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Interview with Detroit’s Own Golf Clap

By Ryan Solecki

Hugh Cleal and Bryan Jones of Golf Clap have attended the Memorial Day festival since its magnificent birth, but this year they entered the gates as performers. For Detroit electronic music artists it’s the equivalent of being drafted into the league.

Their reputation for erratic stage performances combined with their hustle off stage made them a sure performance to catch this past Sunday at the Made in Detroit stage.  Along with their performance at Movement the duo also hosted a weekend long after party series at club Exodos, launching their new label, Country Club Disco. Check out our review here.

Following a busy year on the road last year, this weekend was the holy triumphant to cement their name in the Detroit electronic music scene. With friends and family in town the boys pulled out just about all the stops to make this past Memorial Day weekend one for the books. Read up on our interview with Hugh and Bryan, otherwise known as Golf Clap.

HEAR Magazine: Since is the first time you guys are performing at Movement together, anything special planned for Sunday?

Golf Clap: We recently acquired a sponsorship with Rolond for their New Era gear that they are putting out. We’ll also be opening up the first 10-15 minutes of the set with an original track live which will be followed by our standard dj set. We only have an hour to work with so it’s really going to depend on the mood of the crowd and how many people are there at that time. But pretty much the same style that people are used to hearing from us. We have a bunch of random giveaways. We made up a couple hundred golf visors from random different golf courses and we’ll be giving those out.

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HEAR Magazine: You guys are just beginning as a group, but have booked shows across the U.S, what sets Movement or Detroit apart from other places you guys perform?

Golf Clap: Primarily with Detroit, it’s a much more knowledgeable crowd. When we’re on tour we can play a lot of the same stuff city to city because they don’t see you all the time. What we really pride ourselves on is our mixes, we’ve done a mix about every two weeks for the last year and half. We have a lot of residencies in college towns, as well as Grasshopper, where we might be playing 2-3 sets in a night. And you’re not going to hear us play the same tunes week to week. I think that’s why we have such a big following in Detroit. We’ve been coined as being unpredictable, but what is predictable about us is that you’re going to hear something new every time we play. That’s what’s earned us respect in Detroit.

HM: Do you think your national success has led to more success here in Detroit?

Golf Clap: Well the two things go hand in hand really. I mean Bryan has done extensive world touring and I Played all over the United States before that. But when we started Golf Clap, we started it from scratch. We didn’t tell anybody that it was us. We just wanted the music to speak for its self. And one of the biggest outlets of that was our homegrown Grasshopper, where we would play all the time. Nationally it helps because when promoters call to book you, when you’re booked for months at a time they kind of take a step back and realize they can’t book us on a couple weeks’ notice. When your first starting out as a dj maybe not making the big bucks it’s more important to be busy than anything else. No one is going to pay you big until you’re booked for months on end to get promoters to be like I want this artist. My advice to a lot of djs is to take any show you can get because there are so many great djs in the world and you have to set yourself apart from those people. Ultimately hard work pays off.

HM: You guys are a Detroit based group, how special is it to you to be playing one of the biggest festivals in the state?

Golf Clap: It’s really an honor. It’s just kind of set in the last couple of days with my friends coming into town and all these interviews and stuff, it’s like this is really going to happen in a couple of days. I mean we grew up going to this festival and everything has really just picked up this past year. You keep working really hard and grinding out and then you’re suddenly at this spot where you’re booked for five months straight and playing festivals all over the country and now making the money that you wanted to make. It’s really a surreal thing. My dad’s a musician and it’s always been a part of our family. And now that it’s happened for me is something really special. I made a big commitment because there was a point in my career that trance music was really big and I don’t play trance. I stepped back from the scene for a while because I didn’t think it was really going to pan out. Then I realized I was working my life away and I said you know what I’ve got more experience in this than anything else in life. So I quit my job and spent some time trying to make my way. Now being able to do this for a living and thrive off it is really gratifying. I just got off the golf course, I don’t have a day job, and if I want to sleep in I can because my job is to throw parties and play music for people that love to hear what we do. It really doesn’t get any better than that.

HM: Any acts at Movement that you might have time to catch?

Golf Clap: I mean with all the great talent and the way it’s all staggered it’s tough to say what we’ll be able to go see. Personally one of my good friends and artist, Moon Boots, is playing on the Moog stage on Monday. And he’s played here a few times and we play with him every time he comes to Detroit. Kevin Saunderson is also a good friend so we’ll go see his show. I don’t like to really schedule out my day because part of the festival is just hanging out with my friends and spending a good amount of time hosting. It’s going to be casual and bounce around. The less structure the better.

HM: So for your after party weekend series at Exodos, how do you plan to set yourself a part from all the other late night events?

Golf Clap: Well first it’s the only all weekend after party of the weekend. Also we got together some really nice wristbands for the weekend, similar to the ones you get when you go to Movement that people like to collect. Also all the artists that are playing are event are exclusive to our after party. So if your fans of these djs this is the only place that you’ll get to see them for the whole weekend. Exodos is also one of the closer venues to festival grounds and within walking distance. Also with Exodos is that it’s outside. I know for myself after spending all night outside the last thing I want to do is go into a dark club. We’ve also played Summer Sessions at Exodos for the last several years and the people that work the club are good friends of ours and they drive a lot of people there.

HM: After parties are a big part of the Detroit music scene, how important is it along with being a good musician to also promote yourself?

Golf Clap: It for sure takes both. That’s why our duo is special because I was a promoter foremost and a dj second. And Bryan was a producer. And unless you have a manager and promoter you do a lot of this stuff yourself. I’ve got a lot of experience with throwing shows while Bryan has the musical and engineering as far as the stuff he’s done. Even in Detroit it’s tougher because people aren’t very easy to just give away their loyalty. So a lot of times hometown favorites need to do really well for themselves?

Golf Clap had a massive Movement weekend and we per usual had a blast at their weekend events. Check out our review here. If you missed it, relive the couch tour and listen to their Live Movement set with a free download here.

Stop by our Facebook page for pictures and more info on Movement 2014 this past weekend.

For more information please visit Golf Clap’s official website: http://golfclapdet.blogspot.com/

For social media please visit: https://www.facebook.com/golfclapdet

Catch Detroit’s very own Golf Clap in the Forest at Double JJ Ranch.