Giuseppe Di Caccamo, Jr. (pka Giuseppe D. aka Pepe) was born in Weehawken, NJ of Italian/Colombian descent and spent his teen years living in Miami, FL. During that period, he developed relationships with producers like Lewis Martineé (Exposé), Ish (Foxy, Company B), and Tolga Katas (Stevie B and Linear). It was through these relationships in which Pepe developed his passion for music and his interest in studio production.
From those initial experiences to working with such club luminaries as Michael M., Tony Moran, Oscar G., Ralph Falcon, Kevin Aviance to producing an “American Idol” to working with such Latin talents as Elvis Crespo, Luis Fonsi, Juanes and the late Celia Cruz, Pepe continues to venture into uncharted territories while accepting more challenging music and production projects.
Now, let’s chat with Pepe and hear more about his experiences as a production aficionado. What particular path led you into remixing/production?
There were three influential things that got me into producing music full-time: 1) I was a big Atari freak, and I had the latest Atari computer which coincidentally you can make music with. 2) I went to a prestigious Cuban private school that has some famous musician kids, and 3) there was a lot of big dance music groups coming out of Miami at the time such as Exposé, Company B and so on, so I was listening to the radio heavily, started to play along with what I was hearing on my Casio, and said to myself, “If they can do this, so can I”.
Was there a particular person/mentor who helped you get started? Briefly explain.
The person that definitely helped me to get my start is The Voice Of Darkbeat himself Obá Frank Lord’s, which back then he had a group called Secret Society. He had showed up to help me on one of my first records, and we’ve become like brothers ever since. He broke me out of my shell and gave me the confidence to freely create all types of music.
What was your first remix?
Technically my first remix was for the first group I ever worked with; Los Sucios with “Sucias (Explanation Remix)” on Destune Records.
Which remix of yours got the attention of a particular artist or record label exec? Did it lead to something special?
On a lot of my early records, I would usually do all the remixes that would go along with my production, so I was shopping a track at Winter Music Conference that I created with Obá Frank Lord’s called “Descarga” by LatinXpress. I played it for my friend, Danny C., and he showed it to the label he was working for, Rhythm Associated Music (RAM). He comes back and tells me that it needs another mix to make the single complete. I turned in the remix in record time, and I get a call from one of the owners of this new label, Tony Moran. That sparked one of the most important music collaborations of my career that continues to this day.
Was there a particular remix of yours that you thought personally was some of your best work, but never got released? Why?
That would be my remix of Ricky Martin’s “Loaded” for Columbia. It never got the chance to come out because he had just gotten dropped soon after its release, and the prior single “She Bangs” didn’t do as well either. It did do very well for someone else I produced, but that’s another story (LOL).
In your opinion, which track/song has been the highlight of your remix career thus far?
One that really made an indelible mark in my remixing career (and opened the doors wide open in the Latin world for me) is my mix of “Suavemente” by Elvis Crespo. It was already a great song, but this mix just exceeded all expectations. When he performed my mix at The 2000 Miss Universe Pageant in Cyprus, during the entire swimsuit segment, I was blown away.
Favorite ALL-time Club record?
It’s tough to pick just ONE, but I guess if I have to pick one here, it would be “Pump Up The Jam” by Technotronic. I remember being on the dancefloor when it just came out, and when that Matrix-12 bassline came on, I just stood there in amazement. It was the biggest sounding record I’ve ever heard, and it got me to want to make my records to sound as BIG as that.
Current favorite club track? (it can be anglo or latino)
Currently, LMFAO’s “Party Rock Anthem”. It’s exactly what it is, and it’s just a fun record.
What do you feel is the strongest “trend”(or genre) in club music right now?
I’m loving how the “electro” sound is permeating so many genres. Dance music’s influence is becoming stronger again because of it.
What is your favorite new technology (or technological advance) that helps you in your remix/production work?
The iPad. Besides it having a bigger landscape than the iPod Touch and iPhone, you can do so much with it musically. I’ve used it as a controller, a drum machine, a synth, you name it!
If there was one thing you could change about the industry now, what would it be?
Add more dance music on radio, of course!
Is there a particular “wish list” artist that you hope to remix or collaborate with in the future?
I’ve been very lucky to be able to become friends and/or collaborate with so many artists that I grew up being a fan of, but the next contestant on my “wish list” would have to be Lady Gaga. It would be interesting to see what we’d come up with.