Chocolate Puma is one of the most well-known projects of Gaston Steenkist and René ter Horst, one of the most prolific and influential Dutch house duos. After achieving chart success during the '90s with releases under names such as the Good Men, Jark Prongo, and Klatsch!, the duo began releasing funky, vocal-driven house anthems as Chocolate Puma in 2000, starting with "I Wanna Be U," which became a Top 10 pop hit in the U.K. The duo continued releasing tracks on their own labels, Pssst Music and JP Records, as well as major house labels like Defected and Strictly Rhythm, and 2011 anthology House Masters compiled their work under multiple aliases. The duo continued to be on the forefront of the electro-house/EDM scene during the 2010s, frequently collaborating with producers like Tommie Sunshine and Laidback Luke and issuing numerous singles on labels like Dim Mak and Spinnin' Records.
Gaston Steenkist (from Amsterdam) and René ter Horst (from Haarlem), also referred to as DJ Zki & Dobre, started working together in 1991, the year they founded their first label, Fresh Fruit. "Give It Up," an infectious, samba-influenced single credited to the Good Men, was one of the duo's earliest singles, and it became a massive worldwide hit, reaching the top spot of the Billboard Hot Dance Club Play chart, and eventually peaking at number 5 on the U.K. Singles Chart. While "Give It Up" was the duo's only major hit as the Good Men, they scored club hits throughout the decade under monikers such as Klatsch! ("Oh Boy," "God Save the Queer") and René et Gaston ("Vallée de larmes"). They also began releasing tech-house and progressive house as Jark Prongo in 1993, often on their own JP Records imprint. In 1995, they left Fresh Fruit and started Pssst Music. The duo's biggest success as Jark Prongo was "Movin' Thru Your System," a 1998 single which became a U.K. hit when Hooj Choons re-released it the following year. Full-length Thru Your System appeared in 2000.
The duo debuted their Chocolate Puma project that year with "I Wanna Be U," which originally appeared on JP Records before Cream reissued it in the U.K., where it became a Top 10 hit. Additionally, the duo scored another huge hit in 2001 with "Who Do You Love Now?" a collaboration with Australian pop star Dannii Minogue produced under their trance alias, Riva. The song reached number 3 on the U.K. Singles Chart. The duo's additional charting singles in 2001 included "Wack Ass MF" (Rhythmkillaz) and "The Sound Of: Oh Yeah!" (Tomba Vira). Despite the successes of some of their other ventures, the duo largely focused on Chocolate Puma and Jark Prongo throughout the 2000s, and then just Chocolate Puma afterwards. Chocolate Puma's second biggest hit was "Always and Forever," a 2005 single which saw wider release through Positiva (U.K.) and Ultra Records (U.S.). Defected released the duo's Morning Rain EP in 2008, and "Touch Me," their first collaboration with Bingo Players, appeared on Strictly Rhythm that year. The duo mixed the second disc of Defected in the House: Amsterdam 09, a split release with Hardsoul. In 2011, In the House released Chocolate Puma's House Masters, a triple-CD retrospective compiling tracks, remixes, and edits from the duo's more house-oriented projects. Mixed double-CD In the House appeared a year later.
Starting in 2012, Chocolate Puma began releasing tracks on EDM label Spinnin' Records, often in collaboration with Firebeatz. They also recorded for labels like Dim Mak and Mixmash Records, and worked with producers like Kris Kiss (2014 hit "Step Back"), Tommie Sunshine, and Laidback Luke, whose career they helped launch during the '90s. Chocolate Puma also remained in-demand remixers, putting their spin on tracks by artists like Kaskade, Hardwell, Fatboy Slim, and Oliver Heldens during the 2010s. ~ Paul Simpson