Some club music producers want to write hits that will make every hardbody in South Beach thrust their pelvises on the dance floor in ecstatic abandon. But not me. I compose grooves for the moms who take 6 AM boot camp classes at community rec centers in places such as Naperville, Illinois, where my music plays in the background to their workout routines. My songs can be found on battered compilation CDs next to the rec center gym’s sound system, ready for any instructor who forgets to bring an iPod.
When I sing “I want to pump you, pump you, pump you with my love muscle” while the bass pulsates aggressively, Sharon in Naperville will complete a set of ten arm curls, feeling motivated to flex her biceps, never consciously noticing that actually, I am singing about sexual intercourse.
The inspiration for my work goes back to that summer in Ibiza. All club songs derive from nostalgia over those heady days. You might say they were seminal. You know what root word seminal comes from? Semen. When I learned that, it inspired many lyrics. You’d wake up on the beach with someone attached to you and be like, “Renata, is that you in there?” and a muffled voice behind you would say, “No, it’s Jorge. Renata is over there.” That experience inspired my hit, “Pick a Hole, Any Hole,” that Sharon has been performing twisties to at boot camp lately.
As Sharon leaps onto a stepper, she will wonder if what’s left of her cartilage will allow for this movement of her knee, and her hip will make a disturbing crunching noise, but I will lubricate her joints with vocals that are soaring and at the same time dripping, dripping with the bodily fluids that we shared so freely that summer in Ibiza.
When I segue from the tumescent moment just before the drop to that orgasmic section of shimmery vocals over skittering beats—Sharon will be hurling the medicine ball against the wall, which is its own kind of release.
Many wealthy club owners in Las Vegas have invited—no, begged—me to come for a residency. But I tell them that the only clubs that matter to me are the small ones, like the East Naperville Recreation, Aquatic, and Senior Center. If I were to take time out of my producing schedule to fly to Vegas and make obscene amounts of cash for a few hours of work, who would be there for Sharon as she crawls across the gym floor, her butt high in the air, the fluorescent lights glinting off the lacquered wood, street-shoe grit coating the palms of her hands? Who would be there to motivate her when the trainer screams “Lower!” and presses Sharon’s back into a posture that increases the pain?
I must be there, singing, “I’m going to make you sweat and sweat and sweat and sweat,” while an eardrum-piercing siren sounds, for it is only my words and my piston-like beats that will see her through her exertions.
My song “Pump You, Sweat You, In-and-Out You Until You are Addicted to My Love Plug” will be just one among many tracks on the Get You Movin’ 12" compilation included in the swag bag at seminars for physical trainers. But to Sharon it will stick out, reminding her of that early February morning she was inspired to complete forty burpees in a row before dashing home to nurse her twins, Aiden and Braden.
She’ll say to her husband as he dumps the twins into her arms and rushes out the door, “Wow, class was really great today,” and he’ll say, “I’m glad that my getting up at the crack of dawn and changing three diapers before I head to a ten-hour grind at the office allowed you to go to your little exercise class.” But what only those of us who shared that summer in Ibiza will know is that her “wow” implies nostalgia for the erotic ecstasy she experienced through my songs, and only through my songs for about the last ten months now.
When she straps her screaming children into their respective bouncy chairs and positions them a few inches away from the shower while she attempts to quickly rinse off the sweat I made her produce, she’ll feel guilty about neglecting her babies for those seconds but also as the hot water courses over her body she’ll think of the warm sands of Ibiza and she’ll have no idea why.