Having to accept reality is the hardest thing a bout growing up. From the moment we're born, as kids, we just do whatever makes us happy. Unfortunately, as we get older, we quickly realize we can't just live a life with a "fuck it" attitude. With that in mind, fantasies of becoming an astronaut or a football player quickly become memories buried beneath a stack of "TPS" reports. However, for a select few, such as Denver's newest underground beat-slayer, Meraki, those aspirations never fade. Accordingly, with the success of his thriving DJ career, he's become the perfect example of how dreams really do come true.
Cameron Jones, aka Meraki never wanted to be anything other than a DJ. While most of us are concerned with locking in the high score on Street Fighter, he was working on his finishing moves behind the decks. Seemingly, even as a 12 year old kid, he manages to discover the cheat code to unlocking unlimited lives so he could live the dream. Certainly, he appears to have leveled up to the point to where he's got the game in a chokehold and every time he comes out to play, his sets end in a fatality- Surely, anyone who has caught one of his recent performances can attest to that as they bust moves over the breaks like Eddy from Tekken. It feels like he's found a secret chest full of flashing stars- the man is invincible.
Passion Turned Meraki's Dreams into a Reality
As you can see, he's become the epitome of what it means for kids to follow their dreams. After all, where would the bass music scene be if there weren't some among us brave enough to do so. The fact that his parents bought into that when they bought him his first decks is a beautiful thing. Fast forward to today, and Meraki is now looking back over a long career in which he's accomplished more than he could have imagined. Even though he's living his best life, he believes he must be dreaming...
"If you could go back in time and tell 12 year old me I would be touring the country, playing direct support for some of the biggest names in Dance Music, I'd probably pass out."
With that in mind, Meraki continues to build bridges everywhere he goes so bassheads can cross over into the land of the underground. He's like the Johnny Appleseed of bass music. In his most recent foray into the Denver music scene he's already doing his part to help cultivate the culture. Linking up with area crews like Altitude Sickness, AK Productions, and 303 Family, he continues to spread his love for bass music. Outwardly, it seems like that is what drives his success - his passion for the music. Obviously, this is why SOB productions wanted to bring him on for their upcoming Halloween event featuring Krafty Kuts. Thus, it's nice to get the opportunity to check in with Cameron to get a bit of insight on his secret sauce for turning dreams into a reality.
Bass'D Out DNVR: You’ve been a busy man this year seemingly going non-stop between Colorado, California and points in between. Have you enjoyed getting back into performing live this year?
MERAKI: It's been incredible to be back! As the weeks turned to months when Covid began, I was questioning if things would ever return to 100%. So to say I'm grateful to be back on the road is an understatement.
BOD: Have you noticed anything different about the industry since we’ve been back?
M: The industry has definitely changed. A lot of clubs and promotions have gone under. Many that seemed to be untouchable are now barely hanging on. It's an extremely fragile situation we have to build out of now.
BOD: The industry definitely came roaring back and a lot of us are already looking forward to 2022. Do you feel like you made the most of this year so far? What has been your most memorable performance of 2021 and why?
M: This year far exceeded my expectations. My most memorable performance was the relaunch of my home club night in San Francisco. I was super nervous about how the night was going to go, the attendance, the vibe, the energy. It ended up being completely off the rails. I actually stayed till they turned the lights on because I knew it was such a special moment.
BOD: You recently moved out to Denver from the Bay Area. What made you decide to move here? Although you’ve performed out here multiple times in the past, has it been difficult re-establishing yourself as an artist in a new scene? What crews have shown you love thus far?
M: I've been fortunate to live in many different states. Denver was an easy choice, mainly because it's unlike any place I've ever lived before. I love different and new places. - I'm extremely thankful I got put on quickly by the local scene. Promoters I've traveled here for in the past and friends i made here in between booked me out months solid weeks before i made my move. Altitude Sickness, 303 Family, and AK Productions have kept me busy from the get go.
BOD: Do you notice any differences between the SF/OAK scene and the Denver scene?
M: A big difference here in Denver, is the amount of Drum & Bass nights. Denver has at least three times more than San Francisco.
BOD: You definitely hit the ground running when you got here, consistently picking up bookings throughout the year, including an upcoming gig for SOB Productions alongside Krafty Kuts. Are you a fan of Krafty’s music?
M: I love Krafty's tunes, 'The Wasp' & 'Flow' are a couple of my favorites.
BOD: Who are some other artists you’d like to see come out to Denver?
M: I would love to see Eatbrain Tour make it out this way with Jade and a couple of his label's alumni. Halogenix or Enei would be a pretty great fit here as well.
BOD: I notice that you’ve still got solid relationships with some Bay Area crews such as Outlet, PLUR Events, and Kandi Love. Can you talk a bit about those relationships and how they came about? How have they helped your DJ career?
M: Outlet (Rip) was a tremendous help on my music journey. I spent about 6 years living in Nashville TN, running my own production company and playing regionally in the surrounding states. When I returned to California I didn't really have any direction as to how to get things going musically for myself. I was playing odd job events, all different genres, making mixes regularly. Outlet picked me up after seeing me perform at an event opening for Gridlok, after having won a mix contest for the slot. They asked me for a demo the next week. They were putting me on prime time slots regularly shortly after. Outlet's dedication to keeping things fresh and looking for new talent was definitely something that kept them on top in the Bay Area for so many years. Many of the crew's alumni have gone on to do huge things in the music. The crew's events remain legendary on the west coast to this day. PLUR Events / Kandi Love are some of the most forward thinking event promoters in the country and have contributed essential knowledge to myself as well as many other young figures in the San Francisco scene. They walk an incredibly fine line hosting events in clubs (vs the underground) and in my opinion, are one of a handful promoters in the country that have really captured the high energy European vibe at their events. Their monthly So Stoked regularly sells out and features extremely unique and exotic acts from across the pond in all genres (with an emphasis on fast and heavy music). I was brought on to help them establish Drum & Bass at their events, first by performing, then by becoming their talent buyer.
BOD: Do you plan on continuing to perform in the Bay Area?
M: I plan to continue performing in the Bay Area as long as the opportunities to do so provide.
BOD: How passionate you are about doing what you love for a living is something that stands out about you; Particularly, with how immersed you are in the culture. How surreal is it to be doing exactly what you’ve always wanted to be doing after all these years?
M: Most kids grow up wanting to play sports, be an astronaut, or rock stars. I just wanted to be a local opening DJ. I was exposed to this music before I hit my teens and fell in love with it immediately. While many of my peers were into sports & video games, I was into my turntables (thanks mom & dad!). I got my first set of decks for Christmas when I was 12 years old, and I'm not even exaggerating when I say I practiced for at least an hour a day for the next 6 years. All i wanted to do was open local nights, which seemed like a completely reasonable goal. If you could go back in time and tell 12 year old me I would be touring the country, playing direct support for some of the biggest names in Dance Music, I'd probably pass out.
BOD: Looking back on your career, what are the things you’re most proud of?
M: As far as things I'm most proud of- I've been directly in the middle of bringing many European artists into America for the first time. I've established dance music communities that persist to this day in many different states. I've helped make drum & bass popular with the next generation of youth in San Francisco. People never know when they're going to have "the best night of their life". I'll never be able to say how many of those I've been a part of for sure, but I'm positive I've been a part of a few, and that genuinely brings me an incredible amount of joy.
BOD: Well, it seems pretty obvious that we’re glad to have you as part of the Denver underground scene now. Do you have any other upcoming projects or gigs and what can fans expect from you in the near future?
M: SOB & AK Productions: Krafty Kuts locally, Puerto Rico soon & my regular treks back to San Francisco and surrounding areas regionally.
BOD: Any shout-outs, comments, or gripes?
"That local guy Ryan Vail needs to find a new haircut cuz he's totally cramping my style."
Shout out to Meraki for checking in with BOD for the love of bass music! If you don't know by now this cat is a force to be reckoned with so don't miss you chance to get familiar with his sounds! Be sure to grab your tickets to Krafty Kuts here, check out his fire guest mix, then follow him at the links below.