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Crew Love Collective Talks Their New Imprint & Upcoming Fourth of July Themed 'Summer Love' Bash

 Soul Clap and Wolf + Lamb
Courtesy Photo

Soul Clap and Wolf + Lamb

International music collective Crew Love -- comprised of rising dance titans like Wolf + Lamb, Soul Clap, Slow Hands, No Regular Play, Nick Monaco and more -- have joined together with Full Moon Festival founders MATTE Projects for a Fourth of July blowout all their own. The big city spin on their Love Train Tour is called Summer Lov and it's set for July 3 at La Marina in New York City.

The all day (and all night) beach party fetes the collective's new imprint, Crew Love Records, and will host raucous sets from the label's own No Regular Play, Nick Monaco, David Marston, and -- of course -- extended sets from founders Wolf + Lamb and Soul Clap themselves to toast the evening into the morning. 

 

Billboard spoke with Soul Clap's Charlie Levine and new signees Nick Monaco and Greg Paulus of No Regular Play about life on the new imprint and what to expect from the Summer Love bash.

Charlie, as longtime friends and collaborators, how did you first decide to form Crew Love and how have your friendships/relationships evolved since its inception? How did you all first meet?

Charlie Levine: Crew Love was formed after years of collaboration between Wolf + Lamb and Soul Clap, affectionately referred to as WLSC, and grew to encompass five record labels, and a collective of seven acts. We wanted a new umbrella organization to contain and organize all of this new creativity and constant touring schedules. Our membership site, crewlove.us, was launched as a virtual representation of the Crew Love showcases being thrown around the globe with exclusive content for our subscribed members, and more recently we launched the Crew Love label in collaboration with K7! out of Germany. Most of the friendships and musical relationships in our collective go back to the days of the original Marcy Hotel in Brooklyn. There we shared life changing celebration in a space where the music and inspiration was electric. Together we’ve grown from an illegal after-hours disguised as phony boutique hotel into a family of touring misfits driven by a love of life, music and friendship, drawing a larger and larger circle of incredible personalities worldwide.
 
How did electronic music first inspire each of you? What drew you to that genre?

Levine: Although each of us discovered this life in our own individual way we can all agree that electronic music set us free! In its essence, the underground music world is about self expression in an unparalleled way, and while some of us stumbled into it, for all of us in the end it was clearly meant to be.
 
What was the impetus for wanting to enter the label sector and specifically in this day and age, what are the advantages of having a DIY label operation?

Levine: Originally Wolf + Lamb began with Wolf + Lamb Records, then when Soul Clap came along, Wolf + Lamb Black started for vinyl only re-edits. Next Gadi Mizrahi (Lamb) launched Double Standard Records for solo projects and oddity and finally Soul Clap opened Soul Clap Records and their own vinyl-only imprint for bootleg material called Gator Boots. With all this activity going on Crew Love Records didn’t feel like a move to enter the label sector because we were clearly already in business, that being said tremendous time energy and resources have gone into these labels to stay afloat because todays market is tough as hell. In the end, its all worthwhile to be able to share our artist's expression in our own way and this body of music helps us spread our message to our incredible Crew around the world.
 
You're joining with MATTE Projects for the Summer Love bash – how did the event come together and what was the goal behind it?

Levine: We teamed up with MATTE at last year’s Full Moon Festival. There are a lot of crews doing cool stuff in New York, but with MATTE we’ve found a collaborative partner that’s as all-in as we are. We’ve wanted to find a unique special spot to have a big outdoor celebration especially this year because typically 4th of July weekend we’re all over touring Europe. We made a collective decision to be back in NYC so our goal was to stick together and put on one hell of a party.
 
Besides the fully packed line-up, what can we expect from the evening and how/why did you choose La Marina as the location?

Levine: We’re really excited to invite disco legend Dimitri From Paris and the extraordinary Brooklyn disco band Midnight Magic to join us on July 3rd. Also, within the Crew we’ve each been busy at work writing new material, new albums from Nick Monaco, No Regular Play, Soul Clap and Wolf + Lamb so our fans can definitely expect to hear some of that. As for the location: it's on the water under the stars, its just magic over there. Hard to believe you’re in NYC really. We wanted to find someplace really special that feels like NYC but also like something else, another reason to be thankful for the city.

And Nick, you will be performing and also just released your sophomore album Half Naked. The record aspires for depth and honesty in the songwriting – is that important for you to define yourself in that way?

Nick Monaco: Absolutely. I put all of myself into my music, everything I make is infused with my vocals, ideas, and emotions. I don't know how to do superficial, music is so personal for me. I try not to associate with any genre when I make music, I'm just trying to write good songs that feel human. Half Naked feels that way, it's an intimate record.

How did you come up with the title Half Naked and how does the idea of being ‘naked’ play into your sensibility and intention as an artist?

Monaco: I've always played with themes of nudity in my work, so Half Naked is a further exploration of nudity, this time thinking about being naked and its connection to vulnerability and intimacy. 

You celebrated the launch of the LP by filming yourself nude in a bath – what can we expect from your Summer Love set - any antics (streaking) planned? 

Monaco: Sure, why not? Bottom half or top half though? I'll let you decide.  

And Greg, you guys just announced your forthcoming sophomore album for No Regular Play – what was your goal with this set sonically?

Greg Paulus: Our goal was just to do the best possible job we could with our schedule and our resources. We spent a great deal of time writing songs, jamming together usually late at night and then spending time honing those ideas. As with our first album we really worked to make a coherent record from start to finish. We worked closely with producer/engineer Alex "Hammer" Hamedey to mix and make everything pop!

Themes of nostalgia and loss permeate the album. Was it challenging for you to dig deep on this set?

Paulus: It really was just natural. It was our only response. We love making party records, but if we had done this for the album it just wouldn't have made sense or felt right. We like to think the music you make should reflect your surroundings and we've always felt comfortable with the sound of nostalgia. We didn't set out to make a sad record by any means but we wanted to make something beautiful that would capture the hope and perseverance that we were feeling at that moment in time.

What about the Crew Love collective inspires and motivates you?

Paulus: We've always been motivated by our friends, musically, socially and it's been inspiring and satisfying to see everyone grow and develop. The people that follow the Crew Love collective are so diverse and free spirited it feels like nothing else we've encountered. House, techno, jazz, funk, Latin music, hip hop and R&B all mix seamlessly at these shows and it keeps us all on our toes, which we love.

Catch the Crew Love boys at 'Summer Love' this Sunday July 3 at La Marina in New York City, and get tickets here now.


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