Many DJs in the higher branches of the dance music tree are so intertwined in what they do that they can no longer see the woods from the trees. They can no longer see themselves or how the world perceives them – this is especially true in a climate where they’re surrounded by yes men and stooges.
At this point, they become prone to making ridiculous statements which leave them prone to being called out. Which brings us nicely to CamelPhat – a duo from Liverpool consisting of long-time friends David Whelan and Michael Di Scala. A more prickly and bad-tempered pair is hard to find even in the dance music world.
Yesterday, they took to Twitter to complain about “tech house variants” which are “destroying” classic records. In other words, they were commenting on the trend within dance music of cannibalising itself with pointless, cash-in remixes of old records – and this blog happens to entirely agree with their observation.
The problem with this area, however, is when you point fingers at others, expect some to be pointed back at you – as Defected’s Simon Dunmore discovered. And a quick look at CamelPhat’s own archive reveals a lengthy list of the types of remixes they now publicly claim they condemn.
Under their current alias of CamelPhat, they have put out remixes of 2002 track “Days Go By” by Dirty Vegas, the 1999 hit “Right Here Right Now” by Fatboy Slim and “Dancing In The Dark” by 4Tune500 from 2003. If this was all they’d done, they could easily get a pass from any criticism – but this is far from the reality.
Whilst the two men masquerade as the sound of the underground these days, they had no such qualms in their early days. Both men started out working with labels such as All Around The World – a label from England’s north west whose speciality was putting out rehashed covers of old records.
Di Scala was part of a number of tracks released via AATW – the most notable being his work in the group Ultrabeat, who released songs such as “Pretty Green Eyes” and “Feeling Fine”. He was also part of Rezonance Q, who did some highly dubious Scouse house remixes of 1992 song “Rhythm Is A Dancer” by Snap, 1994’s “I Luv U Baby” by The Original.
Whelan, in the meantime, was also involved with AATW – although to a lesser extent than Di Scala. The two men also collaborated on such efforts as “Shot Away” under the name Pawn Shop. The song was effectively a cover of 1969 record “Gimme Shelter” by the Rolling Stones, replaying its guitar riff and vocals. It’s far from the only instance in their early years.
The two have also remixed a few older records together, such as their 2006 rework of “Café Del Mar” by Energy 52 or their rework in 2008 of “Disco’s Revenge” by Gusto. They were also willing to put their name to a remix on Public Domain’s truly excruciating cover of Donna Summer’s “I Feel Love” in 2006.
All this taken together suggests to me that Whelan and Di Scala aren’t exactly in the best position to be complaining about sub-par remixes of older tracks. After all, they made some of them…
Update at 9pm – CamelPhat are either avid readers of this blog or like to search themselves on Twitter, because they responded to this post with this…
I’ll sleep well tonight OLD MAN, don’t you worry about me. 😂— CAMELPHAT (@CamelPhat) December 21, 2021