When Soul Clap’s Eli Goldstein and Charlie Levine prepped for Miami Music Week this past March, the longtime DJ/production pair had big ideas about 2020. For one, it was to be the funky duo’s 20th visit to Winter Music Conference and they looked forward to a week of special gigs.
Of course, things came to a halt and the pair had to re-evaluate the year’s activities. So what did they do? For one, they committed themselves to stream more content, both musical and conversational. Perhaps more notably, however, they co-founded Rave The Vote, a movement dedicated to boost voter registration for the Nov. 3 presidential election.
With some of America’s best-loved DJs in tow, Rave The Vote will present an event series that’s split into four, monthly 12-hour broadcasts on Twitch’s Lost Resort channel. With one event under its belt (this past July 24), Rave The Vote will stream Aug. 14, Sept. 11 and Oct. 2. Those events will include musical sets from The Black Madonna, A-Trak, Carl Craig, DJ Jazzy Jeff, DJ Pierre, Inner City, Justin Martin, Osunlade, Sofi Tukker, and TOKiMONSTA, among others. The events will offer topical discussions, facilitated mid-event by Soul Clap, and they’ll provide an online page for voter registration and for donations to The Movement for Black Lives.
DJ Times caught up with Soul Clap’s Charlie Levine to discuss Rave The Vote’s upcoming series of events.
DJ Times: How have you two spent the lockdown?
Charlie Levine: Well, I’m in Miami and Eli’s in upstate New York. Still, we’ve been collaborating on a new album that should be out in 2021. But really, I feel like this quarantine has been a chance to sort of reconnect and replant the roots. We’ve been touring together on the road nonstop for well over 15 years. And it’s just it’s been really incredible to sort of reconnect with ourselves as humans.
DJ Times: You also got more into live-streaming…
Levine: Yes, of course, we have a unique handicap in that we’re a tag-team DJ group living in two different places. So we live-stream from remote locations simultaneously and we do that with a platform called StreamYard. Working on Twitch’s Lost Resort channel, we started a weekly talk show called “Schmooze with Soul Clap.” This is an opportunity to have in-depth conversations with some of our favorite artists, talk music history, talk some technical or lifestyle.
DJ Times: Originally, Rave the Vote was going to be a very different endeavor, right?
Levine: Yes, it was going to be a bus tour of colleges in Midwest swing states with high-profile DJs like Seth Troxler, Justin Martin and The Black Madonna. We were going to rock the universities and sign up as many kids as possible to vote. But, of course, things took a bad turn.
DJ Times: Well, despite 2020’s weirdness and tragedy, you’re back at it with great intentions.
Levine: We really want to drive home the message that your participation does matter, and the way you take action is by registering to vote and insisting your voice is heard. Go out and participate in the bigger elections, but also the local elections.
DJ Times: What should viewers expect to see in these streams that you’ll be doing?
Levine: It’ll sort of be like an old-school telethon, like from the ’70s or ’80s. Our team out in Los Angeles – Infamous PR and 2+2 Mgmt – has really put in some effort. Of course, there’s going to be hosted events, live streams where DJs from many different genres are going to be coming together for the cause. We’ll have public service announcements and some really interesting people involved, like Dr. Cornel West, who kicked off our first event.
DJ Times: So I’d imagine that these Rave The Vote events must have a different level of satisfaction, compared to your regular job – traveling around, playing the biggest, most wonderful parties in the world.
Levine: I think it’s really important to have some purpose. Sometimes, I think to myself: What are we celebrating here? You know, we’re playing a party every night, but what are we celebrating? There’s so much going on, and are we tapping into that?
DJ Times: At the end of the day, Soul Clap are DJs and it’s still your job to bring the party…
Levine: Yes, Soul Clap is about uplifting music. We are trying to put a smile on people’s faces. We’re trying to make people fall in love. We’re trying to bring the magic and give something to walk away with. It’s important to release and to feel recharged and renewed. But really, what are we doing? Are we actually connecting? And with Rave The Vote, the answer is a resounding “yes.” This is necessary! We are using our talent and our influence to make a positive change. So yeah, this is very rewarding.
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