Shrouded in mystery, magic and all things medieval, Berlin’s Claptone has sprinkled some of the lost wonder back into house music.
Over the last two years this avian form has clocked up some serious air miles with a grueling global touring schedule. The man with the golden mask played 200 shows in 130 cities on 6 different continents in 2013 alone!
His releases on Berlin’s Exploited have cast a spell over dancefloors and become firm favourites on main floors and backrooms alike and he seems to have garnered a cult-like following on social media.
The “deep and woozy”, Claptone sound pairs theatre with tragedy, feel good vibes with acute melancholia and imbues each groove with a Rhodes laced funk, an organic string hook and a myriad of earthy elements.
As you might know, the masked man is makes his South African debut this weekend and he’s treated us to a few moments of his time before he hypnotizes the crowds in Johannesburg and Cape Town.
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MCBN: It’s rumored you’re a very old soul. Tell us about the early days of Claptone..
Some centuries ago I travelled the land as a wandering musician… almost like today but with acoustic instruments. I visited taverns (like now clubs) and local gatherings under the sun and the sky (like now festivals). Those times were very different though. No Internet, no toilet paper – not even proper toilets as we know them today. Well what you don’t know, you don’t miss.
MCBN: What has changed since those times?
A lot has changed as mentioned above. But Claptone has not changed at all as I was and am an essence of sound and emotions. I still touch hearts with my music and will do until the end of days. Let’s hope that mankind does not speed up that journey towards the end anymore than they do now. My mask is unbreakable, but once the earth dies Claptone will dissolve into the universe.
MCBN: What are you working on at present?
I am relentlessly touring the world at the moment. USA, Asia, Europe, South America and now South Africa, I fly out to the people who want to be part of Claptone, who want to be touched at heart by my music. I want to meet all of them. When I find time in between tours I am composing songs for the first Claptone album. A real manifest. With the help of some great vocalists. And yes, it is almost done. I can’t tell you more at this stage because I love secrets. You know that.
MCBN: How would you describe Claptone to someone who has no idea who or what you are?
Some people tend to use genre names to describe music. Who can blame them? It is almost impossible to tell someone about music without listening to it. So for those who don’t know Claptone. Come to the DJ gig or if you cannot do that visit: https://www.facebook.com/claptone.official or https://soundcloud.com/claptone and enter my realm.
MCBN: What have you heard about South Africa?
I have never been to South Africa so all I heard is clichés, one might forgive me if I do not want to just repeat what I heard and read. Now I have the opportunity to visit myself, see it and experience it first hand. The first time in my several hundred years of life. I am looking forward to do that.
MCBN: Have you got anything special up your sleeves for your shows in South Africa?
For my DJ gigs there are always special tracks and edits that only Claptone plays out. It does not make sense to fly out to far away lands to only play the stuff everyone plays. The Claptone style is unique and I do not only have that up my sleeves, I got this under my skin.
Claptone and Miguel Campbell will play in Johannesburg for Truth’s annual Big Weekend. Claptone headlines the terrace on Friday 27th June and Miguel Campbell performs on the 28th. A long list of local favourites are supporting.
All the info here: https://www.facebook.com/TRUTH.Jhb
In Cape Town, Claptone and Miguel Campbell headline the three-part Strange Loving weekend. All the info here: https://www.facebook.com/StrangeLoving
*** All words by Heather Mennell!