Searching for and spreading The Funk is the business of New Zealand native K+Lab. Answering his 2016 The Worldly's in full-force, Caleb Cowie AKA K+Lab pulls it up in The Booty Galactic beaming classic genres through a kaleidoscope creating forms of glitch-enhanced hip hop to g-funked up bass music. This journey was not taken alone, as a whole gang of artists from long-time collaborating lyricists Def3 and Melodownz to rising producers Defunk and Sparkee accompanied K+Lab in delivering a sermon of sub-bass Funk to bump in the trunk.
The New Zealander closes out a chapter spent in Canada writing this album and performing shows under the wings of Westwood Recordings and Danio Management. His conquest continues with strong momentum having hit over nine countries in 2018, including a first European tour where his ripping of keytar solos and finger-blasting the MPC saved souls at Father Funk's Church of Love in Bristol, UK (photos below). The next move for Captain K+Lab: immerse in musical hub Denver, Colorado to transmit The Good Word.
Enough from us, let the man himself do the talking in our exclusive interview below.
What’s up, Caleb! How’s your year been so far?
It’s been great, being based in Vancouver has brought a lot of inspiration and allowed me to tour pretty relentlessly through North America. It’s really been a year of new experiences -- I just got back from first UK/Euro trip, it was great to get to that side of the world something I’ve dreamt of doing for a long time.
This new album – The Booty Galactic – is diverse, visual and energetic throughout. Tell us your side of the story on it…what’s it all about?
The Booty Galactic as a concept is all the people that help me fly this funky mothership through space. I have a crew of Rappers, Musicians, Supporters, Collaborators and People that make it possible for my mission to continue, I wouldn’t still be here making these jams if it wasn’t for The Booty Galactic. Stylistically, the album is a throwback to the G-Funk era, we just felt there’s not enough of it in the world. So with this album, my approach was to re-deliver those sounds in a modern way with my own flavour, feel and enough bass to sit alongside modern bass music jams.
You’ve been drifting through the cosmos looking for ‘The Funk’. What is “The Funk” in your view?
The Funk is in everything, it’s a lifestyle, It’s colour not greyscale, it’s all that’s right in the world, it can heal, it can transcend and it can make people dance their asses off. I can’t imagine a world without Funk it would be a cold cold place. I’m still looking for the Funk, but the best I’ve found so far is packaged in to this album I hope it brings colour and light to more people around the planet. The Funk as a scene and as a people is one of the most supportive and collaborative I’ve come across, there’s no room for egos there’s only room for more Funk.
Being a visual artist as well as a music producer, do you see any spill-over in the perception and conceptualization of your music and vice versa?
Something my brother taught me was to name a track or project first then work to that. I named this album “Drifting the cosmos on a bag full O booty” before it started, so that’s what I was picturing the whole time, but then the album ended up taking on it’s own life and became “The Booty Galactic” once more people got involved. You have to be open to ideas evolving and changing with music. I think that’s why I have a more destructive approach to songwriting it also keeps things fresh most the time the track will tell you what it wants to do, you just have to be able to take a step back and listen. The main crossover I find is I like my art to Pop, just like my tracks, very rarely will things be subtle and it’s a conscious decision. When I’m making art I like a lot of colour, in your face designs and compositions. I have the same approach to music.
The Booty Galactic features a number of vocalists, lyricists, and fellow producers – some of them new and some of them long-time collaborators. Could you give us highlights of some of the collaborative work on this album?
This would be a different album without Def3. We actually shared my studio during the whole process it’s pretty handy having one of your favourite rappers on-hand and in the studio most days. Not only did he work on three tracks -- he’s scattered throughout the album in many ways. I was really excited to work with JessB who's featured on “Rollin” she’s a fast-rising talent in New Zealand I’m really excited to see what she does over the next few years. My partner Kalena, although she is not a music producer or a musician, she is a music-lover and was pretty honest when something wasn’t vibing. It’s good to have people that are supportive, but nothing beats an honest ear. I thoroughly enjoyed working with everyone on this album by far the most fun I’ve had writing an album.
Some of your tracks have unique names and concepts behind them, like “Wiggy” to “Good Ju Ju” to “Super Gravy”. I am curious to know: how do you come up with these ideas?
Most of the names come from my weirdo friends and the late night conversations we’ve had the best concepts come from the strangest places and the best nights. In general, though, I like to find concepts that will spark a musical idea as I said earlier it’s cool to write the name first. I have a lot of friends that will say something and they’ll be like “that should be a song” I have a list of most of these that I draw to from inspiration from time to time.
You just ended a run in Canada creating music, playing shows, and festivals – how did that go?
There was a few times where we got to represent as a crew with my Danio Management family and Westwood recordings. It felt really good to share our music as a whole, we all collaborate together, but have our own styles it works really well as a showcase. The best thing about this summer was having a decent amount of time over here and not feel like we have to squeeze a tour into a few weeks meaning I could get to some festivals for the first time e.g. Electric Forest, Evolve and Electric Love. North America is really spoiled by great festivals. I really enjoyed writing and performing the album at the same time throughout summer as well, it meant I knew what works before it made the album cut. This is a Canadian/Vancouver album I’m happy to have this project as a reminder of my time here.
I heard you have some very exciting events coming up, including a stay in the US. Tell us more about what the next moves are for K+Lab.
Yes! Our time in Vancouver is almost up we’re heading home for NZ/AUS summer, then it’s off to Denver, Colorado to work with my new US agents at Empire agency. It’s already shaping up to be a jam-packed 2019 and we can’t wait to bring that Booty all over the US.
Blast off with The Booty Galatic on all platforms here. Pants optional.Big Ups to Farelight Productions for the photos from Father Funk's Church of Love: Back to Nunday School!