Jun 05, 2013
interview
Soul Clap

With their love for vinyl and feel-good music, Charles & Eli of Soul Clap have been changing the world with their organic sound, record label, and legendary collaborations. We caught up with the guys at this year’s Movement Electronic Music Festival to chat about how they met, and their new compilation celebrating Boston nightlife.

Soul Clap - Incoming B*tch (Get Low!) (Original Mix) [Get Physical]
LessThan3: How did you guys get to know each other?
Eli: We met in High School because he’s from Brookline, which is right next to Boston on one side, and I’m from Cambridge, which is right next to Boston on the other side. He was in the alternative program in his High School, and I was in the alternative program in my High School, and there was this day where we all hung out. It was like, “Oh cool, a school within a school,” and we had a mutual friend who introduced us because we were both already DJing. After that we started seeing each other at raves around New England, and we ended up DJing together in 2001 at a friend’s party.
Charlie: You sound like you’re describing when we first hooked up, Eli. At that time, there weren’t that many DJs, and he was from one side of town, and I was from the other side, so we ended up really finding out a lot about music. When we put our record collections together, we found that we had a lot more options.
LessThan3: Can you tell me a bit about your experience with Carol Mitro and being admitted into the temple of Vinyl Connection?
Charlie: Carol was a disco DJ from Boston, and she started a record store with her friend Tom. The two of them had a vinyl goldmine for younger people like Eli and I, who went in there picking, and we were lucky enough to win her friendship and guidance. There were very strict rules: you were allowed to pick one record at a time and play it publicly on a stereo system, so you’re constantly under scrutiny from the other people in the store.
Eli: If you played a bad track they kicked you out.
Charlie: She asked Eli and I when we came in the door, “What are you guys doing in here?” and we were like “Uhhh…”, but we happened to say something that worked for her. She went from being very judgmental of everyone that came in to really taking a shining for us and giving us a lot of early coaching on music and told us cool stories about New York City and how things used to be with the old disco DJs. I don’t think either of us have seen Carol since way before our career took off, but we are always putting this energy out there to try to find her; it just hasn’t happened. I really think we owe her something.
LessThan3: You recently collaborated with one of the leading innovators in funk, George Clinton. Can you tell us a bit about your experience with George and what you guys are working on? When might we be graced with a release?
Charlie: What we’re working on with George is very organic, and I think it’s really incredible that it’s happening. His nephew Sa’ D Ali has become a dear friend to Eli and myself, and we’re really having a blast running around hanging out with him. Maybe in the fall we’ll start to see whatever grows from the seed that’s been planted.
LessThan3: Who were the artists that inspired your organic, one-of-a-kind sound?
Eli: Masters At Work did for a long time, which is cool because they’re playing on the same stage as us today at Movement. I really hope they play some of their classics. We were going to play one of their records today, To Be In Love, but we didn’t get to it. Dennis Ferrer with Ibadan Records, him when he worked with Jerome Sydenham, that was big for us. Also Danny Tenaglia.
Charlie: I actually got a chance to play ping-pong with Dennis Ferrer today. I think once he gets warmed up, he’s going to be a threat. I kicked his ass, but I think if we played for more than half an hour, that would turn right around.
Eli: We played Moby in ping-pong yesterday too.
Charlie: Yeah, but Moby played really weird. He wanted to play where you hit it and just run around the table. That’s cool, but it was crazy. There’s no winner in that game.
LessThan3: Your newest compilation, Dancing On The Charles, showcases a collection of tracks pertaining to the nightlife scene in your hometown of Boston over the last decade. What was your strategy behind the picking and choosing of the selections found on this album, and how do they relate to the growth of Boston nightlife?
Eli: It’s not really a strategy–this stuff just kind of happens. There’s a track from Bosq and Kon, who are two artists we’re working with. Kon is on our label and is also a mentor of ours, and Bosq is another amazing producer who Kon works with in Boston. There’s a remix that they did of this old-school disco guy, Matthew Larkin Cassell. We were playing it, and then when we started talking about putting out various artists’ tracks of Boston producers, we talked to them, and it ended up shaping itself into a whole compilation, so we started finding more stuff–Roldy Cezaire, who was also featured on some of the tracks on our album. Caserta works with Kon. He’s another guy that DJs at the club that we used to DJ at in Boston. Bon Johnson is an old homie that we used to work and party with.
Charlie: Bon Johnson’s not even one guy; it’s two guys: Bon and Matty Johnson. They were connected to a guy named Steve Porter who was a massive trance DJ for years and years. He was one of the first people from our area to become a superstar DJ. The funny thing about him is he now created his own marketplace. On sports channels, he’s remixing sports programs with “DVDJs” for these, kind of Tim & Eric-edited sports clpis, slap-chopped and remixed. Kind of like Autotune The News, even before YouTube existed.
Eli: The point of “Dancing On The Charles” is to shine a spotlight on the Boston electronic music scene. These are all characters that we’ve spent time with, and we really want to help get their music out into the world.
LessThan3: If Crew Love was around in the ’90s, who would be inducted into the crew?
Eli:Charlie:LessThan3:Eli:LessThan3:Charlie:Eli:Charlie:Eli: It would be like native tongues right? De La Soul, A Tribe Called Quest…

For some reason, I was hoping Ronnie (Velvet) DeVoe would be in this situation, because being that we’re from New England, we’ve got to get all of New Edition.
When will Crew Love return to New York City?
Well, it is in New York. We’re doing parties at Output because Wolf & Lamb are from Williamsburg. We’ll be doing parties there every few months.
If the world were ending in LessThan3 minutes and you were playing the actual end of the world party, what would your final music selection be?
That’s funny that you mention that, because we did play a party in some Mayan Ruins on the 2012 Nostradamus date, and it turned out to be a complete and total bust. I do remember playing Butch’s Highbeams, and I guess that was the end of the world, but it’s a great f*cking song. I really hope he makes more music like that: taking minimal techno and making it dope.
If the world’s going to end, you have to end with Lionel Richie All Night Long, because that’s it.
You’ve got to play Billy Joel’s It’s The End Of The World

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