Known as Los Angeles’ “Ambassador of Boogie Funk, Dam (pronounced: ‘Dame’ as in Damon) spent the last few years cultivating a musical renaissance rooted in the early-‘80s styles known as Boogie, Modern Soul and Electro-Funk.
As a DJ he attracts the most discerning Boogie Funk aficionados within driving distance of his storied Monday-night Funkmosphere parties. Anyone who grooves to the likes of Slave, Aurra, early Prince, Prelude Records will get a dose of those groups’ unknown contemporaries – more obscure but equally Funk-worthy. We wanted to know how he manages to generate the so called Funkmosphere and why he still loves wax more than MP3.
What is a Funkmosphere? How does it feel? How does it move? And, where does it come from?
Dam-Funk: Funkmosphere is a Monday nite party held in Culver City/Los Angeles, CA. @ Carbon Bar & Lounge that I founded in July 2006, in which it was decided to shine an uncut and overdue light on the early to mid 80’s styled Funk, Boogie, Modern-Soul, and Electro-Funk music genres. It ‘feels like’ that special feeling in your heart when there were no problems to worry about and all you had to think about was getting up on a Saturday morning and watching episodes of the Superfriends or Scooby Doo! It ‘moves’ like all the cool dancers from the best era of Soul Train (‘78-‘84). And, it ‘comes from’ a humble mind and spirit who didn’t forget about the Funk, what the Funk is about, as well as, what the Funk has contributed to the musical landscapes we ALL play a part in today.
Where do you dig for your gems? Do you have a special record shop in your hood? Or online via ebay? Or do you play digital?
Dam-Funk: I ‘dig’ many places; many…still physical and NOT just online. I’m still out here gettin’ my fingers dirty man. It don’t stop and it won’t stop! Wax ALL DAY!
What are your current top 10 tracks?
Off the top of my head (And, in no particular order):
The Verdict – “That’s Where I Come In” ~ 7” | ’84
Pyramid Plus – “Comin’ At Ya” ~ 7” | ’8?
Cardell Funk Machine – “Shoot Your Shot” ~ 7” | ’83
For Bad Girls Only – “Could It Be Love” ~ 7” | ’83
Prefab Sprout – Bearpark ~ 12” | ’88
Roy Ayers – “Programmed For Love” ~ 12” | ’85
Mr. Fingers – You’re Someone Special” ~ 12” | ’89
Reggie S – Ding Dong Ding-Aling ~ 7” | ’85
Mike Francis – Let’s Not Talk About It ~ LP track | ’84
Rocket – Her Comes My Love ~ 12” | ’83
(Bonus) Along w/ the above mentioned tracks my current top ‘album’ in heavy rotation right now is: Allan Holdsworth – “Metal Fatigue” LP | ’85
You do not only DJ but, you also plug in vintage synths and drum machines to your set – why? Do you wanna enrich the sound with galactic atmospheres?
Dam-Funk: Actually, I haven’t really experimented with too much of that yet, because the ‘wax’ I share with the party people have been enough and has been able to stand alone without any cute tricks or oddities attached to the experience. Just a microphone and my wax is all I need for my presentation. But, I am cultivating a few surprises. And, in due time, my friends who enjoy my DJ sets I think will be happy with what’s being cooked up to take, specifically, the DJ/Selector side of my creative expression and output into new dimensions.
Are you planning to bring out some more Boogie and Electro-Funk of your own?
Dam-Funk: Yes. Boogie and Electro-Funk will be by way of ‘special compilations’ and ‘mix CD’s & ‘podcast’, but my ‘original material’ is and will be ‘Modern-Funk’ in sound and in style & beyond.
As a DJ do you feel the energy of the crowd that moves to your grooves? Are there any differences between an European crowd and an U.S. crowd?
Dam-Funk: Yes, I do feel the energy of the crowd when I play out. I think this is a vital tool for any DJ/Selector to be able to have that ‘sense’ of what’s going on out there on the floor, in the room, or venue, to the best that they possibly can. Music is about feel. Certain chords can trigger different vibes and feelings. That’s why some DJ’s can play or champion a particular song that might be a ‘hit’ or ‘very cool’ to them for what they wanna present to the people, but for me…I would never play ‘that particular song they choose to play’ in my sets, because I want to express myself and connect with the people I play with thru OTHER particular songs with chords that trigger ‘special’ vibes within’ the room and the people’s hearts. I’ve already studied and accepted this, in regards to the grooves I choose to include in my sets and the way I incorporate it with the way I like to get down. My friends worldwide who come out and hear my sets can trust that every single joint I drop is something that they can imagine me ridin’ around in the city to when I’m all on my own. I mean, it’s a whole package that I’m sharing when I DJ for Europe, the U.S. or wherever I’m blessed to go in the world to share this music I love for the people. I must admit though, my European crowds I find are more enthusiastic and ready to get down at the drop of the first beat, all on their own, while my U.S. crowds seem to need someone else to ‘get the party started’ in order to loosen up and get groovin! Both are cool, but I’m sure if you ask any DJ or any ‘human being’ for that matter what they’d prefer and I’m sure they will say….a ‘more enthusiastic crowd ready to get down at the drop of the first beat’, any day!
And at last: what is your secret sound weapon that you always carry with you?
Dam-Funk: In regards to my DJ/Selecting: My mic. In regards to my original Modern-Funk creations: My Roland. Take care and peace worldwide in ’09!!
(and remember, “Funk is NOT a fad…It’s a way of life”)
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