101 with Chamae

Chamae is a DJ who comes from a small Croatian town of Varaždin. He got interested in electronic music at a quite early age. He learned how to play guitar in music school which motivated him to reach further. Even though he is striving towards greater things, he still considers himself primarily a professional musician and electronic music fan. Chamae has extensive experience in organising events, concerts, parties and has also authored DJ equipment reviews. Along with his team of friends and colleagues he stands behind several successful projects recognised in Croatia and wider region. He is one of the founders of Imput, an organisation that is responsible for the first “multimedia party” known as the Imput Festival.

He is a president of Burek music organisation, furthermore he is also a member of several associations that promotes electronic music. He also started his new international project – Hello! (Concert Club Night). “DJs and musicians are constantly undergoing various changes in styles. No matter how hard you try to stick to some of your particular styles, everything continues to change, and so as musicians, we must adapt accordingly. If you’re able to tell a good story using various musical styles, people will appreciate it as something interesting and worth listening to.” Chamae released his first EP – Loveless, on Balkan Connection South America record label. From the year 2016, he is a member of Magnetik music label family. Prior to his upcoming gig which will be on 27th August at Magnetik festival in Slovenia, we invited him to talk for our "101" article.

What’s your favourite piece of gear – something you couldn’t live without?

Hmmm, there is a lot of gear that I can’t live without but probably it will be my laptop. It’s full of good music, samples, sounds, programs, pictures and videos. I think that you can understand this. I’m in love with analogue equipment as well, maybe in the future, it will be some Moog synth.

Which do you prefer – playing at enormous festivals or intimate clubs?

Both places are different. For me, festivals will always sit in first place. Not because of the big stage or sound, it’s just nice when you can play for lots of people and feels that vibe of the crowd. Open airs are my first choice. Intimate clubs - that is also something I am very fond of. The best place for me is when I am playing for fans and friends. You feel closer to people when you can dance with them. It brings you moments that you will always remember.

Which is the most mesmerising club that you’ve ever played at?

It was actually a private farm party. That was something I'll remember for the rest of my life and I'll always talk about it with my friends. Three days of pure madness. It was in the middle of Slovenian mountains alongside with nature and animals. A stage was on farm tractor trailer. The sound was amazing and the light was minimalistic! There were happy people everywhere drinking mojito cocktails with snake and flower decorations. All in all, it was an unforgettable experience, amazing really!!

What is your best and worst experience at a gig and why?

Maybe one of the worst experiences that I've had, happened in my hometown when I was playing in a small club many years ago. I was supposed to play an all-night set, but as soon as I started playing, few drunk people started to fight with security guys and they smashed the whole place. Dj booth was on the first floor, so I could only watch. Police came and after that, the party was over. I was sad because of my friends who came for me. But shit happens. There are lot’s of good things that happened on gigs, especially lately, but we all have some moments that we'll remember forever.

One of my best experiences was on a big festival in Croatia. I've played after headliner early in the morning. Dance-floor was full and that is when I saw a group of people being pushed forward. Normally it wouldn't be something to talk about but this time it was different. It was freshly married newlyweds with all of their guests! They were still all dressed up in suits and dresses, therefore they stood out from the crowd, but they still danced until the end. When I later talked with the husband, he thanked me for everything. He stopped the wedding ceremony and took all of the guests to the party to make this night a really special one. Today, they are still together.

At the end, moments like this make you happy and most of them have happy endings. I'm not the DJ for weddings (haha), but good things happen unexpectedly. This summer a lot of nice things happened at my Ibiza residency with my team from Magnetik music; days of laughter and fun. I have far more beautiful things to say, but some may remain a secret.

Do you have any interests besides music?

As you know, my first love is music. But there are also other interests. I'm also a booking and event manager, promoter, event producer, president of music organisation and hotel manager. Most of my interests are tourism, hospitality and international relations/diplomacy. In my free time, I’m always up for a tennis match :).

Do you enjoy sunset or sunrise sets?

I'm in love with the sun. I believe that sun can give us power, it can make us happy and it can create magical moments. We are all in some way connected and dependent on the sun. Sunset or sunrise it’s hard to say. Lately, I play most sets at dawn/sunrise. Probably because of the music that I play, but at least I can always adjust myself depending on the play time.

Somehow it is really nice when I'm playing a sunrise set and when the night turns into day. The light at that time is just perfect and it can create a magical atmosphere in which no light show can create. I always play calmer music during the sunsets, because somehow you have an obligation to greet the sun that gives us light, even though the end of the day becomes a wonderful moment, a multitude of emotions.

What do you like and what do you hate about the music industry?

That's a complicated one. I don’t like the word industry. It's hard to explain everything that happens at the moment in the world of electronic music. I like the fact that every day more and more people are involved in electronic music, which a few years ago was not the case.

While on one side electronic music became more available for all of us, on another side it happens that duration of a really good track is shorter, people are all looking for some new music hits all the time. More than an industry I'd say that it is all a business.  Times are changing and it's on us whether we are willing to adjust to it or not.

If you could pick any artist to do a b2b set, who would it be?

I have a long list of names, but at the moment probably it would be Maceo Plex - I love his style of music, character and flexibility. Of course, there are also quite a few legendary DJs but I've picked him this time. It is also great to play with someone unplanned or playing an afterparty. Especially with someone whose style doesn’t fit yours, but it turns out very well at the end.

What’s your biggest fear?

I don’t have any special fears. I’m afraid that during the performance the power goes out. If there is no electricity, there is no us. You can understand this fear (but it sometimes happens too).

What’s the funniest thing that ever happened to you on a gig?

Hmmm, again too many of them. But I can remember one gig where I was so “happy” that I've removed all my clothes, all the way to the underwear and then other guests in the club did the same. Crazy night out but a long time ago. I'm normal now (haha).

Could you pick one timeless track?

I've made a whole list of epic songs but I’m going to mention one that marked my beginnings. It was my first public gig in 2007 at a local hometown DJ competition. The song is U96 – Das Boot (released in 1992). I won the audience. It was the song of my childhood! That audience was a mixture of younger and older people. I do believe that all recognised themselves in that song as a remembrance of the early 90’s.

Song reminds me of legendary group Kraftwerk, which had a big influence on me too. When I played "Das Boot" at the end of my set, it was definitely a highlight of the evening. And yes, it's synths and melody makes it a timeless track. 

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?

Always bring earplugs, sunglasses and a bottle of water with you. :) 

By Saša, edited on 14 June 2018