Interview with Soul Clap | Together

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By: Kate Griffiths

I’m sitting in the car talking to Eli and Charlie of the Boston-bred DJ duo Soul Clap, who are currently sitting across from each other and talking to me at the same time on different phones. While this creates a weird pseudo-echo during the conversation it’s also pretty entertaining. I start off by talking about how pumped I am for the next iteration of the Together Boston, and how I’ve had the time of my life at the previous years. In response Eli starts crooning “I’ve had the time of my life”. The duo are known for their playful interactions with all variations on house, disco, and funk and to be that playful with your music you gotta be that playful in personality.

Kate: Your “Adventures of Soul Clap” podcast is super informative and also great at showcasing the talents that are personal to you guys. Have you ever had a personal fan moment where you got someone on the podcast who has inspired you, and you’ve had to nerd out a little?

Eli responds, “Yeah, a definite shout-out to Matt Diamond, who used to make the most amazing podcasts for us back in 2007/2008 when he was doing something really interesting with deep disco music. Tanner Ross’ career started out with him, they used to play as “the bald and the beautiful”. I’m trying to think who else…Phil Stone from Chicago who quietly smashed it, back in the day. Then there was Richy Ahmed, who played the final party at Jamie Jones’ apartment in London. I mean we have well over 100 podcasts by now so it’s hard to remember but those stand out.”

Kate: Your new compilation, “Tempo Dreams” was just released on the 30th March. It’s 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 we’ve been listening to in the last few years and getting in touch with different producers. It’s all about finding new music, and finding new artists. Other compilations we’ve worked on have been more about what’s 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, Inkswel from Australia, everyone was awesome.”

Kate: What is a hidden gem you’ve come across recently while putting together mixes? Something that kind of redefined what you thought funk could be.

They both ponder this for a moment; Charlie finally responds, “I mean the whole thing was finding hidden gems. Uncovering gem after gem. Funk could always be like a new sound – it’s a lot of work, always going through music, it takes about three to four months to find music and the mixing is usually another month of work.”

Kate: One of my favorite sets of yours was the one you did at The Marcy Hotel for The Boiler Room. That was soon after Frankie Knuckles died, and you did a shout out for him. Who is a similar contender, to you, for being such a big influence on the house music scene?

“Wow, a similar contender to Frankie Knuckles, hard to say since there are so many gods of house music but Masters of Work come to mind. There are plenty of unsung heroes like Armand van Helden. The whole thing we learned from this experience is that house can appear in many different forms and it’s hard to narrow it down to who is the best at it.”

Kate: You’ve played in so many different cities at this point. What’s the dopest club you’ve played at? Where would you want to party the most?

“Partying in Air in Tokyo definitely comes to mind, that’s a special spot. That place has an amazing DJ booth, all the people are so enthusiastic and the party goes until 11am.  The Electric Pickle in Miami is another.” Charlie cuts in, “The whole of Berlin was great. And the Movement festival in Detroit.” Eli laughs as he says, “And Phoenix Landing. It’s our all time favorite and still going strong, if you want to go out for half an hour it’s the best.” Charlie mumbles, “Yeah because they shut at 10pm.”

I finish off by asking them about their favorite places in Boston. The response is instantaneous.

“Obviously Anna’s Taqueria.”

I imagine most of Boston would agree.

Soul Clap play Thursday May 14th at the Middle East Downstairs. To get into all the shows purchase a Together Boston pass today!

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