Ross Allen Show
Ross Allen talks to Charles Levine of Soul Clap, playing music and talking about his foundational sounds & experiences.
You do not have to take yourself so seriously to be taken seriously. That’s what half of Soul Clap, Lonely C shows us. On his new album he’s producing super funky vocal house bombs, cheesy pop collages, arcade gadgets or even spiky tracks without a beat. All this with the very own, analog sound: ancient drum machines, broken echoes, soulful vocoder and synth pads. Here, charming electronic music is combined with good songwriting, so some tracks will provide freshness on the floor while others are perfect for the home listening session. 9/10
DJ Mag Italy
Charles Levine, half of the Soul Clap, at the debut LP. A sound that looks at the track but remains within the limits (or so) of the song form, managing to be appealing to both home listening and occasional club play. Great melodies and sung, as in the syncopated electro of the opening ‘Class of’ 99 ‘, or like in the garage house with rubbery’ Hold Up ‘sing Kendra Foster, catchy enough to listen distractedly as perfect for the most sweaty tracks . And then again the future r & b enchanted by ‘Booty Gene’, a slow-beat weird experiment (‘Flash Away’) and the dub pulsations that flirt with the record of ‘Make America Dub Again’ (best title of the century). Honorable mention for the lock, ‘Is not Worried’, hypnotic deep house with proven charm. Well done.
Stamp the Wax
LONELY AT THE TOP: ONE DJ’S STRUGGLE WITH A LIFE OF EXCESS AND THE POLARITY OF TOURING
Entertaining people for a living, whatever the medium, has its perils and they’re often the ones that go unspoken and undetected from the outside. For DJs the added risk is that they ply their trade in an environment when their audiences are experiencing extreme, often chemically induced highs. What happens when your inner feelings don’t reflect your surroundings? How do you balance your internal troubles with the outward persona that paying fans expect to see in you? How can you look after your body and mind when your workplace facilitates, even encourages decisions that often jeopardise both? How do you cope with this conflict when it recurs every weekend you have a gig? For business and morale reasons, this rather bleak picture is, on the whole, kept out of the clubbing narrative, but it’s an increasingly common by product of an industry fuelled by excess.
As one half of Soul Clap, Charles Levine has lived, partied and DJd through over a decade in the spotlight, centre of attention, custodians of ecstatic moments and celebrated in clubs and festival across the world. But at what cost? Through years of psychological and physical imbalances, he often struggled with the demands of touring life and was pushed to the limits. His debut solo album, Charles and Tribulations, under alias Lonely C, comes to terms with loss, love, excess and many other emotions that are often shrugged off to deal with life on the road. Throughout this time, he’s also been an avid photographer, chronicling his travels with a Polaroid camera; intimate, behind-the-scenes moments, depicting emotions he’s not always feeling on the other side of the lens. We lift the lid on a complex network of emotions, and explored the paradoxical life of a touring DJ.
LONELY C: HOW I PLAY LIVE
We sat down with Charles Levine, one half of Soul Clap and frontman of new band and project Lonely C, to find out why he wanted to take his show on the road, how the setup works, and what’s next for Lonely C and the Soul Clap duo. Listen to Lonely C’s debut album here.
Why was it important to you to develop a live show alongside DJing?
“I’ve been hungry for an opportunity to put together a live show for many years. Then in 2017, Soul Clap performed live on the main stage at Movement Festival featuring Amp Fiddler, Dames Brown, Hazmat and Phil Celeste and that REALLY confirmed my desire to push forward with live music. As a producer, this new Lonely C album contains a lot of material with my vocals, guitar, keys, etc and my co-producer Morgan Wiley is such a beast of a keyboard player it just felt like it would be a mistake to not try to take this album to the stage!”
How did you initially intend your setup to work?
“I’ve always wanted to get as far away from computers and DJ equipment as possible. I think the further from a recorded file or locked sequence would allow the songs to stretch out and make room for jamming and special moments.”
Lonely C – Charles & Tribulations (Soul Clap Records)
One half of legendary Boston duo Soul Clap ‘Lonely C’ has stepped out on his own for the brilliant ‘Charles and Tribulations’ album which has just been released via Soul Clap Records.
Five years in the making it’s a deeply personal project dealing with “Questions of identity, of love and relationships, of ego, and how to maintain balance and sanity through it all”. It’s an incredibly cohesive body of work through which shines the glowing personality of Lonely C.
We also spoke to Lonely C about his favourite albums which have influenced him as an artist. You can check out that feature HERE.
We’ve been listening to this album for a while and are absolutely in love with it. Lonely C songs have been some of our favorites – including “Hypnogogic Light”, “Unprotected Ex” and “Compass Joint” so now we get a whole album of his amazing original creations. Charles Levine brings plenty of Bernie Worrell keyboard wizardry and melodic riffs, from start to finish, you hear his P-Funk influences. “Class of 99” is quite the jump off, and then right into a chugging slab of funk with D’Angelo co-writer / member and P-Funk vocalist, Kendra Foster on “Hold Up”? Damn, my lord that’s a lot right up front. “True” is a Prince type work out full of 80s new wave pocket, it’s an album highlight. “Flash Away” continues on that vibe, and takes it even further, towards the world of Peter Gabriel slow burners – “Flash” could be on a Miami Vice soundtrack, at least on the first 3 seasons. “Make America Dub Again” is a wonderful tribute to Sly & Robbie and takes Charlie back to that “Compass Point” sound he captured on his previous collaboration with Tom Trago. “Folks Be Lying” leverages our brother Sa’d The Hourchild Ali and zig zags the album right back to a dark Funkadelic atmosphere. “Ain’t Worried About You” ties the album all together fusing all the elements reflected in the other songs and truly shows off Lonely C’s idiosyncratic and sometimes ephemeral style. Chuck Da Fonk — FSQ
Tom Trago remixes Lonely C & Kendra Foster’s ‘Ain’t Worried’ on Soul Clap’s label
Hot on the heels of “Hold Up”, Lonely C aka Charlie from Soul Clap’s leading single from the debut LP “Charles & Tribulations”, Soul Clap Records introduces one more featuring the singer/ songwriting force that is Kendra Foster.
The follow-up, titled “Ain’t Worried”, was originally a collaboration between Lonely C and Greg Paulus (No Regular Play), then taken to the finish line with the help of Morgan Wiley and the magic of Kendra Foster. This record fuses elements of futuristic deep house, jazz, R&B and even a taste of the funk, embarking on a wild ride of raw emotion and deliberate sass. On the remix tip and our premiere today, they bring the master touch of Amsterdam heavyweight Tom Trago who reinterprets this piece creating a moment of late-night hypnosis.
Lonely C’s words: “Originally we wrote the track around a recording of Deee-Lite’s Lady Miss Kier recorded late night at the original Marcy Hotel in Williamsburg. We were tracking a different song but kept rolling and caught her doing some vocal exercises that were so drenched in personality that totally had us inspired. Sadly it didn’t click with where she was at (I love Kier and have always wanted to work with her.) but when me and Morgan played if for Kendra she picked right up and did her thing without batting an eye! Lyrically it’s about finding a stronger version of yourself after love gone wrong, a sort of declaration to the world but also a self-affirmation. I love this piece of music and am so blessed to have the support and collaboration of talent like Kendra Foster, Morgan Wiley and Greg Paulus!”