Clive Henry & Justin Drake chat Soul Purpose

n the late 90s, Justin Drake and Clive Henry were Peace Division. Faces on the underground scene, kicking around with a ton of London lads who later went on to become a league of legends on the tribal house scene, both in the UK and in Ibiza. Their alter ego, Soul Purpose, appeared putting out a more deeper and soulful house vibe, with a string of releases that were rinsed by all the heads back in the 90s.

Fast forward to 2024, and Wolf Music have pulled together the entire Soul Purpose catalog and the tracks will see the light for the first time in 27 years. Here we catch up with underground hero, Clive Henry, to talk about DC10, Danny Tennaglia, and the fact that both Drake and Henry share the same birthday...

Clive Henry & Justin Drake

Your current release is under your Soul Purpose tag, but you are better known as Peace Division. There’s so much division and not enough peace in the modern world. Do tell us… how did you first hit on the name?

I was sitting at home a bit stoned watching the news about the Balkan conflict at that time, and the reporter said, “there’s a peace keeping division entering one of the war zones/territories” and I thought that sounds like a good name (obvs removing the keeping).

Going back a bit, where did you two actually first meet? What was it about one another that appealed?

My partner at the time Janet was co-running a DJ agency called DJs Unlimited in an office above where Justin had a little set up in West London. She said, “I think there’s someone making music underneath the office” and Intergroove distribution were also in the same building who my mate Andy was delivering records for them. He then suggested an introduction. And the rest as the old saying goes, is history! The weird thing about it is that we both share the same birthday, March 29th!

Clive, I listened to your RA Exchange interview a while back, such a fascinating insight into Ibiza especially from years back. I wanted to ask: what’s your relationship like with the island now? Do you ever wish you were still involved as much as you used to be? Or do you look back with no regrets?

I have a lot of good friends on the island still that have made it their permanent home and are doing really well over there and love it. I used to get fomo if I wasn't there every season but a lots changed over there and it’s a different beast nowadays. I have no regrets at all Ibiza/Circo Loco/DC10 gave me a life most people can only dream of and for that I’m forever grateful. I’m hoping to play a couple of times at a couple of parties this season so watch this space!

Do you get back to DC10 much, for example? What’s your take on how it’s changed?

I was at the opening last season as I played the same weekend for TRIP at Club Chinois which is a new party started by Johannes Goller from Cocoon and a good friend of mine Will Worrell. It was strange to play somewhere different after all those years at DC10, but it also showed me something different. I used to play Zoo Project occasionally and Octan - the old Sankeys - too but my heart will always be at DC10. To be honest it’s amazing to see DC10 evolve from its humbler environment to what it has become now.

How did your experiences in Ibiza influence your music and production style as Peace Division? Or did it?

It never really influenced us to be fair as maybe some of the music that got played at the clubs on the island back then wasn't necessarily the style we vibed off and Justin only dipped his toes in now and then. But that's why DC10/Circo Loco was a game changer and came around at just the right time.

We just listened to the Soul Purpose stuff and were really blown away! You’ve been sitting on this stuff since around ‘97, ‘98. How did it resurface again? And how did it find a place on Wolf Music?

To be honest, it’s Justin's links that made this happen for which I’m super grateful! You will have to ask him..

Can you share some memorable moments from the island that have had a lasting impact on your career?

Danny Tenaglia at We Love at Space when hardly anyone showed up to hear him after his records had been lost in transit and Eukatech records in Covent Garden London gave him a shit load of tunes so he could still play! I was with Rocky from Xpress 2, and we were like - wow how’s he managed this lol. Also, Laurent Garnier on the Space terrace doing a 6-hour set which was ridiculously good. And Danny Tenaglia (again lol) did an impromptu set at DC10 on the terrace with Celeda on vocals was really memorable..

Tech house has made a resurgence in recent years, but you guys have always been championing its more discerning side. What are your thoughts on its current popularity and how it has evolved since your early days? Do you understand why certain shades of it earned a bad rep?

Tech House got bastardsised by cheesy tacky vocal samples and quite lame swingless basic rhythms/beats by producers that aren’t necessarily at the top of their game. Obviously, the more hours you put into it the better you will become, but I feel there’s more quantity over quality that’s for sure. The fact anyone can make music on their laptop now which is incredible but also makes it easier for anyone to do it regardless of experience or knowledge. But you gotta start somewhere!

How do you feel about the contemporary dance scene and its current direction? Are there any artists or trends that have caught your attention?

There's loads of artists that have caught my attention over the last few years, but trends in dance music come and go, so I always try and stay true to what I believe in.

Artists I rate are quite a few of my friends Adam Curtain, Johnny Hunter, N-Gynn, Thomas Bulwer, Remi Mazet, Bowditch, also Willow, Silverlining, DJ wise, Maybe Laura, Trixie Wanderlust, Kleo, Harry McCanna, Daren Nunes..

What do you believe set your music apart from other tech house producers at that time?

Never ever thought about it to be honest. We just did what we did and enjoyed every moment of it!

Can you share any insights into the challenges and rewards of working as a duo?

It was just more fun, less stress, and we had each other’s backs when DJing together especially if it’s a tough gig! It can have a negative impact on your friendship if things aren't going so smoothly.

How have your musical influences changed or expanded over the years, and how have they influenced your recent work?

To be honest I haven’t ventured into the studio so much the last few years sadly, but I've made some tracks with my mate Vikaryo who has had an EP out on Studio 338 here in London. It’s on a new label called Release so hoping to get them finished the next few weeks.

What do you believe are the essential elements in one of your tracks as either Peace Division or Soul Purpose?

Just good rhythms/beats with a bit of swing and some fresh sounding textures/pads/keys/stabs and a good bassline. If you can find a good vocalist/vocal sample(s) then that’s a bonus.

What can fans expect from you in terms of future releases and projects?

As a producer you're always trying to progress and evolve and make something that'll hopefully be listened to in years to come. I’d love to make some more leftfield/experimental stuff and work with some vocalists.

What advice do you have for aspiring producers and DJs who want to make a name for themselves in the electronic music scene?

Just stay true to yourself and keep on keeping on no matter what setbacks and disappointments you face on your journey! Obviously, the scene has changed so much since we started out and it’s all about having a social media presence - which I'm not very good at hahaha. To be honest, anyone can become a DJ now due to the technology available to them, so there’s an even bigger pond full of the same fish all wanting the same thing and not so much for em all to feed off.

You need to stand out, have your own vibe and charisma but remember to stay humble! Fame & success goes to a lot of people’s heads and changes the way they are and who they used to be sadly.

In what ways has technology transformed the way you create and perform music since you first started your careers?

Obviously the CDJ has made DJing effortless and accessible to everyone, and that’s made it harder to succeed in a forever growing pool of artists and DJs. Where playing vinyl on turntables is a different animal all together! I Love seeing peeps playing wax coz you know they've invested a lot into the craft of being an actual DJ because vinyl ain’t cheap nowadays and Technics aren't either!

How do you see the future of electronic music evolving, and do you plan to explore new genres or sounds in your future projects?

It’s always evolving but I couldn't tell you what its gonna become? There will always be someone pushing the envelope and trying to make something fresh and exciting, and like I said to a previous question, I'm well up for making something different, be it ambient, leftfield, experimental, breaks whatever!

Buy/listen to Soul Purpose's Selected Works on Phonica