Soul Clap @ Dubspot: Talk Workflow, Ableton Live – Live Streaming Workshop

Soul Clap / Wolf + Lamb

Take note, house music fans – Soul Clap are coming to Dubspot and we will be streaming the event live next Monday! The production/DJ duo who have topped the house charts and recently released a DJ Kicks mix with Wolf + Lamb  will be coming to Dubspot NYC on Monday, May 9th from 7:30 – 9PM for a free workshop to demonstrate their collaborative workflow with Ableton Live and multiple performers / computers all synced together for a performance. The workshop is currently full for live attendance but we will be broadcasting a live stream of the event here on our blog. The workshop will feature a discussion on Soul Clap’s history and philosophies on production and DJing and then lead into an interactive performance featuring five computers and five performers (two of whom will be Charlie and Eli.) Soul Clap will assign parts such as drums, bass and lead and together they will  ”jam out” to create a track, which is how Soul Clap work together to produce their own music. Check back right here on Monday May 9th from 7:30 to 9pm Eastern Standard time to catch this collective experience as we broadcast live from the workshop. In the meantime we’ve got an interview with the boys below and a nice treat for you from K7: a free download of Soul Clap’s “Lonely C” that was featured on the DJ Kicks mix.

Soul Clap have jumped into the spotlight of the house music community in recent years – a name eponymous with a slower tempo sexy vibe that has crept into the clubs, the charts and top house labels labels with stunning execution of sound. They made their way into playlists worldwide with remixes of Fleetwood Mac and Jamie Foxx but then slipped their own blends into the mix more recently with original (and unique) tracks like “Lonely C.”  Eli (Elyte) Goldstein Charles (Cnyce) Levine certainly understand the music – they have been honing their craft at clubs and parties for over a decade while living in Boston, MA. But they also seem to have their finger on the pulse of the market and have quickly become one of the biggest sensations to hit the world circuit of DJ/Producers in the past year, with releases on Wolf + Lamb, Airdrop and Crosstown Rebels. Those releases helped Eli and Charlie find their way into the biggest sound systems around the globe – playing Fabric, The Marcy Hotel and Watergate in 2010. Next came two dj mixes that were released last month: first a DJ Kicks mix with Wolf + Lamb that is getting high marks from the journalists. Then came “Social Experiments 002,” a party-centric mix for Toronto tastemaker Johnny White’s No.19 label.

While they’ve become very successful at their craft they also bring a down-to-earth (we’re in it for the music and you are too) vibe. And you immediately get the impression that they take this thing seriously – it’s a job (albeit one of the coolest jobs you can have.) I was interested in hearing about how they got this movement going and what sorts of work it takes to get to the world circuit of dance music.

Latest tracks by Soul Clap

Michael Walsh – Something I’m curious about - I know we’ve had some conversations here and there over the years about the importance of putting a schedule to your work. Do you guys keep a tight work schedule for gigging, music making – the creative things?

Charles Levine - I think we do for the administrative side of the business – Getting things tight for promotion and keeping the business together. I think we are lucky because Eli is really organized with this kind of administrative and managerial duties. But the actual music making itself..  when we were starting out and trying to become established as legitimate producers we made that a priority and put aside everything else in our lives. But now the music making now is something that just comes.  When you’re in a song writing mode this thing just seeks you out – whether it’s a melody in your head or a song you hear a sample from.

MW - I imagine it took some time to learn this workflow and get into this rhythm of working. I know from personal experience that when you don’t do it every day you never seem to catch the workflow the way that professional producers do. How did you get to that point?

Eli Goldstein – For sure.. That’s a big part of it. (pauses) The real message is that you have to quit your day job if you really want to fucking make it and be successful as a DJ or musician or any creative industry, really. You have to quit your day job.  And also the stress and worry of not being able to pay your bills is a huge motivator.

Charlie – I think that diving in head-first is really the only way to really find out if you’ve got what it takes.. or if you can get to where you are truly successful and make it a full time thing.

MW - What would you say to people who claim there is no career in music these days?

Charlie - I’d say we are living proof that there IS a career in music today. But you can’t make a hit record and live off of royalties into your 60’s anymore, though. We are living through an evolution of the music industry.


Soul Clap: Charles Levine and Eli Goldstein

MW - As DJs you’ve become known for playing vinyl / CD sets as opposed to using traktor, ableton. What are your feelings on this and what is the importance of vinyl right now?

Eli - I think that people like Nicolas Jaar are pushing the boundaries, experimenting with instruments and vocals.. But I also think that some people are just lazy. You can use traktor and auto-sync to play your dj set and sit and drink a beer the whole time. A lot of people are doing the same thing with Ableton – creating a playlist in advance and hit play.  It’s  a blessing and a curse..  technology can do all these great things but it also means that people can fake it.

Charlie - Also I think one of the reasons we switched to vinyl and CD is to get rid of a computer screen in a performance setting because it cuts your connection to the crowd. It creates a distraction. The other reason we are so big on vinyl is that it’s a community.. Mike – you remember in the Satellite days that was a whole community, you know. We’d go in there and talk about the music, the weekend, what was coming up and what projects were going on.. that social environment of is gone.

MW - What are you guys using in the studio these days any favorite pieces of gear?

Charlie - Ableton. Ableton. Ableton. Ableton. It changed our lives.. it’s the revolution. We were using Logic before we switched over and I don’t see going back. We’re constantly innovating ways to use two or more computers together so we can perform in a live way. In terms of where the sound and audio comes from – we do a lot of sampling! We’re using a lot of software synths that emulate classic analog pieces. One piece that we used on a lot of tracks is the MiniMoog by Arturia. But then we have a some analog gear – an SH-101, an MS-2000, and this signature piece called the Clap Trap – which just makes claps (laughs).

Eli - We’ve used a lot of hardware .. but something that we’ve learned from Ghadi about hardware is that you’ll use a synth for 6 months, get everything you can out of it and sell it. Right now we don’t have a home base so we don’t have a studio at the moment.. so it’s a very here and there kind of thing.


Taking the camp to Miami this year to work with Wolf + Lamb

MW - I understand that you have moved to Miami to work with Wolf + Lamb currently. Are you staying in Miami for a while.. or plans to find a new home base?

Charlie - We’re gonna spend a chunk of the summer here and we’re gonna spend a good part of the year overseas.  But we were sitting on the beach today talking about how we can’t wait to come back. We’re moving to Berlin in April for the DJ Kicks tour but after the summer we’ll probably come back to Miami. It’s a special place.

MW – You dropped two new DJ mixes this year, one for No.19 Music and one on DJ Kicks. Can you tell me about the difference between them?

Eli – Yeah – The No19 sound is a clubby, dancey, darker tech house sound. It’s a showcase of the new sound coming out of North America. It’s all a close family thing with tracks by Johnny White, Kenny Glasgow, Ghadi, Tanner Ross.. a bunch of toronto artists. The DJ Kicks mix captures what is happening right now with Wolf + Lamb and that family of artists. . it’s is more experimental, more changes in tempo, more of an after hours mix. The No.19 is to get you fired up.

MW - Do you keep a timetable for how long it should take to finish a track?

Charlie - There’s definitely what the label wants, the deadline. Or what we want. But Soul Clap songs have their own lifespan.

Eli - I think the best tracks that we write are the ones that we get done in one one take. Like one of us will get on and get it started.. and then the other one of us will do the edits and finish it. The most important thing is capturing the feeling of the song and going from beginning to end of the initial creation in one sitting.  Because once you sleep on it – your head is in a different place. So you want to get your idea mapped out before you move on.

MW - Last question for you guys. What’s your best solution for a case of writer’s block?

Charlie - Get your heart broken. I think you can get a lot of music out of the emotional moments in your life.

  • Thomas
  • 5/9/2011

Will it be broadcasted? Or will it be uploaded later on, with the possibility of buying the session or something? That would be awesome

  • Mike
  • 5/9/2011

great interview. i love these guys and their attitude!

the only thing that haunts me is this quote…

“The real message is that you have to quit your day job if you really want to fucking make it and be successful as a DJ or musician or any creative industry, really.”

i think it’s true to a point. you can’t make a dope single and go from there though?

that’s just crazy talk! not everyone has the luxury of quitting their day job dudes!

  • Daniel Meyer
  • 5/9/2011

Get your heart broken.

  • Bart W Montreal
  • 5/9/2011

So much respect. Great influence:) Peace!

  • Josh Cole
  • 5/9/2011

any chance you guys can explain how they got all the computers sync’d up and working together?

  • Michael Walsh
  • 5/9/2011

Yes – They did it by ear with the Metronome. In the beginning Eli started with his computer, turned on the click track / metronome and set his tempo to 110. Then each person started their metronome and then used Ableton’s NUDGE function (top left) to get the beats tight. From here they left ALL instances of Ableton live “running” and instructed all performers to “never hit stop” but rather Stop CLIPS if you want to stop a sound.

  • Khary Alexander
  • 5/9/2011

I’m kicking myself for missing this. Will it be up for streaming? I do hope so :)

  • Michael Tello
  • 5/9/2011

Nice to get into the mind’s of these talented guys. Looking forward to meeting you this weekend in SF @ Public Works for the tour. Thanks for all the support with “The Come Back” Pillowtalk track. I produce with Sammy and also love using Abelton for the endless possibilities and speed involved with being creative. Great Job with this interview, much respect!


Michael Tello
Pillowtalk | Housepitality

  • Bram
  • 5/9/2011

anyone record this? would love to get a copy

  • Michael Walsh
  • 5/9/2011

Video of the workshop will be up in the next week or so.. stay tuned!

  • Bram
  • 5/9/2011

perfect! thanks so much!!