Bringing The Phunk With Ian Neville
- By Nick Rhodes
- Published on July 20, 2012
|Photo Courtesy of Dumpstaphunk|
Check out your iTunes library. In fact, check out the entire iTunes store. You’ll see pretty much every major genre of music with one notable exception . . .
Funk music is prevalent at all types of jam, rock and electronic-dominated festivals all over the country with bands like Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, Lettuce and of course, Dumsptaphunk getting in on the action. People of all walks of life and all preferences of music can get down to a little funk, it seems.
Dumpstaphunk especially believes that their brand of hard-hitting, danceable tunes can easily permeate and breakdown any barriers of genre or classification.
[FIND news, tour dates and downloads on Dumpstaphunk's official website.]
But according to Ian Neville and the rest of the band, funk music is still taboo – so they named their upcoming release “Dirty Word” to signify that.
Coming off a raucous set at Electric Forest last month – a festival that aside from String Cheese Inicdent and a handful of other artists was heavy on computerized assistance – Dumptaphunk is in the middle of an ambitious tour across North America.
Headstash Magazine caught up with Ian Neville to discuss “Dirty Word,” (due out this fall), coversations in airports with random people and how funk music is here to stay.
Headstash Magazine: I know you guys have a new album in the works. Tell me a little about what fans can expect.
Ian Neville: We're just finishing up all the recording and making sure the shit is where it needs to be. Hopefully by probably October it should be good to go, ideally. It's coming together pretty good so far. It's just been a matter of finding time in between the road time where we can all get together.
We recorded most of it in one studio as opposed to our last record, which was done in like three different spots. Hopefully, it sounds a little more cohesive just because of the consistency of the recording sessions.
We're feeling pretty good about the material. We got nice full group of our guests, and I really want to finish it so we can start playing the new material and we don't wear this shit out before the record's out. We sprinkle them in here and there right now, but it'll be great when we can just run down the whole new record at a show.
HM: What about the title for the album, “Dirty Word.”
IN: It's called “Dirty Word” because if you ask a music fan, they may or not know what funk means to them. But if you look at drop-down menus or online listings, you will never ever find funk anywhere. And whatever record stores are left, it'll be hard to find anything in the funk section.
HM: Why do you think that is?
IN: I can't really explain it. That definitely just makes funk a dirty word. If you took away our favorite musical influences and mentors like George Clinton, P. Funk, James Brown, Sly and The Family Stone, The Meters, from popular music, you wouldn’t be left with too much. Just on the merit of those groups I'd say funk deserves its own category.
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|Photo Courtesy of Dumpstaphunk|
If the band is called Dumpstarock that wouldn’t be their follow up question. I'm pretty positive of that. I can't explain why that is, but hopefully us along with some of our friends make enough noise to at least spread the word a little bit.
HM: Funk is obviously something you’re extremely passionate about. Tell me about what it means to you, personally.
IN: It's like a rhythm based puzzle that we all play with each other. It's finding your spot in the groove and adding to it and playing in the hole and knowing when not to play. It's a whole group effort as a band, which is cool to me. If you overplay something it can destroy the funkiness. Whereas if you play the right parts in the right holes, it all blends together to produce ideally a groove that you can't keep still if you're listening to it.
HM: You guys hit the festival circuit pretty hard and play a lot of events from all over the spectrum. How is it sometimes being the token afternoon funk band at a festival?
IN: I like playing in front of people who aren't necessarily built-in funk fans because those people don't have any preconceived notions of what we do. They can't deny the groove. And then we incorporate other styles, too, you know?
[FIND complete lineups, ticketing information and analysis of all your favorite festivals via our 2012 Festival Guide.]
Either way, we offer enough variation in our shows and I feel like we can snatch up a fairly good cross-section of fans that aren't straight funk fans. I hung out after our set at Electric Forest with the whole Bassnectar, Big Gigantic crowd and those people were fully raging and that was a really different scene. But I think we pulled a lot of those people over to the instrument side.
HM: Do you do anything differently at an event like that?
IN: We do Dumpstaphunk no matter what. We have some songs that, if we only get an hour to play, we might want to actually play the more songs than jam out for 15 minutes. If we have two hours, then we have room to stretch out and play whatever we feel like. It's not so much a crowd thing, but how much time we have to do our thing.
HM: You guys are incredibly successful and touring all over the world, but what’s the next step? Do you guys still aspire to get bigger or are you settled into a groove?
IN: The plan, as a band, is just to keep putting great music out and then hopefully grow our fanbase so we can get our music to more people and live more comfortably. This band is our living. But still we're hustling, definitely. There's no comfort zone. There’s not like a magic remedy – it's just to keep doing what we love doing basically.
HM: Thanks for the time, Ian.
Dumpstaphunk will appear alongside String Cheese Incident at Horning’s Hideout in North Plains, OR this weekend. For a complete list of tour dates, check out their official website.