Zki and Dobre, Jark Prongo, The Good Men or just plain old Rene et Gaston; whatever you prefer to call the DJ and production duo most commonly hailed as Chocolate Puma, chances are you know them one way or another. Gaston Steenkist and René ter Horst are two of Holland’s most celebrated electronic producers and with a career spanning 20 years, 200-odd releases and countless remixes under their various guises are a duo whose influence on the European dance music scene cannot be underestimated.
Drawn together by a common appreciation house music movement of the early 90s, their career got off to a turbo-charged start with the release of what would become one of the defining records of their career. Recording under The Good Men the duo released what they hoped would be a popular club track, ‘Give It Up’ on their own Fresh Fruit label in 1992. The record surpassed all expectations, reaching #1 on the US Dance Chart and #5 in the UK Singles Chart when it was re-released a year later, propelling them to unexpected global stardom. Created on a small mixer and mixed on broken speakers in Gaston’s bedroom, ‘Give It Up’ remains a unique record that people still sample and play, and one about which they are extremely proud.
Making a hit record may have been the outcome, but it certainly wasn’t the intention. “We never set out to make hit records” states Gaston. “We don’t know how! We just know how to make dance records for clubs or festivals and we do that the best way we can. If a lot of people like it then that’s really cool, but a hit is never our goal.”