Choosing to remain anonymous is a conflicting statement in 2018. When artists are expected to be more engaged with their fans than ever before, refusing to reveal your name, let alone your face, can be seen as contrarian at best and cliche at worst. However, not many artists use their anonymity like Claptone. Having spent his entire career behind a Venetian carnival mask he’s used his anonymity as a way to craft an extended mythology around his music, playing with elements of fantasy and magic to turn himself into the ageless wise wizard of modern day house music. It’s fair to say then that Claptone sticks to his own rules and his exclusive Groundwork mix for Notion is no exception. Mixing hip hop, classic house and unreleased material it’s a journey into the Claptone universe that’s as fantastical as the man himself.
Who have you included in this mix? How have they had an impact on your career?
This mix includes inspirational elements which have affected the way I produce music as well as brand new Claptone material. The first track by Emanuel Satie features Billy Cobham, and it’s basically a remix of his Jazz classic ‘Heather’. This classic found it’s way back into hip hop in the nineties when Souls Of Mischief sampled it for their lovely ’93 ‘Til Infinity’. Still one of my favourite hip hop tracks.
The second track, ‘Gregada’ is named after a Croatian fish recipe which tastes amazing. I picked the tune because it’s a nice transition moving from hip hop elements to a more house feel and because Peznt has delivered some quality productions recently. But how do you pronounce their name?
The David Penn remix of my latest single ‘Stronger ft. Ben Duffy’ is a funk-fueled take on my empowerment anthem. Makes you move no matter what. What a masterpiece. I like it when artists collaborate, and something completely unpredictable comes out of this. Supernova and Martin Waslewski deliver a French house influenced track paying homage to an almost forgotten genre. ‘In The Night ft. Ben Duffy’ is the first single off my Fantast album and gets a dub-infused house treatment by Illyus & Barrentos. I love this remix, so why not showcase it here?
Next up is a classic from 1990: FPI Project ‘Rich In Paradise’ in a new Soul Speech remix which I re-edited. You might recognise the Lynn Collins ‘Think’ breakbeat loop which was super fashionable to use around the time when the original dropped. For one or two years you could find it in every house production. The classic itself is based on a classic – dance music, always eclectic and sampling – ‘Going Back To My Roots’, a disco hit by Odyssey.
My collaboration with Joan As A Policewoman is only to be found on vinyl or if you live in Japan on the Janapese Edition of ‘Fantast’. Now you can find it exclusively here in this mix. Of course, I love Joan, and I’m really happy about how ‘Good Sense’ anthem turned out. ‘Under The Moon ft. Nathan Nicholson’ is the second single from my ‘Fantast’ album and a real gem for these dedicated fans of mine. It’s Claptone at his best and of course Nathan from The Boxer Rebellion – one of my favourite singers – at his best as well. I’m just working on a Video for ‘Animal feat. Clap Your Hands Say Yeah’, and yes it’s another great song from ‘Fantast’. Bringing House, Rock and Alex’ voice together here was a real pleasure, and it still is with every spin of this track.
Next up M.in takes on ‘A Deeper Love’, a song originally produced 1991 by Cole & Clivilles two true house pioneers (C&C Music Factory) and later covered by Aretha Franklin herself. Sticking to that tradition of old-school house is Dennis Quin and Shermanology’s brand new track ‘Move Out Of My Way’. Reminds me of the good old days. Same as the Flashmob remix of Basement Jaxx ‘Fly Life’ in a very different way. What an amazing house record brought back to life. Music has such a rich history, and this mix is just a fraction of my perspective on it.
When did you first discover dance music?
My love for dance music has been with me nearly as long as my golden visage. I have several fond memories, dancing nights away at Studio 54 and in the Paradise Garage, lucky enough to see this amazing movement blossom and grow into what it is now.
When did you start making dance music?
My earliest memories as a music maker date back to my days as a child. I can vividly recall a handful of sunny afternoons in my parents’ garden, summoning the notes and cadences from the tall trees that surrounded our humble, countryside home. Looking back on it now, I can still feel and channel the innocent energy that enveloped me, doing my best to cast it into each and every one of my current-day productions, centuries later.
What’s your favourite track in the mix?
There can not be just one favourite tack unless you force me to pick one at gunpoint.
What’s your favourite thing about dance culture?
The energy. Indescribable, incalculable and insurmountable – there is something special that happens when people gather to celebrate life through music. I will never grow tired of the binding spell that dance music has placed upon me.
Claptone plays Elrow Town on Sunday 19th August; his new album Fantast is out now.
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