Golf Clap Talks Detroit and the Festival Circuit
Golf Clap seems to be everywhere this summer; Spring Awakening Music Festival, Mamby on the Beach after party, Electric Forest (with a secret set!). This Detroit duo is taking full advantage of the recent house music boom and are doing an amazing job bringing what they do best to a new group of festival attendees. We caught up with Hugh and Bryan at Spring Awakening Music Festival to chat about their summer plans and the unique Detroit music scene. They were just as excited to talk to us as we were to talk to them, making for a great conversation.
SR: Is this your first year at Spring Awakening?
Hugh: This is our first year at Spring Awakening, yes.
Bryan: And we’re specifically excited for this because Chicago is our biggest market in the country and we play here all the time. Every time we come here, we play at least one unannounced after party with hundreds of people and sometimes there’s a second after party. Every time I’m going through our music and we’re planning on playing in Chicago I think oh shit we need to get like 3 times as much stuff ready. Not in a bad way, but I have to think extra hard. But, we’ve never played a festival in Chicago, we’ve never played a big stage. We play at Primary, we play at smaller venues.
Hugh: Mad props to Derek at Primary because he was one of the original guys that took a shot on us. We were a resident of his for the past 3 years. He’s kind of the reason we’re out here today on such a big stage.
Bryan: We try and take advantage as much as possible, like doing this interview. We get annoyed when we see artists get on these big festivals and not schedule any interviews, don’t do a mix. I’m thinking “That should have gone to someone who would have done something.” It’s a waste of a huge opportunity. We’re also very fortunate to be playing on what we think is the best stage of the whole festival [It’s All Gone Pete Tong Stage].
It’s like the legends stage.
Bryan: Every single person on that stage is kind of a legend to us.
Hugh: Individually and in their own way, it’s not generalized.
When you’re playing a larger setting like a festival such as this, do you cater to the feel of the festival or event?
Bryan: Always cater to that stage. I think it’s the job of a DJ. If you’re at someone’s house at 8 in the morning, you’re the person in charge of picking the right DJ mix, even if you’re not DJing. Basically the longer you’re DJing the bigger your Rolodex you should have in your head. There’s something that we like in almost every sub-genre of house and techno. You go to a point where one out of 100 shows we play a whole techno set. We don’t play it that much but if someone drops out and we need to fill in that’s our job.
Hugh: House music is a destination genre. House music can go from stuff that I can play for my parents at dinner all the way to something similar to Bassnectar. I can’t really say that I can put that on at 10 o’clock when I open up and there aren’t that many people there, even though there are sub-genres dialed all the way down, it’s easier for house DJs to move in and out of a style without someone calling you out for selling out or something. The worlds colliding more than ever. People are putting out music that is still bass heavy but 4-on-the-floor, like the Dirtybird crew. Also, you get a lot of those 24-25 year olds that are really into the scene and want to tone things down a little bit, house music is where a lot of those people end up and we welcome them with open arms.
Bryan: You feel out your crowd almost like the way they profile a murderer on those TV dramas. You see who you’re playing with and profile the crowd to play what you think they’re going to enjoy, picking and choosing your bass lines. You have to know where you are and why those people are there. If you’re opening for someone and the whole crowd is there for them, you should play the closest thing that you have to what they have within your scope of what’s good enough for the drive in the first place.
Hugh: At the end of the day you need to play what makes them dance. It’s a constantly changing environment.
What do you think of the festival?
Hugh: I’ve known and worked with React for many years in the Detroit market, we’ve attended a ton of their festivals. I know that they had to move to a third venue option but if they didn’t have such a solid and well organized team, they wouldn’t have been able to pull of what they did here. This awesome sound the awesome hospitality is second to none. Shout out to Harrison our manager who is essentially made this happen for us and Brian and the whole React crew essentially.
Bryan: We’re coming back for North Coast.
Are you excited for that?
Bryan: I think at the Heineken House. So we’re hoping… you see DJs pose pictures with their DJ name on Heineken bottles so we play the Heineken House…So, Heineken if you’re out there…
Hugh: We see you. The festival itself is really cool. I’ve met nothing but really awesome people and like we said Chicago is probably our favorite place right now.
Why don’t you guys just live here?
Hugh: It’s awesome…but it’s a big beast.
Bryan: We’ve got it pretty good in Detroit. But, the only place that would be in the horizon is Europe. Specifically London, not by choice but —
Hugh: 90% of what we play is straight out of the UK. There’s so many people doing it there, it’s on the radio.
Does Detroit really hustle harder?
Hugh: Detroit —
Bryan: We have to say yes, so yes.
Why do you have to say yes?
Hugh: Because they do! In general there are a lot of Detroit-centric things like Move to Detroit and Detroit vs. everything and everybody. I love that Detroiters are taking pride in everything that is their city, especially with what we have all been through growing up in the city. I just personally don’t like to make everything out to be a competition, I’m an open arms guy. If you travel to Detroit you’ll know that coming in, people treat you like family. And as dangerous a place it is and as much crime and everything you hear about, some of these people are the salt of the Earth.
Bryan: Anyone that lives there works around not being in the places that you hear about. I’m very rarely scared, and when I am it’s not much more than any other city walking around at 2AM. Our friends don’t parties in the bad places.
Hugh: Through everything, they’ve chosen to see the glass half full. Some of the best music ever in the history of music has come out of Detroit and across genres. That’s a testament to the resolve that people from Detroit have.
Golf Clap played a pop-up set at Electric Forest and even following Bassnectar that night, this duo had a crowd coming from all angles to groove to their house beats. These guys truly love music and what they do, and we love them for being so open and honest with us. It’s sure we’ll cross paths with these guys soon, and we can’t wait to tell you all about it.