written by Jennifer Warner
The Scumfrog has a plan for world domination. Do not be fooled
by the baby pink bra he is wearing on the cover of his latest mix
CD Mega Scum! 01, nor the blonde wig, nor the fact that
you can see his... ahem. That miniskirt he's wearing is all part
of the megaplan to rule the universe. Here's how it unfolds!
You are drawn in by the seductive cover of his new CD, and The
Scumfrog's stellar reputation for consistently turning out incredibly
danceable music, and purchase a copy. Upon opening your mail-order
envelope a week later while drinking your morning coffee, having
momentarily forgotten in your pre-caffeine haze what you ordered,
you are so shocked by the cover photo that you spill/spit your latte
all over your laptop's keyboard. In a fit, you storm off to the
[insert closest computer store name here] and buy a new laptop,
one that just so happens to meet the technical requirements of Second
Life, the virtual 3D online community where The Scumfrog is having
his CD release party. You plan on marching your avatar right up
to The Scumf**er and demand that he cough up enough Lindens to compensate
you for your pain and suffering (damaged laptop, scalded thighs,
But then... now here's where the megascum plan really kicks in
to gear... you're completely sucked in to Second Life, where The
Scumfrog's new nightclub is about to open, complete with "enhanced"
experience that you being the music junkie you are just can't live
without, especially since it only costs a few Lindens a hit...
You see where this is going. So get ready to meet the master of
the New Universe: The Scumfrog, aka Jesse Houk.
JW: For your photo shoot, why pink?
(Your stylist isn't credited by the way. Care to name names?)
The Scumfrog: My stylist was my allegedly closeted
alter ego. The whole idea for the shoot was a joke and therefore
not exactly masterminded, leaving me with nothing to wear on the
day of the shoot except the wig. In a frenzy reminiscent of a twilight
zone episode I found myself running through the isles of a random
5th avenue H&M, pretending to be bikini shopping for a woman with
my exact size.
And blonde? Don't you think you'd be taken more seriously
as a brunette?
I didn't want to give ANYONE the temptation to take this seriously.
Seriously... actually, I can't ask anything seriously looking
at the out takes of your CD cover shoot! But the first thing that
popped into my head when first saw the cover photo was how/who came
up with the concept?
The person who calculated that bikinis on Dance compilations help
sales (he died in 1854) came up with the idea. As an indie label
we don't have the funds to afford supermodels though, so this was
kind of the next best thing... or the thing after the next best
thing... or... well, the thing that kept us within our budget!
I love that you are having the release party in Second Life.
When? Where? How can someone snag an invite?
We're shooting for the second week in November. Details will be
So, about this Second Life club you're opening... I have some
insider information that you'll be making money in a, um, not exactly
non-traditional manner... but can we spill the beans as to how you'll
be doing it??
The club will be promoted during the release party, but it won't
be finished yet by that time. I was stunned when I saw the possibilities
of Second Life, and I wanted to be a part of it and tell my friends
about it. I partnered up with my talented webmaster Sumo at Loudbaby.com
to make it all happen, but we still have a lot of details to figure
out before I can tell you anything definite. Stay tuned to my MySpace
page for developing info (www.myspace.com/thescumfrog).
What is your Second Life name? (I'm Jentamara Weissenberger!)
Scumfrog Howe, nice to meet you.
What do you do when you're in Second Life?
Right now, Sumo and I try to get as many ideas as possible to measure the possibilities and limitations of the Second Life environment. When that gets boring I try to improve the features of my avatar so that hot cyber chicks want to have orgies with me and download my CD.
Sweet. So back to your CD a minute... I'm sure you've answered
every question I could possibly come up with already in the two
hundred interviews you've done before this one. Can you say something
enticing about it?
I feel that House Music and its perception in the US have undergone a lot
of change in the past two years, largely for the better. The changes
in sound more or less forced the established DJs in the scene, including
myself, to re-evaluate their sound and presentation. At first I
was slightly nervous about such a strong new variety and big leaps
of progress in our genre, largely spearheaded by the electro and
minimal movements, but at the same time it was also tremendously
inspiring to re-examine sounds both in the studio and on the dancefloor.
I'm really proud of this DJ mix because I think I managed to reflect
the changes I went through in my sound but yet still lay down a
core dirty Scumfrog feel... with balls.
What's this White Leppard project?
Hahaha! It's a good example of a fresh feel, mixed with spontaneous
ideas from a few intoxicated individuals on a hot New York summer
night. Infamous party animal Swamy (who throws the LeSouk parties
on Sunday) wanted to do vocals for the longest time, and LeSouk
resident Gaby and I indulged him one night and "Come Save Me"
is the outcome. The name is Swamy's pick, who wanted to pay tribute
to his two favorite bands of all time: Whitesnake and Def Leppard.
Really, don't ask! The record will be released on Beatport with
my own new track "Durty Extra" both simultaneously with
Did it turn you on or make you nauseous remixing Paris Hilton?
Paris and I go way back to the era before our respective sex scandals.
Unfortunately my family was not as forgiving as hers (they completely
disowned me of my trust fund) and we haven't really been in the
same circles since. This remix finally gave me the opportunity to
show her that I don't need my daddy's cash to make a successful
record, and now she doesn't stop calling me. She seems to be all
into techno geeks all of a sudden. I kinda lost interest though.
How about some technical info - what software/hardware did
you compile this CD on?
Three Pioneer CDJ1000 MK3s and a Pioneer DJM800 mixer. To me, this is the ultimate setup. It allows for so much manipulation of your tracks that your main concern is to not to go overboard with loops, effects, and live edits.
What are you using when you do your production work?
A bunch of analog synths, guitars and outboard compressors, then
a bunch of software synths, throw everything into Protools and tweak
it until it sounds decent.
Any other secrets you want to give away?
I never give secrets away!
What would be the "perfect" gear setup to make you smile when
you walk into a DJ booth?
The Pioneer set of the DJM800 and three CDJs. More important for
me is the relationship of the booth to the floor. It shouldn't be
too far away, or high up somewhere, unless you're playing for thousands
of people. Lighting of the booth is important too. People need to
be able to see the DJ (preferably in changing light) yet it can't
be too bright. Ultimately, the smile appears when you find that
special connection with the crowd, whether it's a big room or a
small one, whether it's at the very first record, or after half
an hour. No million dollar gear or setup can substitute that.
What would make you smile right now?
Finding out that this is the last question of the interview!
THANKS JESSE!!! YOU KNOW WE LOVE YOU!!! :)
For more of THE SCUMFROG...