Interview: Nadezhda Georgieva
Write-up: Steve Rickinson

Shrouded within the mysteries of intergalactic temporality, Claptone’s time on Earth has brought an array of soulful sounds rooted in the house of Chicago, perfected in caverns of Berlin and displayed to endearing fans throughout the world. As a DJ, Producer, Remixer and Cosmic, Time Defying Entity, Claptone’s synth driven rhythms are as infectious as they are diverse, culminating in a demand few manage within the what-have-you-done-for-me-lately world of the international DJ Industry.

Since 2012, the black shrouded, golden masked figure has hopped from Bali to Boston, Marquee to Munich and every club, festival and planet in between, combining tragic, melancholic soul with the uplifting analogous grooves of the Rhodes Piano. What began with the Pete Tong championed funk of the Wu Tang Clan sampled ‘Cream’, evolving into the indie flavor of ‘Ghost’ (alongside Clap Your Hands and Say Yeah) and, rumor has it, solidified on a diverse collection of originals coming in the form of an artist album, have made Claptone a preeminent force on the world electronic music stage.

As 2014 draws to a close, another year has seen the continued rise of the Claptone experience, with remixes for the likes of the late, great Romanthony, Klaxons and the Mercury Prize winning Metronomy’s I’m Aquarius, producing the Beatport Deep House chart topping, United, as well as the building anticipation of the previously mentioned artist album thought to be full of top flight collaborations, has the international dance music faithful salivating for what is to come.

On December 20, Claptone returns to Amsterdam, after a smashing set at ADE’s Straf_Werk, for Valhalla Festival at RAI. With another year down and the promise of new beginnings fast approaching, the powers of Claptone seem to be stronger than ever.

Get ready for the event by letting the man (?) himself guide you through the inner workings of your consciousness as he was gracious enough to enlighten us on topics from phones on the dancefloor to the very sonic foundations of the universe.

You are probably the most mysterious DJ in the industry. You don’t reveal much information about yourself, and you certainly have never revealed your face. What is the reason behind that? Conspiracy theory?
There is no Claptone without a mask. In fact there is not one human being without a mask. And there is no core being behind all our masks and we can only interact if we have our masks put on and challenge the roles we play with one another.

How did you get into electronic music?
Electronic? I am influenced by the sonic universe itself. I hear melodies from the birds I hear rhythms when trains pass me by and I hear vocals in the wind. I absorb every sound unconsciously and when I play my music something happens but I can’t describe it. For me it’s just music.

What special rituals do you have in the studio that bring you into the mood or extra inspiration?
Like all rituals mine will remain personal to harness its power.

Next to producing a lot of your own music, you also do a lot of remixes. Is remixing more challenging for you than making your own track?
Remixing demands a different approach. I choose an original that touches my soul, a song that has my brain spilling out ideas nonstop. It’s the tracks that even if you hear them for the first time they inspire you, but these originals can have their flaws or more positivity injected into their character. A prefect example is Rüfüs – Sundream, some of the rather frentic elements, the overcompressed synths were not to my liking but the overall composition and feel of the original is just outstanding. I put it on and the song itself spoke to me, it asked me if I’d wanna remix is, it begged me to be remixed. This might sound weird to you, but don’t be fooled. I am not and never have been hallucinating. It’s just like, that if music doesn’t speak to you I feel sorry for you my friend.

Speaking of remixes, at the end of November you had a new remix released – Metronomy – I’m Aquarius. How did you decide to take on that one?
Metronomy has been one of my favourite bands since their first album. For me they are for now what the Beatles were to the 60s or the Pet Shop Boys to the 80s. I’m Aquarius is a beautiful pop song that I just needed to hear in the club, a place where profanity feels almost at home. So with a song like that you have to be mindful. I built bridges, harnessed the emotive richness and translated the vibe without violating has already been created by a well-deserved Mercury Prize winner.

What is your zodiac sign? Aquarius?
If you will it, so it shall be.