In Detroit, Golf Clap’s Bryan Jones and Hugh Cleal are known as much for their constant hustle as they are their bangin’ tech-house tunes.
The Motown-based DJ/production team has built a fanbase around rollicking original tracks like 2019’s “Demo Tapes” and “Freak It Out” (a collab with Masteria) and remixes for top acts like Zhu, Destructo, Louis the Child and Autograf, but they haven’t slowed down at all during the pandemic. Despite the lack of gigs in front of live audiences, Jones and Cleal are working harder than ever by expanding their online content and footprint daily, with nightly live streams, a weekly radio show, a talk show, and a livestream featuring their Country Club Disco label’s artists and friends.
We recently caught up with Golf Clap’s Cleal and Jones to discuss how their constructive reaction to the lockdown: When life gives you lemons, it’s been said, you make lemonade.
DJ Times: What’s it like where you are?
Hugh Cleal: Detroit is very intense right now. We are only leaving the house for essentials and everywhere always seems busy. Most people are wearing face-covering, but it’s obvious that there aren’t enough proper masks to go around in the city. Many of the big companies have switched production to life-saving items, which is good. But this much strain on an already-fragile city economy is forcing many businesses to shut down already in the first few months.
DJ Times: How are you spending most of your time?
Bryan Jones: We have transformed our studio into a broadcast studio to stream Twitch sets, as well as producing our first talk show called The Clubhouse. It airs weekly on Thursdays at 7 p.m E.T. We also have our weekly radio show Wednesdays on Insomniac Radio, and we are launching a new Friday “club night” on our channel, as well featuring our friends and label mates. Honestly, we are busier now than when we were on the road.
DJ Times: Have you lost income-producing work?
Cleal: I don’t think there is a single DJ that hasn’t lost income over this whole ordeal. But with all of this free time, we are using it to find new ways to earn.
DJ Times: Are you doing anything now that can or will produce music-related income?
Jones: Like any good thing, it’s going to take a little time to build our fanbase up to match our other socials, but the platform that Twitch offers is truly tailored to help artists and gamers earn in the app. We also run our label Country Club Disco and have a new release from Jace Mek feat. Clarity [“Elevate”] out now.
DJ Times: What are you doing now that’s ultimately constructive to your music life/career?
Jones: Like I said, we are busier now than we’ve ever been. Less time in planes and in hotels has given us a lot of time to work on music, run our label, host a weekly radio show, host a weekly talk show, host a weekly streaming club night, individually mentor some members of our Facebook group, learn more about video streaming and editing, acquiring sponsorships, and much more.
DJ Times: What’s the most surprising thing you’ve realized during this period of social distancing?
Cleal: How much more difficult it is to stream than we expected. There are just so many little things that can mess it up. It takes a lot of guessing, testing, Googling, asking friends, and hours and hours of streaming to start to feel fairly confident. Things still pop up from time to time, but we have started to figure out how to fix any issues quickly and keep the show rolling. All the viewers have been very supportive and understanding, while we learn the ins and outs of this.
DJ Times: What else are you doing anything online? Have you seen anything that impressed you?
Jones: We are trying a couple new contests right now with the new Country Club Disco release. You can text “Contest” to 484848 to get more details. One of them involves a spot on our virtual club night and the other involves shufflers. Some of our favorite DJ streams have been Treasure Fingers, Subset, Low Steppa and, of course, Diplo.
DJ Times: Any theme tunes recommended for the moment?
Cleal: We update our playlist all the time on Spotify and our radio show is every week, so we cycle through stuff quite a bit. One of our favorites currently is MASTERIA & AceMyth’s “Do It” on Confession.
DJ Times: Any advice on staying sane and relatively positive through this situation?
Jones: Everyone is in a different position right now, but try to make the best of this “new world” and adapt as much as possible mentally and financially. Stay busy and learn new skills. We’ll all make it.
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