John Creamer & Stephane K: New York's Most Progressive Duo
Author: Jonty Adderley
Monday, 6 May 2002
Stephane K speaks softly as he recounts watching New York's World Trade Center collapse, just yards from his home and studio. Along with his production partner John Creamer, he was completing a mix Cd for Ministry magazine when the first plane struck.
"It sounded like ten trucks had had an accident right outside my studio and I didn't know it was a plane crash until I opened my window and saw the building on fire."
7 months, on the duo are sitting in a London studio finishing just one of the many remix jobs since 9/11. Ever since their progressive house remix of Kosheen's Hide U took the drum & bass act into the UK's top 10, they've been A list remixers, recently working on everybody from Sinead O'Connor to Crystal Meth's recent single You Like It Hard. Their own track Fuck Sonnet is also currently the subject of a major label bidding war, cementing their status as house men of the moment.
While Stephan is understated, radiating calm and quiet seriousness, John Creamer oozes energy, resembling Escape From New York's hero Snake Plisskin, all unshaven, scruffy glamour and bloodshot eyes from too many nights on the tiles. Despite their appearances, speaking to each one by one, their roles seem reversed Creamer happier to stick to music while K opens up about his life.
Skrufff: What are you working on in the studio here-
John Creamer: "We've just done a remix for Positiva of a track called Dove and we're just working on the vocals, it's a more house style lighter track than our usual dirty, dark sound, with a summer time vibe. In general, we're also doing a double CD for Bedrock and we're also working on some original music with Sander Kleinenberg that's coming out. Then also originals between just myself and Steph. I'm also travelling a lot, while Steph stays in New York mostly."
Skrufff: You're profile exploded last year following your remix of Kosheen, how do decide between using your ideas for remixes, or saving them for your own tunes-
John Creamer: "We're so busy doing remixes that we don't even think about the difference that much, there are so many remixes to do that the opportunities for us to work on original tunes are few and far between. Depending on which ones you do, remixes are really good for your career, because you get the money, whereas with originals they take more out of your head. Coming up with something conceptually good that's also sellable can be difficult so…"
Skrufff: Do you meet many of the people you remix, have you met Sinead O'Connor, for example-
John Creamer: "No. Remixes are like a good meal. If the aspects of each portion are right and cooked well then it becomes a good meal. For remixes, if the money's cool and the deal's cool, the vocal's good and the timing's right, then that's how we take them. Money comes last, though it's definitely nice to get paid. We've definitely done one or two remixes we've not been happy with artistically but it doesn't happen very often."
Skrufff: Are you a native New Yorker-
John Creamer: "I was born in Philadelphia, I grew up there and I've been in New York for ten years, since I was 18. I just fell into it in New York, I was pretty down and out in terms of money and ideas for a career when I first arrived in the city, and I ended up getting a job at Eight Ball Record store. I never had a premeditated plan to become famous making house records, in fact I used to play hip hop, so it definitely wasn't in my mind. My first house record was a gift for somebody, because I didn't have money for a birthday present."
Skrufff: When did you get into making house music-
John Creamer: "Probably around 1996. I always went out to the clubs and at one point there'd a Tags