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Funktasic Players Exclusive Interview!


So David, What city are you from and what's it like back home?

I'm from a suburban community just 20 minutes outside of Washington DC in Prince Georges County. It's a middle-class suburban neighborhood. Like everywhere else people are getting up and going to work or working from home. As far as the music scene goes, most of the clubs, restaurants, and music venues have been closed.

From my understanding, you guys do a blend of 70's soul 80's hip hop, and contemporary Jazz; can you tell us some of your influences that brought about such a unique sound?

I think of my musical influences like a triangle. On one side you have my hip-hop roots, Tribe called quest, black sheep, Pete Rock, and CL Smooth. These days I listen to Cookin Soul and a lot of lo-fi and chill-hop. On the other side of the triangle, I listen to groups like Incognito, Brian Culbertson, Gerald Albright, Ronny Jordan, unwrapped band. On the third side of the triangle, I listen to groups like Tower of Power, Average White Band, Brand-New Heavies, James Brown band, Chops-N Soul. All those influences come together in my musical stew and make our sound what it is.

Based on your perspective, how has the industry changed from the Sugarhill Gang and Curtis Blow era that made you?

Wow, where do I start? I would say the industry has changed dramatically since the Sugar Hill gang days. Everything has changed from how you record your music, how you distribute your music, and most importantly how you make money! I'm the perfect guy to talk to about this because I've been around for a while and have seen it all! The industry was built solely around selling records. Nowadays it's all about fan support, and fan engagement that's what drives the industry in 2021. What you want are engaged fans that will stream your music, come to shows, and buy merchandise. I could do an entire interview about this topic but to keep it short and sweet I'll stop here.

So you started out sampling soul and funk music; who are some of the notable acts that you worked with?

If I understand your question correctly I'll answer it this way. The acts I've worked with, in the past most people would have never heard of. You have to remember that I worked for small independent labels and the artist that I worked with were unknown and up-and-coming. I was the guy you called when you wanted to sound like the big boys but had a limited budget.

  So you're in the studio starting from scratch; what are some of the tools and directions you take to craft a project?

In my younger days, I would sit down and write music all the time for no specific reason other than just to get ideas out of my head onto tape. These days I only write when I have a specific project to do. The Funktastic Players have a specific sound that I adhere to and it's pretty old school. You know, acoustic drums, electric bass, Mark one, clarinet, Hammond B3, brass section, and lead saxophone. I'll sit down in my studio at my computer and lay the drum parts first. Then I'll add the rhythm guitar and usually build from there. Depending on the song I will collaborate with my partner Kevin Croom. He's a fantastic keyboard player and creative mind.

Tell us about your latest project

"This latest project is entitled" This CD Is on Fire". Originally I just wanted to release a single but it mushroomed into six songs that I cut down to five. The first song I wrote for this project was Funk Baby Blues. After that, I told Kevin that I thought about doing one of James Brown's tunes. He had already started to put together Get up Offa That Thing so I decided to finish it. Kevin and I both had concepts for Moody Melody so we mixed them together and as always it turned out great. The song I Got Soul was just a groove that I had flying around in my head that turned into a song. Daydreaming was Kevin's idea. When he sent it to me at first I didn't want to do it but I fell in love with the tune and put it together. It really highlights our jazzy side in fact feel this entire project highlights our funky soulful jazzy mix well!

Besides music, what are other types of things you like to enjoy?

I'm an avid classic car and Hot Rod lover. I love resto-mods, street rods hot rods, and classic cars of all types. I love going to car shows with my camera (iPad) and taking lots of pictures. It's my second passion. Unfortunately, The pandemic has killed that for the foreseeable future.

How has it been for you since Covid affected the United States?

For me, the consequences of Covid 19 have not been too bad. I'm more of a recording artist than a performing musician anyway. The musicians I use all have home studio setups and we email parts back and forth. It’s the perfect way of getting projects done during this pandemic and it really hasn't changed how I work. As a side note, I would advise all musicians to invest in a home recording set up It really will be your lifeline during the pandemic and after it.

 If there's anything you could be doing besides music, what would it be?

I'm already doing everything I love to do that's why I’m still doing it after all these years. I love it! Being a recording artist encompasses all my skills and talents. I write, record, produce engineer, mix, and master all of our music. Then I shoot all the photos, create all the artwork, edit all the videos handle all the marketing and promotions. As I said I'm already doing everything I love to do!

any last remarks?

I'd like to thank all of you who stream our music and watch our videos. Fan support and fan engagement is what it's all about


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