The man of the moment and fresh off with the release of his latest album “Up All Night” on Dustpan Recordings, we sat down with Jam Funk and asked him some questions about his history, plans for the future and what makes the man tick.
What is your most memorable experience DJing/Producing?
Playing the 8th birthday of my favourite club (Food) alongside dj Sneak.
As a producer I was lucky to sign some tracks on a label run by Raoul Belmans, who teleported my tracks into the crates of dj Heather & Phil Weeks and into the playlist of our biggest national radio station, Studio Brussel.
The biggest surprise was the support coming from one of my long time heroes Mark Farina, who already included no less than 10 tracks of mine in his official podcasts. The most memorable experience as a listener was a night Mark played 3 of those when I went out to celebrate the birth of my daughter, he even payed my drinks! That made me smile for weeks so if you are reading this, thanks again Mark!
I’ll never forget the first label that signed my stuff so special thanks go out to Andres Cardona from Meltin’ Funk! (Actually my friend and I signed a track on Slater Hogan & John Larner’s ‘Muzique Boutique’ in 2005 but that didn’t get any further than a WMC promo cd so that doesn’t really count)
As a promotor I will never forget the nights with Jamanta Crew, Inland Knights & dj Diz. We had so much fun with Slater Hogan, John Larner, Littlemen & dj Mes they came back year after year.
Favourite location was a recently abandoned police station sharing decks with Jazzy Eyewear, even the cops who came to check out the noise liked this illegal rave.
Why do you think your fan base is so loyal to you and your sound?
As a producer I am my own worst critic so to be honest I never really understood why my tracks kept on breaking the charts and were supported by some heavy hitters in the scene.
Look out for:
EP’s coming on Dustpan & Guesthouse recordings.
How did you become a DJ?
Even though my dad was a local dj and dedicated record collector I was only interested in dj’ing after a few years of clubbing. It didn’t cost me much effort to mix two tracks together on some friends’ technics, started collecting records and the rest is history.
What goes on in your mind when you are DJ-ing?
Never really planned a dj set so most of the time I’m not mixing I’m searching for the best record to put up next that matches the record that is playing and sets the right vibe. I’m not the hands in the air dj and always focus on the music.
Is there a ‘musical message’ you try to get across during your sets?
I prefer to let the music do the talking, don’t really follow a hype and try to pull out an original selection.
Aside from music, tell our fans something they don’t know about yourself – ie hobby? weird proclivities?
I’m an atheist with respect for every living creature, allergic to neo-liberal agendas & I’ll never judge a book by its cover. And I only discovered a few years ago I love gardening.
Who are your mentors and/or what inspires you and your music?
I was lucky to be born in Leuven, which is a cosy student town with an active nightlife. Thanks to the infamous Food club in town we didn’t need to travel to see all these big names in the industry, ranging from Carl Craig, Stacey Pullen, Claude Young, Carl Cox to Sneak, Derrick Carter, Mateo & Matos and a million others. Not to forget the extra talented resident team consisting of (1/2nd Swirl People member) Raoul Belmans & Geoffroy (aka Mugwump).
As a producer I was influenced by the likes of Inland Knights, Lawnchair Generals, JT Donaldson, Metro Area and so on.
Special thanks to my friends Ben & Edwin for introducing me to Reason, Slater Hogan & John Larner for showing me their tricks in Acid Pro, Troydon for pointing out some useful VST’s and Prztz for teaching me how to use Ableton.
What do you find most challenging about the music business today?
A dj used to be the guy that brought the records to the party, in order to find those gems you needed to be at the right place on the right time and willing to spend hours going thru a shitload of records. Since everybody can download all those tracks nowadays and bend them together with the right software the focus shifted from the music to self promotion more than ever.
What’s the “best thing in life” in your opinion?
It’s all about the little things, if you can’t enjoy those you’re not living your life. I have two kids, aged 5 and 3, and although they have been responsible for sleep deprivation, stole my music room and pretty much all my spare time they are definitely the best thing that ever happened to me. Makes a lot of other stuff look trivial.
What’s the most dangerous thing you’ve ever done?
If you look at the figures driving a car is pretty much the most dangerous thing to do in my country.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Don’t give up! Achievements don’t come for free.
The first girl you kissed?
I started kissing at an early age but it’s all about the last girl I kissed, we are together for more than 10 years now and I feel blessed to have someone so special in my life. She’ll probably be reading this so I’m scoring easy bonus points here.
Favorite city to perform?
Maybe a bit chauvinistic but I choose my hometown, Leuven. Always had a great crowd and vibe. Knowing your crowd makes it easier to take risks, which usually leads to a better set. Without any closing hour we can easily keep on going till the morning. Great atmosphere, lots of dancers and pretty girls, what more do you want?
Craziest fan encounter?
The craziest encounters usually ended up with a skipping needle or worse. It may sound weird being a dj but I’m not too fond of spotlights so it always felt a little awkward meeting crazy fans.
Young artist you are impressed by?
Always enjoy watching live performances by FKJ (French Kiwi Juice), nails it in every way.
If you could have a super power, what would it be?
Eventually I’d probably get bored of most superpowers, others have their disadvantages so I’m happy to be a normal person. I’d rather turn myself into a multi-instrumentalist, which unfortunately I’m not.
Music you listen to when you’re at home?
Mostly funk, soul, jazz, bossa nova and hip-hop, I can even enjoy some Frank Sinatra or classical pieces on a sunday brunch, every style has its good and bad.
Any final words of wisdom and/or advice for our audience?
Always look on the bright side of life! Life’s too short to be negative so keep on smiling, it’s contagious so you’ll make other people happy too. And last but not least, don’t believe the media, just follow the money and you’ll know the truth.
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