A Sit Down With Soul Clap
The glory behind Soul Clap is the funk and soul they bring to the dancefloor. Their musical output is not only limited to four to the floor House beats, instead they focus on an infectious groove. They've done it all from House to Disco, to R&B to you name it, creating their own sound known as E-Funk.
"If you start digging and start learning the history of electronic music in general its going to open up your mind up to a lot of different kinds of music and to a lot of different influences."
When did you start writing music - and what or who were your early passions and influences?
Both of us had some experience playing around with playing instruments, bands and music production since we were teenagers but we didn`t get serious about it until 2007. That was the year that we decided if we didnt jump in with two feet we could forget about making it as real touring DJs! Our musical backgrounds are in Jazz, Funk, Hip-Hop, Reggae, Soul, Blues, Rock and an enormous array of electronic music. From Trip-Hop to ambient to Jungle/D&B to hardcore to techno to HOUSE even some early trance!
Your techniques are often hailed as being experimental, at least in your approach to modern funk. Do you see them as being that way?
I think thats kind of accurate to a point. Certainly early on when we made the switch to Ableton, it kind of felt like it broke the door. Our first, first records back in 2008 or whatever were finished on Logic and then we made this jump and in learning this new program, we kind of didnt really follow the rules exactly. We got into using the live arrangement window to do our recording process. So rather than drawing out these blocks, we would hit play and automate things and see where the track would go to kind of get that looser and more freeform feeling. I think not coming from super heavy, sound engineering backgrounds, in many ways we were freer to try new ideas. I think the more complex or complicated your music production is, you start to get bound by more rules. Its funny. When you know very little, you can take things very far.
What were your early productions like?
We started messing around in 2003 and taking a lot of... its kind of funny because of productions have come full circle. Initial stuff we were making was kind of remixing R&B and hip-hop tracks and cutting hip-hop beats to make house beats out of them. It was house music but very much influenced by New York, R&B and hip-hop.
What was the first album you owned?
I have a picture at my parents house of me playing air guitar listening to Eddie Van Halens badass solo on Michael Jacksons Beat It, so Thriller was definitely one of my first.
Tell us about your studio, please.
Our studio situation is always in flux. Weve got a home set up at Charlies apartment, but the neighbor complains if things start bumping so we gotta make music REALLY quiet. For years we used to just plug our two laptops into a headphone splitter and connect to the speaker at whatever hotel were at in whatever country were performing in. Overall, mood/vibe takes the cake for us over technology. Its all about maximizing what you got. If someone said heres a coconut, a french poodle and a microphone now go make a record, believe wed find a way to get FUNKY.
Youve done a few shows in Ibiza this year. Whats been your favourite of the year? Any particular highlights from the summer?
We had a really rocking pool party at Pikes hotel where Mo Funk, Arthur Baker and Lee Curtiss joined us for a real cool intimate party. That was one of the great Ibiza moments for us this past summer. Off the Island, the big summer thrill had to be Garden Festival in Croatia, that is way up at the top of our lists for magic and sunshine.
You guys are fairly coordinated dressers. Where do you get your influences from?
Its kind of funny that there was like a, you know, distinct, ravey style thats always coming in and out of clothing. Especially for us when were out working and doing DJ sets. Weve had some cool collaborations that weve been working on lately in terms of fashion, to share some of our fashion ideas. One is the t-shirt selection weve been designing and releasing through Millionhands in the UK, but also weve linked up with your fellow Australian Zanerobe who we helped with their Fall line thats just been dropping in America. So its cool to see these products on the shelves, thats really chill.
It's great you guys are preaching the gospel. In the track you guys produced, who did what?
Nick had the idea, then Charlie flushed it out, adding more synths and vocals. Then from there we went to Louie's studio in the basement of his house in Jersey, laid down the beats and finished the arrangement.
Do you guys have a dream collaborator you hope to work with in the future?
We would actually love to work with R. Kelly. Hes been an inspiration to us. I know hes a complicated character, but musically hes such a genius. And there are some other, younger DJs and artists that would be exciting to work with. Kaytranada is someone that we love and would be dope to collaborate with. Other old school people like CeCe Peniston, who sings that song Finally from the 90s, would be amazing.
Speaking of inspirations, what inspired you two to record Funk Bomb?
It started as a jam session between Eli and myself at my house. The first synth we ever had was the Korg MS2000, and I was dialing in on that. Eli was laying down some awesome drum stuff, and programming samples. So it all began as just that one synth and us.
Your new compilation, "Tempo Dreams" was just released on the 30th March. Its totally rad and funky as expected. How long does it usually take you to put together a mix like that? And do you ever discover new music along the way?
The whole process was about discovering new music, tapping into the underground different stuff that weve been listening to in the last few years and getting in touch with different producers. Its all about finding new music, and finding new artists. Other compilations weve worked on have been more about whats in at the moment and getting stuff from our crewlove family, but this one was more about looking out and connecting with our fans. We worked with so many cool producers on it, XLMiddleton from LA, Inkswell from Australia, everyone was awesome.
Your Soul Clap Records is also doing a great job. Can you point on some releases that our audience should check out and what is coming up?
We put out new EP with Funcadelic and one with George Clinton. Thats the work we are most proud of and you should definitely check them out. And there are some new artists. John Camp, hes our friend from NY and there is upcoming EP from him. Davis from Brazil as well. We are keeping it moving. But we are also working on our album.
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