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Green Velvet answers some questions!!!!

Friday, November 9, 2001
Chicago's resident freakshow, Green Velvet hits town for a special Live show as part of the Gatecrasher Summer Sound System on Sunday December 2. Having just released a new album and with the track 'La La Land' big on everyone's playlist he imparted a few words of wisdom on the Oz massive ...

Q: When did you decide to become a musician- A: I started playing the saxophone in elementary school. Then, I started experimenting with keyboards while I was studying to become an industrial engineer. After graduation, I did my first internship at a local laboratory and it was immediately obvious to me that this was not my calling. The work was dull and conventional and I got the chills when I thought about doing that for the rest of my life. In the meantime, House music was born, which inspired me in quite a different way. In '92 I released my first single "Brighter Days" on Cajual Records.

Q: Was your first ambition to be a producer rather than a DJ-
A: Definitely, producing started off as a hobby during my college days when I loved the sound of house music in the 80's. The sound of house had a short life so I kept up the tradition and bought myself a keyboard, mixer and drum machine, $90 in all. As for deejaying, my dad was a DJ and he really didn't have an easy life. I always thought that there was no way you could make a living as a DJ. I never wanted to go down that road. Now I know a lot better though.

Q: Who are your idols- A: Grace Jones, David Bowie and Sly Stone. I admire these people because they have always done their own thing. They are innovative artists who never cared about the rules. They did things that weren't accepted by society and, despite that, they became very successful anyway. In that way, they are an example to me as I want to be for others.

Q: How do you come up with your crazy wardrobe A: I don't know. When I go shopping, I just pick up interesting pieces. Then, I alter them if I have to.

Q: Do you feel like an outsider- A: Yeah, I constantly feel like an outsider. To me, what I do is right - to everybody else, it's a little crazy. I don't understand that. I understand that some of the things I do aren't normal, but to me they just don't seem so crazy. When I decided to quit grad school to try and make it in music, I thought that somebody would understand, but nobody understood.

Q: Do you regret dropping out of grad school-
A: No, I never regretted it. The only thing that I missed was the problem-solving aspect of my chemical engineering studies. I used to really enjoy that.

Q: You used to run two record labels out of Chicago: Cajual(house) and Relief(techno). From what I gather, these two labels spawned Cajmere and Green Velvet along with underground artists as Dajae, DJ Sneak, Paul Johnson, Gene Farris, Boo Williams, Glenn Underground, and Gemini. The labels have proven to be beneficial to the house music scene, what happened to them- A: Despite the satisfaction it gives you to help your colleagues with the distribution of their musical ideas, running a label also involves a lot of business. You have to keep the artists happy, watch your staff, and do paperwork. Since the music business in itself already takes up a lot of energy, I had to lay low with the labels for the moment. But they will not disappear. Watch out when we will be back.

Q: As a thoughtful, intelligent artist, do you get tired of turning up to gigs with promoters expecting a crazy, full-on, party animal Green Velvet- A: Umm, well, yes and no. I would say no because I do like a party, you know I like a good party, I ain't gonna lie! But I don't party all the time.

Q: How did you get the name "Green Velvet-" A: My ex-girlfriend's dad took my name "Cajmere" and decided to take it to