Nikki Glaspie has been Dumpstaphunk’s drummer for the past two years. Her addition to the band’s lineup has brought fresh energy to this funk machine. Their latest album, Dirty Word, is Nikki’s first with the group and they continue to tour non-stop around the US in order to spread the good word of funk to all that will listen.
The name of the album is Dirt Word. We came up with that name for several reasons. Ok so, we’re a funk band and it’s funny because we always meet people and they always go, “Oh you’re in a band, what’s the name of your band?” And we go, “Dumpstaphunk” And they go, “Oh Dumpstaphunk, what kind of music do you guys play?”
It’s like if the name of our band was “DumpstaReggae” or “DumpstaRock” I think people would know that we play raggae or rock music. I feel like there is a certain stigma that goes along with being a funk band. And you know, we talk about this all the time, just being recognized as a funk band and being a funk band. There is no category in the Grammys for funk. When we register our songs on BMI or ASCAP, there is no category to register our songs as funk songs. You know it’s like it’s not even recognized as a genre or music within the music industry. So, it’s like a dirty word. That’s pretty much how we came up with the name of the album, it’s like everything that we go through with being a funk band. It’s like people don’t even recognize funk as a genre of music which is just ridiculous since funk has influenced so many other types of music. If there wasn’t funk, there would be no disco. You know what I mean? And if there was no disco there would be no house. You know what I mean? Its the same with hip-hop. Some of the first hip-hop samples and beats are all funk songs. So that was how we came up with the name.There is quite a variety on the new album as far as styles of funk and pulling in different influences. What was your part in pulling in different ideas for this album?
Well, we all kind of wrote everything together but I am a funkateer first and foremost, but I’m also a rocker. So I think that I brought some of the rock element to the album. Whereas Nathaniel brought the blues element and Ivan brought a rock element too but a different type, almost like a Who-ish type vibe. And I brought just straight hard rock. You could tell by the music that we made what we were influenced by which is a whole range of different things.You guys brought in a bunch of other people on this album too. Who were some of the other musicians that contributed?
Well we had Flea (Red Hot Chili Peppers), he played bass on a track. Ani DiFranco, Trombone Shorty, Rebirth Brass Band, and Skerik. Skerik is an amazing tenor saxaphone player, he’s sick!
So you had a lot of those musicians near by to help out?
Yeah totally and we also had Art “Papa Funk” Neville, he is on the album too.
As far as the process of recording with a band for the first time how is it different from other albums you recorded?
This process was different because I was in the studio with Beyonce, I wasn’t actively a part of the writing of the songs. I was brought in to play drums and I did some arranging and a little bit of producing but I didn’t do any writing. With the Dumpstaphunk record I did writing. That was pretty much the only difference in the studio.
So is this album more you than anything you have put out before?
Yeah, definitely. I’ve put out a couple of albums with other people, a friend of mine Matt Sharlow, I played on a couple tracks and I put out an album with my best friend, his name is Adam Joseph. We put out an album actually ten years ago that I had a lot to do with the production process but there, again, he wrote all the songs so I just came in and helped produce and play drums, stuff like that.
So what made you decide to go from touring with a major pop musician to a funk band?
Basically you just said it, she is a pop musician, and I’m not a fan of pop music. Literally, if I had to play “Irreplaceable” one more time, I would have shot myself in the foot. I just couldn’t take it anymore. And I wanted to do what I wanted, you know it was like I want to play what I want to play. The way I try to explain it to people is like I basically had a desk job, that was like a desk job for a musician. Now, some musician are fine with that, they want to do that. They don’t really want to branch out and express themselves, which is fine. Some people are just players and then you have other musicians who are writers, and producers, and arrangers. I wanted to spread my wings. You know it was like I was super contained in that environment and I had to play the same thing over and over again. There was just no room for growth.
How was the change from going from an all girl band to being the only girl in the band?
Well before I was in the Beyonce band I used to tour around with all guys. So it’s like I had already been doing that. People think it is so different. But if you are with a bunch of girls or with a bunch of guys, we are all musicians. The things that are important to musicians are important to us, it doesn’t really matter gender wise. We all have the same things, we all miss our families when we are gone, and we all have a certain kinship living together on the road. It’s not as much of a difference as people would think or maybe as it would be in a different type of work environment. But because we are all musicians and kind of all do the same thing, then the gender thing doesn’t really matter.
There is a song on the album, “If I’m in Luck” which is a Bettie Davis cover. This might be the dirtiest song on Dirty Word. How did that come about?
It’s funny but I couldn’t even tell you how we decided to do it. They were just like, “Oh we need to get you a song to sing with the band.” This was when I first joined the band, so it was like I just jumped into touring and there wasn’t really a chance to go somewhere and write some tunes. I played the song for them and they were like, “Oh, let’s do this!” So that was just kind of how it happened, we started playing the song and then once the record came around, everybody was like, “We should put this on the record.” You know because it is so different than what Dumpstaphunk normally does or what people think we normally do. I mean that was actually what we wanted for the record. We wanted people to know we are more than just a funk band. We can play blues if we want to or we can play rock if we want to.
As far as what you are playing these days, will we be hearing a lot of the new album throughout your tour?
Yeah, absolutely. We will be touring in support of the album so people will definatly hear new material.