The masked, crusading beatmaker that is Claptone hits Sydney this weekend with the intention of bringing people to the far corners of the emotional spectrum through his unique sounds. The mysterious German producer who released the critically acclaimed Cream last year on Berlin-based label Exploited is instantly recognisable with his golden bird-like mask. He’s been imprinting his blend of house-influenced and bass-heavy music in clubs and on stages globally with the aim of having a significant impact on the listening and dancing experience of people who come to his shows.

“I love to make the people curious, scared, excited, amused, anxious, euphoric, sad and happy,” he says. “I don’t produce dance music, I create sound. Sound that reaches into your soul and touches your body.”

Claptone has a deep and spiritual take on music, saying he exists to express himself through sound and a unique performance experience. “I exist because I express myself; I cannot be otherwise. There is so much sonic unrest in me which needs manifestation, and as long as I am, I must communicate through sound so there will be Claptone.”

Giving little away on the contents of his upcoming set at Chinese Laundry, Claptone says you have to listen closely to his music in order to get an understanding of the man and the driving force behind him. “If you listen very closely to the sound of Claptone you might get a glimpse into my whole universe full of secrets,” he says. “Let those secrets thrill you, allow them to fascinate you and enjoy the excitement they create within you, but accept them as what they are: secrets!”

Asked why he doesn’t show his face while performing, he philosophically describes wearing a mask as a common thing we all do in life’s different roles. “All people take in interaction with others on a daily basis; a lot of different roles. One could describe these roles as masks,” he says. “It is a tangible outward identity description, yet also identity [in itself].”

Claptone explains that his success has come from his soul, as he is honoured to play music that brings out a physical and emotional response in his audience. “My biggest influence is certainly the soul, for the soul is always the main ingredient in the sonic soup,” he says. “But Claptone is also a creation of the people; only those who come to my gigs and listen to my music make me Claptone.”

“Music casts a spell upon people, evoking their emotional response in many ways. It is a great honour to be able to touch people with my music and very rewarding to see them being swept away by the love and heartache, the ecstasy and melancholy that I bring onto them.”

Every show he plays is enjoyable and fulfilling, he says, with each set taking on it’s own special energy. “Of course Warung in Brazil, Revolver in Melbourne, Creamfields in the UK or Watergate in Berlin are amazing, but I had great nights in Romania, Beirut, Montreal, Shanghai, Bordeaux, you name it,” he says. “But I dare say that almost every Claptone night is memorable for everybody involved.”

BY TOM KITSON

Claptone plays Chinese Laundry on Saturday September 21.

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