Despite the hectic touring schedule of hip-hop's hottest new producer, our girl Seher snagged a moment with Dām Funk during SXSW.
Photo by Matthew Scott
To Dām Funk, funk is more than music, “it’s a lifestyle — it’s being ‘free’ at all times,” he says. As a kid, Dām would listen to records of varied styles and learn the drum parts. In early high school, he also picked up the keyboards. Today, he is here to usher in what he brands “modern-funk.”
“My vision is to hopefully have people respect Funk music again as a viable style and way of life,” says Dām.
Inspired by Los Angeles, his home town, Dām cultivates a style that is both spacey and futuristic but that also pays tribute to Slave, early Prince, P-Funk, as well as the likes of Frank Zappa and Todd Rundgren, to name a few. Using synths, drum machines, and “elbow grease” to craft his work, Dām keeps it analog and old school to the highest degree – “I like the work involved.” Eff’a Protools.
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Releasing an ambitious debut 5xLP called Toeachizown in late 2009, Dām flexed and proved his ability to create long instrumental pieces. He now plans to change it up and focus on more “concise and to the point” records in his upcoming endeavors. He is firm, however, in that he refuses to chase “a ‘hit record’ formula.” He continues, “If it happens…cool. I will never play that ‘game’ with my music, though. Never.”
The forthcoming Adolescent Funk project, to be released on Stones Throw this year, features Dām’s early work recorded on cassette tape when he was a wee lad in Pasadena, California. He calls it his most revealing work to date. I could definitely see that; I personally love when artists release music from their early days – their fiddling, their demos – just cements the raw talent and admiration.
Other upcoming projects include those with Steve Arrington (formerly of the Funk group SLAVE), Jody Watley, and upcomer Nite Jewel. Here begins Dām’s personal challenge he sums up as ‘working with varied artists, sounds, and equipment.’ Can’t wait.
Host of the Monday-night “Funkmosphere” party in Los Angeles, Dām takes the opportunity to prove how serious he is about his mission, shouting out artists and track names while he DJ’s. Awareness is critical to any movement – and this is definitely a movement.
And ask anyone that’s heard of Dām – the man gets proper respect and the buzz is steady growing. I swear, he had at least three sets a day at SXSW.
That average now turns out to be conservative, with Dām reporting a total of 14 shows over the four day festival. Hot damn. The Stones Throw 45" only show with “fellow label mates and friends: Peanut Butter Wolf, Madlib, J.Rocc, and others such as Rhettmatic, Amir and 14KT” was a particularly memorable moment for Dām. He also noted his cameos with Hudson Mohawke and two live shows with Master Blaster as favorites. The man got it in.
“Basically, I think the entire SXSW experience was all a highlight, to be honest. I'll never forget it. Consider me 'initiated!’”
Dām-Funk - "Mirrors"