When I call up Camea on Skype, one of the most pressing questions I have about her latest release, Get Physical: Full Body Workout Volume 15, is whether the mix could live up to its name and successfully assist a gym session. "My boyfriend and I have this funny jogging test with my mixes. If it makes me want to keep running for an hour, there's enough excitement. If I want to stop running after 20 minutes, it's too flat," replies the Berlin-based DJ and producer, who has released on labels like Ellen Allien's BPitch Control, Richie Hawtin's M_nus, and Plus 8. Her latest compilation is out this week on Get Physical.
She's yet to apply the running test to her Get Physical release, but Camea's physical examination of her music is a revealing look at her process. "I'm not very scientific about the way I write music. There's people who are super techy. I'm a conceptually, emotionally-based producer," she says.
I did Camea's jogging test this morning assisted by Get Physical's "Edge of Infinity" track, and I definitely experienced something foreign: stamina. The success of this track is not just measured by my ability to run to it, but rather Camea's success in inspiring feeling in others. "I wrote 'Edge of Infinity' when I got back from Burning Man, I was absorbing so much visually and emotionally," she shares.
The compilation also inspires feelings of nostalgia, thanks to an unexpected sample of Faith Evans' "Soon As I Get Home" that reminds me of so many teenage feelings. When chatting on Skype, it becomes immediately evident that "home" could mean a lot of places to Camea. Born and raised in Seattle, she moved to New York City in 2002. Her determination to break into the dance music industry was unwavering from the get-go.
"When I first got to New York I only knew one person. I got off the train [with] a bag of records and a suitcase. I knew what I wanted to do," she recalls. She eventually got to do exactly that—through starting a party called Shag that was dedicated to UK tech house and techno. Camea moved to Berlin in 2007, but remains connected to New York City's underground. "What's making it over to Berlin is Output, Verboten, The Bunker parties, Cityfox, Resolute, and Blkmarket Membership," she says.
I take the opportunity to ask her about misogyny in the male-dominated electronic music scene, a topic that is frequently at the top of my mind, thanks to my role with feminist techno collective Discwoman.
"When I first moved [to New York City], I was a part of running the Sister NYC chapter—a place where women DJs and vocalists would get together," she replies. "The parties would be super full because people wanted to support women." Camea is fully aware of the hurdles female DJs face, but shows no signs of bitterness towards the world and the world she works in. "Sometimes there's not even a female on the lineup and you're like, seriously? So many good female DJs right now that deserve that stage. [Sexism is] there for sure, but at the same time I can't complain." As for Ellen Allien, whose label BPitch will host Camea's next release in July, she's "one of the strongest women in the game.
For now, we'll have the opportunity to connect with Camea on her new radio show Neverwhere Radio on Digitally Imported. "I used to have a show with Kevin McHugh (Micro Mini parties) on East Village Radio. It was on Friday nights before Mark Ronson played," Camea says. "We did it for little over a year. It was super fun and we'd go to Bunker after. When I moved to Berlin I really missed it, so it's so nice to share the music I'm into again." The pressures of being a DJ and pleasing the crowd are absent when playing sets on the radio, she says, "you can be a bit more conceptual because you're not worrying about what the dancefloor is doing."
As for what we can expect to hear on the show, Camea says that she's currently digging what's happening between house and techno. Artists like Recondite, Locked Groove, Rodhad, Thugfucker, Bedouin, Monolake, DJ Tennis and Lake People are leading the game with tracks that go "deep and moody," blurring the lines between the genres. "People are less afraid to be different," she concludes about today's juncture in electronic music. "It seems people are more focused on individuality, and that's making it really exciting again."
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