The Funk Hunters had people on the dancefloor at last year’s Shambhala and now they are preparing to take the stage tonight at Spiritbar. Shambhala Music Festival’s Christine Hunter, ricardO Hubbs and Brittany Robins caught up with Nick Middleton before the show.
1. 2011 was a HUGE year for The Funk Hunters, what’s next?
Yeah the past year has been pretty overwhelming really! It’s been really inspiring though, and I guess we just feel super fortunate to be doing what we love full-time right now – ultimately that just motivates us to keep pushing our own boundaries and dreaming up new projects. We’ve got a pretty full plate already for 2012 and it’s only March. Right now our three main projects are launching our own record labels, building content for our new audio and video shows, and organizing our first UK/Europe tour!
To expand on that a bit more, we’ve decided to launch two of our own labels this year. Right now we are working with some fantastic international labels, like Ghetto Funk in the UK, Roca Records out of Germany, and Bombastic Jam in Greece, and we are going to carry on releasing music with them and working on new projects, but at the same time there just isn’t enough representation from Canada in that department, and truthfully we’ve got our own sound out here, especially on the West Coast, and such a strong community of new producers too. So it just seems right to get some new Canadian labels off the ground: ReSoul Records will be an outlet for our own West Coast style bass heavy party breaks, and then FutureFeed Recordings is going to be a label entirely for original material which is going to allow us dive into different genres and styles and also be able to support some of our amazing friends and collaborators that we are already working with here in BC. So ReSoul is actually all ready to go, the first 4-track EP is finished and comes out on March 13, so that’s been really exciting. And then for FutureFeed we’re gonna wait until later this year, probably until after the summer before we launch that. As far as the new Video sets go, it’s been an obvious next step for us, we both have a background in working with video and we really want to add a visual element to our live show. So we’ve secretly been building our own custom video content since about October last year. It’s really been about trying to figure out how we can still preserve the live four-turntable improvised mash-up element of our shows, but also be able to play synchronized video at the same time, so we’ve got some cool tricks up our sleeves! This weekend we will actually be the official premiere our new Audio Video show, we’ll be debuting it at the Spiritbar in Nelson on Friday night and then at the Central in Fernie on Saturday. And then the Europe tour…Well I guess getting over on the Atlantic has been a long time coming really. All the labels we’ve been working with for the past two years are based out of the UK and Europe, so we’re super excited to finally get over there and do a real tour. We also just signed with an agency in Croatia called Agency4Artists so they’ve been amazing to work with and are helping with all our European dates for the month of June, and then the guys at Ghetto Funk and some other friends in the UK have been helping line up our UK dates for May. So May and June it’s off to do that, and then we’ll be right back home to the coast for July and August just in time for all the festivals.
2. We’ve been to your live shows here in Nelson and at Shambhala, is there something about the Kootenay scene that set’s us apart from other stops on tour?
Oh for sure! It’s one of the best places to play in the world, period. We are so lucky in Western Canada, and it’s something the rest of the world is only just starting to catch on too. Everyone wants to come tour here. For the Kootenays specifically, I think a large part of that has to do with Shambhala for sure. There’s just so many people in the area that are turned on to music. They are immersed in it, directly involved, tons of promoters, DJs, producers, events and festivals etc. You can feel that at any show you get to play at in the Koots. And really that’s the kind of crowd you want to be playing for. They appreciate what you do, they understand what you are doing, and I guess they also kind of keep you are on your toes to make sure are doing something fresh and new each time.
3. Tell us about your name, how it came to be and how that represents you.
Funny you guys should ask of all people, cause the name was actually dreamt up at Shambhala, many years back! We have a bit of an infamous camp at Shambs called “Camp Moo” – and the name actually came to be one afternoon at camp when the conversation turned towards the idea of hunting funk: “Funk Hunter…. thats it, you guys should be the funk hunters!” and I guess the rest is pretty much history! I think our name really encompasses what we do… whether it be playing and producing funky music for our live sets and mixtapes or finding the funky riffs that exist in other genres of music.. especially bass music. Funky bass music is where its at, and if you hunt hard enough, you can find it in every genre!
4. If you could collaborate on a production with any artist (electronic or otherwise), who would it be and why?
Wow, tough question. I think off the top I’d have to go with James Brown though. The man literally defines FUNK. If we could have just one day in the studio with him to record a bunch of original material it would be like hitting the jackpot. And his band too…if we could get Maceo Parker up on the Saxophone and Fred Wesley on the Trombone I think we’d be in heaven.
5. What advice would you give to young DJ’s wanting to follow in your tracks?
Maintain a positive attitude and don’t be a hater. Sounds redundant but its the truth… The music scene around the globe is actually a pretty small one. So it’s all about cooperation not competition, at least that’s what we see. We’ve got a phenomenal community here in Canada – especially on the West Coast – of DJs and Producers that all support each other and constantly motivate each other. In terms of producing, most of the people that inspire us the most are our good friends living here in BC who are cranking out massive tunes right now! That’s really what it’s all about! Collaborate and support each other. Share your friends music and they’ll share yours, and so on. You’ll get way further if you work together and think with that mindset. And do it with a smile and lot’s of thank you’s, just like mom always said, that kind of stuff always pays off in the end.
6. Last but not least what is the one item that is a must have while on the road?
Hmmm, okay if you are about to leave on tour here’s what you do: Find the nearest health food store. Go in and try to tell them what you do for a living. Like most people they probably won’t understand, so just tell them you are in a national competition to travel across the country to see who can hit up the most nightclubs in one month! Tell them you probably won’t be sleeping much, you’ll be travelling/driving/flying tons, sleeping in a different hotel every night, and probably eating some pretty awful food along the way, and really this will be the ultimate test on your immune system. Buy the biggest bottle of whatever pill/herb they subscribe. Then double the dosage and take it everyday, you can thank us later. You’ll finish your tour feeling like a champ, guaranteed! Haha honestly though, there’s really nothing more fun than going on tour, it’s like living in alternate universe where nothing matters but music every single day! But take care of yourself when you’re on the road. DJs don’t get sick days!