Claptone is a rather mysterious figure. He plays in an ornate bird mask and conjured up magical sound tracks that lean on deep house but more besides. His productions such as Cream have proved to be some of the biggest underground hits of recent times, topping Beatport and RA charts, and they come on labels such as Exploited.
Recent cuts like Ghost and United have followed up his great early form and each one comes imbued with a woozy, Rhodes led funk that really strikes at your soul. The Berlin based artist, along with many others, headlines at Valhalla Festival on December 20th in Amsterdam so we tracked him down to talk more about his story.
How are you, how has the year been now you look back?
I am always free in mind and spirit and now I am particularly happy. This year has been one to remember even though I remember everything. The once huge gulf between my realm and yours has been bridged and now the magic will begin in earnest.
Do you prefer winter or summer? I’m guessing winter given the costume you have to wear?
Each season brings its own enchantment to me, a spirit in tune with the rhythms of the age. I must say, the longer nights conjure up their own mischief and I enjoy their play. Some of you may know what I mean…
Why do you dress up like you do? What influenced or inspired it in the first place?
What inspires the birds? The trees? The earth? We are all made of the same matter and what you think you see may not actually be true. Today I am like this, yesterday and tomorrow who knows. Just enjoy and don’t trouble your brain when there is so much more to appreciate like music and love.
Is it because you lack confidence or are shy and can hide behind the persona?
There is no confidence needed when spreading happiness by the thousand. It’s a pleasure and a treasure.
As someone who makes and plays deep house – what does the genre mean to you, what is proper deep house?
I don’t think in genres, the whole sonic realm is my playground. I channel an emotion and today is resonates worldwide on your level. Sometimes it changes depending on greater forces at work so enjoy and don’t get too focused on specifics as it tends to spoil the fun.
What goes through your mind when producing, what are your aims when making music?
Clear your mind and listen to the spirit, listen to the wind and listen to your heart. Combined they can be agony or ecstasy. Music is the answer as you might know.
How much is Berlin an infleunce on your sound – would you be making different music if you lived somewhere else?
This chapter has taken me around the world a million times and each rotation brings another layer to my sound. We build and we shape with ever increasing momentum and I hope to never have to let go.
Might you ever leave the city and go live somewhere else?
You collabroated with JAW recently – what was that like? Do you like working with others?
Jaw was asked that same question in an interview for his new album ‘Midtown’ some weeks ago and replied: ““I kind of met Claptone once in Berlin. Some guys put a bag over my head and took me into a car so I couldn’t see where his studio was. Fifteen minutes later I was in the recording booth.” I can just say that the abduction has been necessary and that working with Jaw is a blessing. He resonates with the Claptone sound instantly and passionately. I like working with vocalists that I feel connected with on an emotional level. Same goes for Clap Your Hands Say Yeah and a lot of other collaborations to follow in 2015.
You play Valhalla festival soon – what are you expecting, what should people expect from you?
Put on your mask, physical or metaphysical and enjoy being free with anonymity. Valhalla channels the spirit of the Norse and Odin and these are my people. Powerful and strong.
Its a magical mystery festival with all sorts of carnival things and animals so it should be right up your street, correct?
You wouldn’t believe what is up my street. It might blow your mind…
What else have you got coming up/are you looking forward to?
The future of Claptone looks bright. Next year will see more amazing events, more original music and more magic to enchant you all. Save some energy… or better save the world.