The nation and the world have fallen in love with TV singing competition, The Masked Singer, with the guessing game and big reveal a bit of fun for the family. Who does the voice belong to? Who is behind the mask? All is revealed in the end. But in the world of music, there are still a few acts that live behind a mask. French electronic music phenom, Daft Punk we’ve come to identify as Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter and Sweden metal act, Ghost’s revealed their frontman Cardinal Copia to be Tobias Forge. A fellow European act that hides behind a mask that has never been lifted is the enigmatic DJ-producer, Claptone. We only know him as having a plague doctor-style golden mask for a face and that is the way he wishes to remain.
“The mask is part of me; my golden visage. I couldn’t imagine being left without it.”
In fact, the mask plays a critical role in the creation of music and art for Claptone. Everything from his sonic landscapes, the theme of his touring, and the stories behind the music and upcoming news very much anchor on the concealed nature of the mask.
“The mask is my face. So everything, especially the music revolving around it is not by coincidence. But then maybe it is? Many of the titles and moods of my music come to me in the most unexpected times. Awoken from a dream in the night, I began to scribble and sketch in a half-awaken state of delirium. After falling back to sleep and waking up hours later, I found a message scribbled on my notepad next to my bed. “No Eyes” it read – what could I have been dreaming of?”
Yet another riddle in the Claptone puzzle. But there are a few things we do know about the Berlin act. Firstly, he has a flair for transformative songwriting with a melancholic edge that really captures the imagination, as evident through their 2015 phantom-esque piece, ‘Puppet Theatre’, and albums ‘Charmer’, ‘The Masquerade’ and ‘Fantast’, which continues to be a driving force for material.
“Funny little tracks with positive childish punch-line vocals are great but what really touches my heart and my soul is melancholic, darker emotive songs. They usually resonate better and last longer with me. When I play as a DJ I am certainly leaning more towards the first and really rock a party with fun tracks, but when it comes to an artist album it’s the second category. After all, it’s – like so many things in life – about the balance.”
Secondly, we know he is planning on releasing new music soon.
“I am in the middle of a creative whirlwind at the moment. When it comes to collaborators, I have a long, long list. I have a good idea of the type of voices that could fit the music that I am working on at the moment. The universe will certainly bring us together. As usual, it’s all a big secret at this point, but I promise that I’ll let you in on my secrets very soon. Two words I can tell you right now are ‘Music’ and ‘New’ – maybe not in that order?! I will let you know once the muse kisses me.”
And finally, we know he is playing at Beyond The Valley this New Year and are planning a 2020 return down under.
“I am really looking forward to Beyond The Valley. This time I am not going to bring my full Masquerade setup, but my team and I are already working on some The Masquerade shows in Australia for 2020.”
All will be revealed, well for the tour and new album at least. For now, we’ll let Claptone remain a mystery.
Beyond The Valley is held among the stunning golden hills of Lardner Park, just 90 minutes’ drive from Melbourne. You can buy tickets from the official resale site.
Written by Tammy Walters
Photo by Andreas Waldschütz