Years spent wandering medieval landscapes have informed Claptone’s view of the world. Experiencing both magical mystery and muted melancholy, he enchanted onlookers with occult instruments and beguiling sounds. Forever surrounded by a sense of intrigue, the world soon cottoned on to the elusive, yet enchanting, musical powers of this otherworldly beast. The results are that today his shamanistic sonic powers take him all around the world.
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SunCity Paradise: Starting with your home country of Germany, where would you send a first-time visitor to get a real sense of the land?
Claptone: If someone finds the time, and wants to take a break from all the Berlin sights, people should visit the Neuschwanstein Castle in Southern Bavaria. Surrounded by beautiful nature, it was built quite late in 1869 for King Ludwig II, and it offers an idealized, quite-fantastic vision of a castle from the middle ages.
SCP: To create music, and traveling around the world to promote it, must be such a feeling. What’s the most impactful and meaningful part you cherish about it? Does the traveling help inspirationally?
C: To be able to travel our planet spreading music is a blessing indeed. I just sometimes wish I could stay longer at certain destinations, and sometimes not have to play for four days and nights in a row on three different continents. Whenever I find the time to extend my stays is when the real inspiration from different people and cultures begins.
SCP: Just coming off your set at the famed Tomorrowland a few weeks back, describe that experience playing for the crowd that stretched into the woods. Watching from a far the vibe seemed ruckus in the best possible way.
C: Yes, Tomorrowland certainly makes you believe it’s another country on this crazy planet called earth (or, on some other planet for that matter). It’s inhabitants communicate through music and dancing, while wear the weirdest costumes. I had the pleasure to be able to host my ‘The Masquerade’ stage there this year. I invited my favorite DJs from all over the world, like Black Coffee, Pete Tong, Booka Shade, Claude VonStroke and a few others to play with me. What a blast!
SCP: How does music and travel complement and go hand-in-hand with each other?
C: Apart from the obivious inspiration I get from playing music to all different kinds of crowds, from Melbourne to Bangkok, San Francisco to Budapest and Capetown to Manchester, it gives me a lot of insight into what these people like and what they dance to. I can see how they react to music and learn from it.
SCP: When searching for a personal getaway, are you looking for a serene beach or after a more active, adventurous getaway?
C: I’m constantly moving, so whenever I have a moment to breathe, settle and relax I enjoy it a lot. This can be on a beach or in a forest, preferably listening to the sound of nature.
SCP: One of our core objectives at SCP is to bring people together while traveling, not only to influence people to see and appreciate our beautiful world, but to also minimize cross-cultural divides. What effect does traveling, specifically surrounding dance music, have on humans in this regard? How has it broadened your perspective of the world?
C: It’s not just a cheap slogan: music unites. I play music to bring all kinds of open-minded people together, or encourage them to open up to music in an environment of mutual acceptance. Or, in a bit more of a romantic [sense, under] love, peace and happiness. I’ve experienced that unraveling, as well as [witnessed] events that helped people overcome their prejudice in that way.
SCP: Everyone has a list of places that they still have to hit. What are three destinations, either work or pleasure, that you need to see?
C: I mostly travel where there’s clubs or festivals. I enjoy that a lot. I really need to go back to Tokyo, as it’s such an inspiring, vivid and — if you’re a foreigner — strange city. On the other hand, I feel I need to go where there’s neither clubs nor festivals, maybe a place like Madagascar to see this seemingly mystic land with my own eyes.
SCP: What is the most beautiful outdoor location that you’ve played at? How did the beauty add to the music?
C: I’ve played several amazing locations. One of them is surely Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Colorado (amongst the red rocks, obviously). The DJ setup in Ponton Casa Baraj in Văliug, Romania is outstandingly beautiful with it’s amazing view over the Gozna Lake. I’m also really looking forward to soon playing a festival in Cholula, Mexico. It’s right at the Great Pyramid of Cholula — the biggest known pyramid in the world.
SCP: Lastly, is there anything in particular you’re looking forward during the rest of your Golden Summer Tour that stretches all the way to the end of September?
C: Surely, the closing of the Ibiza season is always something I look forward to. Then there’s some final sunny Croatia dates — the last few breaths of festival season in Europe. Leaving the summer behind, I’ll embarked on Brazil during a South America Tour for a few days. But, the summer never ends!