Photo Credit: Ashley Parango
It’s the first week of August and that seems about the best time to take a trip to France to meet up with a fantastic DJ duo CLAAP! and SANTANA. Friends for about a decade now, they just released a new EP in June and are hard at work on the follow up already. We talked about their Dune EP, where it fits in the grand scheme of Paris and a handful of other things.
Kendra: Growing up, was music always in the picture?
CLAAP!: Yes, my dad has always been a huge music enthusiast, he used to play a lot of vinyl for me even before I was born, when my mum was pregnant. Then, as a kid, I would listen to his collection, from classical music to jazz, to pop, to French singers, etc. I also took piano lessons from an early age, then moved on to percussion classes at the Conservatory of Music. Meanwhile, I played in all kinds of orchestras, marching bands, rock bands, jazz bands – on the drums, timpani, marimba, vibraphone, etc. I had an amazing teacher who was fond of ethnic percussions, so I also learned some of these – djembe, tablas, darbuka.
SANTANA: I played the violin from 7 till 13 years old but I sucked at it haha!
Kendra: Was DJing the first thing you got into or were you interested in being in a band or only a producer?
CLAAP!: DJing actually was the last thing I got into. I had been in many bands before and I also started to produce some music before DJing. Then, during my engineering school, I met a friend from Lille who was really into the club culture and introduced me to it. We went to Belgium and partied in the most iconic clubs during the golden age of house music and techno. That’s when I starting DJing – at student parties on our campus. I would play some now classic stuff such as Green Velvet, Laurent Garnier, Carl Craig, Foremost Poets, Inner City…
Kendra: Sticking with the whole DJ thing for a second more. What is one stereotype about DJs that you are tired of people claiming to be true?
CLAAP!: I think all stereotypes about DJs are mostly true, haha! As the Dewaele brothers say, there are too many DJs.
SANTANA: I don’t really know any stereotypes about DJs. But please enlighten me, I’m sure I can find some about me too! I do know a bunch of stereotypes claimed by DJs about people and those, believe me, are definitely true (subjectiveness aside).
Kendra: How did you two come to be such great partners in crime?
SANTANA: We’ve built a very special bond over the years (10 actually) being friends at first and then working together. A lot of things we do together come very naturally. We can be our true selves around each other. It’s soothing and allows us to focus on music, on creation. I think that’s the reason why we feel like we’re a good team.
Kendra: If you had to compare your latest release, Dune, to a place in Paris that only locals know about which would it be and why?
CLAAP!: Dune, despite the title, is more about a vibe than a specific place. It’s about sharing great times with the people you love, no matter where you are. That being said, there is a special place in Paris that carries this vibe and where we like hanging with friends. It’s called Marcello, rue Mabillon, and it’s a very cool place designed with love, with a cozy terrasse, delicious drinks, healthy and tasty Italian food, and a great vibe. But Hush! It’s a secret.
Kendra: Lastly, what else is going on with you in the coming months?
SANTANA: We’re finishing our 1st album. It’s a process, it takes time (and sometimes too much talk) but it’s a fantastic experience. Our live show is almost ready too. We’ve been working with an amazing theater director who’s also (among so many things) a comedian, musician, and singer and who helped us create a very mysterious visual show and pretty entertaining. We’re very proud of the direction our project is leading to. And we’re planning on a new mini US tour in fall w/ the traditional NY crew (aka 2MR) and few shows in LA (our adoptive land).