One night late last year, local DJ Cajjmere Wray was at his computer at 3am instant messaging. But it wasn’t for the usual raunchy reasons. He was chatting on-line with über-DJ Peter Rauhofer.
That cyber conversation had Wray climbing several rungs on the ladder of DJ success.
“I got an instant message saying, ‘Here, I’ll send you the vocal parts and see what you can come up with.'” Wray recalls. “I think I called about 50 people I know and said, ‘This man just asked me to remix a song for his label!’ I couldn’t believe that. It just floored me.”
The admirably ambitious Wray had initiated contact three years previous, joining leagues of other DJs who prospect Rauhofer, hopes high. As owner of the label Star69 Records, Rauhofer has the unique ability to play Midas to aspiring aural aficionados.
“It was a long process,” says Wray. “I kept giving Peter my own material and getting him remixes I was doing for other artists. I’ve been told he is the kind of person who likes the entrepreneurial type. He doesn’t like someone who expects to be carried along; he likes someone who has been busting their ass on their own.”
Consider Wray’s ass busted. The hardworking DJ has spent years moving through the ranks, winning the title of Smirnoff Vinyl Warrior in 2005, while maintaining a popular Saturday residence at the Church St institution Byzantium and gaining some prime time at Sonic Nightclub.
“But this development with Peter puts you in a new stratosphere,” says Wray, citing the success of Montreal favourite DJ Stephan Grondin who, upon beginning to produce for Star69, saw his own career jump several notches.
Wray’s debut track for the Rauhofer label was the Bodyshakers’ single “Land Of Voodoo,” which came out in November. “That launched everything,” he says. “It gave me a name on a global scale, with support from so many DJs.”
At Roxy in New York City, Wray met Rauhofer in person for the first time. “He surprised me by playing ‘Voodoo’ in front of all of those people,” Wray says. “It was a bit surreal watching umpteen hundreds of people dancing to my remix, and there’s Peter in the booth, his head bopping. He saw the reaction to it, then sales took off, so he included the remix on his I Love Miami release late last year.”
Rauhofer soon had Wray working on other tracks. “Peter likes my sound because I’m not doing anything that is ‘gay DJ or ‘straight DJ’. He took a chance on me.”
Now it’s all about leveraging the break as Wray continues to push his career forward, although Wray demures to call it a “break.”
“This kind of career takes time to make happen,” says Wray. “But it’s coming. Bit by bit.”