I first met DāM-FunK at Cinespace in LA some time in 2007. He was something I never saw before, a funked out space alien with turntables, shouting out the names of $200 records as he played for a crowd of hipsters. Well, the man, a former Inglewood hip-hop keyboardists, now key-tarist, has made some big strides in his career and is the modern day incarnation of a funk artists. And instead of playing for other people at Cinespace, he has his own long running L.A. residency called Funkmosphere.
I caught up with DāM-FunK before he stopped in Houston (for those taking notes, si…I’m in Houston now, but more on that later.) Here’s what we talked about. Full interview at Houston Press.
Rocks Off: So what happened after you saw that tweet about modern funk, and why was it incorrect in your opinion?
DāM-FunK: One of the guys on Twitter was like “Nah, you can’t forget about Dam-Funk.” So, it’s like it caused a little lightening storm a couple of days ago and I watched it. I would hope that people, the historians, writers and critics can keep the facts straight because now they’re going to try to use “modern funk” as the term now, because they know they can’t say neo-soul any more.
And I just hope that people don’t forget about some of the funk that really is happening with synthesizers, drum machines, and beautiful chords. It’s not the chicken scratch type style of funk or soul that was considered modern funk. So the guy from Jimmy Fallon’s show, he incorrectly is trying to change history — innocently if you will — because I think right now people are just do excited that D’Angelo dropped this record.
How do you explain funk to people?
The basic elements of funk, from what the cats before me laid down, is the importance of it being on the one. For me though it’s about beautiful chords, a nice volume of claps — the one and the two — as opposed to four-on-the-floor, like disco. You can use guitars as opposed to R&B where it’s not too much guitar solos and things like that. So, funk to me is the darker cousin — if you will — to R&B and soul.