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Upfront: Soul Clap

Redefining funk the right way

Words by Acclaim

Boston producers Soul Clap are the people’s producers. While Eli Goldstein (Bamboozle) and Charles Levine (Lonely C) have been schooled by masters like George Clinton in funk history, they’ve learnt the rule book and then thrown it out to create their own brand of extroverted electronica. As they’ve proved on their previous Australian jaunts, once their music is out in the world, it becomes as much about you as it does them. A Soul Clap show is a community celebrating the music, as they aptly express through the name of their label Crew Love. Since they last toured Australia in 2015, they’ve released their colourful, groove-heavy second record, one that they tell us they wanted to let “marinate” before unleashing.

As a result, it’s a rich, considered album that tips its hat to the history book while re-interpreting and looking to the future. It’s now been sufficiently marinated and is ready to be served to Aussie crowds. Before they spark-up festival dancefloors here, they told us why the record was four years in the making and how their favourite moment here was also their first bush doof.

Your second album was four years in the making. Was that whole time spent putting together the album?

The four year break in between our two albums was mainly spent flying around the globe, touring seemingly non-stop. But during that period there was a fair amount of music made. The biggest highlight was our collaboration working with George Clinton of Parliament-Funkadelic fame. Another big collab was teaming up with Crew Love’s Nick Monaco to work with Louie Vega on his grammy nominated album Louie Vega Starring….XXVIII. Then, of course, there was a fair amount of remixes, edits and original tracks here and there. The point is, the music making didn’t stop, the touring didn’t stop, the work didn’t stop, it just took us four long years to get it all organised and consolidated into this new album!

So much electronic music is made isolated on a laptop these days. How important is the location of where you make music?
For the inception of a song or an idea it doesn’t seem to really matter where it’s made. That’s like the equivalent of a rough demo. Back in the day it could have been on a 4-track with a shitty mic and an acoustic guitar, then take that idea to a nice studio and flesh it out and then you’re getting closer to a finished product. Now, one aspect of location that could make a difference is that a beautiful, peaceful surrounding like in the jungle, on the beach, up in the mountains, something could inspire a particular sound. But really, for the beginning of an idea, location doesn’t seem to really matter, but take that idea to a real studio to record musicians and then to Martin Buttrich’s studio in Barcelona for a proper mix down; now that makes all the difference.

Were there things you did on your first record that you didn’t want to do on the second?
Our first record seemed to be rushed with a strong deadline. Therefore there were some points where ideas felt unfinished. We didn’t want to rush this second album, we really wanted the ideas to marinate and we did a really good job of doing just that.

George Clinton is a funk master and you met him early on in the recording of the album. What was the most important thing you took from him?

George gave us his blessing that what Soul Clap is about is truly funky. That confidence that he instilled has been instrumental in our development.

Are there any records you were listening to during the recording of the album that influenced it but aren’t necessarily of the same genre or sound?

The recording was over such a long period of time that there were many records that we were listening to during the process. Some that stand out were Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp A Butterfly, Social Lovers’ Enjoy The Ride, and lots of classic Herbie Hancock.

After all these years doing it, what keeps you most excited?

To see an album like this most recent one finally take flight after all the years of work is so satisfying. So much goes into making it all happen, so it is truly exciting when it all falls into place and we can finally share the music with the world. After all, that’s what it’s all about: sharing the music and spreading it as far and wide as possible.

How important is it to know and appreciate the history of your genre?

We are all about the history and staying in the lineage of those that came before us; so, for us, knowledge and appreciation of the history is vital. As Bob Marley said, “If you don’t know your history, then you don’t know where you’re coming from.”

Give us three essential artists for young kids digging into the history.

Herbie Hancock. Frankie Knuckles. Eddie Hazel.

Is it important to acknowledge the history while still throwing out the rule book and pushing it forward?

Yes! Sure, art and music is all about re-interpretation and breaking new ground. But it’s important to know what the rule book is while you’re throwing it out.

Crew Love is such a cool community. What was the idea behind starting it?

Crew Love is the umbrella that covers the many musical talents within Wolf + Lamb Records, Soul Clap Records, and Double Standard Records. We wanted one overarching idea to represent it all, and since our musical family, AKA our crew, is all about the love of music and the love of hanging out and having fun, Crew Love seemed like the perfect title!

Any standout memories from your last Australian tour?

Oh man! Last Oz tour was so much fun, but the two stand-out moments had to have been playing in the rain at Return to Rio festival and playing our first real bush doof, Strawberry Fields!

 

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