Cajual Records: What was the biggest difference producing house music versus hip hop?
Just Blaze: House evolved from disco and to a certain degree, soul. Hip hop evolved from disco and rock breaks, so there is a more of a common link than most people realize, although they've both branched out In so many different directions since their initial evolution.
That being said, it wasn't really hard, both forms of music rely on the groove first and foremost so it was just a matter of finding a groove that fit how I felt at the time, and fit with the feel of the song itself.
I think the big difference is in hip hop production you have to be careful to leave certain frequency ranges open for the artist to perform, you have to leave room for them, and that doesn't really ever change. Which is why many hip hop instrumentals can drone on after a minute or 2. Dance music can exist as a pure instrumental, or as a dub mix of a song where lyrics just accent the indstrumental, so there's a bit more freedom to play with things.
What were some of your favorite Cajual Records tracks?
Obviously "Brighter Days" is a big one. The double 12" with all the remixes was hard to find around my way because everyone kept buying it!! Took me forever to find it. "Percolator" is another, along with that horny dub mix of "You Got Me Up". "Preacher" and "Flash" are great too. I always used to cut up Preacher with DHS' "House of God". That was a lot of church!
How did this project come about?
I don't remember.. Oh! I'd done a Holiday Party with A-trak and Fool's Gold, and he specifically asked me to do a house set. I guess he had a sneaking suspicion haha.. The set was recorded and spread on the Internet. I played a few Cajual classics during that set and Jon reached out. We've been in touch ever since then so when he asked me if I was interested, I was like "Umm Yeah!! I just had to find time to get it done. Somehow I found a way to add a 25th hour into a day and knocked it out in a few hours.
How long have you been listening to house music?
I have no idea, I grew up around al forms of music, but I can say the first house records I ever had were "Can you Party" and "A Day in the Life", both by Todd Terry of course. Also remember shortly after that time period, hip-house became the big thing so that tied right into it all for me. Then I discovered all the Fast Eddie and Tyree stuff coming out of Chicago, and as I did my research I just got further down the rabbit hole. By the time Strictly Rhythm hit the scene I was all the way in.
What next in the house music world? Is this something you will be doing more often?
I have no idea what's next. I'm just happy and blessed to be able to exist in both worlds a bit and maintain my respect. Not always an easy thing to do! As far as me doing this more often, I actually have another record coming out on Fool's Gold. It's been finished for a while now I just haven't sent it in. It's got a nice retro disco groove and could potentially be a big record. Maybe thats why I'm hesitant. Nerves maybe? I don't know. I gotta get over that!!
Interview by Jon Huang