Hamburg Hip-Hop Termine
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In der Artist Feature Serie stellen wir euch regelmäßig interessante Musik-Künstler vor. Grundlage des “Artist Feature” sind 15 Fragen, von denen einige immer gleich und einige individuell sind. Heute mit WEFUNK.
WEFUNK – das sind DJ Static und Professor Groove. Die beiden Kanadier betreiben seit 1996 eine der populärsten Hip-Hop Radiosender der Welt und erreichen 300.000 Stammhörer. Ab nächster Woche sind die beiden Kanadier auf großer Europa-Tour und spielen gemeinsam mit Mirko Machine und den Boys am 2. Oktober einen Gig in Hamburg (Grüner Jäger). Darüber hinaus sind WEFUNK u.a. noch in Wien, Zuürich und Perugia live zu sehen (die vollständige Tourliste gibt es hier).
Im Vorfeld haben uns Professor Groove und DJ Static ein paar Fragen beantwortet und sprechen u.a. über die Anfänge von WEFUNK, musikalische Einflüße und vieles mehr. Das vollständige Interview gibt es hier:
Please tell us – what is your favorite dish?
DJ Static: Noodle soup is my thing! My personal favorites are ramen, laksa, and pho–all of which are top notch here in Vancouver!
Where have you been and what did you do on last New Year’s Eve?
DJ Static: We did a WEFUNK party here in Vancouver at Bayside Lounge. Professor Groove and I don’t live in the same city any more so it’s always cool to connect and play, especially on a big night like New Year’s.
Please tell us – how did you come in touch with Hip-Hop, Funk & Soul music?
DJ Static: Back in the day you really had to be in love with Hip-Hop to search it out. It’s not like today when it’s all around you. College and community radio was a big part of the movement here in North America. You might know the Stretch and Bobbito show in New York. In Vancouver, we had a similar weekly underground mixshow called Krispy Bisket.
The DJ Kilocee would break records every week on the show. Tracks you would never hear anywhere else. I would record off radio with 2 hour tapes that were super thin. They would get chewed up from me rewinding so much…. way before you had mp3 players with a repeat function. That radio show got me into buying records and mixing and scratching, and eventually starting my own show WEFUNK. Funk and soul I got into because I was curious about the source of hiphop samples. In the early 90s I would scourge liner notes on cassettes and LPs to see who they credit.
With WeFunk, you guys have one of the greatest Funk/Hip-Hop Radio stations of the world. Please tell us – how did this all started?
Professor Groove: That’s a big question! It’s been a combination of work, inspiration, patience, and good luck. We started WEFUNK back in 1996 in Montreal. DJ Static and I met at the college radio station CKUT while we were both training there. I was heavily into funk, and Static was an up and coming Hip-Hop DJ. Because Hip-Hop production was based on funk & soul, especially in that era, we realized that putting those styles together would be a perfect combination for a radio show.
So the essence of the show became not just good funk & Hip-Hop music, but also exploring the influence between different generations of music via sampling. We play tracks from the 60s to the present, instead of limiting our selection to current musical trends – so one of the highlights of WEFUNK is that you really get to hear the history of the music.
Around 2000, we started archiving WEFUNK shows on our website, and we also started a streaming radio station based on our audio archive. Internet radio was still fairly new, and the word “podcasting” hadn’t been invented yet even though that’s basically what we were doing from the beginning. iTunes Radio also started syndicating us in 2001, and this brought WEFUNK to a huge worldwide audience.
Now after 10+ years, WEFUNK is one of the longest running radio shows on the internet. Because people are listening to our old shows as well as the new ones, we always try to keep our musical selection fresh so people don’t hear the same tracks over and over. Static and I spend a lot of time checking out music every week so we can choose only the best tracks to play on the show.
Do you have an advice how to prepare a dope set for all of our young DJs out here?
Professor Groove: If you break it down to basics, DJing is about making a connection with people using your musical selection and mixing technique. So part of that is expressing your choice of music, and another part is understanding your audience so you know what they will enjoy. In a lot of ways the art of DJing is in striking the perfect balance… familiar vs new… consistent sound vs variety … your taste and the crowd’s preferences… keeping the pacing right.
As a funk DJ, one way I approach putting together sets is to imagine that none of the audience is familiar with funk music…. what tracks would I choose to convince them that this music is amazing? And I listen to each moment of the song to hear how it can mix into the next track. In the end, technical skills are important, but I would say that what the listener or crowd feels the most is your musical selection and sense of timing. You can plan your set ahead of time, but if you’re paying attention to the crowd you will always end up changing your set so you’re playing the right song at the right time. Know your music, and pay attention to the crowd!
We now have over 10,000 Hip-Hop, funk & soul tracks in our WEFUNK archive, and they’re all handpicked and mixed live on the show. So when Hip-Hop or funk heads start digging into our show, it’s really something special. You’re guaranteed to find some classic joints, dusty gems and new favorites.
Over the past years, you had the opportunity to work with a bunch of outstanding artist like Hank Shocklee or DJ Lord Jazz. How was it working with them?
DJ Static: We’ve had the pleasure to meet and/or play with a lot of legends I grew up listening to like Hank and Keith Shocklee (Public Enemy), Lords of the Underground, DJ Cash Money, to name just a few. It’s very humbling when your influences growing up acknowledge the work you do now as an artist. Even though WEFUNK plays new music, we’re also about keeping music history alive so people don’t forget our musical roots. Connecting with people like Afrika Bambaataa who LIVED and MADE history and letting them to tell their stories on WEFUNK feels amazing!
From where do you get your influence from for a DJ set?
DJ Static: My favourite DJ’s are probably guys like Jazzy Jeff and Kid Capri. A couple of years ago, WEFUNK played a few shows in Europe with the legendary DJ Cash Money. That was definitely very inspiring.
Are you collecting vinyl or are you preferring digital Audio formats?
Professor Groove: I love the flexibility that digital DJing gives me. Spinning with Serato means I can do live edits and restructure songs in the middle of my sets. It lets me be much more creative as a DJ. And I find that when I can find songs quickly, and I don’t have to worry about vinyl pressings having different volume or EQ, or skip easily, or quiet pressings causing feedback on bad soundsystems, etc… Then I can just focus on the music while I’m playing. So I feel more connected with the music and the crowd.
I have lots of vinyl in my collection, but when I bought Serato I was also running out of space for new records in my apartment. Once I realized the potential of digital DJing, I decided that instead of building more shelves I should work on building my digital collection. Now I have all my favorite vinyl selections in my digital library, so it’s truly the best of both worlds.
Technics 1210 or Vestax pdx2000?
DJ Static: I started out on Technics and will probably stick with them for life. I like what they do. They’re simple, effective and built like tanks!
Are you also performing with MCs or/and producing?
DJ Static: While living in Montreal, I was involved with a band called Nomadic Massive. That was an amazing experience because the band is a big multi-instrumental, multi-lingual family. We were all from different places—Haiti, Chile, Algeria, France, Argentina, Barbados, Iraq, Hong Kong—but we all connected through the music. We even went to Cuba twice to participate in the Hip-Hop Festival. Since I moved to Vancouver, I’ve been jamming with a dope band called The Airtights.
The Hip-Hop scene in Canada is …
DJ Static: Check out my custom mix for a taste. All Canadian hip-hop from coast to coast, old and new.
What is your plan for the future?
DJ Static: Basically keep doing what we’ve always been doing—mine the best sounds from the past and at the same time spotlight the most promising artists of the future. Professor Groove is always coming up with new ideas for the WEFUNK website so you’ll probably find new functionalities and improvements too. Of course we would love to keep doing the international tours! Nothing beats the feeling of playing live in front of a crowd that’s open and appreciative.
An audio drama about my life should be narrated by …
DJ Static: Bruce Lee. He’s such an intense, intelligent individual. When he talks you listen.
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