A Tribute To Derren Smart


Last Monday we got the devastating news that one of our best friends and mentors in London had passed away. More than a week later looking at pictures of Derren still make me cry. Derren was one the warmest, most genuine people I’ve ever met and his love of music and especially disco taught us so much. Before there was Crew Love, there was the Wolf + Lamb Experience, all thanks to Derren booking the first label showcase at Red Gallery in London back in May 2010. When we showed up at the party, the only lighting was a standing lamp and a florescent “this must be the place sign” and we knew immediately that we’d found the perfect partner for our parties in London. Derren continued to host us through the years, for our DJ Kicks tour, for an all night set at his legendary “A Night With…” party, for our first Soul Clap Records showcase in London. Every time he he was the host with the most and his love for the party and the artists allowed us to have some of our best performances. But when Derren really touched us was after the parties ended. Chatting, giving advice, telling jokes and of course playing incredible disco music while he (and everyone else) danced around the room. Over the years we featured two mixes from Derren on our podcast and it seems appropriate that we celebrate his life by re-posting them now so we can all listen, dance and celebrate Derren’s incredible life and love. We’ll miss you Derren!

Afro Week: Top 10 Multi Culti Jams of 2013 Pt 2

All this week we’re paying tribute to Nelson Mandela here on the Soul Clap blog by celebrating the music of his home continent and beyond. 2013 was an amazing year for Afro and Afro influenced music, in fact, it’s the year of Multi-Culti and in Mandela’s honor we’ll be exploring this budding genre.


Part 1 of our Multi Culti Top 10 covered Afro sounds. Now part 2 picks up around July in Montreal. We were hanging with Thomas Von Party (who runs Turbo Records) at a secret gig after we played Osheaga Festival. Then I played African Shakedown and he freaked out! There’s something so special about that record that forces me to share it and I’ve given away four copies this year (and we’re giving away another one right here on this blog on Monday!), one of those was to Thomas after our set. Then he told me about the new label he was about to launch called a href=”https://soundcloud.com/multiculti”>Multi Culti and we ended up back at his place listening to his collection of modern electronic music from all over the world. From that moment on I started exploring more Latin and Arab sounds and they feature here on Part 2 of our Multi Culti Top 10.

MKRNI – Pongi Pongi EP

This is the second release on Thomas’ Multi Culti label and boy is it a banger. MKRNI are from Santiago, Chile and The whole EP is dope so make sure to check it on soundcloud.

Omar Souleyman – Wenu Wenu

We originally found this via Fact mag who were all over it because it’s Four Tet produced. As soon as we heard this one we copped it on iTunes and have played it over and over again. It’s a little heavy for our sets but so unique and emotional with such a powerful beat. This has been a great intro to contemporary Arab music for us and the Syrian Souleyman has been a leading light for awhile. His entire new album is produced by Four Tet and it’s required listening.

Analog Players Society – Coule’Ba

We’ve loved Analog Players Society ever since their cover of “I Can’t Wait” became our anthem last summer. So we were overjoyed to receive their latest red 7″ vinyl in the mail from awesome Brooklyn label Discovery a few months back. This is probably the band and labels best music yet and the low key, lo-fi Afro vibes took us straight through the summer.

Matias Aguayo – Aonde

My favorite song (Rrrrr is a close 2nd) off of Aguayo’s awesome album, “The Visitor”. It was released earlier this year on his label calledCómeme, which has been a leader in the Multi Culti sounds for a few years now. If you’re looking for proof or just inspiration, make sure to check their amazing broadcast called Radio Cómeme.

Juan Soto – Mágica Música Mística

A Mexican cosmic disco journey that was unearthed by Nick Monaco and led to many a mysterious dancefloor moment this year.

Afro Week: Top 10 Multi Culti Jams of 2013 Pt 1

All this week we’re paying tribute to Nelson Mandela here on the Soul Clap blog by celebrating the music of his home continent and beyond. 2013 was an amazing year for Afro and Afro influenced music, in fact, it’s the year of Multi-Culti and in Mandela’s honor we’ll be exploring this budding genre.


2013 was a banner year for dance music’s global popularity, something we couldn’t be more excited about. Unfortunately, this rise also means that the music is getting watered down to the point that this year it seemed almost impossible to find new and original dance music that spoke to our souls. For DJs like us who are always trying to take risks and push our audience in new directions this is a problem. The lack of dance music with soul might also have to with the current dominant sounds going either dark (techno), boring (tech-house) or pumpingpumping (EDM). Rather than whine and complain, we got to doing what we do best, DIGGING! We started to explore new genres (and parts of the world) for inspiration on the dancefloor and 2013 became the year that MULTI CULTI was born.

It actually began at the end of 2012 when Boston homie Bosq sent us his first single on Ubiquity Records, “Dem Know” and when we started playing it people went nuts. Bosq put a contemporary twist on Afro-Funk and it was so fresh to hear it going off at party. Then we found this record when we were in Berlin in March, followed by this one and it was clear that there was an Afro-Funk rebirth kicking off.

For part one of our top 10 Multi-Culti jams of 2013 we explore this Afro-Funk revival (in no particular order):

Bosq ft. Kaleta – More Heavy

As we mentioned above Bosq is from Boston and has been turning out dope edits as part of Whiskey Barons (http://whiskeybarons.com/) for a few years, but it’s his new album “Bosq Y Orquestra de Madera” that dropped this year on the legendary Ubiquity Records that really has us moving. Ever since “Dem Know”, we’ve played at least one of the album tracks at every gig and “More Heavy” is probably the best. If you like this one make sure to check the album for more Afro-Latin-Future-Dopeness!

Shaka Bundu – Penny Penny

We found this one via the amazing Awesome Tapes From Africa (http://www.awesometapes.com), who just re-released this through his label. Shaka Bundu is from South Africa and this jam from his ’94 debut tape is on some serious Soul II Soul meets Afro funkiness.

Ata Kak – Daa Nyinaa (Noema’s Tribute Edit)

One of our highlights of the summer was dropping this at the Crew Love party in Barcelona, but that was only one of many magic moments with this track in 2013. It’s on the African Shakedown edits vinyl, which was the first Afro-Edits vinyl we found this year and it’s going for upwards of $40 on discogs these days.

Ajukaja – Benga Benga (edit of Samba Mapangala & Virunga – Yembele)

The second amazing Afro-Edit record we picked up on our March Soul Clap Records tour, we scooped this mysterious bootleg at the Rush Hour Shop in Amsterdam. This one is probably the deepest and most musical of all the Afro-Edits and always takes the party to really spiritual place. After tons of digging we’ve figured out that this was released on an Estonian label called Porridge Bullet and the original tack is by Samba Mapangala from Congo.

Fela Kuti – Shakara (Ossie’s Bump Edit)

This one came out later in the summer on The Love Below (the homies from somethinksounds‘ edit offshoot) and proceeded to mash up every dancefloor we played it for. The most modern and high energy of these jams, it was definately a secret weapon of 2013.

Afro Week: A Requeim For Mandela

All this week we’re paying tribute to Nelson Mandela here on the Soul Clap blog by celebrating the music of his home continent and beyond. 2013 was an amazing year for Afro and Afro influenced music, in fact, it’s the year of Multi-Culti and in Mandela’s honor we’ll be exploring this budding genre.

It was Saturday morning, I had checked out of my hotel room and I stepped into a taxi to go to the airport. The driver was listening to a Haitian AM radio station, playing a recording of a Nelson Mandela speech. As I daydreamed, the tribute continued in Creole and then through the AM static a magical song floated to my ears. It shouted Mandela’s name and even without understanding the language it was clear that this song was praising this great man with uplifting energy for the world to hear. The tropical vibes overwhelmed me as Miami passed by outside the taxi’s window. Was this music African? Caribbean? I had to know.

Luckily I had Shazam. I was skeptical that it could identify such an obscure song, but a few seconds after holding my phone up to the crackling speaker, there it was: Larose – Mandela. Needless to say the song had touched my soul and I immediately found it on the internet to share with the world. The song began to play through my phone and the driver turned the music down and shook his head in amazement. It turns out the song is Kompa music from is native Haiti. As I held the phone between us, he sang along to the lyrics and began to cry tears of joy, telling me in broken english, how important this song was in his life. He told me that for Haitians, Mandela was the greatest man in the last 100 years and this song told his story.

Peter Rothberg of The Nation compiled a top 10 list of Nelson Mandela songs and said “few towering figures of the twentieth century inspired as many songs as Mandela.” From the most famous one by The Specials, to African music legend, Hugh Maskela, to Eddy Grant, all these songs are heartfelt tributes. But for me, the lesser known Larose tribute that I heard in Etienne’s taxi in Miami has the pure Afro-Caribbean energy that lifts my heart and moves my feet. A fitting tribute to one of the greatest freedom fighters of our time.

Nice ‘N’ Ripe Vinyl Grab Bags


As you’ve probably heard, we just compiled and mixed a compilation for one of our favorite classic UK Garage labels, Nice ‘N’ Ripe. Getting the mix together we went through all our old records from the label and it’s many sub-labels (In The Air, Deep Trouble, Zest 4 Life, the list goes on forever). Turns out we collected a ton of doubles over the years, so now, in honor of the compilation we’re making those records available to you as two vinyl grab bags on ebay and you still have 3 days to make your bid and own a piece of UK Garage histroy…

Soul Clap’s Nice ‘N’ Ripe Vinyl Grab Bag #1
Soul Clap’s Nice ‘N’ Ripe Vinyl Grab Bag #2

And if vinyl isn’t your thing, than here are 5 of the best tracks from the vinyls for your listening pleasure…

NNR-020 – Total Control Ft. Caroldene Black ?– You Took My Lovin (KC Club Mix)

NNR-023 – Grant Nelson & Richard Purser Sensation 1

NNR-030 – Vinyl Movers – Keep The Love

NNR06 – Jeremy Sylvester – The Best

IN003 – 3 Play – Summer Breezz

Musical Messages: Detroit


Today we kick off what we hope is the start of something bigger here on the Soul Clap Blog, we’re calling it Musical Messages and the goal is to explore political and social issues using music. What better place to start than the once and future great city of Detroit and we’re playing there tomorrow so the timing couldn’t be better.


I’ve been meaning to write this piece ever since my mother, Dr Diane Levin had her first blog published on the Huffington Post. Diane is an early childhood educator who’s life work is trying to understand how social phenomenon like violence, the media and poverty can effect child development. She’s also an activist who uses her knowledge to improve our education, build supports systems and fight negative influences. By random luck she was an intern in Detroit during the riots of 1967 and the piece she wrote for the Huffington Post connects the experience she had in Detroit with broader issues of poverty, education and the prison system in the U.S.

Her initial experience in Detroit that summer was full of hope, “We were studying how President Johnson’s “War on Poverty” would help children and families who were living in poverty in the inner city. A focal point of the “war,” Head Start, was in its infancy. It offered new hope, part of a comprehensive set of programs and services designed to help “lift” children and families out of poverty. There was much optimism about the future for Detroit’s poor. Officials described Detroit as a “demonstration city” that had quickly and effectively implemented all available programs and resources provided by the federal government to fight the War on Poverty. The deterioration of inner city Detroit had been halted, and many in high places were hopeful that the downward spiral had even been stopped, even reversed.”

Then one hot summer night, everything changed. Detroit and the entire country would never be the same. This amazing song by jazz musician Gregory Porter captures this moment in a way only music can:

“It’s neither a celebration or degradation of the political uprisings that happened in the US in the ’60s – all over the US, not just in Detroit. That level of uprising caused a shift in politics, and a shift in peoples’ attitudes towards people. It’s essentially a documented conversation of the absurdity of injustice, and the pain that injustice causes, and the after affect of that pain. ‘If you’ve done something to me, I’m gonna strike back the only way I know how. I’m going to do something to myself,’ essentially. The people that riot, mostly just often burn their own neighborhoods.” -Gregory Porter on Soul Culture UK.

Fast forward to 2007 and my first visit to Detroit for the Movement Festival. My first impression of Detroit was the biggest ghost-town I could ever imagine. Abandoned skyscrapers littered downtown and the streets were entirely empty in the daytime. Yet, I still couldn’t mistake how welcoming everyone I met in the city was. From my interactions at the airport, with taxi drivers, at restaurants, and of course at the festival, I came away with a feeling of deep respect from and for Detroiters. Nowhere is this more palpable than at the Guardian Building, an internationally acclaimed art deco masterpiece and one of the few downtown buildings that is not only maintained, but kept in impeccable condition. To me this building embodied my experience in Detroit and like the city’s rich musical history, it stands as a sign of all that has been and all that can still be. I knew that I needed to come back and properly explore the Motor City.

All my further experiences in Detroit have reinforced my initial feelings. There was our magical pre-Thanksgiving set (our first ever performance in Detroit) at the Bohemian Cultural Home, when techno legends Stacey Pullen and Eddie Fowlkes gave us the warmest welcome any young artists could ask for. We got the full city tour from John Johr, including the Motown Museum, old rave spots, burned out blocks and of course the Heidelberg Project. Then in 2011 we got to play, Movement our favorite festival in the world, probably the biggest honor for any America electronic musician. There may be poverty and hardship, but there is no denying that Detroit is one of our richest cities in authentic culture, spirit and love.


Through all these experiences I began to realize that Detroit is a symbol for the broader United States. Once our industrial heart, we’ve allowed our arteries to become blocked and stopped the flow of this culture and spirit in and out of this once rich city. In Dr Levin’s words, “The declaration of bankruptcy by Detroit occurred almost 46 years to the day, in July 1967, when the catastrophic riots broke out. This year’s monumental event too graphically symbolizes the failure of America to implement the commitment it made in the Sixties to reduce poverty, especially among children, when its lifelong effects can be the greatest. The reality is that poverty has gotten worse in the intervening years — in Detroit and throughout the country. In 2011, child poverty levels in Detroit were close to 60%, among the highest rates in the nation. But beyond Detroit, Measuring World Poverty (UNICEF 2012) reports that of the top 35 economically advanced countries, the U.S. ranks 34th on levels of children poverty with a rate of over 23%?”

My mother’s article goes on to outline how powerful a tool in child development the Head Start program is and at the cost of only $7,500 per child per year it’s significantly less than the $34,000 we pay yearly to keep an inmate locked up. Why not spend now on education instead of continuing to lock up the poor and cost our country more dollars? Yet our government has cut more than half it’s funding for Head Start this year and will keep cutting unless we fight to get the word out. There’s more on this in the full article, so read it!

If every American was required to go on a tour of Detroit before they were allowed to vote, so many minds would be opened to the real work that we need to do to heal the city and our country. I truly believe that as Detroit goes, we all go. Why not start with the children!? I’m taking my mothers lead, putting my money where my mouth is and donating most of my fee ($1,000) to a Detroit based organization for kids. Now I just need your help choosing the right one. Can you help Detroit?

Tam’s Dancefloor Flashbacks: James Curd


If you’ve been paying attention for awhile then you know that the Roots & Future section of the Soul Clap Blog is a place where we share our version of dance music history. So in that spirit, today it is our honor and pleasure to kick off a new feature! You may remember a few months back over on thump, a story about how I love my virginity at a rave, and you probably asked the question, who would Eli feel comfortable enough telling this embarrassing story to? Well the answer is our long time friend and dancefloor buddy Tamara aka Tam Tam or Tam for short. Tam is an industry insider who, like us, started raving in the 90’s and more recently has been travelling the world collecting Dancefloor Flashbacks from some of her (and our) favorite DJs and producers and the best part is from now on we’ll be posting them exclusively here on the blog. So with out further ado let’s kick this party off with another Tam Dancefloor Flashback…

James Curd (Greenskeepers Music, Favored Nations)
Producer, DJ, Label-owner. Has released music on DFA, Permanent Vacation, Exploited, Eskimo, ETC ETC, Om & many more…

I’ve known James for 10 years, and helped to release his albums “Polo Club” and “Pleetch” when I worked at Om Records. I personally think that a Dj that doesn’t werk it in the booth can’t be trusted. James, is not one of those Dj’s. If you’ve ever had the pleasure of watching him perform – He’s got this tight back & forth jerky-dance style in-booth, that screams CHICAGO from all angles of the dance floor.

Tamara: How long have you been Djing again?
James: I mean, since 1995…so almost 20 years. Shit man, that’s longer than I’ve done anything else…I didn’t even go to school that long!

Everyone has the same story: You tell your parents you’re going one place…And then you go somewhere completely different. It was 1995. I was 15, living in Chicago and I was a skateboarder. And in the winter, if you skateboarded you were fucked. There’d be two feet of snow outside and nowhere to ride. But…I heard about a club called Medusa’s that had a half-pipe inside the venue. Only catch was, you had to be 17 to get in. Add to that, Chicago had a curfew for anyone 16 and under. I was like, ‘fuck that!’ I had a YMCA membership, and I knew a girl that worked there and I got her to make me a fake YMCA card that said I was 17.

Back then they would open the club to all ages from 6 – 10 PM and at 10:00, they’d kick everyone out, and make them line up again for the 17 & older crowd. The promoters liked having us there because we looked cool riding the half-pipe while people danced. I wasn’t even into the music at first, I just wanted to skate…But while I was there I heard people like Derrick Carter and Mark Farina, and I started to get into the sound. Pretty soon I started buying records (the only format you could find that style of music on back then) and I was hooked. I knew this local Dj who made really good mixtapes, Mark Almaria, and he basically taught me how to Dj.

I hadn’t Dj’d out yet, but one weekend a girl I knew invited me to an outdoor festival called “Even Further” in Wisconsin (and booked Daft Punk for the first time). I of course told my parents I was staying with a friend, hopped in her van (see photo) and we drove like, 8 hours to get there. It was a huge festival that lasted 24 hours for 2 days straight.

When we got there, I realized that outside each tent was a board with Dj names and timeslots. Basically, for the off-peak set times you could put your name on the list and Dj – So ridiculous! I’d like to see somebody try that shit now!

I walked into the first tent I saw, went to the booth and asked the Dj what I’d have to do to play. He said, “Dude, I’ve had to take a piss for 20 minutes…Next record, YOU’RE ON.” I ran back to the van, grabbed my milkcrate of records, and back to the nearly empty tent. I had just gotten this new record that I loved, Romanthony “The Wanderer.”
I put that record on…

And suddenly…Slowly at first, but then by the middle of the track my tent went from completely empty to about 400 people! It was crazy. It felt amazing. I started to really get into my set…And it was the best feeling in the world.

It turned out that in the crowd, were tons of promoters from Chicago, St. Louis, and other places in the Midwest. While I was playing, this promoter, Terry Martin, came up to me and said, ‘What’s your Dj name?” And I said, “Um…I don’t have one.” He said he wanted to book me to Dj at his next party.

A couple weeks later Terry met up with me to give me the flier for the first party I’d ever gotten booked to play, it was called “Submerge” (see image). The lineup was sick! Afrika Bambaataa, Miss Lady Kier from Deee-Lite, Farley “Jackmaster” Funk, and Derrick May…And waaaaay down at the bottom of the lineup Terry had written, “And introducing fresh from planet Mars…Dj Jimminy Cricket” – The Dj name he’d given me.

And from there I just kept Djing. I was too young to get into most of the parties legally so promoters had to sneak me in.

J: It was a lucky, fortunate sequence of events.
T: You were fearless.
J: I mean, I really love it. How could I ever stop?


Roots & Future: Aurra – Satisfaction

Been loving this 80’s boogie/funk re-issue since I grabbed it on 7″ a few months back. Then, when I was in Berlin last week I found the whole Aurra LP at the new OYE Records branch in Neükolln. The album is called “Satisfaction” and it’s a previously unreleased 1984 masterpiece that Family Groove Records unearthed and released almost 20 years later! Led by the amazing Peoples Potential Unlimited (PPU) label, The last few years have seen a slew of reissues of forgotten and unreleased boogie/funk gems from the 80’s and I love to start the morning out by putting one of these positive vibe splashed albums on the turntable and cooking breakfast with my wife. If you’re into funky music with feeling about love, dancing, friendship and sometimes heartbreak check this album out.