Soul Clap: In our culture there’s so much pressure to crack on
Soul Clap are one of my favourite DJ duos on the circuit, and it’s not just me who loves them – they have a huge following around the world and their parties are always an essential destination for anyone in search of a good time. Their love of music, combined with their flair on the decks and their ability to pull those forgotten gems out of their record boxes to unleash them on a club, means that a Soul Clap party always delivers the goods. With their recent tour of Europe and release of their debut LP, EFUNK, Charlie and Eli discuss how everything has panned out for them.
So you guys hit London recently, how did that go?
Charlie: We had a show in Brixton, at Plan B, with No Regular Play who are our label mates.
Eli: That was cool, and then we had a little private party at Shoreditch House – an album release celebration – with friends, some press people, that was really nice.
Was that similar to the one you had at Soho House in Miami?
Eli: Yeah similar vibes, the whole thing about the Soho House Group is that it’s very low key. It’s a nice alternative to doing a club party, something classier for friends to feel comfortable and where we can play nice, relaxed music.
It was like a haven away from the madness of South Beach – one of those parties you didn’t want to end.
Eli: I think next time we’re gonna go into the night with it. We could have stayed later, but people made plans to go to other places because they thought the party was ending. But at the same time, it is kinda nice for parties to have ends, rather than going and going where you’re left with just the last man standing.
Where were you touring prior to London?
Charlie: We’ve been on the road a couple of weeks now, we started in Rome, then we went to Paris, Zurich, then to Austria for Snowbombing. It’s awesome, I stayed for another three days and got some skiing in, then we met back up in Amsterdam. Played at Trouw, which was a sold out show, it was incredible.
So it’s going really well so far?
Eli: It’s cool because we’ve been away from Europe for five months, we wrote the album in Miami and then we toured around the States and South America. But we didn’t come back over here, after the experience we had in December 2010 when it was basically snowstorms the entire month. So it made it really refreshing to come back to Europe, it’s like a whole new chapter rather than feeling like it’s all blurring together.
And where are you heading next?
Charlie: We’ve got Tel Aviv…
Have you been there before?
Charlie: Never to DJ, so that’s gonna be special.
Eli: We went there on one of these Jewish birthright trips. You can go to Israel for free up until you’re 26, so we went with another friend like four years ago and we ended up in this awesome underground club where Robert Hood was playing. So that’s our experience of going out there, which was amazing.
What do you enjoy most about touring?
Eli: Getting to play the parties is the best.
Charlie: It’s got to be the shows.
Eli: Especially going back to cities more than once. Once you’re getting deeper in, you know a core group of people, you know what the crowd wants a little bit more, that’s when it starts getting really fun.
Charlie: I think it’s cool to start operating with more familiarity within different cultures and different cities and feeling comfortable internationally. Picking up on the American tourists and thinking, “Thank God we’re not like them!”.
Eli: That’s the thing about coming back to Europe after five months, is realising that we are so different culturally. Five months in Miami really reset things, like “This is America. This is Europe”. Also, it’s learning the musical history of these cities and what DJs traditionally play.
Charlie: I think we’re also starting to get into the stride of respecting ourselves and our bodies. Being on the road and learning to eat healthy, and bringing yourself back to being… yourself.
Eli: We like to name each tour, like the first tour was the ‘Shaft Tour’ because we were sleeping on people’s couches and floors. [laughs] This tour is the ‘Sleep Tour’…
Charlie: I thought it was the ‘International Life of Leisure Tour’?
Eli: For me it’s the Sleep Tour, no after-parties, just straight to bed.
Charlie: It’s very unusual for Eli because usually he’s a slave to the rave.
Eli: This is a very new development for me. I was always the one from the whole crew who was like “Next party! Next party!”, so maybe I’m growing up a little bit.
Yeah after-parties aren’t always the best idea.
Charlie: For me a lot of these after-parties are randoms… In a random city with random drugs, random people in a random place. It’s much more appealing now to do it when the crew’s around, people you haven’t seen in a while. It’s interesting because in our culture there’s so much social pressure to crack on and, for up-and-coming DJs, it seems like such a contest – like who is the most invincible.
Eli: For us though we laid the foundation because we went all out on the after-parties.
Charlie: That’s the point, when you’re a new act there’s the pressure there.
Eli: It’s not necessarily a bad thing, you pay your dues. You meet everybody, you stay out late and grind it out.
Charlie: But for someone to be thinking, “This is the way, this is the only way it’s going to work. If I don’t do this I’m not going to be considered a legitimate DJ”, that has nothing to do with DJing, it’s some sort of social contest.
Let’s speak about the album, EFUNK. When did you first conceive the idea of an LP?
Eli: About two years ago.
Charlie: It started out as having a lot of extra content and not necessarily having EPs to assign it to and thinking “Maybe this could go on an album, maybe that could go on an album”. When we went to Miami in 2010 the plan was to work on an album but it kinda didn’t happen, although some of the tracks were written. So this winter we’d had a year of talking about an album so we set some deadlines and set about writing a body of work that was more concise. Miami is the perfect place for that… palm trees, dolphins and warm weather, the inspiration’s in the air.
Eli: It’s magical. Having the confidence to take two months off and stand up to our agents… we didn’t do that last year. Having two months to focus really helped because we didn’t have any distractions. I think we’re going to do that every year now, take a month or two off to really focus on music.
Charlie: Especially with the typical summer plans of a DJ on the road, you really get wasted in every sense of the word. It’s important to take time off. There’s no reason to be on the road when it’s cold, so you might as well go and hibernate. Fly south, man, spread your wings and fly!
How did you get Mel Blatt involved?
Charlie: That’s funny, man. We were at DC10 closing, I think we’d finished our set and along came this happy-go-lucky raver and she’s like, “Yeah, I love you guys, I wanna sing on your album”, we’re like, “Wow! Cuckoo fan!”. But she was with Liz Mendez from Kubicle, so we’re like, “Cool, she’s Liz’s friend” we had no idea.
Eli: All Saints wasn’t as big in the States, like I knew their name and maybe a song or two. But I didn’t know any of their names.
Charlie: So Liz is like, “Go for it, go for it, she can sing, she can sing”. We’re like, [cynical] “Oh you can sing huh?”. So she dropped it on us, and she ended up hanging out with Eli in the DJ booth for hours and she’s the coolest chick. She’s got a great attitude, such a good outlook on the industry.
Eli: She’s been there, done that.
Charlie: She’s living in Ibiza and recorded the tracks there. She did this cover of I Need Your Loving, I think that’s the closest thing we have to a hit.
That’s my favourite track on the album. So what’s the next step after the touring?
Eli: We’re starting a label, that’s the next big project.
Charlie: I’ve got some Lonely C/Baby Prince stuff coming. I want to keep that thing going on the side. I don’t know if supposed to talk about it but I’m going to, the guys from dOP are working on their side projects – Jaw has got his thing called Diamond Setter and we’ve done the first draft of a remix. It sounds like some real old school house, deep west coast style.
Eli: On that tip, the Nice ‘N Ripe back catalogue is being re-released and we’re doing an official mix of our favourite tracks from the label later in the year.album, Charlie, Cnyce, DJ, EFUNK, Eli, Elyte, music, Soul Clap
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