They may have cut their teeth on the Boston rave scene, but in recent years, Soul Clap (AKA Eli Goldstein and Charles Levine) have been bringing the funk. Their 2015 single In Da Kar featured a rare appearance from reclusive soul/funk icon Sly Stone, and their eponymous second album, released in October 2016, was inspired by a meeting with P-Funk ringmaster George Clinton.
Despite tipping their hats to these legends of the genre, Soul Clap have created a sound that’s all their own. We asked the boys to ‘show and tell’ and reveal the gear that they use to create it.
“Ahh, the Arp Odyssey! This is such an incredible piece, with such depth of character. You can really get a saturated sound that is definitely funky. When we first went to Tallahassee, Florida to meet George Clinton we got into a long conversation about synths with George and P-Funk's current keyboardist Danny Bedrosian. We had thought the secret behind P-Funk was the Minimoog, but actually it's this Arp!”
“Speaking of P-Funk, another top secret synth from that era is the Solina Strings. It’s a synth that you can put on pretty much EVERYthing.
“We bought ours on eBay and, believe it or not, the only one available happened to be signed by none other than Bernie Worrell. Sadly, we never got a chance to connect with Bernie; he passed away in 2016, but we got to the benefit organised by Nona Hendryx in Manhattan before his passing, to celebrate his life. They had a silent auction and we won the Pigtronix Evelope Phaser pedal seen in this picture. We like to keep these two pieces next to each other because they sound incredible together and they keep Bernie's spirit alive in the studio.”
“Lately we’ve been getting fed up with being trapped in a sequencer when it comes to drums. Sure, you can make a pattern very quickly using an 808, 909, TR-8 etc, but there’s nothing quite like tapping out a rhythm with your hands or with a pair of drum sticks.
“We spent some time researching options and found two that looked so enticing we bought them both! The new Nord Drum 3 is outta this world; it’s so futuristic and you can get powerfully deep into each sound. Then, for more organic percussion, the Roland HPD-20 is endless fun. It’s intrinsically designed with this sort of circular feeling, so that making cool complex patterns comes very easily.
“Lastly there’s our favourite drum machine, the Simmons Clap Trap! Could we have found a synth with a more appropriate name? This thing is a total throwback and makes such a cool sound that you can toggle between a realistic hand clap and noise. It also has a CV option so you can send it a pattern and really get creative.”
“Big shout to Roland for just being dope! They’ve always been major players in the synth game but have totally come with guns blazing in recent years with the Aira and Boutique series.
“The TR-8 couldn’t be easier to program and to jam with. The MX-1 has saved the day in our recent live performances - it’s a perfect piece for the road, as are the Boutique products. We’ve been using the JX-03 and the JU-06 for a rich sound that is extremely portable. Then we got our hands on the VP-03 to raise the bar on stage with a vocoder. The strings on the VP-03 are also really fresh.”
“Featured here are a few pieces from Korg. The MS2000 was our first ever synth, and we’ve used it on countless tracks. It’s got so many killer sounds that we never get sick of. Basses, pads, leads, vocoders - it's a really well-rounded synth, plus it’s got a powerful built-in delay that sounds incredible.
The Korg Minilogue also has a solid built-in delay and this synth is about as modern as it gets. You can connect it via USB and download a sound patch librarian that allows you to load this puppy up with as many custom patches as your little heart desires. These customisable features, a really simplistic design and a durable/lightweight build make it a perfect option to take out on the road.
“It’s a little hard to tell in this picture but also featured is a Korg Monotron Delay. We’re probably the only guys out there that use the Monotron in our DJ sets. These things tend to break out there on the road (we’ve gone thru about six), but they’re so fun to use we just keep buying them!
“Check out our DJ set at Coachella 2016 during our tribute to Prince. The Monotron Delay is all over it.”
“Here’s a shot of the main signal path at the Rad Pad [studio]. Thank you to Focusrite for hooking us up with the sound card. This Scarlett 18i6 has served us well but, you know, we might be due for an upgrade..!
“We bought the Focusrite ISA430 channel strip on the recommendation of our pal Lee Curtiss and he was right - there is a lot of power and options in one piece of great-sounding gear.
"The ISA430 also has two insert options that we have taken full advantage of. In insert one we’re using a really cool old-school digital delay called the Vesta DIG-410 leant to us from our friend Adam Collins way back when we were still living in Boston. Then in insert two we have the Eventide Eclipse that we got our hands on after watching Martin Buttrich use it non-stop while mixing our latest album. It’s such an impressive effects processor; Eventide are really the masters of what they do.”
“That’s us! The lighting at Charlie’s Rad Pad is strong. It used to be stronger before they put up that new apartment building, but hey, thats Williamsburg living for ya.
“Thanks for stopping by, now get the heck out! We’ve got music to write!”