On Friday June 29th Funk Farm took Pacha by storm! Starting off the night with their special guest Sydney Blu. She took us on a musical journey through her Blu world, filled with a melodic mix of techno and progressive house elements, that really got the crowd moving. There’s much more about Sydney Blu in “Funk Farm Takes Over Pacha NYC (Part 2) Interview w/ Sydney Blu”, were I had the pleasure of sitting down and talking with her one on one after her set.
If you haven’t heard of Funk Farm by now then I feel a bit sad for you because you haven’t had the great experience of hearing some of the most upfront, in your face and hypnotizing sounds from the one and only Funkagenda. He is the driving force responsible for Funk Farm, based out of London and dedicated to pushing the limits of the progressive sound. With the sole dedication of quality over quantity, to uphold a musical integrity that shines over the current scene today during this boom in the EDM scene. Funkagenda started his career at the age of 13 and he hasn’t stopped to look back since. His passion for music is so true to his heart that when I asked him about anything else he would do if he wasn’t working with music, he bluntly replied “I would be dead”.
True to his word Funkagenda, continued the night by spinning after Sydney Blu’s set, to a standard of quality that’s not often seen in today’s EDM scene. It’s just proof of what synergy two great artists can create when given the chance to do what they love in a quality sounding club like Pacha. Over the course of the night he lead the crowd on a winding trail of highs and lows that really made you feel the music. Throwing in timeless classics like “Insomnia” and “Pjanoo” with a special twist that would grip your heart for a minute before turning up the dancing another notch!
Funkagenda and Sydney Blu were both kind enough sit down with me and let me pick their brain’s a bit. The following conversation is between Funkagenda, my good friend and fellow artist Minstra and myself (Robbie Lumpkin).
RL: You recently played at EDC Vegas how was that?
Funkagenda: It was a tremendous experience all around because I didn’t play until the very last day and the very last set on the main stage. So for me it was cool because I got to see a lot of other people that I wanted to see at the festival before I even got to play. Like Seth Troxler, Bassnectar, Josh Wink and John Digweed just like a whole bunch of people who I find inspirational.
RL: How about that windstorm that closed down EDC early on the second day, were you there for that?
Funkagenda: Yeah I was down the second day, I just finished watching Josh Wink and we were going to watch someone else go on. And then it all got shut down, we waited for about 45 minutes to see what was happening, then I realized that it kinda wasn’t going to open back up again. So we all went over to Chris Lake’s trailer, he lent us his trailer for the night because he had left already. And we kinda just chilled out in there and waited to see what we could get in terms of a ride back and whatever. But I think we got back to my hotel about 7am and then slept the rest of the day.
RL: When your playing out right now, what are there 3 tracks in particular that you really like to play?
Funkagenda: It’s always a difficult one because so many things come to mind. At the moment I am really enjoy playing a bootleg by Paul Thomas and myself of a Fever Ray record called “When I Grow Up”. I really like playing that because it’s a little bit different people don’t expect that vocal or whatever so that’s cool. I really really like the Bassnectar remix of Ellie Goulding “Lights” I’ve been playing that a lot. Also Dannic “Tombo” that’s a pretty serious track.
RL: Your quite an outspoken person, I love following you on Twitter, seeing how you speak your mind freely and just say how it is. So I have to asked if you have seen Deadmau5’s “We all hit play” post on Tumblr, any thoughts on that?
Funkagenda: For the most part he’s right, anyone that kicked up a big stink about it either didn’t get where he was coming from or is guilty of doing it and trying to cover it up. For example “A Guy Called Gerald” really attacked him about it but Guy Called Gerald didn’t really know where he was coming from. He seemed to get a little confused as to what Joel was saying. So I feel like he just really didn’t get what Joel was trying to say. There’s a lot of people out there right now who don’t put any effort into what they do and they’re raking in a lot of money. And then there are a lot of people out here who put so much effort into what they do and aren’t making any waves what so ever because they’re not given the chance.
RL: Now when you say putting in the effort, do you mean in their productions or their “live” work?
Funkagenda: Everything. Nowadays people have forgotten what it’s like to be a DJ, it’s all about being a producer. A few years ago everything was about being a DJ, now it’s all about being a producer and people don’t pay any attention to the Djing side of things. And what Joel said about people getting on the microphone and saying “This is my new record with so and so, this is my new record with this and just hitting play” that’s exactly what it’s like. Anyone who say’s it isn’t like that either hasn’t been to a club recently or is guilty of doing it.
Minstra: Can you tell us more about your DJ setup using Ableton? We’ve never seen anything like it before.
Funkagenda: It’s the normal clip launch screen, I’ve just arranged it how I see is the easiest way to use it. Essentially what your looking at on that screen is 4 virtual decks for the left hand side and 4 virtual decks on the right, so I have 8 decks total inside Ableton. And on each of those 8 decks I have a macro that runs various combinations of 12 different effects, which is all assigned to sliders on my ipad. So I can just trigger those in whenever I need to and on top of that I use 2 CDJs as well.
Minstra: So it’s wirelessly connected to Ableton just like a midi controller basically?
Funkagenda: Ya I have setup a wireless network in the booth and that’s what it’s connected to.
RL: How long did it take you to figure that system out and get comfortable with it?
Funkagenda: I don’t know, when I started I wasn’t comfortable with it but I decided it was what I wanted to do. I just got real bored with CD’s, I’ve heard of a lot of people giving laptop DJ’s a hard time saying “you don’t really mix blah blah blah”. The simple fact of the matter is, if you put a track in a CDJ and just go up and down increments of .08 your mixing on the BPM. So it’s no more or less mixing then it is doing it on a computer. Like if you put a track in and it’s at 125BPM and you put this track in and it’s at 124BPM. You just go plus .08 and it will match up perfectly to the other deck, it’s simple math and EVERYBODY knows that. So when you see guys in the DJ booth saying they’re mixing, they’re not mixing there just counting in 8ths.
RL: How would you describe your sound in 3 words or less?
Funkagenda: Big Room Noise, actually if it was going to be me I would say “not good enough” not yet! One day but not yet. (he said this jokingly and laughing)
RL: What would you have to say is the best part about being a artist and the worst part about being a artist?
Funkagenda: The best part about being an artist is getting to do what I love. You know I get to express myself through music and with my DJ sets. I also get to play for amazing crowds and amazing clubs. The worst thing about being an artist is that people totally don’t get you. Like I can’t say anything without being taken out of context.
RL: Ya it’s pretty funny that you say that because you always come back at the people that take your words/actions out of context. I love that!
Funkagenda: Ya like if I say “I’m not fond of a particular track” it’s like ahh fuck why are you hating on blah blah blah. If I say “Such and such sucks” it’s like o god why are you hating on blah blah blah. Like I’m not allowed to have an option anymore. But I fucking still will! I can’t have one without hating or being misquoted or anything. That’s the thing that sucks the most.
Minstra: What’s your favorite place to play at?
Funkagenda: Nightclubs! Hahaha
Minstra: Any specific ones?
Funkagenda: Good ones! Hahaha. Like Avalon, here at Pacha New York, this club is amazing. I’d say Space Ibiza is pretty much fucking amazing! Then there’s the Sunburn Festival in India, that’s the most fantastical experience ever! The happiest festival in the world.
Minstra: Is it because of the audience?
Funkagenda: Ya the audience and just the weather as well, it was like 100 degrees at night it was amazing. Everyone is sweating, it’s not like your sweating and your embarrassed. It’s like everyone’s drenched with sweat, it’s fucking amazing!
RL: In your studio is there one piece of equipment that you couldn’t live without having?
Funkagenda: If I didn’t have a chair it would be pretty uncomfortable or a desk haha. I dunno I have a lot of stuff but everything you really need is on your computer. But I must admit I recently moved to LA and I moved my Minimoog Voyager out there. I will always love that box of misshapen parts. It’s fucking amazing, you turn it on and it’s not even in tune you have to wait for it to warm up before it gets in tune. But if you ask anyone who’s serious about production, like Wolfgang Gartner and say “you got a Moog” he’ll be like “ya I got three”, there’s nothing else that sounds like them.
Minstra: How did you decide on the name “Funkagenda”?
Funkagenda: I have no idea, it just came to me.
Funkagenda: Yeah, if anyone’s got a good story they can think of I’ll gladly use that instead.
Minstra: To all the inspiring DJ’s out there and those who are thinking about it really seriously what advice would you give them?
Funkagenda: Get good and fucking pray. It’s a saturated market now, become a lawyer I hear there’s not many lawyers! There all fucking DJs. Hahaha
RL: One final question, if you weren’t a artist what would you be doing?
Funkagenda: I WOULD BE DEAD.
Don’t forget to check out “Funk Farm Takes Over Pacha NYC (Part 2) Interview w/ Sydney Blu” for the full details.