You say in your bio you appreciate “real music featuring talented singers”. As an electronic artist what do you find to be what defines “real” music? What traps do you see other producers and DJs fall into that separates their work from this idea of what “real” music is?
Did I really say ‘real’? What I meant was that my sound is meant to be organic and comes to life as a soundtrack for my quest to my human side. Through creating my music I try to get in contact with my human side. Therefore I want my music to feel human. I want it to be organic, to have mistakes, to sound unique in shape, distinguishable to every other production. But my main aim is for the listener to be able to integrate my music into their life, make it their soundtrack too. I reach out to you and if you get touched by my music I achieved my aim. Many other musician have found a way to establish these lines of communication via sound and they did it their very own way. I think for others it’s just a language barrier and implicit structural forces that doesn’t allow them to find an audience, that doesn’t allow them to communicate. For many the system of selling music, the system of spreading music for free, the rules of getting the well deserved attention in a certain digital and analogue media power grid we can not escape just seems to create a threshold they can’t surpass. And there is some music out there that just does not have the quality or the heart and soul.
You are an extremely collaborative artist and your work with the likes of Peter Bjorn, for example, on Charmer and beyond is a true testament to that. What were you listening for when imagining what came to fruition through this album? What about certain vocalists made you want to work with them?
When planning the album I had the idea of working with singers who fit the the emotive, organic, truthful and dirty house sound of Claptone and whom at the same time I liked a lot. So I did indeed look back into my very own history of music and asked myself who mattered to me and which songs and artists still do. For ‘Charmer’ I wanted singers with charisma, vocalists who make a difference and who are different to what you would usually hear on the radio today. Also I wanted to hear voices with character whom you don’t hear or on a every house music record like Nathan Nicholson of The Boxer Rebellion, Jimi Tenor, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Young Galaxy, Peter, Bjorn And John. I did not just want to write a bunch of radio songs and call it an album, nor did I want to produce an album which compiles club tracks. It needed to be a classic album. A collection of works that relate to each other, that make sense in their order. An album that you can listen to in one go in a time where the meaning of the album fades.
At Further Future in Nevada we spoke of the growth of music through technology— in what ways do you feel technology broadens our understanding of music and in what ways do you find it narrows it? Where do we need to be careful in order to maintain the musicality and avoid a sense of robotics in our music (both as listeners and musicians)?
Technology feels like a thread to me in many ways when I look at this planet and it’s development, but in music I don’t think there should be any limit to technology at all. My music comes to existence in my mind and technology helps me to translate it into the sound we hear. Technology during this translational process at times also produces the mistakes that add intrigue to my sound and if you use it right you can teach technology to sound almost human. Even if technology would one day start writing it’s own music how can that be wrong unless it’s boring meaningless music or it keeps me from being able to make music too. I don’t believe in technology finding us hit formulas which allow villains to dominate the charts. The beautiful thing about music it shares with life, it’s unpredictable and it surprises us every day if we delve into it’s sea of sound.
This summer you have been incredibly busy with the Golden Summer Tour . As the summer comes to a close what are your plans moving into the fall and winter? Will you be working on new music? Are there any new directions you would like to experiment with as you move forward as an artist and innovator of the electronic music scene? Should we expect more of the same or are you ready to branch off into something new? How has your tour this summer inspired the direction you would like to take the music?
Yes and yes and yes/no. With my Remix for New Order and the Golden Summer themes being released now the last 8 weeks of the tour started. And there will be something quite Claptone, something you don’t expect after that tour. But I am keeping this as a secret for now, cause as you know I love secrets. All my touring on this planet inspires me. All the people I see dancing, those I meet and those I talk to, they all inspire me and they help me to stay positive in times where nationalism reincarnates, racism blooms, we don’t afford to feed nor educate so many of the worlds children.