From its inception in Chicago in 1984 to its spread throughout Europe, TRAX Records created the House Music movement and caused seismic waves throughout the music industry. What started out as a few free-spirited teens exploring electronic beats turned into what would become a musical revolution. Dubbed by Billboard as the Queen of House Music, Rachael Cain aka Screamin’ Rachael was one of the first artists signed to the label in 1984, and in 2006, took over as Owner and President of the label. This year, TRAX Records celebrates not only the past 35 years of creating a whole new genre of music that influenced music for generations to come, but also looks ahead to an exciting year of new releases into 2020.
TRAX along with Screamin’ Rachael were the key components in the diaspora of House Music–from Chicago to New York City, and eventually to Europe where it exploded and inspired the careers of huge producers and artists, including David Guetta, Calvin Harris, and Kygo. The thousands of tracks released by TRAX artists over the past 35 years have permeated popular culture, including the classic TRAX single “Boom Boom,” which hip hop mogul Kanye West sampled in his single, “Lift Yourself”, which Rolling Stone covered extensively. Media conglomerate Viacom used samples from TRAX singles on their national TV commercials promoting the 2018 MTV Music Awards. Rockstar Games released games that use TRAX singles, and breakout series Pose on FX Networks used TRAX music in their episodes.
“[House] is really infiltrating pop music. It’s exciting to see the impact we are having. When Kanye West and Drake fought over our beat recently…[it] made the movement of sampling House a lot more evident to the public,” says Cain.
In addition to permeating popular music, House Music also is influencing major fashion brands. Veteran fashion design house Gucci used Trax music in their promotional film. Franco-Japanese design house Maison Kitsuné used Trax music as inspiration for their new ACIDE special collection which debuted in late 2018 and will have a second drop in May 2019.
As part of its 35th anniversary year, Trax Records is proud to introduce a number of new projects. Cain herself plans to release her new album, Common Ground, featuring Sam Stevens, mixed by Tony Moran, which includes Cain’s latest single, “I am House”, produced by Joe Smooth. Trax will also introduce its new LGBTQ Hip House rapper, Mikey Everything. Trax artist Chris Jones (Grace Jones’s brother) will also release his new album, Strong, later this year.
In addition to her solo album, Cain will release a new track with rap veteran and Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee Grandmaster Melle Mel that includes the sample of the Trax single “Boom Boom”, the infamous sample Kanye West used in “Lift Yourself”. Cain says that she and Melle Mel chose to create a single of their own using the “Boom Boom” sample because she feels, “we can do a better job.”
In Fall of 2018, Trax released the soundtrack for the Vamp Bikers Trilogy films, which included rock sensations, Wildstreet and Jason Chaos. This soundtrack marked the label’s first foray into the rock genre. Trax plans to continue working with the Trilogy film director, Eric Rivas, to release a fourth film, entitled Japanese Borscht, later this year.
Having established an international network of musicians, deejays, producers and other music industry professionals, Cain has a number of big events in the works for 2019. She had worked with Willi Ninja, best known as the godfather of voguing and founder of the House of Ninja, who introduced her single, “Fun With Bad Boys” to the Vogue scene in New York City. Cain will be hosting events in collaboration with the House of Ninja members in NYC and Chicago.
Cain often compares what TRAX did for House Music to what Elvis did for Rock ‘n Roll. Having paved the way for all types of electronic music for over three decades, she says TRAX is in no way slowing down. She states, “We are just hitting our stride! And Trax Records which has been recognized by DJs for years is now hitting international consciousness… Look out world, we’re screamin’ OUT!”