November 21 2016

Claap à Tête de Chou

New York-Le Bain
We chat with up and coming Parisian duo and Mike Simonetti's protégés—Claap and Santana—after their performance at Le Bain and The Rooftop at The Standard, Downtown LA.
LE BAIN: Your performance was recorded at Le Bain a couple of weeks ago. Tell us about that night.
CLAAP: Since it was halloween weekend, we played a fun, eclectic set with a twist of darkness. We went from disco to house to techno, even almost rave-y sometimes. When Santana sang "Release your Body to the Best" and "Slave" live, with Mike Simonetti behind the decks, the party really got to that high energy level where everybody in the room was cheering and feeling in harmony with the sound. It was a great vibe.

SANTANA: I was pretty ecstatic to play at Le Bain since we've been partying there a few times, especially that epic NYE party four or five years ago with the DFA crew. This Halloween weekend party was special for us because it was the last show of our first mini-tour in NYC, so we were excited and determined to give it all! 
Santana on the mic with Mike Simonetti
You’ve been releasing music together on the German label Exploited, the American label 2MR, and the French label Partyfine. Is Claap and Santana's love triangle some French glamour, some US underground roots, and some German pop deepness? 
S: We definitely find inspiration in glamorous '80s French pop and U.S. underground music. The German influence, even if it's probably not that obvious, would rather come from techno than from pop, I think. 

C: We also love African music and its Caribbean cousins, such as reggae and dub. We're big fans of disco and hip hop, too. Anything with soul and charismatic producing.
"Jacques" by Claap, feat. Santana (Exploited Records)
What’s your favorite record with French spoken-word? 
C: Without any hesitation,"Variations sur Marilou" by Serge Gainsbourg released on his album L'Homme à Tête de Chou (1976). This song is stunning, the lyrics are beautiful and so well written, the music matches the lyrics perfectly like some kind of mirror, and the whole song is a growing emotion—a build up to a perfect orgasm.

And your favorite acid house record? 
C: That's a tough one, there are so many in so many different ways. "Higher State Of Consciousness" (1995) obviously comes to mind, especially the Tweekin Acid Funk, which is so insanely unique. I love the progression and energy. In a way, it is the perfect acid twin sister track to Gainsbourg's "Variations sur Marilou." In a more hypnotic vibe, "Fill Me With Acid" (2004) is totally irresistible. On the more chill side of things, I would say Mr Fingers' "Washing Machine" or "Can You Feel It" (1986).

S: From the UK scene, I would pick the very mental "Flow Coma" by 808 State (1988). I like it because it's raw, pure acid.
Claap & Santana live from Le Bain
What’s the greatest thing that has happened to the Parisian dance music scene recently?
S: Dancing, actually! I feel like people who like to dance, whether it's amateurs or professional dancers, are going out more to Parisian clubs. They don't seem to be shy anymore or care about what other people might think. They just dance however they feel like dancing. For instance, the ballroom scene is pretty huge right now in Paris! 

C: Another example is those old school hip hop parties we threw on a rooftop in Paris last summer. It was packed with people from very different backgrounds who just came here to dance, break, freestyle, and sing along. That's very refreshing and that's the kind of positive energy I recently noticed.

I read you’re working on your debut album... 
S: It's gonna be a concept-album providing its listeners with an option between two choices: a day vibe and a night experience. Kind of a blue pill/red pill choice. Depending on your spirit, you can either choose the blue pill and wake up pretty much the same the morning after (it's the day vibe). Or you can choose the red pill and stay in wonderland for an epic ride until the end (the night experience). As Claap & Santana, we've released some chill electro pop tracks, and as DJs we also enjoy the energy of club music. So we wanted to show both sides. We are making this album as vivid as we feel our work is.

C: Oui.

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