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Dazed Mix: Soul Clap

The Boston duo celebrate their second album with a live mix of ‘multicultural funk, disco and house’

TextSelim BulutIllustrationAbbey Midanik

Boston duo Soul Clap have been moving dancefloors for the best part of a decade now with their affirmitive, uplifting mix of house, disco, hip hop, and electro-funk. Along the way they’ve put out respected DJ mixes (like their slow and sexy 2011 entry into the DJ-Kicks series, recorded with longtime friends and collaborators Wolf + Lamb) and released low-key classic club tracks (like the endlessly listenable “Lonely C”). Now, they’re issuing their second studio album, the self-titled Soul Clap. Arriving four years on from their debut EFUNK, it continues the duo’s fascination with funk and groove, featuring collaborations with Nona Hendryx (of Labelle, they of “Lady Marmalade” fame), close friends from within their Crew Love collective, and locals from Tallahassee, Florida, where much of the album was recorded.

The genesis of Soul Clap lies in that initial trip to Tallahassee, where Soul Clap’s Charles Levine and Eli Goldstein met up with the legendary George Clinton to record their “In Da Kar” collaboration (also featuring Sly Stone). Later, they returned to record their own album at Clinton’s What? Studios, enlisting local talent to keep their heads firmly in the funk zone before finishing off recording in New York and Miami. While it’s a fun, celebratory record, it’s not purely escapist music. Like all music from the P-Funk tradition, there’s a political undercurrent at work: they’re dancing for a reason.

Soul Clap are behind the boards of our latest Dazed Mix. Recorded live at Brooklyn’s Marcy Hotel, it stitches together gospel-tinged house, jazzy club grooves, African percussion, and leftfield disco cuts. We hit up Levine and Goldstein over email to find out more about it.

It’s been four years since your first album. How do you feel about that record, looking back?

Soul Clap: We still have tons of love for our first album – EFUNK is, and always will be, in our blood. However, when we compare the first album to our new album, there is a big difference. The making of EFUNK was a rushed process with expectations and pressure. This new album, on the other hand, marinated in some funky juices for four years.

How did you approach this one differently?

Soul Clap: We have much more experience as producers and musicians. And with all the extra time, each song was able to breathe and grow. Also, on the new album we enlisted the help of the great Martin Buttrich to help us engineer and mix. He gave us his midas touch, which was the missing ingredient that really elevated the music to the next level.

Needless to say, US politics is a bit of a shitshow right now. How do you see things going over the next four years?

Soul Clap: Man oh man, it is a fucking mess. Maybe the only good thing about Trump is Alec Baldwin’s incredible impression that he’s been doing on SNL. Theres no telling exactly how things will go down, but we’re both voting Clinton, as well as encouraging people who don’t vote on social media, and even volunteering for her campaign. We don’t love her, but she’s certainly the better of the two candidates. The world is in a strange, strange place right now. All we can do is continue emanating as much love as possible.

“At the end of the day, what we really stand for is love, consciousness, and freeing minds” – Soul Clap

Have you been thinking about the relationship between your music and politics?

Soul Clap: Yes. As DJs and musicians with an attentive audience, we have a voice that can heard by a lot of people. At the end of the day, what we really stand for is love, consciousness, and freeing minds. Therefore we really try to play music with a positive message in our sets. From 90s soulful house classics like Aly-Us’s “Follow Me” to Fela Kuti to political funk and hip hop. We actually just did a radio show about political music.

Tell us about this mix.

Soul Clap: The mix was recorded live last month at the new Marcy Hotel space in Brooklyn. It features a selection of mostly new multicultural funk, disco, and house that we’ve been rocking around the globe, including some exclusives from Soul Clap Records and Crew Love.

What else have you got coming up?

Soul Clap: We’re touring the album super hard right now. Finishing up our Euro Tour at A.D.E. and then heading back to North America for a month, before we hit Asia. Then we’ve got a Midnight Magic album, Michael The Lion EP, and Nick Monaco EP coming soon on Soul Clap Records. Plus a collaboration by us and No Regular Play dropping next year and a bunch of Soul Clap edits and new club music. Gotta keep that foot on the gas!

!K7 released Soul Clap on October 14