We stand today in praise of the Icon, Dance Mania star and Ghetto House legend DJ Funk.
The man behind party anthems including “Knock Knock”, “Work That Body”, “Fuk-U-Later”, “Pump It”, “Run & Work It”, DJ Funk (dancemaniarecords.com | Facebook | @dj_funk) just released 27 more in Booty House Anthems Volume 3, available now from iTunes, CDBaby & other shops.
What was it that pulled you into dance music when you were a kid? What were you first listening to?
Everything I could listen to! I loved it all Disco, Pop, Rock, Reggae, Big Band, Classical, R&B, Folk, Techno, Trance… everything! Earlier, Hip Hop was the first music I listened to without parental consent. When Hip Hop first started it was like dance music with a message and is now labeled electro. Luke Skywalker and 2 Live Crew were doing Bass Music, but it was really another early form of Hip Hop.
When I was young growing up, and came of age in the party scene, I had never seen so many black people happy, in the same place at the same time without violence. One day I was at a party, and it was one of those surreal moments. Everything was in slow motion. I looked around the whole party atmosphere, I looked up at the DJ and he was playing some crazy tracks, and I thought to myself, “That would be a cool fuckin’ job!”
We recently talked with Ray Barney & Parris Mitchell about their plans to put Dance Mania back together. Guys like yourself, Deeon & Gerald did a ton to keep it alive during the last decade. Are you in touch with Ray & Parris on Dance Mania’s resurrection? Any reissues of your classic stuff coming on wax from them?
Yes, I’m totally down with the reopening of the label.I’m cool with those guys. I have my own division on Dance Mania me and Ray kept in contact through the years even after the original Dance Mania closed down.
Ray released some of our old school stuff on wax lately, releasing the original ghetto tracks the original sound of Dance Mania. But I got dancemaniarecords.com and Dance Mania LLC. We are doing new material and embracing new genres like with “Tits In My Face”, which is a Trap/House song. We’re DJing old classics and more new shit, and also hooking up with some of the hottest producers in the EDM industry as we speak.
So let’s talk about the new album you have out now, Booty House Anthems Vol 3.
The new album is finished and I’m so glad! I hadn’t put anything out in a minute! It’s doing what it’s supposed to now. I mixed different genres I like, but doing it the ghetto DJ Funk way. So I can play my shit around the world. It’s really like a true authentic spin off the original Ghetto House shit. We made what we could with the limited equipment we had. So I went back to my roots and just used the old school MPC, a couple old school synthesizers…
But the album is done, finally. The reason for the long time between albums is due to constantly touring. To all you DJs: if you got some shit goin’ on, remember where your roots are and where you came from. I had an epiphany and got back in the studio and got back to work. That’s what people really want.
Now with new DJ equipment out, you don’t have to learn the skills I learned coming from the 1200s. Or keeping and preserving your wax, which is funny because all my records were scratched up but I knew which part of the records wouldn’t skip!! I am enjoying DJ’ing on every medium, though. Anything we can play on.
There are people who can headline parties around the world but never headline in their hometown, Chicago. When you think about it, you’re one of a very small handful of people who live here and have managed to do both. And maybe even more impressive, you do it on both sides of Chicago.So which was harder capturing Europe or Japan with your sound, or the north side of Chicago?
My first philosophy about DJing and DJing around the world is this: If you can’t make it in your hometown, then you shouldn’t be trying to fucking DJ in other countries. When you forget where you came from you lose all your flavor, your swagger and your style. You fall off.
I was accepted not only on the North Side of Chicago, but all of Chicago when I put out my second record on Funk Records called “Pump It”. This blew up in London and in Japan all at the same time. I think I was a little bit different than DJs I know that are regular musicians I was DJing Techno, Trance, European shit, mixing it with Ghetto shit, Miami Bass shit and Hip Hop shit… and we were doing this 20 years ago! Now they’re doing that with Trap. If you check out my early mixes, some of them sounds like Trap now!
I was writing something about all the different versions of “Video Clash”/”Video Crash”/”Acid Crash”. I feel like yours holds up the best. People can still play that shit today. Can you tell me about making & releasing that track? It’s really on another level. Do you remember the last time you played it out?
I played it out a few times last year, but until Ray suggested we should press it back up, I wasn’t thinking about it too much lately.I did some production on it and remastered it and then played it out in Europe. I was so excited to see the reactions and it was making me happy to see the positive response in Scotland and Paris. There should be some videos on my Facebook page of these wild parties.
As far as making the record, me and Ray spoke about remixing it. The way I like to make a lot of my tracks, I’ll ask myself, “Can I see myself playing it out in the future?” I see them down the road as classics. But then again I make some that just sound great for the time too.