By Trevor Campbell
CALGARY – EDM favourites Nick Middleton and Duncan Smith, a.k.a. The Funk Hunters, will not have to ask Santa for too much this year. 2018 has already delivered unto them: a new album, Typecast (Westwood Recordings), their official remix of U2’s “Love is Bigger Than Anything in its Way” hit number one on Billboard’s Dance Club Chart, they were crowned Electronic/Dance Artist of the Year at the Western Canadian Music Awards and, to top it off, they were the first EDM act to headline the Coca-Cola Stage at the Calgary Stampede. Let that sink in. An EDM act… headlining… a rodeo.
The Funk Hunters, like the EDM genre itself, have come a long way. From rural areas on a remote island in the Pacific Ocean (Well, ok, Galiano B.C.) these crazy Canucks now perform all over the world, having become perennial performers at clubs and festivals, including Shambhala and the upcoming Rainbow Serpent Fest in Melbourne, Australia. Currently, touring their Funk the Halls with stops all over Canada they will also be rolling through the U.S.A. early next year.
An element of their live shows that Middleton feels (perhaps) does not get enough mention is the atmospheric lighting design and array of carefully orchestrated special effects. He and Smith met at a film school after all.
“We definitely put those film schools to good use. Duncan does a lot of video editing for us and creating visuals for our shows. We actually run all of our own audio and visual stuff during our shows. All the visuals on the screens behind us, we control while we’re DJing and Duncan has either created or curated all of it.”
Once just a pair of cinema class nerds, now world-beaters. Are they feeling it?
“I remember we did our first tour with Chali 2na. That was kinda the moment where I was like ‘We were just these two white kids who grew up on Galiano Island and we’re on tour now with this guy who we grew up listening to from one of the most iconic hip hop groups! Who could not have had a more different upbringing than us, growing up in Chicago!” recalls Middleton. “But there’s this kinda bond about music, music culture and art, and performance that you can so easily share with some one. You can look back and be all like ‘Yeah, we made it,’ because this and this happened. It’s easy to do the same thing and think ‘We’re not even close yet,’ because we haven’t done this. As long as the fires is still burning you can keep going.”
For now, The Funk Hunters are on a tear and forecasting bustling and fun-filled 2019 that will have fans on the receiving end of their packed touring schedule feeling the positive party rockin’ beats too.
“That’s something that people loose sight of a lot. You’re so worried about what other people are gonna think, but there’s something authentic about you enjoying what you’re doing. If people really love you and follow you, hopefully it’s because of your tastes and your artistic integrity. If you’re just so concerned with what other people think, if you’re playing or performing to that, you kinda loose what made you authentic to begin with.”
The hunt for funk continues December 7 at Capital Music Club (Saskatoon), December 8 at Pyramid Cabaret (Winnipeg), December 14 Union Hall (Edmonton) and December 15 at The Palace Theatre (Calgary).Capital Music Club, Pyramid Cabaret, The Funk Hunters, The Palace Theatre, Typecast, Union Hall