Article | Onlythebeat

Behind The Beat: Claptone Talks Charmer and Something Wicked

Thursday, October 22, 2015
Alex Zimmerman

In preparation for Something Wicked this weekend, I was able to discuss with the masked marauder Claptone about his debut album Charmer, his recent performances, Claptone Immortal and of course his past. So pull up a chair, put on Charmer and go Behind The Beat with Claptone.

Claptone – Charmer Album Stream

OTB: First off I want to say that your remix of "Omen" by Disclosure is phenomenal. So what made you decide to remix the track? If you could choose one other track from the album to remix, which would it be and why? Claptone: When Disclosure asked me to do this remix there was no way for me to say no. Beneath a great production "Omen" has this ecstatic hook sung by Sam Smith, which distinguishes it as a great pop song. It was easy for me to take this delicate track to the clubs with my remix. To answer the second part of the question I would need time to listen to the new Disclosure album, but it’s very hectic at the moment as you might guess. OTB: Your new album Charmer was released October 16th and it comes at a perfect time as you perform in Amsterdam for ADE, a couple release party shows and Something Wicked. How excited are you for everyone to hear the rest of the album, and why the name Charmer? Claptone: I am very excited that after almost two years of work Charmer finally sees the light of day. To different people at different times the music on Charmer will have a quite different but always charming effect. I like the connotation of that word, which is positive overall, but there is a slightly darker almost dangerous deeper end to it. For some it’s just a nice soundtrack to whatever they’re doing, for others it feels really good and touches their souls. And there’s those who fall under its spell completely, they dance to my beats like the snake to the flute of the snake charmer. But fear me not I mean well. Claptone is about bringing people together through music on an emotional level and there’s no harm in that. OTB: Speaking of your recent events, I was at your intimate Dallas stop at It'll Do. What is the best thing about performing at smaller venues like It'll Do rather than bigger stages like ADE, CRSSD and Something Wicked? What's the best thing about the bigger venues and events? Claptone: I love venues like It’ll Do and enjoyed the show there a lot; Dark, intimate, great sound, amazing warm up DJ, just the right setting to enjoy the whole night. At a festival you have the advantage of seeing lots of very different acts all on one or two days, but it’s all one hour shows and doesn’t get you in a flow, doesn’t allow you to dive in really. As a DJ playing festivals in front of a huge crowd can be an amazing thing if you are at the right stage at the right time, but it’s far more condensed. Two very different jobs almost, but change for me is one of the greatest pleasures Djing brings. OTB: With your massive touring schedule, I know that you get to see plenty of different scenes here in America and Europe. What do you find is the biggest difference between the two? Where do you think these scenes are going to go as time goes on? Claptone: Our whole planet is beautiful and the distinctive difference between events, clubs, crowds and places is the reason of this beauty. I don’t prefer one to another I enjoy the differences. To put these differences into words is quite complicated though; it’s better to experience them first hand. The advice I can give everyone reading this is: Go places, travel, no matter where, no matter if only on a very low budget. Because the cultural differences, even within the club context, the experiences will change the view on your own culture and maybe upon your life. OTB: Speaking of ADE, how was the event? Claptone: I played a proper set at the Exploited label party in Marktkantine which was off the hook. Almost stage diving intensity, truly magic. My Charmer album release party was more of a get together with friends and music industry, not a real club show, but a nice intimate thing. OTB: Your live show Claptone Immortal, is a bit different than "normal" for you as you incorporate a visual experience with Peter Martin. Other than the noticeable difference of having more distinct lighting rather than the typical dark room setting, there seems to be more than one masked marauder at the decks. Who is this mysterious second person? Is it Peter or someone different? Why two people? Claptone: For Claptone Immortal Live its two musicians on stage as I always find it a bit disappointing when it’s called a live gig and you have one performer on stage, which would also not be a big difference to the DJ gigs. I wanted it to be more of an audiovisual show a la Chemical Brothers. OTB: What is your goal with Claptone Immortal and how does it differ from your regular shows? Claptone: The show works best in the dark as the visuals on a huge LED and two LED stands make the difference. The other difference to a DJ show is that Immortal Live is all Claptone music mainly from my new album Charmer in a special live recreation. OTB: Your "Clapcast" podcast continues to be one of my favorites to listen to, how do you decide what tracks to mix and how do you find the time between your busy touring schedule and time in the studio to crank out Clapcasts? Claptone: I have to listen to all the promos I get anyway. For one it’s my job, secondly it’s an addiction. And I just pick on basis of my taste like any other DJ would I suppose. OTB: Traveling back in time before the days of Claptone, were you always musically oriented? Were you trained in any instruments early on and how did that shape your producing career? Claptone: Music was my first love and it will be my last. About instruments and training as a real musician let me say this: My music feeds from inspirations grown in my mind and my body translates it into the sonic universe. But I have my preferences of course. I like my sound organic and dirty, it aims to be human like I do. Besides Rhodes and Piano the Bass is a very important instrument for me. I start with the groove and work on it until I fall in love with it, until my body moves. Then I add the soul, the heartfelt drama, and the emotions. The result needs to get through that layer of everyday pink noise which we cover ourselves in day by day and reach you to fulfill its purpose. If I achieve that then I’m a fluent musician and a magician, if I go beyond then I am a Charmer. OTB: I have to ask, is Halloween your favorite holiday, if so why, if not, which is your favorite and why? Claptone: Every day is Halloween for me. But holidays are something different. Holidays are when I’m far away from everything, even from music. Weirdly enough for a DJ the weekend and whatever days off people have and enjoy, these days are just working days to me. My heart beats to a different rhythm. OTB: What can we expect from your set at Something Wicked? Claptone: Don’t expect anything, just come with an open heart and mind to join the crowd for a fun time.
Whew let me catch my breath from that one. Claptone is a cool cat. Going above and beyond what the questions asked, we got great insight into who Claptone is. Charmer is a beautiful album from start to finish and his answers make the album even better. The effort he puts into each track is so complex and yet simple, which bleeds over into his live sets. I was grooving throughout the entire set when he was in Dallas and I can’t wait for his set at Something Wicked. If you will be attending Something Wicked, find Claptone on the Beatport Stage, Saturday from 6:00-7:15 for an experience you won’t soon forget. In the words from Claptone, “don’t expect anything, just come with an open heart and mind to join the crowd for a fun time.” You can still purchase tickets for Something Wicked here, and follow them across social media sites for the latest news. Purchase Charmer from iTunes now and might I suggest “The Music Got Me” and “No Eyes” as a starter, though the best is to listen to Charmer all the way through.