Sunday, 27 April 2014

Cajmere - Percolator

Curtis Alan Jones (born April 26, 1967, in Chicago, Illinois) is an American electronica and house music singer, songwriter and producer. His style of house music has been compared and inspired by the likes of Kraftwerk, Prince, Gary Numan, and Nitzer Ebb.

Jones is also known as Cajmere, Geo Vogt, Green Velvet, Half Pint, Curan Stone, and Gino Vittori.

The "Percolator" was the first time I had gotten a track to sound the way I wanted, but nobody was loving it as much as I was, so I just kept remixing it. The "Percolator" (that got released under that name) is actually the third version of the track. I liked the original much more, [which is now released as] "Keep Movin'." But it blew up. I was totally surprised.

"I remix my own tracks when they're I think they're not getting the attention they should be getting," Jones laughs. For that reason he decided to remix another track on the same EP, 'Coffee Pot'. Local studios were expensive to hire, so his working method was to make the basics of a track at home and then go into a local studio. "The studio engineer was... well, let's just say, he was very good at the technical stuff," remembers Jones. "He could make anything sound like you wanted it to. And we were working on this remix, and he said something like 'I need to go and put the percolator on'. And I thought, 'Yes! That's it! It's time for the percolator!'"

The Percolator remix of 'Coffee Pot', with its jerking rhythms, siren bleeps, circling chant (the earwormy "it's time for the percolator") and equally distinct bubbling and popping synth line, became a house classic, and a prototype for the future sounds of B-more and ghetto house.
Melissa Bradshaw

"Percolator" went through a lot of changes over different 12-inches. Were you a perfectionist?

No. I was persistent. [laughs] When the song first came out, it didn't get that much attention. I was like, "I don't believe they don't get it," because I loved the first version of it that I did. I did a remix of a track with Dajae called "Keep Movin'." That was the origins of that sound. Because it got so overlooked, I was like, "Let me try it again!" [laughs] I put it on an EP with three other tracks. The standout track was "Chit-Chat," which [New Jersey DJ] Tony Humphries used to play a lot. Because it was so popular, I decided to do remixes of all the songs on the EP, so that goes to the third version of it, where I came up with "The Percolator." On the EP it's called "Coffee Pot." That's when it took off. By the time I got to the third version of it I was tired of it. [laughs] When I heard it, I was like, "Ehh. It's not as good as the first version of it." I was totally surprised that it took off. 

In the early ‘90s, Curtis Jones went from a Master’s program in Chemical Engineering to creating what would soon become one of the most iconic house tracks ever made. Originally entitled “Coffee Pot” and released under the moniker Cajmere, the song eventually became known as "The Percolator" thanks to its repeated lyrics "it’s time for The Percolator" and the booty-popping dance moves that often accompanied the track at clubs. The bubbly track belies Jones’ intrinsic love of early 1980s Chicago house and would become a trademark foundation for the sound of both his own releases as Cajmere and of those on his pioneering label Cajual. Not content to just do straight house music, Jones created another alter ego, Green Velvet, and record label, Relief, to explore his interests in hard house, punk and industrial music. Through his Green Velvet persona, Jones was able to experiment with not only some different styles of music, but he also began sporting a wild green and sometimes yellow mohawk. Throughout this period he often appeared at underground raves and electronic festivals, which no doubt led to his later "come to Jesus" turnaround from a life of heavy psychedelic use. Remaining relatively out of the spotlight throughout the latter half of the 2000s, Cajmere tracks such as "The Percolator," and the massive dance hit "Brighter Days" amongst other Cajual classics are once again explored on Only 4 U: The Sound Of Cajmere & Cajual Records out now on Strut Records.

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