CamelPhat Are The Liverpool DJ Duo Achieving Global Stardom Whilst Still Ensuring That Their Roots Are Still Firmly Cemented In Liverpool
Multi-Platinum DJ and Production duo, Dave Whelan and Mike Di Scala, better known as the incomparable CamelPhat, have enjoyed a meteoric rise to the top of the dance music world since breaking through with global hit ‘Cola’ in 2017.
The GRAMMY and Ivor Novello-nominated pair from Liverpool have continued to evolve their sound, releasing a slew of hits, and becoming one of Beatport’s biggest-selling artists of all time.
CamelPhat have managed to build on having one of the biggest global crossover dance hits of the modern age without losing credibility. Having streams running into the billions, they’re more connected to and committed to serious dancefloors than ever.
The Lowdown On CamelPhat
They’ve earned themselves a huge 20-date residency at Ibiza’s revered PACHA club, bringing in brilliant guests from across underground music, and have not long since launched their own When Stars Align label to fantastic response.
Getting here has been an interesting balancing act. In the six years since their single 'Cola' went supernova, Dave Whelan and Mike Di Scala have worked tirelessly to make sure audiences and peers understand that they’re the real deal.
Dave Whelan of CamelPhat, said: 'There’s always been assumptions about us, and we’ve always been determined to prove them wrong!'
Dave and Mike are dance music lifers. They are completely infused, to the very core of their being, in club culture as something that exists outside the cycles of hype – and in particular they are rooted in the uniquely vivacious culture of their home city, Liverpool.
The pair had parallel upbringings in the Liverpool City Region, both of them being bedroom DJs from the age of 12, Mike in his early teens even producing banging trance music on his rudimentary home computer's 'tracker' software: 'all numbers pouring down the screen like The Matrix!' as he puts it.
They both threw themselves into clubbing but wouldn’t meet ‘til around the turn of the millennium, when Dave went into a record shop where Mike was working as security guard. They got chatting and bonded over shared attitudes and love of funky house – which at the time seemed a way more fun alternative to the trance that still dominated the super clubs.
There was no great plan, but unconsciously they knew they needed to let their productions shine in their own right.
How CamelPhat Began
In 2008 they photographed themselves in wrestling masks, called themselves CamelPhat, set up a Soundcloud with the location set to Milan, put out a couple of tracks… And instantly top tastemakers got on board: Pete Tong, Annie Mac, Soul Clap, the Adana Twins. Suddenly people worldwide were judging them not on their preconception of glammed-up Liverpudlian crowds, but on what came out of the speakers. And the snowball hasn’t stopped rolling since.
In their natural sense of humour and mischief, a kind of anti-philosophy was building. 'Doing the opposite of the obvious is when things happen' says Dave. 'Yeah but you can’t try too hard either,' continues Mike. 'It’s like The Secret… but the wrong way around!' All of this fed into the wit and funk of their music, and things kept getting bigger. Every so often there’d be an 'OK this is big' milestone as in 2014 when Pete Tong and Annie Mac dropped 'The Act' to a vast Glastonbury crowd, live on BBC Radio 1. But then in 2017 came the one-two of first 'Hangin’ Out With Charlie' – signed to Green Velvet’s legendary Relief Records, it gave them their first Beatport number one – then another track from the same sessions… 'Cola'.
And that’s when it went, in Dave’s words: 'From zero to a million miles an hour.' Their Multi-Platinum track, 'Cola', became simply one of the biggest house records of the modern era.
'There’s always been assumptions about us, and we’ve always been determined to prove them wrong!' - Dave Whelan of CamelPhat
What make this achievement more impressive is when you factor in that most other huge tunes were reworks of classic tracks or familiar samples, while its eerie, slightly electroclash-y narrative and bumping groove were all-new and all-original. To add to that, they’d shown their faces for the first time as CamelPhat on the cover – the attention was a lot. So, they did the only thing they knew how to: they just continued doing everything back to front and upside down.
The Present & Future Of CamelPhat
In late 2022 the next phase began. Their label, When Stars Align, was launched – its name perfectly capturing the way everything in their career had fallen into place through lucky counters along their long, circuitous and sometimes chaotic route.
At the start of 2023 they signed with Anglo Management, realising it was time to plan ahead properly. Having put in the thousands upon thousands of hours to make CamelPhat’s identity solid and real, and escape the boxes of predictability, now they can embark on serious projects like their PACHA residency, as well as thier new album – which will be their first to be written as an album – and like building live shows 'as big as the music'.
In popularity terms, they’re now up there with stadium filling acts like Four Tet or The Chemical Brothers, so the challenge now is to create a spectacle to match.
The exact form this will take remains to be seen, but one thing we can always guarantee with CamelPhat is that whatever casual observers think they know about them, they’ll prove all assumptions wrong.
CamelPhat are putting the final touches to a brand new album as their ground-breaking sound evolves. Launching just in time for an action-packed year, including their label ‘When Stars Align’ showcased at Miami Music Week alongside appearances at After Life events across the globe, Coachella, returning to the Pier Head in Liverpool City Centre, headlining the beloved Steel Yard at Creamfields, and plenty more that we will be coving as soon as it is announced.