“What if by engaging our imagination and opening our minds we could unlock the door to a world of wonders?”
Interview by Dan Prince
A huge welcome back to DMCWORLD young man, where on planet earth is the man in the mask today?
Hey Dan, today I hail from Moscow.
Well what a year you have had! An enthralling new mix album coming out on Defected, a massive world tour, awards, sell out shows…you even brought Ibiza airport to a standstill with your huge mask display in September. If you had to pick your proudest achievement of the year, what would it be?
I am very happy that I received a DJ Award for a second year in a row, last year Producer of the Year, this year I won the House category. And I am very excited that I had the chance to bring my Claptone Immortal Live show to the legendary Coachella festival. On top of that, I played Glastonbury and so many other great festivals around the globe.
Where are you going to keep your award?
It’s where I keep my kryptonite. It fits in quite well with the kryptonite I was thinking…
The 2016 DJ100 results were announced in Amsterdam this week, what are your views on this annual popularity contest?
Never heard of this…
Great answer. Gotta give your new ‘The Masquerade mixed by Claptone’ album a mention, two mixes of day and night. You have performed over 280 times in 2016, how difficult was selecting the music for this release?
Selecting my favorite tracks of the season was not a big problem at all, but licensing tracks from major labels turned out to be a nightmare and it took ages to clear at least a few of the tracks I wanted to license. The level of bureaucracy these labels work on is quite shocking On top of that I wanted to put a lot of new remixes, blends and edits on that 2CD, do something unique and not just another DJ Mix with productions by other artists. And I did just that, but some of the already finished remixes could not be cleared in time. I learned that this process takes months. So some of the material you will only be able to listen to on my DJ gigs.
“The night mix is one for your perfect club night at home and the day mix is the ice cubes in your cocktails. So, when was the last time Claptone threw a house party?
I throw a house party in other people’s venues every second night of the year. At least that’s how I see it, cause the music brings me so close to the crowds worldwide that it almost feels like house parties to me.
Favorite day and night DJ gig of 2016?
That changes almost every week. I just enjoy playing for so many amazing crowds that It wouldn’t be fair to favor one above the other. Blame it to my short term memory, but last week Manchester, Mexico City and Bogota were highlights for sure.
You rarely do interviews, but when you do every journalist always concentrates on the mask and you rightly say that any performer be it Justin Bieber or Michael Jackson are guilty of wearing their own masks on stage. So, how private a person are you away from the limelight?
You are asking the wrong person.
Big news for New York and London with the announcements of your up coming ‚The Masquerade‘ masked ball parties. October 28th and December 2nd are the dates down at Webster Hall and Electric Brixton, what can you tell us about these very exciting events…?
I’ll bring lots of Claptone masks, crazy deco, performance artists, special lights and I’ll curate the DJ line up for these. My team just developed new handcrafted mask-lights and we bring a huge mask (Ibiza Airport style). In NYC we do a Halloween Edition and give away $$$ for the best costume. Sachs Robotti (Dirrtybird) and local heroes Sleepy and Boo join for Manhattan, Mat.Joe, Eli & Fur as well as Oliver $ join for Electric Brixton. Really looking forward to see you guys all masked up in one of these metropolises.
As mentioned, you are in the middle of a World Tour at the moment. One date stands out for the pair of us, December 3rd which is my birthday and your first trip to Tokyo, why are you looking forward to this date in the east so much?
To play in Womb is one of my dreams come true. And I love Japanese food but then who doesn’t?
Rewinding back to 2015 for a moment, before the release of The Charmer you claimed… “club music is my DNA but my roots travel further beyond the status quo, so I can’t wait to hear what the world thinks.” Now that the dust has truly settled, are you happy looking back at the album and it’s response?
Yes I am very happy about how that album turned out and was received. It was a very important step for me as it gave me the opportunity to show the world that Claptone is not just club music producer with a golden mask, but can write songs that oscillate between club and radio without being your standard radio food. It allowed me to show my character and proof that I am a real charmer. And people understood that, which makes me very happy.
What are the 5 big tunes in your box this weekend…
Ultra Nate, Roland Clarke – The First Time Free (Claptone Remix)
Two classics I remixed into one
Andrea Oliva – Scream
Perfect tool that puts a smile on everyone’s face
David Keno – Youth
Great vocals and groove, a track you can find on The Masquerade mixed by Claptone too
Klangkuenstler vs Wildchild – Jack Master Renegade
A killer blend that due to backwards rights restrictions you can only get on The Masquerade mixed by Claptone 2CD and not as one single download
The Powers That Be – Planet Rock (Claptone Remix)
I love Kraftwerk and I love Afrika Bambaataa as well as Arthur Baker
To live you have to make compromise, it’s just about the amount of compromises you can justify before yourself.” Discuss…
Is that a quote of what I said somewhere? I can’t imagine I did say that, cause life is communication and not compromise, that sounds far too negative to me!
And finally, what can you tell us about your plans for 2017 musically and event wise…?
I’ll welcome the new year in Australia and play some festivals down under. Then off to BPM in Mexico and so on plus I am planning some more ‘The Masquerade By Claptone’ events. First ones next year will be in Paris and Barcelona. And I am in negotiations to bring ‘The Masquerade‘ to Ibiza again for next season, but I can’t tell you more at this stage. There’s new remixes I am working on and I just started on my second album too…
The Masquerade Mixed By Claptone” which is a unique collection of edits, classics, exclusives, remixes and stand out tracks from his DJ sets is split into two mixes: day and night. Release date is October 28th on Defected…pre order link…http://defct.de/ctmit