Indie DJs Soul Clap speak about career and music

Hailing from Boston, two young DJs came together in 2001 to revolutionize a genre of music in a way no one had thought possible. This duo, Soul Clap, comprises of musical tastemakers Charlie Levine and Eli Goldstein. Since their inception, Soul Clap has released a series of mixtapes, singles, EP’s and albums that showcase a unique fusion of house and funk music.

More recently, the duo has been touring internationally to share their eponymous second studio album, Soul Clap. In an interview with the Daily Trojan, Soul Clap spoke about their career and anticipation for their upcoming performance on Friday at Los Globos.

Daily Trojan: You guys are on tour right now promoting your new album. Can you tell me about that experience so far?

Soul Clap: We started out in Europe for most of October and had some great gigs. Then we hit Berlin, London, Milan, Amsterdam, and Oslo. We also went to Stockholm for the first time on this tour which was really cool. Now we’re back in North America. Last weekend, we did Montreal, D.C. and Miami and we are heading up to the West Coast on Thursday. It’s been a lot of of running around. Overall, this tour has been really exciting for us because we are doing a lot of live performances where we get to play music from the new album, which is more fun than our usual DJ sets.

DT: What was the process of creating this new album like?

SC: We started with jam sessions in Tallahassee at George Clinton’s P-Funk Studio and we were jamming there when we got the invitation to collaborate with him. So that was where it all started, which was about three years ago. Then over the next three years, we pulled our music together. We worked out some ideas here in Brooklyn and then it all came together in Barcelona earlier this year where we just went straight into the studio. It was a long and location-filled process.

DT: What was it like working with singer George Clinton?

SC: First and foremost, he gave us a new confidence in our music. To have that sign off from the godfather of funky music … was really amazing. He welcomed us in and we met his family and all of these musicians and the people who work with them and are close with them. That has been amazing for us personally and musically. Also just watching George work was so inspirational. He’s got a crazy work ethic even in his 70s. He has tireless energy and a vision for how music is supposed to sound that inspires him to put sounds together in a way other people wouldn’t think of.

DT: Can you tell me about how Soul Clap got started?

SC: We met in high school in Boston. A mutual friend introduced us because we were both DJing. There weren’t too many DJs back then so that was a huge connection. We also shared a lot of musical tastes and loved going to raves. So it was exciting to meet someone who was in a similar situation, and we decided to start making music.

DT: What were some of your early influences and do you still find yourself going back to that same type of music for inspiration?

SC: There is actually an album we were listening to last night called Timeless by Goldie. It had a huge influence on us then and is something that both of us listen to this day. We’ve actually sampled that album before. On top of that we are influenced by so many different styles from hip hop, to jazz, to drum and bass to house. Back when we started, there was this culture of rave music back then that DJ Dan was creating and that was a huge inspiration for us. But one thing that has never changed is that we’ve always been influenced by a wide range of music. It isn’t just one genre or style or tempo.

DT: Do you guys have a dream collaborator you hope to work with in the future?

SC: We would actually love to work with R. Kelly. He’s been an inspiration to us. I know he’s a complicated character, but musically he’s 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.

DT: What’s next for you guys after the tour?

SC: We will definitely keep writing music. We have a lot of cool opportunities in the upcoming year. There’s a record label called Classic from the United Kingdom, which has been around for a long time and we are going to be doing stuff with them. We are also going to put out some more remixes. We are really excited to create and share a lot of new music in the coming year because it took so long to make two albums so now we are really motivated.

DT: Do you guys have any advice for kids that are trying to become DJs?

SC: The best advice we have to give is to find a unique voice for yourself. You have to be inspired to do something original and that is really you. Otherwise, there’s no point because there are so many DJs out there trying to do the same exact thing. If you’re going to play the same song that someone else is playing then go stay home. So with that, if you have a desire to make music and think you have unique voice then cultivate it. Take your vision and try to share it with the world.

DT: So what was the process of finding the voice of Soul Clap like?

SC: We had a lot of mentors from the older generation that taught us about producery [sic]. The best resource for young people are all of the books out now that talk about producers and the history of raves and disco. It’s a good idea to just figure out where it all came from because it is invaluable to know the history in order to have a perspective. There is so much sampling going on even on modern songs with records from the past; and it’s a huge advantage to understand the sounds. That’s why we would also say try and listen to as much music as possible.

DT: You guys have a performance coming up in Los Angeles soon at Los Globos. What can people expect from your live show?

SC: It’s going to be hella lit! It’s really going to be great. At Los Globos, we are going to be playing all night so we can really take you on a journey and get your body moving. The idea is to get your mind working and your body moving.

Soul Clap will perform at Los Globos on Nov. 11.