Funkedub: Funkedub by name, f**ked up by nature

Funkedub is the Riddler. He is a man of few words, but has plenty of tricks up his sleeve. Riddle me this indeed, for Funkedub is idiosyncratic minus the peculiarity. Featuring in the Smirnoff ICE inthemix Party Series together with Melt & Rudebwoyz, Funkedub will be “warming up the Rudies space”. He is a fundamental character/DJ/Producer/EventsPromoter/Musician in Brisbane’s electronic scene, popping up haphazardly at festivals such as Earthcore and WestEnd Festival, HiGrade nights or behind decks at the varying clubs in Fortitude Valley and West End. “The Brisbane music scene goes on through its cycles. Venues and noise restrictions are the key to the health of the Brisbane scene at the moment I think. I don’t really know the state of affairs in the rest of the clubbing world, but from chatting to internationals when they come here we seem to have a very ‘up for it’ and appreciative and enthusiastic scene. I would like to add that there is certainly no lack of talent. The number and variety of venues on offer now usually offers something to get your juices flowing any given weekend and the live scene is certainly no runner up to the DJs. I would like to see venues get a bit more adventurous in their music policy.”

Funkedub certainly enjoys seeking adventure, disrupting the many boundaries humans are so fond of imposing, and nowhere is this more palpable than in his music. “I don’t think I’m as unique as I try to be eclectic. I’m still very much in the bounds of being a standard DJ. I think my varied musical background makes it unviable to be any other way apart from a tad eclectic in my tune selection at times. I’m just a guy playing tunes and values the others who want to share the diverse path I like to tread. At every performance, I like to achieve notoriety and infamy; that and to make one person smile because I played a tune they love.” I have interrupted Funked during a ‘changing rooms’ detour to order his studio and his voice is quite serene in spite of the chaos he claims surrounds him.

Funkedub is a popular character on forums, where he is well respected for being a lucid and calm voice amongst the rabble. His views on music especially hold a great deal of weight, garnering plenty of admiration and thought. This is due mainly to his musical background and his balanced perspectives on music. “I think ‘music collector and sharer’ is where I started and where I’ll continue to be at. All those other labels and roles of DJ, Producer, Musician, Band member, Events Promoter and so on, are just different manifestations of me trying to pursue this one action which stems from that pure joy you get of hearing music that turns you on and then being able to share that and turn other people on just as much.” At present, Funkedub is working towards buying hardware and thus enable the process of making tunes a lot easier. “I’ve had the concept of my ‘In Progress’ EP for over a year now, but being the pedantic Leo I am, the tracks are never good enough for publication. Production is really where I want to make my mark. For me, DJing is just an expensive hobby.”

However, Funkedub isn’t a reticent character given to losing his mind, heart and soul purely in music. He is rather fond of his coffee and enjoys a good drop of dry red. “My sci fi DVD collection grows slowly month after month. I figure a good movie is like a good album. You don’t listen to an album once then when some one puts it on again two days later and say ‘oh no, I don’t want to listen to that … I heard it earlier this week’.  If it’s good you watch it over and over and get more and more out of it. Before my SLR died I used to like being a bit of a shutter bug and I think that translates into my appreciation for movies. I think really, I’m a repressed movie director. I like networking online, drinking beer – did I mention I love coffee? – drinking more beer, having a mix, noodling on my guitar… I find digging for records is an important part of my therapy as well.” Professing an interest in intelligent humans, Funkedub also admits to enjoying talking about complete and utter codshit to people. He also loves meeting people “With brains who aren’t afraid to use them. That and people who don’t take themselves too seriously. You have to be able to laugh at yourself.” Laughing at oneself and not taking things overly seriously appears to be the mainstay of Funkedub’s outlook on life. There is that sense of amusement in his music as well as a resolute approach that can only be attained from a genuine love for and exploration in the music he listens to and acquires.

Funkedub has a diverse background in music, starting his path on music as a guitarist. “My first guitar was a red and white strat copy, because that’s what David Gilmour was playing. I now have a Les Paul gold top, similar to what Jimmy Page plays.” [Though that isn’t the reason why he chose it]. His influences include the more contemporary guitars acts and bands such as John Squire from Stone Roses or Sonic Youth. While he hasn’t been formally trained in piano, Funkedub is clever enough to have taught himself enough musical theory “To know how to make a few chords on one”. The inherent nature of acquiring knowledge is certainly one component of this multi-facted character. “I am a music collector, starting on the likes of Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin. Hence record collecting was already an addiction at the same time as being a ‘muso’. As this was progressing, when ever I would visit friends (be it for a social visit or party) they would be curious what tunes I might have in my bag this time to the point where they’d expect and assume I’d be bringing fresh tunes. Playing on decks is very different to having a play on guitar. Of course from being a band member I had a better grasp of song structure and writing so could pay attention to that whilst mixing. Also having an ear for ‘mixing’ in the studio readily translates to a DJ mixer. I think doing the band thing also greatly improved my sense of rhythm and timing which also come into effect whilst mixing records.”

Still, one can not help wondering what exactly placed his little Leo-en feet on this particular path of electronica. “My first eye opener to electronic music started about 25 years ago. I’d attribute that to an old cassette my parents bought me as a kid cos I liked ‘outer space’. It was called Space Themes and as I’ve learned later in life all the tracks on it are cover versions. Albeit very good ones though. On this album was stuff like Ogygene, Telstar, Calling Occupants, From Here to Eternity, Also Spratch Zarathustra and a couple of Elton John and David Bowie Covers. That didn’t get me into dance music though. I blame Pop Will Eat Itself for my transition into dance music. In the early 90s, I was on a steady dose Beastie Boys, Beck, Front 242, Jesus Jones. One year though, a friend’s cousin brought back a tape from Camden markets in London. It was full of this blistering twisted ravey  protojungle breakbeat with lashings of quirky vocals. I’d heard nothing like it before. The only thing that came close at the time was the Prodigy’s Fire/Jericho single which we were also listening to a lot. A couple of years later bigbeat came along and I actually was starting to ‘mix’ with a friend.”

There are a great many influences in Funkedub’s music, which he attributes to “DJ Wise, Coldcut’s 70 Minutes who I hold in very high esteem and you can hear me trying to emulate some of its fine moments in some of my demo mixes doing the rounds. It covers so much ground with such ease. Coldcut I closely connect to Hexstatic of course (both being on Ninja Tune) and the mashup antics of Hexstatic lead me to 2 Many DJs. All these guys inspire me in smashing down genre elitism and just playing fukken good tracks and ignoring the rules of what goes with what. As for the producers who contribute towards my style.. well that’s a whole lot broader – too many influences to mention really. It’s not just music either. Movies and TV programmes are equal resources I pillage to get my ‘style’ with Sci Fi being my preference of course. Bladerunner can have as much impact on a tune as an old ska tune from Sir Coxsonne’s Studio One. I think a contributing factor was living and socialising with fine arts students studying intermedia. The basic premise being to use what ever you can get your hands on to express yourself. I just continue to carry that through with music instead of visual arts.” And thus we come to the crux of what makes the music of Funkedub so far reaching. Glitch-Dubstep-Grime-Glitch-Nu-skool-Jungle-Glitch-DnB-2step-Big Beat-Hip-Hop-Russian Dancehall-Greek NRG will be offered on the one bill for the evening, as his artist’s eye moves to warp the innards of music. “I’m saddened by the homogenisation of some genres to formulaic songs and fashions. For example, ‘breaks’ now primarily means ‘funky new school breaks’ and the concept of grabbing two records and making your own breakbeat rarely comes into the equation. Similar things have given trance a bad name and house a lightweight presence … god knows what’s in store for Drum n Bass .. oh wait .. maybe Pendulum are already going there.” He laughs at this particular statement, and I am reminded that you can’t take the things he articulates too seriously.

So, what can we expect from Funkedub when he unleashes his immeasurable tunes upon our ears at the Smirnoff ICE inthemix Party? His amusement brims at the surface as he replies, “Abuse … shouted bar orders … 2 finger salutes …spilt drinks … talking codshit. Okay, I’m warming up the Rudies space so I’ll be keeping it dubwise and rocksteady from the top and then step it up through some tougher deeper dubs breaking into a more than satisfactory dose of junglified riddims to round it all out.”

We can only wait for those extraordinary sounds to reach our ears.

Love and Kisses, Lady Lex

Funkedub will be playing at the Shamrock for the Smirnoff Ice InTheMix Members party. To RSVP for your name on the guest list click here.