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It’s not every day you get asked if you would like to interview one of the biggest names in the New York dance scene right? So, of course, I jumped at the opportunity to hook it up as soon as possible. However, in doing so, I never thought in a million years that I’d actually make a new friend out of it.
Most of the DJs/Producers I’ve interviewed have preferred to just get sent a copy of the Q&A questions & we go back & forth till everything is ready to be published but not Mr. John Creamer. He wanted to chat. He wanted to get to know who he was talking to.
I think I may have passed with flying colours !
To call John Creamer one of the most prolific and influential DJ, producer & songwriters of the last 20 years would be a gross understatement. Since arriving in New York City in the early “90’s Creamer has worked relentlessly to create his own individual sound.
Heading up the A&R managing position for the legendary Eightball Records shop and then label he started producing some of his own tracks whilst working alongside some of New York’s most accomplished producers and DJ’s such as Junior Vasquez, the infamous Sound Factory resident.
It wasn’t long after that Creamer would become acquainted with the artist whom would see him shoot to stardom from the 2000’s onwards, Stephane K.
Belting out some of the scene’s biggest remixes of the century including Satoshi Tomiie’s “Love In Traffic”, Nat Monday’s “Waiting”, Kosheen’s “Hide U” and arguably their greatest seminal hit iiO’s “Rapture” as well as countless originals such as ‘Forget The World’ and ‘Wish You Were Here’.
These two definitely built their own distinct sound which incorporated darker tribal effects and hypnotic percussion which attained significant heights when the great Mr. John Digweed selected them to mix the fourth volume of the acclaimed Bedrock compilation series.
Today, we have the honour of chatting with John about all things past, present and future…..
Strap yourselves in peeps….
Full Name: John Joseph Creamer
Date of Birth: 5.11.73
Nationality: America White New York City Dope Fly
Occupation:DJ/Producer/Record Label Owner Labels: Eyedillic, AEye, M.O.S., Defected Current Releases: ‘Silent Praise’, ‘Way Back’ on UpAllNight
Musical Mentors: Wild Pitch, DJ Pierre and DJ Premier
G’day John. Thank you so much for taking time out to have a chat with us all today.
From what I’ve read you arrived in New York in the early 90’s and soon worked your way up to heading the A&R department of the legendary Eightball Records Label. Can you tell us a little about that period of your life and what the New York dance scene was like at that time?
Ok, so I worked at Eightball in the early 90’s and I would sell records to everybody…. You know, people like Frankie (Knuckles), Junior (Vasquez), Morales, Francois K, Masters At Work… all the New York City crew. I was lucky enough to be in this position where I built relationships with these people and it was all still underground. I mean, I feel truly blessed.
The thing that really dictated the New York dance scene at the time were the gay clubs. Friday nights would be Frankie at the Sound Factory Bar. We would all just go and listen you know? It was his!
Then the after hours on Sunday mornings at the Sound Factory with Junior were also the sh*t! I used to roll to the club and hang out with all these peeps who are now heavy hitters in the scene. Those were the main things popping back then.
You have a strong musical background – what instruments did you play growing up?
I used to play the Trombone because I wanted to be involved with the ska and reggae scene but I’ve always had a music theory background and that was the start of me wanting to make music.
What was the first album or piece of music you bought for yourself? How old were you?
Shit! That’s going back a long time ago girl! I’d say, Ice T, LL Cool J. Stuff like that. Also, J.J. Johnson because I was playing the trombone but mostly all Hip-Hop. I’d say I was around 14/15 years old at the time.
What was your first gig like?
It’s crazy but my first gig was with Danny Tenaglia. My second gig was around “93 with Frankie and Francois K at the Sound Factory Bar. I was playing acid jazz in the basement and they played upstairs but I also had a few random gigs around town with Giant Step.
It has been said that there are many descriptions of the ideal state of mind for being creative. What is it like for you? What is your inspiration?
Look, everyone makes music because they have something to say right? It’s a medium to get a point across but I ultimately feel it needs to come from emotion.
The creatives that are doing it because they are valid artistically and are creating something for the scene and are really about music and getting their point across, that’s where I get my inspiration.
I want to move people emotionally with my music.
I’m sure most of our readers are well aware of your releases and remixes with your production partner Stephane K. Can you tell us how you guys met and when you realised you were both on the same wavelength musically speaking?
When I was at Eightball Records I hired Stephane to do a project. This was about ’93. So, we slowly got to know each other through working out of the same studio.
By “95/“96 we had started to collaborate together and were knocking stuff out for some Japanese labels. I then left Eightball and went to Satellite Records and through a friend of mine (who was also working there at the time) I got a copy of the Kosheen vocal ‘Hide U’. I basically left the record store and went straight to the studio with Steph and was like ‘this vocal is fire’ and we made that record in one night.
So, anyways I burnt a bunch of our originals and remixes that we had onto a CD and this friend of mine, James Bem, god bless him (Creamer starts chuckling here) because I was having beef with him at the time just rolls up to a John Digweed set at Twilo and hands him the CD.
So, John Digweed calls me one day and was like ‘Hey man, I really love your music’ and I was like ‘What?’ (I start chuckling here!). After that ‘Hide U’ just blew up. From there we went onto to release ‘Rapture’, ‘I Wish You Were You Here’, ‘Love In Traffic’ etc and then got asked to do the Bedrock comp.
Are there any artists you would like to work with that you have not yet had the opportunity to do so?
Aaliyah and Sade
What is the one track that never gets old for you no matter how many times you hear it?
Morphine – Top Floor, Bottom Buzzer
Do you have a favourite genre of music or do you just like what you like regardless of genre?
Dancehall - New York Jamaican Dancehall.
Name three up & coming DJs/Producers you would recommend our readers to keep an eye out for?
Wild Pitch. Wild Pitch. Wild Pitch
Away from music, how do you relax? What hobbies etc do you enjoy?
I love cooking. I am a mean cook.
In 2018, you alongside Noam Rubenstein, formed ‘UpAllNight’ and have since produced some incredible genre-bending NY sounding melodic house. Can you tell our readers more about this collaboration and what new originals, singles and or remixes are in the pipeline for you guys?
UpAllNight is another collaboration with a New York cat, Noam. We decided to work together because we wanted to make dope sh*t. Technology has changed, the time is different. I mean, he comes from a different scene than me so we have different sensibilities and attitudes to our production process and end up coming up with sounds that neither of us would have reached on our own so it’s cool.
But ultimately, it’s really just to make more music.
It’s similar to my Creamer & K sound but a little updated. We’ve had support from legendary selectors including Digweed, Hernan Cattaneo, Kenny “Dope” Gonzalez, Hector Romero and a tonne more.
I’m looking forward to seeing where we can take this.
That concludes our interview this month with the great man, John Creamer. For all up&coming new on what’s coming up for him on the music front please follow him below at:
Bean's next interview on GDMC will be published on Friday the 8th of January!
The founder of the Global Dance Music Collective, Bean is a tireless creative and her creativity take expression through the forms of DJ'ing, production, design and articulation in the written form.
Spanish by heritage, Bean brings together her innate passion with the artistic forces that combine and come together in Melbourne, Australia.
A DJ with Pedigree, Bean plays