Ten years on from it’s inception and infectious sweep over the UK and European party islands, 2018 is set to be the year that Funky House makes it’s return in a big way. Despite its undisputed contribution to today’s UK music scene, the funky house era didn’t span much longer than two years with artists such as MC Versatile, Egypt, Kyla, Meleka and Princess Nyah disappearing from the scene altogether.
Some were hopeful for it’s return back in 2012 when the Disclosure duo boys popped onto the scene straddling the line between a pop imitation of garage and commercial deep house but it didn’t quite carry through and spark enough momentum for an ‘official’ revival.
Last September, UK Funky veteran Donae’O tweeted asking fans whether he should accept the #BringBackFunkyChallenge he had been proposed. After an overwhelming response, he stepped up and promised to get working on a project (which is now 13-track, Soundcloud release, Party Harder) and he encouraged other producers to join him.
One producer getting involved in UK funky revival season is self-professed creative entrepreneur KG who has previously been co-signed by Marcus Nasty and most recently – the long overdue first lady of London label Goon Club Allstars. We caught up with KG ahead of her forthcoming KG EP release.
gal-dem: How long have you been working in the production of music?
KG: I studied broadcast journalism in Nottingham that was pretty much from 2007. But I’ve been producing digitally, on a music tech level since I was eight. My dad had this habit of getting me music programming software and I just fell in love with them. I started mastering with the PC and the PlayStation had a couple of games where you could use sequences to make music. They had a loop already created for you so all you had to do was pair them up. I was just fascinated by that sort of stuff!
How long have you been working on the KG EP?
I produced ‘808’ in 2009 so this is kind of like a re-release – reviving old material and giving it a new life. Since [the original release in] 2009 it’s been amazing because it’s been in circulation internationally but initially when I released it, it was just on a whim. I just put it out on social media and hoped that DJs caught it.
How has it been working with label Goon Club Allstars?
Ah man, Goon Club are so fun. They are aligned with my vision as much as I’m aligned with theirs and it’s great because it’s not just a case of them looking at me as the token female producer, they just understand my skill, they appreciate production – there is no gender attached to it. I just feel like they believe in what I do and what I’m capable of creating so it’s been great.
It seems like the sound that you both have makes sense together
It does – it’s just in sync. They’ve been advocates of the funky sound for ages.
You tweeted recently saying ‘it’s revival season’ what did you mean? Did you mean this is the year that the funky house revival happens or time for your comeback?
Do you know what? It’s a combination of both to be honest because Donae’o just dropped Party Harder and this #BringBackFunkyHouseChallenge hashtag that’s been going around. I even find that there’s some remnants of that in the current Afrobeats scene.
And then on the flipside, me as well because I wasn’t inspired musically until the guys [Goon Club All Stars] approached me. A friend of mine said I’ve got a second chance at doing this music thing again – and I thought – yeah! It’s revival season! It’s a chance for me to pick up from where I left off.
Talk to me about the remixes on the project…
We’ve got BSNYEA from New York who is adding a bit of tropical flips to ‘808’ with a totally different speed from the initial UK funky track that I produced. Island vibes!
Hitmakerchinx with ‘Midnight’ – he’s another one of my tracks still funky but very soulful and he’s flipped it too.
They’ve added different elements by using original pieces from my track and kind of building new genres. I like the way that they’ve done it, it’s a nice little steer away from the funky sound that I led with. They’ve both got quite a following so I’m actually honoured that they would want to even work with me!
As someone whose been doing this since age 8, in that time how have things changed and what has shifted during that time?
I think the time period in which I was sharpening my music tech skills, women were seen as an anomaly when it comes to production. Like “wow, we’ve never heard of female producers before”. They probably were there but never allowed to be at the forefront.
At the time of the surge of house and UK funky (2007-2009), I would always lead with the title ‘KG’ so it’s ambiguous, it’s genderless. People would always message me and be like “Yo bro that track is sick” and I’d be like “I’m not a bro”. There’s that automatic assumption that women aren’t as skilled as men in the areas of production. In that time period, you were more likely to come across female DJs as opposed to producers but now we have so many workshops in place like Girls I Rate, Red Bull’s Normal Not Novelty which is so empowering for all women of all ages and backgrounds pioneering the production movement as well as the DJ movement. It’s great because we need backing in that sense. So there’s a shift taking place, I believe we’ll see more of that this year.
I’m not saying a complete turnaround – I mean look at the Wireless Festival line up– where are all the girls? We’ve got a bit to go but I’m hoping that these workshops are the start of something evolving when it comes to women in production.
KG EP drops tomorrow Friday 16th February on all major platforms
KG will be playing at Goon Club Allstars 5th birthday in London 30th April