Hailing from the Netherlands, DJ and music production duo Zki and Dobre of Chocolate Puma have had a career spanning over 20 years, with over 200 tracks and whole slew of releases to their many aliases, the most popular one being The Good Men.
From the release of globally successful, percussion-heavy ‘Give It Up’ in 1993 to mentoring notable names in the industry (think Laidback Luke), Chocolate Puma continue to be masters at setting the bar for dance music exceedingly high.
Given their hectic schedules and high-energy performances, it comes as a surprise that they are old souls at heart – Dobre hopes to be a tour guide someday and as for Zki, he has a thing for driving and repairing vintage motorcycles.
Playing alongside EDM hotshots like Cash Cash, Vini Vici and Showtek, we speak to them about what we can expect from their set at IT’S THE SHIP 2018 and what really inspired the name Chocolate Puma.
POPSPOKEN: Hey Zki & Dobre! Where are you guys now / what have you been up to lately?
Hi! We’ve had a very busy summer, touring all over the globe, playing in the USA, China, and across Europe. We just came back from Cyprus and we’re currently in the studio finishing new music.
POPSPOKEN: You guys have been in the EDM industry for almost 3 decades now, that’s really impressive! What gives you the drive and energy to stay in this line through it all?
Very simple: music. We sometimes joke about how we get paid to wait at airports and sit in airplanes so we can practice our hobby all over the world. We love to make new tunes and play them out to crowds everywhere.
POPSPOKEN: Name one thing you each do as a professional DJ that would surprise other people.
Gaston aka Dobre: I love reading about the history of Amsterdam. Actually, if I ever retire from music and I’m old and grey I’d love to be a tour guide to pass all the knowledge I have gained over the years haha.
René aka Zki: I like driving around town on vintage café-racer motorcycles, and repairing them when they break down.
POPSPOKEN: What does Chocolate Puma mean? How did you guys come up with “Chocolate Puma” as the most recent alias of your duo?
Actually, we can’t remember exactly! Back in 2000, we came up with a new song called ‘I Wanna Be U’ and we needed a new project for it as it didn’t really fit with all the other projects we did at that time. Mind you, it was kind of the norm for producers to have many aliases.
Anyway, René designed our record sleeves at that time, and as we didn’t have a new name yet and he needed some letters to design the artwork, he came up with Chocolate Puma. When Gaston came into the studio the next day and he saw the artwork he loved the name. We still think it fits our music very well, like that Chocolate is sweet and smooth, while a Puma is fierce and raw. René still has no clue why he then chose for Chocolate Puma though!
POPSPOKEN: What inspires you, both in terms of music production, and in life?
As for music production, most of the time it’s new and fresh music. We love to check out the latest stuff made by young producers, as it really gets our creativity flowing.
As for life, it’s mostly having a balance that will create a basis for being inspired. As you can imagine our lives our pretty hectic. So now and then we feel it’s important and much needed to take a step back and recharge. This way our minds keep open and we can keep getting inspired. Also, other people’s success stories are a great inspiration for us.
POPSPOKEN: How would you want Chocolate Puma to be remembered?
“Their bass face game was unparalleled.”
POPSPOKEN: What are you looking forward to on IT’S THE SHIP 2018?
Probably that moment the ship sets sail. We can’t wait to party with everybody for a few days and hopefully meet with some fans.
We never know exactly as we’re always improvising. Of course we will play lots of our own music, but in the end the people will show us what to play.
Party with Chocolate Puma at IT’S THE SHIP 2018 as she sails the open seas to Phuket, happening from the 4th November to 7th November.