Soul Clap are Elyte and Cnyce, aka Eli Goldstein and Charles Levine. Birthed in and around the Boston area in 2005, Soul Clap got up and off the launchpad by DJing at parties in the tunnels beneath the MIT campus and other clubs in the Beantown area. Original productions on labels like Airdrop, Wolf + Lamb, and Crosstown Rebels followed, along with ever-lengthening bouts of touring.
Their brand of dance music had deep roots in the realms of disco and P-Funk and, as their body of work grew, they began to tag their sound as something they refer to as ‘Deep For Life’.
“That came from us growing up in the Boston house scene,” Eli explains. “And that scene being really influenced by the New York house scene at places like Shelter and Body & Soul - the Puerto Rican and black house scene. I feel like that’s how they described their sound, so we kind of took that and internalised it.”
In 2012, they released their debut long player, EFUNK, and their reputation as serious purveyors of groove-driven music was cemented.
Here, we check out Eli and Charlie's studio, and chat to them about the gear that resides within it...
Charlie: “When we first got started, we tried using Logic but we couldn’t work out the sampling and making loops. Apple Loops are a real pain in the arse to work with, and when we first got down with the guys from Wolf + Lamb, they were all using Ableton.
“We started hanging around at their Marcy Hotel and guys like Lee Curtis and Seth Troxler were there and gave us some crash courses in volume enveloping and getting the loops easily set and that was the big breakthrough! Because now it wasn’t about building the tracks in this block form, in a linear way, it was about hitting record and automating everything depending on the context.
So, for our edits and tracks, the initial ideas were from start to finish in Live. And that led to all those little intricacies and mistakes that you wouldn’t have with Logic. We got a lot tweakier with it.
“When they dropped Live 9, that was another huge jump because now you have the convert to MIDI function. So now you can even go lazy with it and hum your basslines and have that rocking in a matter of minutes.”
Eli: “This has become one of our favourite pieces, with the most character and boldest sounds. A lot of people assume that Bernie Worrell gets his sound from a Moog, but down in Tallahassee we learned from George Clinton and current P-Funk synth player Danny Bedrosian that actually Bernie is playing an ARP and, as soon as we got ours home and fired it up, we could hear Bernie immediately.”
Eli: “We got ours in Japan and had to get it fixed and shipped back to America.”
Novation Bass Station II
Eli: “We use the Bass Station for its sounds, which are seemingly endless! Big shout out to Novation for re-releasing this bassline classic. It’s an incredible piece of new-school gear.”
Space Drum synth
Eli: “Space Drum is the absolute jam; so much fun playing with that thing. We use it like a drum pad, which works wonders because actually you can tap or touch anywhere on the box and it triggers! It’s got a little spring-loaded red button you can use, too, but Charlie’s always tapping out rhythms with his fingers anywhere and everywhere (on tables, his iPhone, in his lap) so this baby is perfect.”
Eli: “Charlie’s father bought him the MS2000 back in 2005 as a birthday present. They had gone to a Guitar Center in Boston to buy a MicroKorg but got talked out of it by the sales people. Actually, they sold him the rack mount version, which we’ve used for years and years, but eventually we sold that and bought the full version with keys.
“In general, we’re not feeling rack mount versions of synths; it’s just nice to have the full machine at your fingers! The MS2000 has been at the core of our production going all the way back to The Definition EP on Airdrop. It made all the sounds on Incoming Bitch (Get Low!) and played a huge role on EFUNK: The Album.”
Eli: “We got ours from Rompa of Rompa’s Reggae Shack in London. We met him on the slopes of Mayrhofen [Austrian town] when we were skiing at the Snowbombing Festival. They had a sound system set up at one of the runs where the snow was deep and the sun was shining.
“Run this thing through a little reverb or delay and you’ve got the cherry on top of all great dancehall/dub reggae tracks. Rompa builds these things inside of Jamaican cigar tins and they run off a 9v battery. Look up Dub Mekanix Dub Siren Demo 2012 on Soundcloud and you can hear it in action from Snowbombing the year we went. Imagine hearing these sounds echoing from the mountains as you ride the chair lift!”
Charlie: “We’re big on the Arturia V collection and the Korg Legacy. Those two bundles are the illest in the game.”