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Born and bred in Doncaster, South Yorkshire, Callum MacDonald – stage name CAJAMA – developed an addiction for the aggressive sound of hardstyle and hardcore from a very early age. With no musical education to speak of, DJing at house parties enabled him an early form of escapism and expression.
One of MacDonald’s primary influences was Double 99’s RIP Groove (1997). Widely considered a speed garage classic, it gave him his first taste of the UK bass/garage scene. In 2015, his interest in music production was detonated when a friend introduced him to FL Studio. Hungry to experiment, the 17-year-old apprentice loaded the software onto his laptop one evening while working on the graveyard shift at a network operations centre.
Initially preoccupied by the emergence of future house pioneered by the likes of Oliver Heldens in the 2010s, it was only after attending Rotherham’s Fear-Fest festival in 2018 that MacDonald rediscovered his attraction to UK bass/garage. From that moment he set about transitioning towards creating his signature UK bass sound, but with a twist: “I didn’t come into the bassline scene to just blend in or go with the wave. I came from an EDM vibe and tried to match that with bassline to create a more developed version.”
Under the pseudonym Cajama, MacDonald put the feelers out with free releases on SoundCloud such as the Exemption EP (2018) and singles All I Want and Spaceman the following year. Gaining traction, the budding producer first started to pick up major traction with Wish You Were, a bootleg of Philip George’s Wish You Were Mine. Now close to 900k streams on YouTube and offering a more musical bassline sound - one that MacDonald was undoubtedly key to establishing, the track took the 2019 bass music festival scene by storm.
2020 saw a further leap in notoriety with a succession of singles including Dangerous, What I Need, Only and All Night, alongside more exploratory collaborations such as Don’t Let Me Down featuring Prima on vocals and Pulse with drum and bass artist Tsuki.
Possessing a larger than life stage presence, live shows swiftly followed at Ministry Sound, the iconic Printworks and Manchester’s Warehouse Project in collaboration with high-flying Nottingham-based DJ/producer Darkzy. With weekly DJ shows booked at home and abroad, notably Estonia alongside Bristol’s Notion, MacDonald was undoubtedly one of the hottest names in UK bass.
“Cajama is one of my favourite up and coming producers, bringing a fresh and lively twist to the ever-evolving bassline scene.” - Darkzy
While the events of the past year have stalled MacDonald’s career just as it was in full flow, 2021 promises to see him quickly regain lost ground. Earlier this year, Cajama collaborated with another figurehead of the modern bass scene, Skepsis. The track, Verdansk, was added to Spinnin’ Records Gaming mix, Spinnin' Radio’s New Dance Music Friday and featured on Showtek’s Skink Radio playlist and ’home of bass music’ UKF’s YouTube channel.
His most recent milestone was the release of his debut music video for the upcoming Cajama single Take A Ride – out now on the CruCast label, home to Cajama’s renowned JAM: Season live streams. The remainder is set to see MacDonald continue his upward trajectory.