Name: Soul Clap
Members: Charles Levine / Eli Goldstein
Occupation: Producers / DJs
Labels: Wolf + Lamb Music / AirDrop / Soul Clap / Bastard Jazz / K7!
Current Release: In Da Kar
Musical Recommendations: We’re partial to Nick Monaco. He’s on our label and released an incredibly original album last year. The world is starting to hear him, but his music is so special and he’s such a positive force. The sky is the limit. Life On Planets is another act in our collective that is just starting to get attention. They released their debut EP on Wolf + Lamb recently and it’s a completely unique combo of house and soulful folk music. They’re super artsy, but still move your body and their album is out really soon!
When did you start writing/producing 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 didnt get serious about it until 2007. That was the year that we decided if we didn’t 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!
For most artists, originality is first preceded by a phase of learning and, often, emulating others. What was this like for you? How would you describe your own development as an artist and the transition towards your own voice?
This definitely rings true for us especially because our popularity stemmed from the re-edits we did. Here we essentially took others' brilliance and just re-contextualized it for a modern dance floor. But these influences then challenged us to figure out a way to create these moods and vibes with original content. It's taken years, but now, especially with where we’re at with our EFUNK sound we're really on to something powerful.
What were your main compositional- and production-challenges in the beginning and how have they changed over time?
Look, its been an uphill challenge the whole way! We’re entirely self taught, composition, arrangement, performance, mixing, mastering … There are so many elements that go into making a record and we’ve had to figure it out for ourselves! We’ve been lucky to be surrounded by so much talent in our Crew Love family, like the mixing/production genius of Tanner Ross or the jazz/composition virtuosity of Greg Paulus, so we’ve soaked up a lot. We're like two funky sponges!
Tell us about your studio, please.
Our studio situation is always in flux. We’ve got a home set up at Charlie’s 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 we’re at in whatever country we’re 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 we’d find a way to get FUNKY.
What are currently some of the most important tools and instruments you're using?
We’ve collected some POWERFUL vintage synths over the years, but this isn’t an option for everyone because these things are expensive and fragile. Something we can recommend across the board is the V Collection from Arturia. These are hands down the best soft synths in the game for our vibe. We learned on these things and we still use them today.
Many contemporary production tools already take over significant parts of what would formerly have constituted compositional work. In which way do certain production tools suggest certain approaches, in which way do they limit and/or expand your own creativity?
It seems like this is a good place to show gratitude to the people over at Ableton. This is heart of all the music we make and has set us free to be as wild and creative as we want to be. With Ableton the work flow is so fast, its hard to say we could have come as far as we have without it!
Could you describe your creative process on the basis of a piece or album that's particularly dear to you, please? Where do ideas come from, what do you start with and how do you go about shaping these ideas?
To this day we still get tons of fans showing us love for our remix/re-edit of Laid Back’s "Baker Man". This was a song suggested to us by our dear friend Paulo Reachi’s (Airdrop Records) brother Alex. He knew with what we had already done with Stevie Wonder’s "Love Light In Flight" and Womack & Womack’s "Conscious" that we could flip this into something special. So we went to work pulling elements from "Baker Man" and creating a groove that could loop forever. Next we make some expert cuts, add filters and reinforce everything with synth melodies, bass lines and the secret Soul Clap touch we call “pads and washes”! Basically that just means lush pads and sound effects. Where do these ideas come from? Somewhere deep inside!