By Paul Rodgers
CALGARY – After a brief sabbatical in Vancouver, Dr. Space, a.k.a. Ben Pearson has returned to Calgary, and brought with him the return of his other-worldly residency Galactic Funk.
Pearson began his foray into DJing playing a variety of sounds starting with house and techno and gravitating towards downtempo, hip-hop, soul, boogie and ultimately funk. As he was exploring the roots of his favourite genres he noticed there were was some sounds that were not widely represented in Calgary, namely funk and groove-based music.
“I think I kind of took it as a sign that maybe it was an opportunity to step forward and have that as my contribution to the city,” Pearson says.
Formerly referring to his DJ persona as Archivist, Pearson adapted a live quote from Kool Keith: ’They call me Mr. Space’ into his new alias, and through a network of mutual friends, landed on Cafe Koi as a venue for Galactic Funk.
“I think for a lot of people that come to the night for the first time, they generally feel a very welcoming atmosphere. And because the focus is so much on the music, the groove, being light and not taking yourself to seriously, it helps allow people to be themselves and be comfortable in a public space, which isn’t always the case.”
Since then there has been around 15 installations of Galactic Funk, beginning in March 2016, and featuring numerous other selectors from around town who are given the opportunity to delve into sounds that they may not be known for. For example, footwork and drum and bass artist Sinistarr performed as Funk Nasty.
Upon returning to Calgary, Pearson felt that the night was ready to grow and expand, and to potentially become a more city-wide installation and so he landed on Nite Owl as a new base of operations.
“With maintaining balance in any endeavour you need direction and momentum,” Pearson says.
“I feel like there’s more direction now with Galactic Funk than there’s ever been and more momentum than there’s ever been. So I feel like the balance will be maintained as long as the groove is going.”
Pearson says Galactic Funk has allowed him to focus his passion on certain aspects of music that were driving him the most, old groove-based music and new adaptations of them.
“I think the more that I was getting hooked by that stuff the more I wanted to play it out and the more I realized it was necessary to play out just by seeing people’s reactions to it.”
He hopes to continue with this momentum and continue to build up the Galactic family, creating a solid foundation in the city, and then use that platform to step out and expand into other areas.
Dr. Space performs on CJSW on April 6 at 10:00 p.m. and on April 14 at Nite Owl (Calgary).CJSW, Dr. Space, Nite Owl