Rachael’s “I Am House” + Exclusive Interview oneEDM.com
Are you one of the House children? Are you in the House club? Do you even have the House vibe?
Racheal Cain aka Screamin’ Rachael is the queen, the matriarch, and one of the most passionate upholders of House music. President of the legendary House label, TRAX Records, Rachael Cain brings to you her latest release, “I AM HOUSE”. A lesson in the meaning and essence of house music, “I AM HOUSE” commands. With the help of House music trailblazer and innovator Joe Smooth, Screamin Rachael lands a one-of-a-kind club music highlight. It takes you on a trip by painting an image in your mind of the massive collective soul of House music. Joe Smooth and Rachael have a natural chemistry together that is observed by the listener with every kick-drum and liberated lyric.
A classic sound with one confident and bombastic decree. “I AM HOUSE” will grab your attention and captivate you with it’s ABC’s in the genre. House music ( along with its Chicago roots) has a very strong and prominent contribution from the LGBTQ community. “I AM HOUSE” is a perfectly presented track that could resonate within the LGBTQ community. A track that could easily be featured during a lip sync battle on RuPaul’s’ Drag Race! Or even blasting through the amps on an NYC pride parade float. By the end of the track, you’ll be declaring and claiming that you are too House music.
A woman with heart and passion not only about House music but about life and love. Rachael Cain gives an honest and open story of how House music saves her by touching her innermost self, her spirit. Rachael states just why House music has impacted her very existence. Rachael chatted with OneEDM as she gears up for her new music, Trax Records plans, and future tour!
OneEDM: Your new release “I AM HOUSE” is a workshop on the definition, and the meaning of house music. Who is this statement directed to? Are people failing to understand what House Music is?
SCREAMIN’ RACHAEL: “I am House” is actually meant to reach anyone who can groove to the music! I travel a lot and notice that young people almost everywhere understand English, but for those that don’t, I feel the beat and nuances can transcend the language… of course, it is something that House Heads and perhaps those interested in the movement can understand. House Music is all about a feeling and I know that not everyone understands that, but there are millions of people around the world that do feel its spiritual side.
On the other hand, House Music is fun and it makes people feel good! There are a number of people who feel that House Music is the mother of all electronic music as we know it today including EDM. I hope that my music and music from my label TRAX will get people to understand more about House and the positive lifestyle it represents. Historically I hope people will be educated to know it was born in Chicago!
What was the writing process with Joe Smooth like while working on “I AM HOUSE”?
Every time I work with Joe Smooth our ideas seems to flow together with ease. His music inspires me and brings out feelings, melody, and lyrics instantly. We’ve always had a special relationship like that. Nothing is forced. The song came about in one session at Joe’s studio. He suggested that I tell the story about our lifestyle and I did! It’s magic when things happen that way. Truthfully though, I think that’s the beauty of our style – it’s simple and straightforward from the heart!
“I AM HOUSE” gives an emotion of pride for not what just House music is but what it is to know yourself and your truth. Would you say music has led you to know yourself better? Did it deepen the relationship you have with yourself?
I have always found myself in my music. From a very early age singing and also writing poetry and short stories became my center. Like a lot of artists, I didn’t feel like I fit into the norm so I created my own safe space through creativity. I went through bullying, and I turned to art as my escape. So it was that by reaching inside my own soul I developed pride and self-esteem. Everything we all need is inside ourselves. You need to look no further.
“Are you one of the house children are you in the house club do you even have the house vibe?” is a line that stands out. As an original Club Kid, what makes the children of House Music so special? What is it that is completely unique about a child of House music?
People into this music sometimes ask are you one of the house children? It’s not about age or where you come from, it’s not about what you have or your status. It really is the comfort of knowing that you are with genuine people who feel love and unity through the music. You could be anywhere in the world but if you’re with true house children you are welcome, you are part of the group. There is no discrimination based on race, religion or belongings and that is what makes them unique and special. God bless house children everywhere and may their ideology spread and continue to grow.
Has House music ever not worked for you?
There has never been a time that House Music hasn’t worked for me. All I have to do is listen. As soon as I do, I remember why I live this life and no matter what hard times are in the moment the music makes me realize that they will pass.
Has House music changed at all in your opinion? If it did, would you consider that a good thing?
House music is constantly growing and changing, yet at the same time, there is something timeless about the sound. When I listen to classics they sound as fresh as ever. I don’t know how to explain it. I think it is the simplicity, the way it just touches you. It developed organically and was never a marketing plan. It was a natural progression as a genre and it’s time has come. That’s a great thing and House music will never die!
What are your favorite parts of House Music?
My favorite part of house music is how it makes you feel. Years ago Tony Wilson, the Englishman behind the Hacienda club, New Order and basically the British house movement, said something funny, “Now even white people can dance”. That’s laughable of course, but you’d be hard-pressed to hear House Music and not see people moving, or at least bobbing their head. And then it just brings up my spirit and seems to wash away my problems. There are lots of people that agree it works better than any drug! At least it does for me!
What memories can you share that stick out to you during your years in and out of multiple clubs like The Chicago club “The Warehouse”?
I’ve had so very many transformative nights in clubs that it becomes difficult to choose, so since you mentioned the Warehouse let’s start there. I was playing a punk gig that got busted and a kid came up to me during all the commotion and said: “Frankie Knuckles is mixing your record down at the Warehouse!” I had never heard the word mixing before so I decided since my show was ended, and lucky for me I wasn’t arrested, I’d go see what it was all about. From the moment that huge warehouse door swung open my life was changed forever! I can’t explain it but it was the power of the music and the freedom of the dancers that made me decide right then and there that sound was for me!
And then I understood that mixing made the music go on and on, so it could take you on a journey. Just like I say in the song you could be flying somewhere else! I can tell you about the first time I heard Larry Levin play my song “My Main Man” at the Paradise Garage! I felt like a superstar! Or getting to DJ at Wanderlust in Paris one of my favorite clubs and cities to a packed house! I’m very blessed and so thankful for where house music has taken me! And for great nights hearing some of my favorite DJ ‘s like Michal Magnum in NYC play my song when no one knows I’m there and just enjoying the moment and dancing in the crowd!
You had taken over as President for TRAX Records back in 2012. What in that time till now have you experienced and learned that showed you more to the House music community that you’ve never seen before?
Since taking over as president, I am seeing tremendous growth. There seems to be a lot more recognition about House Music and Trax Records in general and that is what I am striving for. One very important cause of mine is the preservation of our history. Hip Hop is represented in the Smithsonian and The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. They recently opened a Hip Hop museum in LA. There is still no permanent representation for House Music anywhere. I am currently speaking to the Chicago History Museum about the Trax Records Archives, and we also hope to extend the collection with items that lots of others have also collected. We have a wealth of original photos, video, master tapes, art poster and much more. So the preservation and growth of our ideas, are of prominent importance to me.
Recently, there have been artists who have sampled TRAX Records past hits. Could bringing together old school style with the music of today be helpful in bringing more people to House music?
There has always been a good deal of sampling done with House Music because unlike Hip Hop we mostly create our own beats and sounds. Lately, however, our genre is really infiltrating pop music. It’s exciting to see the impact we are having. When Kanye West and Drake fought over our beat recently and the story made Rolling Stone Magazine it made the movement of sampling House a lot more evident to the public. Besides samples, however, many artists who I consider EDM, are calling themselves House, such as Kygo who says he’s Tropical House. Of course, since I believe House is the mother of all this, I consider all of this attention from current pop artists a great thing.
What do you feel the relationship between House Music and Hip-Hop music is like?
Personally, I’ve always had a relationship with Hip-Hop. The way I see it, both House and Hip Hop are a music of the people, born from the street. I was mentored by Sylvia Robinson, the woman behind Sugarhill Records, so it was there that I meet Afrika Bambaataa and we decided to combine the two sounds to create Hip House when we recorded “Fun With Bad Boys”. Believe it or not, that was considered a radical idea then! Today it seems as though that term may not be used, but the idea is more common and relevant than ever. Hip Hop artists are becoming more and more interested in House beats because we are living in a time when people want to dance.
The track “Boom Boom” has been picked up by Viacom and it is being used for the 2018 MTV Music Video Awards commercials. House Music clearly is being represented in mainstream music because the genre lives on. How will Screamin’ Rachael live on in House music say 100-200 years from now?
I was very excited that the Boom Boom Beat was used for the MTV video awards. That representation really solidified the idea in my mind that our genre was enshrined in popular culture. Still, MTV has never done a special about House Music. Interestingly enough, its England that has done a number of documentaries about House. They sent more than 4 crews to Chicago to interview us. One of them was called “I was there when House took over the world” and the most recent one was titled “Can You Feel It” after the famous house anthem from Trax Records.
I hope that more people in America will learn about our history. It’s as though our music has been assimilated into the modern culture without the story really being told. I hope that my music and legacy will live on for hundreds of years. One day the story of Trax and our history will be told and I’m hoping that what I did as a woman which is unusual these days, will be widespread in the future. I hope that my story will encourage others, to follow their dreams. But the most important thing I’d like to live on is the joy I’ve felt because of the music.
Why is it that originators get underappreciated in the music industry? Do you feel appreciated enough for your contribution to House music and music in general?
I think it’s sad that sometimes originators are not always recognized or appreciated enough. I really feel that was true in Hip Hop. I mentioned my days at Sugarhill, I felt bad that people like Melle Mel, Grandmaster Caz, Jazzy Jay, Busy Bee, and others were forgotten and people mostly remember Def Jam and their artists. I promised myself that I would make sure we House originators would not be forgotten and thanks to documentary’s and our timeless music, I believe we will be remembered. I still have a long way to go so I feel good about myself and the appreciation that I’ve received so far!
Can you tell us about your involvement with the soundtrack to The Vamp Bikers Trilogy film series?
I have always been fascinated by movies and acting. In fact, I attended the Lee Strasberg Institute in NYC. Apache Ramos, who first discovered me and brought me to New York, happened to be one of the stars of the cult classic “The Warriors”. We kept in touch over the years and about 4 years ago he introduced me to a very talented director Eric Rivas. So my dream about movies came true and not only did I get to appear in all three Vamp Biker movies but all of the music came from Trax! I’m happy to say that I also arranged for the distribution with Sony Orchard. You can see or purchase the Vamp Bikers Trilogy on most digital platforms and even stream them on Amazon! The soundtrack is now available everywhere and you can hear some of the very best music we have ever represented!
Can we potentially see a live performance of “I AM HOUSE” in the near future?
I can’t wait to tour! Performing and DJing are my favorite things so once my album is finished around spring, I plan to perform and take myself and the Trax team on the road!
What more does TRAX Records have in store for the world to see?
Trax is really entering the most exciting time we have ever had, or I’ve ever imagined. We are on our 4th movie “Japanese Borsch” and have signed exciting new artists and music! The future is very bright indeed! We have amazing producers like Carmelo Carone, and exciting talent including Chris Jones, who just happens to be Grace Jones’ brother, but he’s a stellar talent in his own right! Then we are going to be featured on the new Rockstar Game, and like as I predicted in I AM HOUSE our music is featured in the new Maison Kitsune Acid Collection. We are just hitting our stride! And Trax Records which has been recognized by DJ’s for years is now hitting international consciousness… look out world we’re screamin’ OUT!
What does love mean to you? When you’re thinking of love who or what comes to mind?
House music is love to me! And I’ve got to say when it comes to Trax everyone is invited to our party’s. It’s all about The LOVE! To quote the words of “Can You Feel It” you may be black, white, Jew or gentile it don’t make a difference in our house and this is FRESH”!
– ONE EDM