By Paul Rodgers
CALGARY — Collaboration is a word that pops up a lot in the electronic music universe. It is an important concept in keeping connections between artists that allow them to continually push their own sounds, and build themselves and each other up simultaneously. Boston’s Eli “Elyte” Goldstein and Charles “Cnyce” Levine, known to the world as Soul Clap, wholeheartedly embrace and embody the spirit of collaboration.
The duo first linked in 2001 but didn’t begin churning out tunes and touring until around 2008. They draw a substantial amount of influence from funk, soul and hip-hop music of eras past but as Goldstein states in his recent phone conversation with BeatRoute, “I think we’ve always kind of said that we like to look to the past to create the future. I don’t really like calling it nostalgic, what we do.”
Continuing on the subject, the eloquent and well-spoken Goldstein continues: “We’re historians, but the idea’s always to be experimenting and creating fresh sounds. I think it’s really boring to be producing music that just kind of sounds like old music… so much of what’s made and played in dance music these days is just kind of like rehashing what happened in the past rather than looking at new sounds so I think it’s really important to always know your history but always be pushing it in new directions.”
He acknowledges the duo’s passion for sampling music from the past, but reiterates the importance they place on trying to channel it into something that is fresh and contemporary.
The group was close with Wolf + Lamb, a DJ duo and record label operating out of the creative hub and party space that is the Marcy Hotel in Brooklyn. They have since launched their own label Soul Clap Records, as well as Crew Love: a cumulative trinity merging Soul Clap Records, Wolf + Lamb and Double Standard Records.
“There’s a lot of back and forth with us and with other artists, and just the nature of being a duo means that there’s always been collaboration with us as well,” explains Goldstein. “So I mean, Crew Love was almost born from the collaboration, not the other way around.”
To glance at the history section on the ‘Soul Clap Mothership’ website, one becomes immediately aware of their passion for the work of Parliament/Funkadelic, and that they are well versed in the language of the funk (the introduction reads: Elyte and Cnyce’s paths were crossed for all time when a Sun Ra light beam sent from Saturn collided with the P-Funk Mothership and sent them tumbling to earth. Now, Soul Clap time travels on a musical spaceship of dopeness…).
This culminated with a “dream come true” for Soul Clap when they were approached by George Clinton’s nephew S’ad “The Hourchild” Ali.
“I think we never imagined that that would happen but we did call our first album EFUNK and that’s really what kind of manifested it and more than anything it’s like, that was a very organic process to make that happen, but more than anything being a part of the P-Funk family is really the most amazing part of this.”
He continues, stating that as well as George Clinton, guys like S’ad and Chuck the Funk have become, “… like our uncles—our crazy uncles who are always looking out for us, which is really cool.”
They have worked for four years on their new record, since their 2012 debut EFUNK, recording much of it at George Clinton’s Tallahassee, FL studio and then heading off to Barcelona to mix it with their longtime friend, legendary techno producer Martin Buttrich. The album will feature numerous cameos including members of the extended P-Funk family and will be released by the end of September 2016.
The universe seems to be continually aligning for the Boston duo. They are very excited about their upcoming performance at Coachella, their annual live show at Sonar in Barcelona (that will feature previous Fela Kuti drummer Tony Allen), and their North American tour with Crew Love. Their ability to balance past influence with forward thinking, and their deep rooted collective of friends and family has set them up for long-term prosperity.
Soul Clap make their Calgary debut with a 3.5 hour set at the Hifi Club on April 14th.AB, Alberta, HIFI Club, Soul Clap