What also has helped Calloway carve out his on space in the DJ circuit is his relationship with Loco Dice, who has taken the emerging talent under his wing, taking him out on tour and working towards establishing his own career. This is exactly how Calloway came into our periphery, spurring us to book him alongside Dice on his upcoming date in Room One this Saturday night. Well... that and our own appreciation of the new artists own capabilities behind the decks...
Naturally we were keen to find out more of this promising DJ's back story and how he goes about building his sets so we dropped him a line to ask how he's benefited from his alliance with Loco Dice and whether we can expect some releases as he moves forward in his career. Plus, you can listen to this exclusively recorded mix which promises the sharing of a treasure trove of unreleased material from his circle of producer friends.
Download: Caleb Calloway - fabric Promo Mix
I’ve read you grew up in a musical household can you tell us what was going on around you when you were growing up?
Caleb Calloway: Growing up a great majority of my family, on both my mom and father's side, had something to do with music - whether it be the business side of it or just playing an instrument. So music surrounded me. From a young age my mom put me in music lessons which ultimately sparked my interest. But the biggest influence was my uncle Jose “Pepe” Jimenez - he is currently Carlos Santana’s drummer and ever since I can remember has toured with the biggest Latin artists in the world. From him not only did I get the courage to really be serious about music but I also got great advice not making the same mistakes he did. It’s really helped me progress.
With Latin music being such a big part of your upbringing what drew you to the house and techno world and make you feel you wanted to start DJing?
Puerto Rico has an amazing music scene in general. Not a lot of people know this but at one point PR was the cradle for drum & bass and every major underground DJ has been to the island from every genre you can think of so we are very fluent in electronic music. But I would say the major thing that prompted me was living in NYC and really experiencing the top DJs and going back home and experimenting and creating new sounds and new music.
You seem to be a bit of a nomad, being born in Puerto Rico then moving to various towns in the States. Do you think there’s something about you that likes to experience new places and not settle permanently?
Well I moved around not by choice. My mother was a student doing her PHD and then teaching at universities, so wherever she went I went as well. I don’t see it as a negative. Be it just within the US you still get exposed to different life experiences and culture that’s give me these influences that I think make me unique. So I’m definitely a proponent not staying put and creating new experiences in new places.
"I’ve been a hip hop producer since I can remember; before DJing and before techno that was my life."
I’ve been looking out for some production from you but can’t seem to find any that's out there right now. Is there some on the way or do you just identify more with being a DJ than a producer?
I’ve been a hip hop producer since I can remember; before DJing and before techno that was my life. I recently worked on a EP with my crew LVCIUDVD and it debuted at number one on the Latin charts and I’ve been a big proponent of Latin hip hop for a while, but I like to keep it separate from my solo career. When it comes to techno I identify with both because they are equally important without one you can’t do the other in my point of view. In the next two months I have some remixes coming out and an EP so you’ll get a taste of my techno production for the first time. I’ve been really picky on what I want to release but now is the perfect time for me to push all these tracks I’ve been making for the last two years. I’m also getting in the studio soon with Loco Dice to collaborate and I'll be working solo as well for my first Desolat release.
Do you agree with the idea that you need to be releasing records to support a DJ career?
I agree that, if you are a new artist, for sure it goes hand in hand. It helps people find out who you are. Just one track can be played by so many DJs and that gives you a huge outreach. But as for established DJs I don’t think it’s mandatory that they have to release music constantly to be considered a great artist.
How do you go about your record digging process? Do you have any hot spots for finding records? What labels would you say consistently deliver?
When it comes to my music selection I have my go to labels of course, like everyone else does, but I love to dig around labels who are unknown. I prefer to get music from producer friends that might not be “popping” yet but are still amazing talents. And then of course there's a lot of my unreleased stuff that I play in my sets.
What’s your relationship with Loco Dice? You share a heap of billings with him and you’ll also be playing alongside him when you come to fabric in a couple of weeks’ time?
Loco Dice is family to me. There is no other word that could really can describe our relationship. He’s taken me under his wing, believed in my talent and put me in an position to shine which I think so far I’ve been able to do. Dice has mentored amazing artists like Guti, Yaya, Hector and tINI and I feel honoured to be a part of that legacy that he is leaving - of not only being an amazing DJ but discovering and developing talent.
You’re on tour in America right now, how’s that been? What have the clubs and crowds been like?
The US is where I began to spin so the crowds here I know them I know the difference between playing in Chicago and NYC and how to rock crowds that are 50% newcomers to our scene - creating a dope experience for them is important so that they keep coming back. I have friends in all of these cities and it’s been great to include them in my career and having them see what I’m doing now, it’s been a lot of fun.
We’re coming to the end of 2015 now so it’s a good time to start taking stock of what’s been achieved and enjoyed from the year just gone, what’s been your highlight?
My highlight has to be just touring and seeing all the new places in Europe meeting new people getting amazing feedback from my sets really. I'm living out my dream of music becoming a my career and not just hobby.