By Prachi Kamble
VANCOUVER – Christmas is hardly the time to retire your turn-up gear. British Columbia’s world class EDM duo, the Funk Hunters have made their Funk the Halls tour a welcome reprieve from family drama and sugar comas. It also presents the perfect setting in which to experience some work from Nick Middleton and Duncan Smith’s debut album, Typecast.
The Funk Hunters’ signature electronic sound is an upbeat mix of funk, soul, hip-hop, with a whole lot of delicious West Coast bass thrown in. They have been shaking things up on major festival stages at home and across the globe for almost a decade, yet their first full-length album has only come to fruition now. Typecast came together over long nights between shows, and showcases the growth of the duo over the years, stifling expectations that the guys felt they were up against.
“Creatively I’ve been dying to make an album for years,” explains Middleton. “We spend a lot of time on the road, year-round, and all over the world. It depletes the creative energy… Our musical tastes have changed, so the album is very diverse and will surprise a lot of people… We started out in a funky, bootleg, remix kind of DJ world, but as I got hungrier to produce music, our aspirations to make original music grew. There are eleven tracks on the record and nine of them are original songs featuring vocalists.”
As soon as Typecast was recorded, however, Middleton felt the pull of the road. He and Smith fell into DJing at summer house parties on Galiano Island, where they’re from. From there, they have gained a religious following, largely through their sets at Shambhala, the West Coast’s most iconic electronic music festival. They know how integral live shows are to their craft.
“Shambhala has been a significant inspiration in my life and in the development of the Funk Hunters,” reflects Middleton. “I’ve been going there for 15 years now. Back in the day you couldn’t go out and listen to electronic music. Shambhala was what we had.”
Festivals like Shambs introduced the guys to a sub-genre called “funky breaks” that drove them to investigate the opposite poles of funk and electronic music.
“[Funky breaks] had old hip-hop breaks sped up with soul samples on top,” Middleton says, citing Krafty Kuts and A. Skillz’s album Tricka Technology and acts like the Stanton Warriors and the Plump DJs as inspiration. “All we did on the West Coast was evolve their sound into a slower tempo and introduce a slower, chunkier baseline.”
Typecast will drop in early 2018, but the Funk Hunters will keep us satiated with a steady stream of singles and Funk the Halls ’til then, making this a truly glorious festival season.
The Funk Hunters hit Capital Ballroom (Victoria) on December 8/9 and the Commodore (Vancouver) on December 21/22