Cameron Dante / Housemasters Resident
Cameron Dante, a musical force and member of the mighty Bizarre Inc who were responsible for one of the biggest floor smashers of all time. Cameron has music and performance in his soul. From the B-Boy scene of the early 80s and part of the infamous Street Machine crew with his pals Jason Orange, Howard Donald and laterly Robbie Williams of ‘Take That.’
Cameron has journeyed from the fun of the streets, winning the UK breakdance championships, to event and DJ promotion, club ownership (Ascension Manchester), radio work with BBCs Radio one, Kiss 102 and television performances, to producing a collection of dancefloor classics that have rocked a generation.
Cameron hosted Kiss 102’s weekend Morning Shows for 2 years and was originally commissioned by Radio 1 to do a one-off 4 hour annual special, this he continued to do for 6 years. Cameron drew some of the biggest names for interview; he also received promo copies from some of the biggest names in dance music even before Pete Tong.
Cameron has written and produced his own material under many pseudonyms for many years and has historically released through Flawless Records, Warner Bros, BMG; and Bush to name a few. Cameron continues to provide music for the film / TV and commercial underscore market through Sony BMG……
His DJing started in 1988, time spent perfecting his skill behind the decks led to a residency in Spain which then took him to the the musical Island of Ibiza. Cameron doesn’t have time to sit back and rest with memories No, no, he’s still rocking and with a mighty return of the Bizarre Inc duo he is very busy touring the world and rocking a party as well as having time to join us here on Housemasters radio, where he has taken part in our past two event days wowing our listeners with 3 hour sets packed with iconic, musical gems.
The HMR Q&A
1. what made you start DJing?
By accident! I was trying to Breakdance my way across Europe at 17 years old and the only way I could make money to eat was to approach bars and clubs and do a 15 minutes dance show – they paid me the equivalent of 20 quid a night.
When I arrived in Spain, I was offered a dance gig at a club but the DJ was off ill and so they asked me to do it! for 100 quid a night, 7 nights a week. For that money I pretended I could mix… It must have sounded like a heard of buffallo stampeding through the club! Why they asked me to do the next night I have no idea, 6 months later I was still there. I went to the club at 11am every morning to practice on the decks, leaving at 9pm every night to wash and change clothes and then returned to the club to DJ untill 6am every night. What a training ground!!
2. Who would you say was your biggest influence on the dance scene and why?
Larry Levan, without question! I could write a book about how and why he influenced me. He wasn’t the greatest ‘technical’ DJ, but that man knew how to rock a crowd with groundbreaking music. He wasnt frightened to programme new music, he mixed on a reel to reel tape machine and used Audiophile Thorens turntables. He would take tracks home and remix them himself, introducing mixpoints, breakdowns etc.
He broadened the ‘rules’ of what dance music could be, mixing everything from gospel, reggae, Philly soul and Euro-disco to rock (“Stand Back”/Stevie Nicks and “Eminence Front”/The Who, to name but two), post-punk (“The Magnificent Seven”/The Clash, and Talking Heads), ambient/environmental music (Klaus Schulze and Manuel Gottsching, for example) and just about everything else.
He augmented his sets with disorienting sound effects and audio manipulations, working the crossover and balance controls to throw sound around the room as if it had a will of its own.
3. Compare the scene now to how it was when you first started spinning. What differences, good or and bad, do you see. What do you see for the future of the DJ?
When I first started DJing it was a mysterious black art that took up 99% of my time, practicing, finding tunes, learning the kit, reading the crowd, learning from the mistakes but even with all that it was simpler to get a gig…
Today’s DJ needs to struggle up the ladder and learn his art. Its more difficult to get a gig now, therefore more difficult to learn from your mistakes. The only way to learn is to play out live… not in a bedroom. Promoters need to open up and offer gigs to the up and coming DJ.
4. Favourite label, Favourite artist, Favourite track
Too many to name. I’m not really a label follower, I prefer independent productions rather than established labels. Searching obscure American/German/Japanese sites for unsigned music is a joy, Ive found some unbelievable tracks this way.
Favourite tracks!!! Wow! Music transports me back to moments in time, so on that basis, I have to say ‘all obscure breaks eminating from the 60’s/70’s” Check out my youtube playlist
70’s/80’s Funk and Soul
Old Skool House
5. To date what has been the best experience you have had as a DJ
Too many to name, but supporting Moby in Texas was pretty special.
6. If you could play anywhere, where would it be?
China… Imagine starting a scene over there!!! Wow! I’m talking about a warehouse scene, for the poor, urban kids, similar to our experience in 1990/92. It would be a revolution – The world would be a different place.
7. Your favourite Housemasters DJ and why?
Clarkee is pretty good… Its ALL about the attitude, the programming and the stick-ability. I think he has it. Oh! Robbie Avery is not bad either lol
8. Biggest mistake, biggest fail, most embarrassing moment as a DJ / at a gig?
Again, too many to mention. Probably getting over excited, standing up on top of the DJ desk and entertaining the crowd only to fall on my arse, knocking the decks off. It was followed by 3/4 minutes of embarrasing silence while I tried to get the decks up and running. Whatever the fail, ALWAYS do it with a smile. The crowd can be quite forgiving.
9. How do you keep check of ego
My first manager told me that you are only as good as your last gig, One day you are the next best thing, next day you are forgotten. Im very critical of myself and NEVER take anything for granted. I am fully aware of the privalaged opportunities Im offered, when ego gets in the way or you try to ride off past experience you will fail… Guarenteed! Ive seen to many good people fall into the ego trap.
10. How do you find Housemasters, we like to call it your home of house music, do you see it like that and if not, how do we change that?
And an extra 2 questions just for you that we have been wanting to ask.
Playing with knives is right up there as one of the biggest and best tracks, not only of 91 but the whole scene. What is, if any, the story behind the track, its name and how do you feel about its impact and continued success?
Taken from an Interview Andy did
Well Vinyl Solution didn’t like it to start off with. It confused them. We had to convince them to put it out. They didn’t get it because of the abrupt change in the song. But it just took off. It was the timing. It was spot on. But it was a pure fluke. It came out in 1991 and went just outside the top 40. We were playing it everywhere as Bizarre Inc. All the big raves.
We didn’t think the song would have such a long lifespan?
We went to a studio called Out of Blue in Manchester and worked with this engineer called Adam Lesser. It was him really. At the time we were making stuff at home but he polished it. Me, Dean and Carl Turner went there – we worked through the night on it. It took us a day and a half to put it together. I remember lying on a sofa sleeping while the engineer Adam was messing with a bass drum or working on the vocal sample we used. It was that intense and the longest studio session I’d been on.
We didn’t know it was gonna be a hit. We just thought it was good. Dean took it to Graeme Park. He was the first person to play it and apparently the place just erupted. And Dean came back the next day said: ‘It’s gonna be massive mate’. We called it the Quadrant Park mix after the club where it was first played.
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