Claytonsane - DJ / Producer / Remixer / Event Organiser (Malta, EU)
Claytonsane is rapidly becoming a name to keep your eyes on, with various solid releases of underground electronic music on Mellophonik, Criminal R3cords, Dansant and Recovery Tech. Tracks from these releases have been supported by Pole Folder, D-Formation, Alex Young and Ritchie Hawtin. He has D.J.’ed alongside all time hitters Sasha, Paul Kalkbrenner Underworld, Prodigy, Bookashade, James Zabiela, Sander Kleineberg, Varoslav, and Guy Gerber
At the tender age of 13, Claytonsane was drawn in by the idea of becoming a DJ, as he caught his first glimpses of clubs and was first exposed to a number of DJs spinning vinyl in his native Malta. There was no turning back. Fascinated by the electronic music pouring out of huge sound systems, and the flair/skill displayed by other DJs, he was determined to develop his own DJing technique and started learning at Genetix DJ School with local techno-head JD Frank. It wouldn’t be long before Clayton played all the major clubs in his country, but getting there always takes a lot of dedication. He recalls that ‘Being new wasn't the easiest thing in the world, we had no social network at that time so I used to record demo cassette tapes and give them out to club owners & organisers.’ His single-mindedness and determination eventually landed him his first gigs. ‘I was the youngest in the club and I was spinning turntables .... It was all that mattered.’
Clayton would move on to become resident DJ for 7 long years at Peppermint Club, a little Mecca for house and progressive music at the time. ‘Peppermint was like my second home, the crowd was amazing, had to buy loads of vinyl as people used to come to listen every Saturday and I used to play for long hours sometimes followed by playing after-hours at Tattingers.’
He then started a record shop with a good friend, where he also used to teach DJing. ‘I had quite a few students who also used to attend many of my gigs, it was an experience!’ At the time I used to promote progressive house a lot.... my favourite record label was Digweed’s ‘Bedrock’. Although I started out as a techno DJ, I was then beginning to get influenced by Digweed and Sasha. Later on in the years music evolved and I started to play deep, tech house and techno again..’
Year 2010 would be a very important landmark for Clayton, as he delved into music production and started creating his own brand of deep house/ tech house/ techno. Coincidentally, his first released underground track would immediately receive support by Bedrock artist Pole Folder.
When poked about the production-side of his DJing career, Clayton’s face lights up and he speaks at length and enthusiastically.. ‘I use Ableton with loads of plugins and spend between 20 to 30 hours a week in the studio, making music and sending my stuff to many other musicians. Making music is my greatest passion... I want my music to be listened to by people all over the world, so I share my music a lot!
I take advantage of social media in the sense that I receive lots of feedback from other countries and I keep in touch with everyone who is interested in my music, feedback always helps. I get ideas from those who give you good constructive feedback, explaining what they like or dislike & what they would change... in the end I always make the music the way I feel it should be done, but getting feedback is also a source of ideas that I would then use in my own way to change things a little ... In the end originality is always key. I try to copy no one and try not to be too influenced by anything. In my mind, I have my own genre.
Music changes all the time. I simply wish to be always there to give my contribution. I hope to be open-minded till the end and to consistently recreate my sound.
We start talking of the creative process and influences from outside the rave scene.. “I like a lot of dark abstract art. I find that many times it reflects my feelings. Even in my studio it’s dark as hell, which helps to set the mood,’ he giggles. “I’m flexible and I produce whatever I feel at that time. I work on 1 or 2 tracks not more... I work till I get tired, at which point I sometimes take a break to be able to get right back to it later.”
I try to find out how he plans to balance his international DJing gigs on one side and his production schedule on the other, and what equipment he prefers to use at gigs these days and he shrugs ‘The plan is to have no plans and to give myself the freedom to do everything, with everyone, everywhere!’ ... I’ve already done some live sets but I still prefer vinyl and turntables, it just feels more natural to me that way...’
Clayton’s DJ sets nowadays are a clinically-mixed cocktail-assault on the ears of anything from deep house to groovy tech-house, to more pumping techno numbers. Track selection, sequence, timing and stage presence are effortlessly executed. I’ve seen him play more than a couple of times and he just never does the obvious thing. Sharing the DJ-booth with quite a few important names has served its purpose. I butt in, ‘Who do you rate most highly as a live performer?’ The answer is plain and simple, ‘Robert Babics & Guy Gerber impressed me most with their live sets.’ ‘And which of your live sets abroad would you say were the most memorable to you? ‘The Electronic Music Festival in Rovereto, Italy. That was the first time I ever played in Italy. And Ministry of Sound, London, of course. I will never forget how it felt to finally play in this club I had been reading about all these years. But I think my very best gig ever was at Fire, a club in London. The place was packed and I was enjoying each and every track. The set included lots of my new material. It was a really intimate way of sharing my new creations’ he gleams.