For several decades, the house music scene was veiled under the demise of warehouses, empty parking lots, abandoned construction sites...the list goes on. Big name DJs like Sebastian Ingrosso once called it, "The best kept secret in the world." It was a secret that most people were ignorant to or not let in on. But for the lucky ones divulged into the unknown, they returned with mind altered life-perspectives. Now as dance music has risen further beyond the surface, there has been a lot of talk about the saturation of the scene and how it has lost its zest. Just yesterday I was reading an interview with Felix Da Housecat in Billboard Magazine where he talks about how the scene has become "over-commercialized."
Claptone is one such DJ/producer from Berlin that brings back the "lost zest" to house music. Cloaked under a bright gold bird-like mask, he travels the world playing shows while picking up new fans at each stop along the way. His productions have become the talk of the town with praise being tossed around by everyone from Pete Tong and DJ Sneak to A-Trak. Hit output for the esteemed Exploited imprint in 2012, kicking off with the infection "Cream," started the revolution gaining top ten honors on the Beatport chart. Since that release Claptone has gone from strength to strength. "Wrong," "Night On Fire," "Good To You" and his remix for Dirty Minds' "I'm For Pleasure" via Eskimo Recordings being prime examples. Claptone sounds bright and dark, angry and warm-hearted, happy and sad, calm and outrageous. If you open your heart you can feel it: Claptone deals in emotions. With remix projects for Riva Starr, George Morel and Romanthony in the works as well as upcoming gigs in North America, Europe and Brazil later this year, we expect 2013 will see even more dancefloor triumphs over the faithful's hearts and ears.
We caught up with "EDM's man of mystery as he imparted his sage advice for one and all. And... here is an exclusive DJ mix that Claptone conjured up for us—enjoy.
Let those secrets thrill you, allow them to fascinate you and enjoy the excitement they create within you, but accept them as what they are: secrets!
What’s the secret to your success? We will accept any secret if you have not yet found the former.
I love secrets and that's why I’d like to give you a hint at mine, though of course some things can never be told: My secret is not only one. If you listen very closely to the sound of Claptone you might get a glimpse into my whole universe full of secrets. One may allow me a piece of advice: Let those secrets thrill you, allow them to fascinate you and enjoy the excitement they create within you, but accept them as what they are: secrets!
Ok, lets go at this a different way; what was your favorite toy as a child, do you still play with it?
Since I can remember I have always been and still am in love with my magic wand. I still use it every day to send my rhythm into the world, to move the sun, clouds and rainfall, to make all lifeforms dance to my beat. To put it more precisely: Over the years I learned to affect every being on earth and to synchronize the noises and sounds, everyone of them produces. With my magic wand I now bring to life an universal orchestra and direct the world's unique soundtrack.
What they do not realize is that the game is rigged, the rules of the game will never allow them to become part of the powerful few.
Sounds supernatural, have you ever had a brush with the paranormal?
This question seems naïve to me. I encounter what common people call the paranormal every day of my long life as far as I can think back. You could say I venture into the paranormal almost every time I make music. But not only then. I have to admit that I feel torn about this topic. I would like to tell you, but I have to admit that it feels uncomfortable to talk about the paranormal in present times. After so many Hollywood movies the supernatural seems like a joke or a gadget to most people and I don't blame them. Whoever talks about these things isn't taken seriously anymore. One tends to be ridiculed when unveiling only the tiniest fragments of truth about certain phenomenons. So you may forgive me if I lay a cloak of silence over the details of the paranormal.
Ok, no paranormal talk. What about disturbing stuff, you travel the world...what's the crazies thing you've seen?
A disturbing event that takes place for some time now is that mankind knowingly destroys not only the world it lives in but also the world it brings their children into. They sell the world's future for a little bit of personal profit today. In correspondence with that a very small percentage of powerful people manages to present highly incoherent economic, political and so called religious ideas as facts, as undeniable truths to the majority. The majority not only exploits itself, but also mistrusts, betrays or even kills their neighbour on their quest to become powerful. What they do not realize is that the game is rigged, the rules of the game will never allow them to become part of the powerful few. Most disturbing to me seems that to many people what I just outlined is partly known, but that this doesn't change their behavior.
Speaking of Behavior, does character invent style or does your style invent character? Or is there a mysterious X factor only you are privy to?
The one can't exist without the other and there is always an X factor at least for those who believe. Some people call it "Soul." I can only recommend an in depth examination of the countless books which have been written about this question as it's not something you can explain in three sentences. As a result the following lines may appear superficial. I hope you don't hold that against me. We all wear masks which enable us to communicate with other mask-wearing people. These masks can be changed, but they can't be taken off. They are part of our very self, facets of our persona. But there's no persona without a mask. Even if I succeeded in breaking down the character / style relationship for you in short, I have to disappoint you with regards to the X factor. I'm not able to let you in very quickly on the secret of what people call "Soul." The only thing I can say is that it's not an inner core either, but manifests in acts of style and traits of character. I know it's not much, but stay positive and remember what I wrote about the aura of secrets.
I dont like people who gather around my both and continuously make photos with mobile phones. You can not capture my magic with an iPhone 4s and I am neither a clown nor an animal in some zoo.
Any colorful/memorable incidents involving a fan you'd like to share?
I go on tour to play exciting music to people, music that casts a spell upon them, that evokes their emotional response in many ways. It is a great honor to be able to touch people with my music and very rewarding to see them being swept away by the love and heartache, the ecstasy and melancholy that I bring onto them. As you might know the mask I wear is uncommon compared to most people's masks. Over the years I learned to live with my unique features and cope with disadvantages as well as enjoy the advantages of my golden beak. I have to admit though that in some situations in clubs nowadays I feel very uncomfortable. As you might have figured out by now I don't speak my mind very often, but in this case I dare to say that I don't like people who gather around my both and continuously make photos with mobile phones. You can not capture my magic with an iPhone 4s and I am neither a clown nor an animal in some zoo. I may look like a freak, but the sole purpose of me playing for the crowd is to create those magical moments for them on the floor, so they can get lost in music.
If you visualize music as your listen, what (generally) do you imagine?
For me it's the other way around. Once I open my eyes I instantly hear the soundtrack to what I see. The pictures in my head never exist without sound. Everything my eye captures is accompanied by a chord, a note or some noise. Sometimes it feels as if I don't really see, but hear where I am, what I'm surrounded by or where I'm going. In fact all my senses are centered around my hearing. Am I a bird or a human being, I can't say, but I can say this: I am a sonic being.
Speaking of sight and sound, is there a particular band whose covers you love? Or a designer of covers?
I know I am not the only one, but I am deeply in love with the covers from New Order and the old Factory Records in general. Almost all vinyl sleeves designed by Peter Saville are outstanding, so for me he deserves all the credit he got over the years. His work is a perfect melange of typography and graphic design. He has a great sense for colors and knows how to convey emotion.
Which do you prefer, a smoky, low-lit club or a big stage with bright lights and colored gels?
I don't mind big stages, but I don't like the bright lights. The haze of a smoke machine is for me. I like to be covered in it. I don't need flashy colors either. When it comes to colors I prefer golden. When it comes to non-colors I chose black and white. Monochrome is colorful enough for me and my music is best enjoyed by candlelight in a dark room with golden walls.
Claptone DJ Mix (right click, save as)
1. David Keno "Sunshine" (Noir Music)
2. Claptone featuring Jaw "No Eyes" (Exploited)
3. Tapesh & Dayne S "Got To Live" (Off)
4. Bobby Womack "Love Is Gonna Lift You Up" (Julio Bashmore Remix) (XL)
5. Osunlade, Marcus Worgull "Reno" (Innervisions)
6. Raudive "Seven" (Light Version) (Thema)
7. Kevin Over "Hood Funk" (Noir Music)
8. Stefano Ritteri "The Partylife" (Exploited)
9. Chicken Lips "He Not In" (Noir's Personal Edit) (Defected)
10. Claptone "Wrong" (Exploited)
11. Round Table Knights "So Good" (Off)