In 2012, as house music made its glorious comeback in dance music across the globe, a German producer released house tunes that subverted expectations. From sharing a sample with the Wu-Tang Clan to pairing with vocalist Jaw for a slow-burning club track, this producer played around with the rules of dance music and proved the genre still has limitless potential. Plus, his simple get-up of a golden bird mask (resembling the masks plague doctors wore many years ago), a top hat and white cloves have him a distinct look, one that became as recognizable as his music.

Four years later, Claptone now tours across the world, celebrates the release of a debut album by the name of Charmer and has collaborated with the likes of Clap Your Hands Say YeahPeterBjorn and John and more. This weekend, Claptone makes his way to the Do Lab‘s second annual Woogie Weekend festival at Oak Wood Park in Silverado, California. Before his set, Your EDM interviewed the enigmatic producer himself to learn about the difference producing singles and an entire album, the rough side of touring and more. Read below:

After the release of your debut album Charmer last year, you became an artist that released both successful singles and a full release. How did the album production process differ from the process of gradually working on and releasing singles? 

The idea came with the success of “No Eyes,” I was very inspired and I felt that it was the right time to allow people to discover more of my world and let them dream. So the process was different from the beginning, you could compare it to writing a book instead of just a short story or to go on a long journey instead of a day trip. Both things are beautiful, but still so different in their intensity and variety.

For your future releases, do you see yourself adopting the same model of releasing a few singles and building up to another album release or trying out a different release method?

I am open for any release model; it has to make sense music-wise. After the success of “No Eyes'”it was clear that I wanted to produce an album, I got so inspired and had all these ideas in my head. But of course, an album is the not right place for all music to be released and who knows what happens next? Definitely something, you will find out soon.

Charmer took a lot of the pop aspects of “No Eyes” and heightened them. Given your love of pop music, do you foresee your music continuing to go in a pop direction or will you try to retain your more club-centric roots?

Both. I love the happiness and lightness that pop music can give you. It can make people dance or smile without them even noticing. It has something playful and easy to me, a contrast to the more serious club music where I have my roots and definitely feel home. For me there’s no either/or, music is a way of transforming my emotions into something that can be shared and hopefully will also touch other people.

You tour primarily as a solo DJ, but your Immortal Live Show involves two performers. Also, some nights of your DJ tour find you in two places at once, often times hundreds or thousands of miles apart. Is Claptone two people in the studio or two people just for live shows? 

There are things in this world that should not be analyzed, defined or questioned, if you ask me. And there is my Clapjet. Anyway, the happiest moments in life cannot really be put into words or be documented, they should simply be enjoyed and last as beautiful memories. Claptone is a mythical being. My mission is to bring love, light and happiness to the world, all this comes in different shapes and colors, at different times at different places.

Your DJ gigs find you mixing your own tracks and other songs while the Immortal Live Show features your own music as the focus. How does performing Immortal Live differ from your DJ sets? 

DJ shows are a beautiful way of communicating with my followers and also to express my mood and my feelings. I also love to share a variety of music that I like with my fans to see if it touches them the way it touches me. DJ shows are very much for the moment, to smile and to just get lost for a little while, while Immortal Live is more of a full audio-visual Claptone concert. I take you on an emotional journey into the world of Claptone, which may set free some deeper feelings for one or the other and creates memories that last forever.

THUMP recently published an editorial that discussed the negative effects of constantly touring, which causes many artists to sink into depression and abuse alcohol, drugs, etc. Since you’re one of the most prolific touring DJs out there, can you offer your thoughts on these findings? How does being on the road impact you? If there are negative effects, how do you cope? 

I agree the music business world full of glitter has its downsides too, and might affect some people in a negative way. Sadly there are more lonely souls in this world than we would assume. Being on the road non-stop can be tough and tiring I have to admit. If you’re not able to live off the happy moments and transform them into positive energy you can easily get lost, searching for something you might not be able to find in a nightclub. The connection to my fans is a very close and intense one, moments where I feel this connection the strongest give me a feeling of highness. Therefore I have never really been tempted to use drugs apart from Champagne of course.

You are known by many fans for your enigmatic appearance and secretive nature. Do you plan to make this a permanent fixture of the Claptone persona, or do ever see yourself becoming more public? 

‘Secretive nature’ is actually a very fitting description of Claptone. I’d like to keep it that way.

What plans do you have for the rest of 2016? 

At the moment I’m on my #GoldenSummer Tour, which starts and ends in Ibiza. The first stop of the tour was the opening of Amnesia. The complete summer-long journey will span around 20 countries and around 70 shows, ending in September back at Amnesia. Throughout the summer I will also be playing several other gigs at Space, MK‘s Area10 night at Pacha and the Together events.

This season’s highlight and the night I look forward to the most is the 31st of July, my very own The Masquerade party at Amnesia. If you’re around on that date, put on your most magnificent mask and be part of this freak-circus. Find your happy place where the craziest ideas and the grandest illusions lay waiting; a place where wonders abound for those who trust their imagination. A collection of otherworldly characters will turn the town upside down in an excessive, hedonistic frenzy. I invited Catz’n Dogz, Re.You, DJ T. and Mat.Joe to join me. Welcome to The Masquerade in Ibiza. The end of Ibiza/summer season won’t mean end of happiness, though; I will unveil soon what follows next.

Take a look at Claptone’s tour dates to see where to catch him this summer and buy your Woogie Weekend passes to see him play tonight at the festival.