Basement Freaks Interview at Metrojolt 14 June 2013
No stranger to the disparate realms of Funk, we’ve become a little infatuated with our friends Basement Freaks over in Germany. Recently released on Jalapeno Records, their newest album Funk From Your Trunk blew us away by the range of talent it displayed. Whatever you wanted to hear – party jams for the nightclub, slow jamz for your girl, or just a song to lie back and think far away thoughts while it rushed through your head, they had it all on Funk From Your Trunk. And that’s exactly why we asked them for an interview. With their help, Metrojolt got a bit more in tune with the evolving Ghetto Funk/Nu Funk scene evolving across the world.
First off, where in the world did the name Basement Freaks come from?
Funnily enough, it all begun in a basement in our hometown Thessaloniki/Greece back in 2005. By 2006, I’d already compiled our first instrumental album and got it signed to a label called Music Kitchen but we still didn’t have an artist name for the project. I got a phone call from a Sax Player from New York who I collaborated with, he asked “What’s Up with the Album?” I replied “All finished with the production now Mike but I’m Freaking out in the basement right now trying to find a name!” The rest is history…
Some people have described your sound as part of this Ghetto Funk or Nu Funk movement. Could you explain what ghetto funk or Nu Funk is and describe what sound you guys are exploring?
They both emerged out of the world of Funky Breaks with Ghetto Funk moving the genre forward by incorporating the modern electronic bass sounds of today. Nu Funk keeps its sound closer to tradition using more organic instrumentation and sounds. We don’t consider them as music genres that describe our current music but at the same time we don’t have any problem if people find us via those sources!
Our music is 21st Century Funk. We know that a few purists would say this is not Funk; we disagree as we feel that we are pushing that sound and developing it. We strive to be trailblazers in the genre.
Could you tell us a story that prompted you to start producing that funky material?
We come from a musician background, mainly influenced by Funk, Blues and Soul music from the states. We’ve both been part the local band scene in Thessaloniki since 1992 but ironically a visit in London back in 2003 kicked off things for us, set the direction of our sound.
Are there any artists out there today you’re really digging? Who would you like to work with?
There are far too many to mention! It so hard to choose but Georges Perin would love to collaborate with George Clinton. Afrika Bambaataa would be my choice.
Let’s transition for a minute to your new album. Is there anything different that you tried to do with Funk From Your Trunk that differentiates it from your last LP Something Freaky?
Well, basically instead of producing breaks with major Funk influences, we nosedived straight into pure Funk. We recorded a lot of instruments, lots of bass, guitar, talkbox and vocals. We also dropped the tempo from 115/120 bpm to 92 /105 added more blues and more soul.
Funk From The Trunk is definitely an album to be enjoyed on and off the dancefloor.
Funk From Your Trunk is so multifaceted; it’s got songs for amping the party, slow jams, and straight good feelin’ music. That’s not to mention the multiple artists you brought on to help with its vocals, instrumentation and production. Was there a specific track that you guys had more fun producing?
We really enjoyed writing “Soul Intoxication” it came so naturally that we finished the song in one day. It was amazing how it came together; it was like we were hovering above as it wrote itself!
If you don’t mind I’d like to ask a broad question: Why do you think the funk is important in music?
Its definition has changed over the years and everyone interprets funk in different ways. To us, funk means hard work, sweat and good times. Everybody likes to be “funky”, unfortunately today there are only a few musicians really working it. The truth is funk is a kind of groove that produces a human feeling so natural that it feels right to be alive. Nothing worse than music that feels wrong..
Why did you create Bombastic Jam?
Bombastic Jam started back in 2010 as there was a lot of excitement in the world of Funky Breaks. Nu Funk had now established itself and Ghetto Funk was emerging too with lots of artists and DJs pushing the sound. We were very much part of those scenes but we wanted to put our stamp on them by creating a signature sound of original funky breaks. There were a lot of mash ups and bootlegs kicking around in both scenes; we want to steer clear of that.
What’s your favorite piece of gear in the studio?
Our UAD plugins
Any upcoming projects or tours?
The first single from the album “Soul Intoxication” is in the mastering studio right now. Expect it in August on Jalapeno Records, featuring some amazing remixes from the likes of Tom Drummond, Skaggs and Lonely Boy. We love all the remixes and we’re stoked to release the single together with our first official video that we are currently working on. We always out and about playing live or DJing so keep your eyes on our social media
Any advice for new producers on the scene?
Keep your eyes & ears open, be flexible and change your habits…..