I'm not gonna lie, I'd rather be somewhere sunny, breezy & corona-less at the moment, instead of being stuck at home, but the good thing is you can easily transport yourself anywhere you want with the right music.
And Jafunk is one damn good name to put onto your ears right now. The Australia-born, Berlin-based producer magically blends soul, disco, house, funk, and everything nice, with the help of numerous artists, to make your day brighter.
We had a chat about his influences, projects and how #stayhome can be used as an opportunity, plus he crafted such a feel-god mix for us, I might as well make myself a mojito now. Enjoy!
1. Jafunk & DiRTY RADiO - The Baddest
2. Jafunk - Dazed
3. Jafunk & DiRTY RADiO - Pleasures
4. Vanilla - Into My Eyes
5. Midas Hutch - Owe Me
6. Jafunk & Fabich - Back to Life (ft. THAT)
7. Dego & the 2000Black Family - Don't Stop (Let it Go)
8. Without Your Love feat. Randy Roberts (Spen & Thommy Heavy Vibes Mix) - Randy Roberts, Spencer Morales
9. Detroit Swindle - Call of the Wild feat. Jungle by Night (Cinthie Remix)
10. Crowd Control - Bring You Down
11. Uffie - ADD SUV (feat. Pharrell Williams) (Armand Van Helden Club Remix)
Hey man, how's life treating you?
Hey! Life is good man, making the most of the isolation and getting into lots of music at the moment.
How do you cope with this #stayhome situation?
It’s definitely a new challenge, however, I think there’s always opportunity in whatever situation you’re in. Luckily for me as a full time music producer I’m able to keep doing most of what I normally do, and I’m taking the lockdown as an opportunity to get productive in the studio and write as much music as I can. Sometimes when you’re working with so many different people you can lose the vision you started with, and forget the reasons why you started making music in the first place. Now that I’m on my own all day, I’m doing what I was doing when I first started writing music - making songs that I’m passionate about and enjoy listening to.
Australia has a very peculiar music culture, I'm fond of many artists from there. What made you move to London?
I lived in Perth, Western Australia up until 2016 when I moved to London. When I was in Perth I felt a real disconnect from the music culture there, and felt like I didn’t fit in. There were only a handful of people I knew that listened to funk / soul / disco, and all of the DJ’s / producers I liked seemed to come from the UK, Europe or the US. The parties I went to in Perth played mainly commercial or r&b music, and I knew there was more out there than that. When I moved to the UK I felt instantly at home, house and dance music was really ingrained into the culture there, not just something the minority listened to. Whatever music you wanted to go out and listen / dance to you could do it in London - house, funk, disco, soul etc., there was a scene for everything. I even heard builders across the street singing along to 70s disco tracks! That’s when I knew I was in the right place. My 2 years there were amazing, and really opened my eyes up to what’s out there musically. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get a visa there after 2018, so I decided to move to Berlin last year, which also has a great music scene!
Why Jafunk? How funky is your life?
Before I created the Jafunk project I knew the music I wanted to make would be fun, funky, upbeat and just feel good. My best friend actually suggested the name Jafunk to me, and it stuck! So I rolled with it since then. I’ve always wanted to bring a positive energy to the world, and I try to do that in every way I can. From my music, to the way I dress, or the way I interact with people on a daily basis.
Any particular idea behind the track selection in the mix you crafted for us? It's gorgeous, by the way, thank you for it!
Thanks! This mix I wanted to include music that represented stuff I was listening to around the time when I made my new single ‘The Baddest’. House, disco, funk and soul.
You effortlessly blend funk & soul vibes - how did your sound shape?
I feel like my sound is just a reflection of all of my influences, like a collage of inspiration. It’s disco drums, boogie funk synths, neo soul chords, and funk bass lines, all with my own personal twist of course.
Your latest project with Aaron Pfeiffer is called Elevator Music. Is this an ironic wink to the mediocre background music they play in hotel elevators?
Haha yes, kind of! One of Aaron and I’s major influences for this project was Sade. Aaron was telling me that when her music first came out it was labelled as a bit boring and like elevator music. So we thought it would be a funny name for the EP. Daft Punk got their name from a writer giving them a bad review saying their music was ‘daft punky trash’, so we took a similar approach!
"Ecstasy" is one of the freshest summer tracks we've heard lately (we're also interviewing Pastel soon) - how was the process behind it, it's quite the collab?
Thanks! That track came about when me, Fabich, Pastel and Liska were in the studio in London. As everyone knows the London winter can be dismal at best, and we wanted to teleport ourselves mentally to a brighter, sunnier place. We put some videos of a Brazilian carnival on, and found some sounds to match it. Yann played in the bossa nova style guitar chords, Fabich found some drums and percussion, while I added a bass line. Linnea quickly wrote and sang the lyrics, and within a few hours we had a song!
You're working with Fabich fairly often - how did you guys end up making music together?
I met Fabich at a party in London a few years ago, hosted by the Trutopia boys. Having similar music tastes we got on very well right from the start, so decided to meet up for a session. When we got into the studio we instantly clicked and found we had a great dynamic when making music. We’ve been making music ever since!
"The Baddest" drops tomorrow, your new track with DiRTY RADiO (thanks for including it in the mix, btw!). How did this groovy magic happen?
This one actually started when I returned home to Australia to visit my parents, haha. I was listening to a lot of boogie funk music at the time, and wanted to do something with some disco drums, a synth bass line and nice soulful chords. After jamming for around a week or so on various ideas, I created the drums in "The Baddest" and everything flowed from there. A bass line and chords came very naturally after this, and within a few days the beat was done. Once I was happy I sent it off to the DiRTY RADiO guys in Canada, and a few weeks later they came back with the main vocal idea. After a few weeks of adjustments back and forth the track was done!
Glad we had the chance to talk, man! What's next for Jafunk?
Likewise! What’s next for me is sticking to the process, and improving along the way. I’m going to keep making music while this lockdown carries on, and try to come out of it with some serious heat ready for people to listen to :)