anja Schneider etc. – there are still relatively few female DJ’s. Does this motivative you or frustrate you?

Honestly I don’t really think about it. Success can be achieved by anyone if you are willing to work for it, and the ladies you mentioned all are great examples of that — and the men too! People shouldn’t limit themselves or their talent to stereotypes.

You and Ellen seemed to have a great time that night and I imagine you benefit from each other creatively in the studio, not just when playing together. What attracted you to the label: the ethos, the production quality, or working with Ellen at the helm?

I love Ellen as an artist but it had nothing to do with her being female. I was attracted to BPitch because of it’s musical diversity and amazing sense of family spirit. It’s a great team to be a part of! It’s absolutely a family label, we are all close and have good chemistry when working and performing together. I would say it was a combination of both that attracted me.

And following up on why you chose BPitch, tell us about some of the upcoming artists on the label and the musical direction it is heading.

I don’t have all of the inside info yet, but I’m excited as there seems to be a lot coming up next year including great new albums from Dillon and Douglas Greed, as well as some cool EPs – including a killer collaboration from Ellen Allien and Thomas Muller. Also DJ Red has been coming really strong with her techno singles, and I’m excited to see what she’s going to do next year. Aerea Negrot as well, who has been killing it with her live performances and her new video with Skinnerbox is really impressive.

You have had your own label for almost a decade. Tell us about your experiences with that.

Wow, already a decade?? Right now I have been so busy that Clink is on pause, but I cherish all of the years I had working with the artists and putting out music that I believed in.

2014 is nearly upon us. What is Camea most excited about in the coming year?

There is lots going on already – I think next year is going to be great! I have a remix coming for Noir‘s label and for the electronic duo Qtier on Bpitch, as well as a vinyl only remix EP for my ‘Neverwhere’ release that came out last October, featuring Locked Groove, Deadbeat and Lee Jones. That will also be paired with a video of the original track, which is a project we have been working on for awhile now. And some new solo and collaborative projects to be announced soon…..

It sounds like there are some very varied and strong collaborations in the pipeline. Which artists are you currently enjoying playing in your sets and going to see yourself?

I think it would be easier to mention labels because I have way too many artists I’m following right now, it’s such a great time for music. I’m really feeling tech house stuff like Innervisions, Diynamic, Watergate Records and Hotflush all of the way to darker sounds on labels like Dystopian, Mote Evolver, Ostgut Ton and Rekids. But my interests are always changing and really these are just off the top of my head, there is so much music out there that I’m into. There are also tons of smaller labels putting out great tracks that I’m always running across. My favorite DJ sets that I caught this year were Kiki, Dixon, Ellen Allien, Soul Clap, Henrik Schwarz, Ben UFO and DJ Koze

If you weren’t DJ’ing, what do you think you’d be doing with your life?

Something combining forensic science, philanthropy, yoga and cooking … I’m still working on a job title for that one.

Who’s the biggest pre-gig eater on the DJ circuit?

Probably me to be honest, I love food.

Camea is a pretty great name and you’re fortunate enough to have it as your real name! Did you ever consider calling yourself anything else? Any ridiculous names you’ve come across?

Thank you, no, I had a rave DJ name in mind once in the 90s but I will never tell……….

Thanks for your time, Camea, and Happy New Year!

With thanks to Olivia Ovenden and Alexander Wall