Hailing from Seattle but based in Berlin since 2007, Camea first cut her DJ teeth at West Coast warehouse raves and Brooklyn techno parties before calling the German capital home. A staple in the local dance music scene, frequenting legendary clubs like Panorama Bar and Watergate, she headed one of the minimal era’s most illustrious labels Clink Recordings and was a mainstay on Ellen Allien’s Bpitch Control Recordings.
In 2015, Camea began a radio show called Neverwhere Radio. Initially the name of one of her tracks, she decided to further examine the concept, exploring her love for left-field dance music across two hours each month. Last year, she expanded the Neverwhere vision into a record label, and she’s dropping the third release this Friday - an EP called Vanish.
Her newest record marries her long-time love for minimal dance music with avant-garde techno sounds. We’ve got the exclusive on a remix by LA-4A, who takes the bouncy and dark minimal techno track driven by Camea’s own vocals and transforms it into a breakbeat, acid-tinged, 303 club workout. Listen to it below as you dig into our Q&A with Camea where she talks Berlin, music and motherhood.
Congratulations on your baby! Could you tell us a bit about what it was like managing your music career while pregnant and how you anticipate having a child will change the way you approach your career (if at all)?
Thank you, we are so happy. Lucian Apollo joined us on May 18 and we are enjoying newfound family time at our home in Berlin, while I take a tour break. Being pregnant and doing shows was actually really fun, the excitement and feeling of creating life gave me a new perspective and inspiration in my sets. I felt a lot more focused and sensitive to my surroundings, and I learned a lot about myself and my crowds. I think the most important thing that I discovered was not to put so much pressure on myself and just relax and have fun. Becoming a parent naturally shifts your priorities and allows you to make emotional space for other things in your life. Feeling that happen, when life becomes less about you and more about sharing love and nurturing something else beyond yourself, is very inspiring and liberating. I feel more in touch with my surroundings and it’s already had a big effect on my music and DJ sets, and I’m sure as I continue on this journey I will learn more and it will continue to inspire me.
How do you prepare for a DJ set?
I think a lot about my DJ sets over the week, about the things I did good and bad the weekend before, and what I want to focus on for the next weekend. I try not to think too much about it on the day of the show, as it’s impossible to tell what a room is going to be like and what people will respond to. If I overthink it then I don’t pay as much attention to my surroundings in real time, so I don’t get anxious about it anymore. I’ll pick out and organise the playlists during the week, practice some complicated mixes, work on the flow in my home studio, and then when I arrive at the club I just go with what I’m feeling and get in the zone.
What records haven’t left your bag in the past few months?
I’ve been really into collecting 4-5 minute jacking techno tracks, that I can play at like 130-132 bpm, so my crate is full of that stuff. I love to mix fast and keep the crowd on their toes and dancing, and I find this style works best for me and keeps things moving.
What inspires your productions these days?
I love working with my analog gear, mostly on my Prophet 6 synth and Analog RYTM drum machine. I plug them in and open my DAW and see what happens. I’m really into vintage minimal techno right now, like Studio One and early Perlon/Klang type stuff, so I’ve been using that for inspiration.
How has Berlin impacted your musical exploration?
I’ve lived in Berlin for ten years now, and even though it is always changing, the purity of the music scene magically seems to stay in tact. The city has an amazing club atmosphere where you can literally go to a number of different seedy places and hear DJs play on any day or time of the week. I love the rawness of it and it allows me to go and hear a variety of different types of music and artists, and I learn so much. It also has some of the best record stores as well, like Spacehall, Hardwax and Muting the Noise, which I can find lots of great music that I wouldn’t have otherwise discovered elsewhere.
Your Neverwhere Radio show just turned 2. What’s your favorite thing about radio?
Having a radio show is intense but so much fun, you have to stay on top of your music collection and think of new and interesting things to provide your followers. My show has a bit of a cult following and my listeners don’t tune in to hear hits, or what came in my promo emails this week, they want to hear abstract, left-field techno from exciting artists. It’s challenges me to stay on top of my own sound and ideas, and keeps me on my toes. I love doing the show every month. Same goes for the guests I invite. Recently I got mixes from artists like Oleg Mass, DJ Sodeyama, DJ Red and Clockwork amongst others. They all have their own particular and original sound that I love and keep things interesting.
Tell us a bit more about your latest record.
This week I have a new record out on Neverwhere called Vanish, with an original track of mine and remixes from Delft’s LA-4A and Ostgut Ton’s Tobias. It’s a great record and I’m excited for it to finally come out. The artwork is also fantastic, the designer Alland Byallo came up with a great modern, surrealistic composite of a chameleon=human hybrid.
What do you like about LA-4A’s remix of your track “Vanish”?
My friend Kevin’s LA-4A moniker is created with the use of live recordings on his vintage Roland drum machines- the 808, 909 and 303. I love the break-beat rendition he’s created here, it reminds me of classic 90s rave tunes, especially with the acid elements. He’s basically taken my original and made an awesome club mix out of it.
For more of our premieres, check out a weighty grime cut "Know Already" from Night Slugs' Bok Bok right here.