Our Interview with The Funk Moguls

21 Jan

Coming up with a powerful and spearheading funk sound is a duo made up of a (real) Bohemian and a Wisconsinite who are responsible of some of SoundCloud’s best Nu-Funk tracks. In this interview, we learn more about who they are, how they make their sounds, what they think of copyright law enforcement, and the Funk and Nu-Funk scenes of the Czech Republic and SoundCloud.

The Funk Moguls

PART 1: A Bohemian and a Wisconsinite

The Funk Moguls talk to us about their geographical origins and how Czech hip-hop vibes encouraged them to team up create their own funk-focused productions.

 

PART 2: What is Nu Funk?

Tickle the definition

Think of Funk music as a nice big tree – Nu Funk is one of the newest branches, and the Funk Moguls are one of the leaves there. Take funk’s basic rhythms and grooves, blend it with its cousin genres, such as hip-hop and house, glue it all with current music technology, and you get Nu Funk. This “reinvention of funk” involves a crafty, combination of live recordings with synthethised sounds. And even if often computer-based, it never loses its funky touch.

 

PART 3: Anatomy of a Mashup

One of the Funk Mogul’s specialties is the mashup, i.e. blending together two or more completely separate pieces of music, usually someone’s vocals with someone else’s instrumental track. In this part of the interview, while listening to one their mashups involving DJ Shadow, Timbo, and Missy Elliott, we talk about how little premeditation there usually is to this process, and the importance of musical instinct in selecting and arranging these tracks.

 

PART 4: Thoughts on SoundCloud

DJ Aka analyzes the groove

The Funk Moguls tell us about the sort of tracks they’d like to see more of populating our SoundCloud news feed. Among their (very reasonable) requests are more full bands, and more independent MCs willing to collaborate. How can it be that so many full bands still haven’t placed their online portfolio on SoundCloud, the world’s largest and most advanced social network dedicated to sound? Their presence would especially be welcomed by this environment, where there’s people eager to find original material in their favourite genres (and funk remains underrepresented). Vocalists being in high demand, Ghetto Funk heads would especially welcome more independent MCs to SoundCloud as some samples are just getting trite. We also talk about the lack of glue between SoundCloud users – the site doesn’t do a great job at connecting like-minded people, tags and track titles only go so far. Having said that, do develop a habit of approaching SoundCloud users you like – all it takes is literally sending a message.

 

PART 5: “Can I get political for a second?”

Sean Jean expresses his disapproval

One of the topics our interview covered was the American congress’s attempt to pass the Stop Online Piracy Act, which would enable government agencies to prevent American Internet users from accessing websites that contain copyrighted content the website owner doesn’t have rights to. This flies in the face of the fact that whole music genres such as hip-hop, drum’n'bass, and house, were built upon sampling, i.e. using snippets of songs (that are often copyrighted). This bill thus harms more musicians than it protects – and most of the people it is supposed to protect are not musicians. What’s more, the fact this bill also reveals a dreadful lack of understanding of the workings of the Internet just shows that current copyright law is only good for cavemen.

SoundCloud users: this concerns you too. The license SoundCloud gives your tracks by default is “All Rights Reserved”, but it also really easily lets you give them different types of Creative Commons Licenses, which give you the flexibility to specify how exactly you want your work to be shared and if you allow other people to make commercial use of it. Next time you’re on the upload page, do take a look at the “Selected License” section, and see which Creative Commons License is the right one for you. Otherwise you surely have “All Rights Reserved” to be a Neglectful Caveman…

 

PART 6: Czech the funk scene
Closing off our chat we go over the status of the Funk scene in Europe’s only republic that insists on being called a republic and won’t take any abbreviations, the Czech Republic. Turns out that, although Funk is not deeply rooted in this part of Central Europe, this republic has been producing some great funk bands, and the Funk Moguls see the funk scene growing every year, and considerably contribute to it.

 

Czeck the groove

 

Tracks playing in the background:

Part 1: Of course it would be the Funk Moguls’ Here Come the Funksteppers!
Part 2: A great Nu-Funk piece by the duo’s DJ Aka, Roadblock
Part 3: Playing behind us is the track we talk about, Enuff of that Shit!
Part 4: It’s Freedom Problems, a mashup of Jay-Z’s 99 Problems Chris Joss’s I Want Freedom.
Part 5: Contributing to the conversation is the world’s most annoying Barbadian. Read more about SOPA here.
Part 6: Maceo Parker takes us back where it comes from.

 

Have you enjoyed czecking out our chat with the Funk Moguls! We’d love to Czech out your responses, leave us a comment!

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