Exclusive: Claptone chronicles first Ibiza residency, soundtracks the season [Interview/Playlist]

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Exclusive: Claptone chronicles first Ibiza residency, soundtracks the season [Interview/Playlist]Claptone

In an auditory age when an artist’s popularity is largely predicated on clicks, likes, and oversharing, secrecy is sexy—now more than ever. And who on the house music hierarchy has remained more surreptitious than Claptone?

Little is known about the man behind the beak who averages an improbable upwards of 260 performances per year, often traversing multiple continents for performances across a single weekend. Soaked in soul and powered by four-on-the-floor club grooves that range from pumped-up to plaintive, Claptone’s production has been tapped for official remixes from a litany of likeminded counterparts: from the Pet Shop Boys to—most recently—Mark Ronson (a forthcoming release). Despite the explosive success the plague doctor-themed project has secured since its 2012 inception, the Berlin-based Claptone camp solidified a fiercely coveted milestone, even among bluechip modern electronic acts, in 2019: an extended summertime tenure in the White Isle. Claptone’s first Ibiza residency touched down at one of the island’s quintessential after-dark playgrounds, Pacha. The perpetually poised puppet master attracted an auspicious flock to his Monday Masquerades, which spanned this past May-September and included the likes of Diplo, Duke Dumont, Eli & Fur, Shiba San, and Bob Moses (to name only a few).

While he’s lauded for laying low, Dancing Astronaut caught up with Claptone to get a closer look at the man who’s made his mark with myth.

Along with a stylized playlist to score the summer residency, Claptone shared insights on the bygone summer season, some fond moments at Pacha, and a bit about what’s hiding in his aural incubator. He also reflected on the longwinded lore breathing life into his immaterial persona. Claptone’s face may remain never to be seen, but one facet of the DJ’s smoke and mirrors act is certain—there’s substance behind the subterfuge.

Did Pacha live up to your expectations for your first Ibiza residency? Why or why not?

It was my first season and I didn’t have any clear vision of how it might be really. I only knew it’d be a great party cause I know my fans and the international popularity of Claptone. I knew they’d come and enjoy this experience and they did. To be honest for the first season it surpassed my wildest expectations. So many amazing people that appreciated all the quite various line ups I had been programming. The greatest compliment surely was that so many of these great DJs whom I booked like Todd Terry, Kerri Chandler, MK as well as DJs whom I couldn’t have on the bill like Solardo, CamelPhat, Paul Oakenfold, Roger Sanchez, Erick Morillo, Martin Solveig came in private on some Mondays to just enjoy the party and the great vibe of the night. That for me says it all.

Tell me about the stylistic approach you took to your summer residency in the White Isle…

I made a huge effort in growing the regular stage setup of my The Masquerade parties—the huge golden mask above the booth and the smaller masks with the LED-lit eyes hanging from the ceiling, to match Pacha and come up with interior design ideas to go along with that. Same with the dancer and performer costumes. I had tailors from Pacha as well as tailors from Torture Garden in London work out details on costumes and designs I came up with. That’s why in the end there are about 30 amazing characters from futuristic Venetian carnival to cinematic Eyes Wide Shut from classic Circus to Dia de los Muertos dancing, wandering or even flying through the club. 

Can you tell me about a particularly impactful moment or night from this past season’s performances? 

It’s hard to pick just one or two moments when you just had 19 weeks of mayhem on a Monday at Pacha Ibiza at your very own night with your very own concept The Masquerade. The pure fact that I was able to program the line up, invite and play with Armand van Helden, Andhim, Audiojack, Basement Jaxx, Bob Moses, Catz ‘n Dogz, Chus & Ceballos, Danny Howard, Danny Tenaglia, David Penn, Dennis Cruz, Dennis Ferrer, Diplo, Duke Dumont, Eli & Fur, Faithless, Felix da Housecat, Hannah Wants, Heidi, Illyus & Barrientos, Jon Hopkins, Kerri Chandler, Lars Moston, Maya Jane Coles, Mat.Joe, MK, Nhan Solo, Nora En Pure, Pirupa, Purple Disco Machine, Riva Starr, Route 94, Shiba San, Shir Khan, Sidney Charles, SG Lewis, Sonny Fodera, Tensnake, Todd Terry, Tube & Berger, and Weiss was such a game changer for me.

It’s tough to put that into words and even harder to pick a favorite moment. But the back to back with Diplo was certainly a highlight for me as this was my very first and to date my last back to back ever, [considering] it was Diplo playing house music in front of a super excited crowd. 

Any new music in the works you can speak to?

You know I love secrets, but, well, I’ll make an exception. I just finished some remixes that went to mastering the other day. You are more than welcome to look forward to what I did to Mark Ronson as well as Charlie Puth and Michael Kiwanuka. Fasten your seatbelt. 

Describe the significance of the golden-beaked mask and white gloves…

This mask is part of my personality, one of my many faces. Its origins lie in the old Italian city of Venezia and for me hints at the rich history and culture we all share and of course at the masquerade balls [we’ve held for] centuries. A social tradition which allows us to explore our identity and to fathom our freedom as individuals in performative play. One aspect of it is being able to question authorities and hierarchies, structures of self-sustaining power, question the ones we kneel down before.

The beak with its birdlike shape is giving me access to perform beyond human abilities. At the same time it ridicules pop idols, who think they are more than just human and love to run around presenting their tail feathers. The resemblance to a plague doctors mask is not by accident either. You are welcome to perceive me as some kind of sonic plague doctor. The mask was casted out of titan’s gold. Gold for me reflects the treasure that I found in music. It simultaneously ridicules the greed and materialism of your average rock star or Hip-Hop hero. Last but not least, wearing a mask is liberating and it’s shielding your privacy, extending your personal freedom. This, together with reflecting on the mechanisms of media and popular music, empowers me to be in charge of my image and perform my artistic identity much more consciously. The gloves I just wear to not get my hands dirty.

A great deal of secrecy ensconces the Claptone masthead, specifically in reference to your identity(s). Can you speak to this? 

Claptone declined to comment.

Photo Credit: Jackmode

Airbnb experience gives people opportunity to sew their own Berghain outfit in order to make it past the doorman of Berlin’s most notorious club

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Airbnb experience gives people opportunity to sew their own Berghain outfit in order to make it past the doorman of Berlin’s most notorious clubBerghain Club

Berlin is home to some of the best clubbing in the world, and a new Airbnb experience titled “Sew Your Own Bergh*** Clubbing Outfit” preps attendees on how to dress for the occasion, and more importantly, how to get into the most notoriously exclusive club in the city, if not the world.

Anna, the host of the four hour experience describes it as,

“[Learning] basic sewing and clothing construction skills and how to develop a clubbing alter-ego. Are you a sporty goth princess or a diva dungeon master? A futuristic glitter gladiator or a bondage fairy? The vibrant Berlin club scene is the perfect place to be who you want to be, even just for a night.”

Couldn’t have said it better, Anna.

Light beverages, a sewing machine, fabric, and baked goods are all provided by the host for the experience, but the creativity to create the perfect outfit for a night out must stem from the attendee. Berghain has been the subject of documentaries, photo exhibits, and much more—so dressing to impress is clearly paramount.

Rinzen lands on iconic German label Steyoyoke in fine ‘Forms’

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Rinzen lands on iconic German label Steyoyoke in fine ‘Forms’Rinzen Shoot 3 Trona Pinnacles Michael Drummond 0564

One of mau5trap‘s prominent rising stars, Rinzen, has spread his influence across the pond as of late. It began with an emotive “Tragedia” on the UK-based Chapter 24 records. Afterward, he packed his USB crate and traveled alongside deadmau5 on his Euro tour, further solidifying his fanbase overseas. To top off his 2018, he and Evan Casey paired up for the creepingily satisfying “Fractal” on prominent Solée-led imprint Parquet.

This wasn’t the only Berlin card Rinzen had to play; for he’s started his year out on a strong note with a release on none other than the “ethereal techno” institution, Steyoyoke. “Forms” is a piece that feels right at home on the label. It’s rife with eerie and mysterious moog melodies, taking listeners on a journey deep down the rabbit hole that explodes into hellfire at the end. Not to mention, the sound design on “Forms” is on-point; with tight mixing and just the right balance of spaciness and grit. One might even argue it’s one of his finest tracks to date, and that’s a big thing to say considering his entire library is of high caliber.

It’s safe to say that 2019 is looking to be the year of the Rinzen.

#Rinzenrepeat here 

Photo credit: Michael Drummond

Two Berlin nightclubs will shelter homeless throughout January and February

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Two Berlin nightclubs will shelter homeless throughout January and FebruaryBerlin

Two Berlin nightclubs will help the city’s homeless population as temperatures continue to drop in the German capital. Situated in Kreuzberg-Friedrichshain, Astra Kulturhaus and Bi Nuu will offer shelter to the homeless one night a week in January and February. Bi Nuu will reportedly take in a maximum of 15 women, while Astra Kulturhaus will accommodate 25 men.

“[It’s] great when clubs make such offers and take on social responsibility,” said Kreuzberg-Friedrichshain district spokeswoman, Sara Lühmann. “We are happy about every additional offer to further expand the number of cold weather places.”

Berlin is the host of 920 other emergency cold shelters this winter season, which will collectively assist Berlin’s approximate 6,000-8,000 homeless.

Photo credit: DJ Mag

H/T: Mixmag

Berlin instates subsidized nightclub-soundproofing initiative

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Berlin instates subsidized nightclub-soundproofing initiativeNina Kraviz Boiler Room Berlin DJ Set

Formally implemented on November 28, a novel noise reduction initiative in Berlin will seek to remedy an infamous issue in the context of the city’s nightlife: venue noise leakage. Berlin nightclubs that are unable to afford the necessary soundproofing to prevent the sound bleeding that has repeatedly caused resident unrest in the past will newly be able to apply for state-funded soundproofing via the Berlin Club Commission. The fledgling noise-buffering program is an imitation of an existing program in Hamburg — another location where club culture is a central component of the city’s economic fabric.

Berlin venues that have been in operation for a minimum of two years will be required to participate in a two-part application process. Preliminary application documents are currently available online and accessible to nightclub organizers who wish to apply for the state-subsidized support. An independent jury will begin meeting in February 2019 to determine which establishments will receive grants. The public grants can extend financial support of up to €50,000 to each regular applicant and can additionally offer a maximum of €100,000 to “projects of extraordinary importance.” The nightclubs that are approved for the financial backing will be expected to contribute anywhere from 10 to 20 percent of the total soundproofing cost. Venues that receive the funds must return the money if they are unable to remain open for a two-year period following state extension of the monies.

H/T: Resident Advisor

deadmau5 tests new music in Berlin

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deadmau5 tests new music in BerlinDeadmau5 Mau5ville Level 2

Attendees of deadmau5‘s November 8 show in Berlin were in for a treat.

The mau5trap head honcho used the Verti Music Hall performance to crowd-test some new music, which one Reddit user captured to share with the world. The ID begins slowly, building anticipation with a warm, ethereal melody before exploding abruptly into a bright burst of synths. Backed by a dramatic progressive beat, this ID is purely mau5 in every way.

Though deadmau5 has been using the past several weeks to focus on his mental well-being, he promised fans he’d be in attendance at his Europe shows this month, which include performances in Dublin, Edinburgh, London, and Bristol in the coming days.

deadmau5 new ID live from Berlin! from r/EDM

Photo credit: F. Scott Schafer

Amazon’s new crime drama set in Germany’s underground techno scene is now streaming

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Amazon’s new crime drama set in Germany’s underground techno scene is now streamingAmazon Beat

Amazon studios have released a new drama series titled Beat. The show follows promoter Robert “Beat” Schlag, who embodies the essence of the deepest depths of Berlin’s underground techno scene.

After Beat is recruited by the European Secret Services for his connections, he discovers how dirty the floor is when the lights come up. The show, which is entirely in German, appears to aim to be an honorable depiction of the Berlin underground, while adding all the gunfire and suspense viewers have become accustomed in today’s streaming series.

According to Amazon Prime Video’s description, “Beat works as a promoter in Berlin’s most famous techno club and does not miss a party himself.” The promoter is forced to push his mental and physical limits to expose a human-organ trafficking ring and the true extent of corruption in his immediate network.

As of November 9, the first season of Beat is available for free to Amazon Prime members.

Limited edition calendar centers on Berlin’s famous techno clubs

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Limited edition calendar centers on Berlin’s famous techno clubsBerghain Club

A new limited edition calendar extends immortality to some of Berlin’s now defunct but nevertheless celebrated techno clubs. Entitled “Places 2019: Berliner Cluborte der Vergangenheit,” the calendar spans the last three decades in its reflection on the landmark techno clubs that contributed to the rise of the genre in the world’s techno capital. “Places 2019” features illustrations of closed iconic Berlin venues like Bunker, Tresor, Exit, and Stattbad Wedding, done by German artist Tine Fetz.

Berlin residents can purchase a copy of the calendar at the Archiv der Jugendkulturen at Fidicinstraße 3 in Schöneberg. Those who live elsewhere can still obtain one of the exclusive calendars by emailing toplaces2019@web.de, but with just 250 total copies on sale, tech lovers who hope to live out the year through a techno-inflected lens will want to act quickly.

H/T: DJ Mag

German teen arrested for plot to attack gay nightclub

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German teen arrested for plot to attack gay nightclubGay Club

A teenager in Germany has been arrested for suspicion of planning an Islamist extremist attack on a gay night club and a Catholic church. Frankfurt prosecutor spokesman Sinan Akdogan confirmed the arrest of an unnamed 17-year old in connection to the plan set for September 1, where thereafter a judge ordered the suspect to be held in custody further for planning the serious act of violence. According to US-provided intelligence provided to Hesse state police, the teenager had obtained instructions on how to make explosives, as well as ordered chemicals online. While the intended locations of the thwarted attacks has been kept secret along with the suspect’s identity, the investigation continues to be ongoing.

H/T: NY Post

Demonstrators used techno to drown out far-right rallies in Berlin

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The power of techno may have been used for its greatest good yet, as recent rallies in Berlin found far-right protestors thwarted by club beats as they marched through the capital. The self-proclaimed anti-immigrant, anti-Islam political party Alternative for Germany won its first seats in parliament last year, and the recent march marks the first public show of strength by the far-right group since it became the largest opposition to Chancellor Angela Merkel. Luckily AfD was met by the resistance of thousands of counter-protestors including a union of different advocacy groups, civil and student organizations, as well as political parties, lead by an alliance of over 100 clubs from across Berlin.

Packing the River Spree with boats and floats as well as a caravan of DJ-equipped trucks in the streets, Berlin’s legendary club circuit came together to “bass away” the far-right, drowning out “we are the people” calls with proper warehouse fare and “the whole of Berlin is against the AfD” chants. Counter-demonstrators waved rainbow flags, touting signs with messages like, “no to racism” and “No dance floors of Nazis.” A joint statement from the coalition of clubs reads,

“The Berlin club culture is everything that Nazis are not. We are progressive, queer, feminist, anti-racist, inclusive, colorful and we have unicorns.”

Thousands of counter-protestors reportedly joined in the action and police were deployed to keep the demonstrations peaceful. Berlin reportedly deployed 2,000 officers and eventually closed bridges across the city to section off protests throughout the weekend. Don’t make us deploy the unicorns, Nazis. We won’t hesitate to use them.

Featured Image: DPA