Soul clapping

Next Generation is making moves, plus Letia Larok
By DAVID DAY  |  July 11, 2006

Soul Clap live at Gypsy Bar
Boston’s NEXT GENERATION PRODUCTIONS is on its way to becoming the premier party promoters on the circuit. Boston-area natives ELI GOLD, CHARLES LEVINE, and SAM SOKOL founded the company when they were just out of high school, and having recently merged with local promoters FUTURE CLASSIC, NGP is now responsible for parties on the regular at Redline, Underbar, and Mantra. “We started it from scratch in late ’90s, back when everyone had big pants,” Levine says before throwing down at Gypsy Bar on a steamy Wednesday night. Levine grew up in Brookline and Gold came from Cambridge; they met through alternative schooling. “We started mixing together when we both opened for Joey Beltram in DC. Eli played drum ’n’ bass and I played jump-up house. Soon as we started playing all the late-night stuff, we started to get together more often.”

Today, the two spin as SOUL CLAP, an amalgam of funky vocal house and deep house that often accompanies live musicians. Here at Gypsy, they’ve brought a trombone, trumpet, and live congas. “We have this thing that we do,” Levine explains. “Four turntables, four CD players, and two mixers, with me and E just bangin’ it out. One person will be doing tools and a cappellas and the other person will be mixing tracks, and we’ll bring in live drums and keyboards, a bass player — all Berklee kids, too, so they’re ill — and then feeding all that into the mixer.”

“We play with four turntables a lot, we love it,” Gold chimes in. “It allows so many more possibilities to open up.” Levine: “It’s something everyone can participate in. A lot of our complaints are that people don’t understand house music, but with live performers in your face, you know?”

“Sometimes it get so crazy even we don’t know what the fuck is going on,” Gold adds, laughing. The group’s new business plan involves moving into a much bigger space in Allston, complete with a music studio. Gold: “All the hard work we’ve put in on the business side is really starting to pay off. We’ve merged with Future Classic, which is a big step, and part of that is getting a bigger office. To be able to work and then go into the studio? It’s great. Plus it’ll give us an opportunity to bring in all the DJs we work with and we talk to. We want to do podcasts, do a different mix series. Try and get different music in Boston out there as soon as possible.”

Gold acknowledges the challenges for a growing production company — needless competition among promoters, the lack of a consistent outlet for publicity — but remains optimistic. “It’s all about collaborations. It’s the way electronic music here is growing and the whole scene is growing, getting people together and pushing it in different ways.”

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