SCREAMIN’ RACHAELS interview with VENTS
Hi Rachael, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?
It’s great to get a chance to speak with Vents, at what I consider to be one of the most exciting times in my life! 2018 has really been an action-packed year! As I head into the holidays I have many things to reflect on and be grateful for.
Can you talk to us more about your latest single “I Am House”?
My latest single “I Am House’” is all about the House lifestyle. It’s really a fun song and even though there is a message, it’s one that resonates the “inclusive, everyone’s invited” vibe that is what our sound represents. The song can take you anywhere as I believe House Music does… Like I say in the track, “You can be in your own room, but believe it or not, you’d be flying somewhere else.” As I DJ myself, I wanted to create something that DJs and dancers could relate to, mix, and dance their asses off! It’s meant to be a floor banger! I am also excited that one of my favorite DJs, Laurent Garnier, is a fan of it! He’s been supporting Trax since the very beginning but when he picks up on a track especially one of mine, I’m elated! There is a great mix package created by Carmelo Carone, one of our top DJ Producers, who also happens to have one of the most respected DJ pools around. It’s kind of like in the beginning days when we released tracks to DJs first. I am thankful that Carmelo and some of today’s hottest DJ/ producers including: Al-Faris, Moussa Clarke, Sam Sky, Sascha Drive, Sonny Francini, and Zak Gee for their work on my project, and of course, legendary Joe Smooth, for kicking it off with me!
Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?
The inspiration came from where House Music is today. I’ve been in this genre since I was a kid, and I’ve watched it grow from being what many considered to be a fad into becoming a major respected genre that people all over the world know and love. These days just about everyone in today’s major pop music are getting into or calling themselves HOUSE! Kanye West just sampled a Trax beat on “Lift Yourself”. In fact that became a major beef covered in Rolling Stone Magazine ,as he had promised to do a project based on our beat with Drake. Kaskade sports Trax T-shirts at his major concerts, and most recently David Guetta tried to claim that he was responsible for bringing House music to America on ABC Nightline…
Any plans to release a video for the single?
A video is in the works and will be released any day now. Right now as I’m being interviewed, the final tweaks are being made. Drucilla who has the Youtube channel ‘Drucilla’s World’ helped me conceive and create the concept. It’s interesting because, Drew works with some of my original NYC Club kid friends Ernie Glam, and Michael Alig, on their show The Pew .So everything about this production is like the circle of my life. It goes from my original long time Club Kid friends connection to back where I started with Joe Smooth in Chicago, and beyond to some of my newest supporters around the world. Again, the video is not serious it’s fun and has a retro vibe. It’s not high tech or overproduced and that is just the way true House Music itself is.
How was the recording and writing process?
The recording and writing process just flowed! When people tell me they spend weeks and months on writing a project, that’s not the way House happens…
What was it like to work with Joe Smooth and how did that relationship develop? How much did he get to influence the song?
Whenever I do a project with Joe Smooth, just like his name implies, things just move along smoothly! We have been friends for years and worked on a number of cuts together, and our work is never forced. We have always work well together well and seem to feel each other’s talents. We started with a track and an Idea. This time Joe said, “Tell the story, let people know about our House world…the way we live, the way we feel.” When we work together, it’s a 50/50 collaboration. There is never arguing and there is tremendous mutual respect between us. I believe great House Music comes easy, because it’s all about the feeling and flow. That’s the way House is and always will be. True House creators and fans just get it.
As EDM and electronic music gain much popularity – how does it feel to play one of the major players, at least in the House music realm?
I’ve never compared House Music to EDM. I do believe that House however, is the mother of all electronic music as we know it today. I consider it to be the Rock and Roll of our generation. Being a major player in it, feels great because it’s what I’ve dedicated my life to. Trax Records was the first label to put the producer/DJ’s name prominently on the record, vinyl records back then! So today we have Superstar DJs and DJ culture. Kids these days want to be DJs and it all started humbly in a warehouse located in Bridgeport in Chicago. So I thank God everyday for fulfilling my dream of bringing Trax and my beloved sound to the world. Also being a woman in this industry, I want to encourage other woman to believe in themselves. I’ve done this on my own terms and I can proudly hold up my head and never look back.
With such a title – does that put any pressure on you as you release new material or rather the opposite?
The thing about me is I’ve never felt pressure about my music. From day one I create the songs exactly as I feel them. I follow my own vision. I don’t try to aim for being commercial. It’s a wonderful thing that many people know of me, love and support what I do. I think the reason that I’ve stayed independent is because I love the freedom it affords me. I have worked on projects for some major label artists, and sometimes the interference really gets in the way, at least I feel as though it does. My music is my art, and I don’t follow formats or formulas. In fact that’s why I believe this genre and Trax Records itself has a timeless quality. We are organic not manufactured, that’s why it’s taken a while to be recognized. We are an EVOLUTION REVOLUTION!
Do you feel the need to somewhat reinvent the genre or do you feel there’s no need for it?
I feel our genre has never needed to be reinvented. In fact it’s always morphed and grown on its own. When people ask me to define the Trax sound, or how it’s changed, that in itself defies definition. Think of the sounds we have created right from the very beginning of the label. How can you compare “Move Your Body” to Acid Trax, or Love Can’t Turn Around? And today there is not a way to define the new sounds of recent tracks like “Chicago’’ to “Spirits Rising” or “Some Other Time”. We have never been a marketing plan or designed to sound like a pre-existing hit. We are House, We are Trax and that’s the beauty of it!
Do you tend to take a different approach when you are collaborating with someone else rather than in your own?
My approach to collaboration is always the same as in either it’s going to work naturally, or it’s not for me. But on the other hand, what I love about House is the fact that through re-mixes, others can come up with interesting interpretations that I might never have thought about. But still no one works on a project unless they vibe with it in the first place.
Does the new single mean we can expect a new material – how’s that coming along?
I have some great new material on the horizon and in fact, I’m currently working on an album. The next follow-up single is a collaboration with the French group, Space, who inspired Daft Punk. I feel Didier, the songwriter of the group, is a genius! It’s the 40th Anniversary of their smash hit instrumental, “Magic Fly”, and it will be the first vocal version ever. The track is nothing like “I Am House”, and the vocal approach is completely different. That’s just me–I follow whatever I’m feeling at the time. As I was writing, I could picture myself in Monte Carlo in a sports car with wind blowing in my hair. Then in Kremlin Square, actually in concert… It just makes me feel good everytime I hear it, and takes my spirit around the world! It also has a feature guest spot on it by a great up and coming Chicago group, Heartbreak.
Any tentative release date or title in mind?
We will probably release it in the spring with my album soon to follow.
Any plans to hit the road?
I love traveling on the road and plan to do some touring in support of the album. Also next year is the Trax 35th Anniversary, so a Trax Tour is definitely on the horizon!
What else is happening next in Screamin’ Rachael’s world?
My world is more exciting than ever! I’ve signed some great new acts to the label, including Chris Jones, who just happens to be Grace Jones’s brother. They are family to me, and Chris is amazing as an artist and friend. Plus his single, “Strong”, is produced by one of my favorite producers, Eric Kupper. Well-known writer, Michael Musto, has a great voice, and his song “I’ve Got Your Back” is featured on our current soundtrack, so I’m looking for soulful material for his album.
It was always a dream of mine to be in the movie business. I also love acting, starting with my days at The Lee Strasberg Institute. Michael Musto, Apache Ramos, Lillo Brancato, Angel Salazar, Michael Alig, Gerry Visco, and a host of other friends and actors, including Ron Jeremy are featured in The Vamp Bikers Trilogy film. I met an incredible director, Eric Rivas, and things just snowballed from there. The trilogy is on Amazon Prime and many other digital platforms, and distributed by Sony Orchard who are the largest distributor of independent films. BE SURE TO STREAM IT! Of course the Soundtrack is on Trax, available everywhere and we just had a huge release party for it in NYC. We are currently working on our 4th film, Japanese Borscht .So to put my world into perspective, I’m super busy and living my dream!