Not to sound cliche, but when Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings enter the studio, magic happens. Part of that magic may be found in the studio itself, the House of Soul in Brooklyn, which is owned and operated by Daptone Records. Another part of the magic comes from putting all four members of the Dap-Kings — the label’s house band — in that particular room together. Then, finally, Sharon Jones takes out her magic wand, also known as a microphone, and miraculous things seem to happen.
The following documentary captures all this magic-making in real-time action. “This floor is really sitting on top of a bunch of tires and old clothes,” Jones explains about one of the soundproofing methods in the homemade studio. She then reveals that she did some of the electrical work herself, proudly pointing out several of the sockets.
But the real gem of this behind-the-scenes clip is being able to watch the Dap-Kings at work, as they figure out the arrangement for the song ‘Better Things.’ Daptone co-founder Gabriel Roth (aka Bosco Mann) asks the songwriter, fellow Dap-King Homer Steinweiss, if he has a piano part worked out. “If you have a piano part,” he says, “then Binky [Griptite] can play the bass.” And after brief consideration, Roth agrees to handle guitar duties.
The finished version of ‘Better Things’ — from Sharon Jones’ latest release, ‘I Learned the Hard Way’ — has the sort of deep funk feel and retro soul sound that the Dap-Kings use to put a spell on audiences worldwide. Check out the exclusive behind-the-scenes video below.