I’ve recently noticed how funk music has taken over my life. Then just when I can’t seem to get enough, Snarky Puppy wins a flipping Grammy! What a fascinating time for funk musicians everywhere. Chicago is now the proud mother of a brand new band calling themselves Chicago Funk Mafia. I wanted to get their thoughts on funk, so consider this their preliminary interview.
How did Chicago Funk Mafia come about?
Chicago Funk Mafia is the local chapter of Funk Mafia International, an organization dedicated to the integrity and proliferation of funky music. Our members have worn many hats throughout their musical careers and this band is the culmination of our collective knowledge and influence.
What is the draw towards funk?
Funk is all about sex. And I don’t mean the sex from a jazz tune. Jazz gets too confused with sex. Jazz is to Clark Kent what Funk is to Superman. Funk makes you take off your glasses, rip your shirt off and dance.
What has changed in funk over the years?
Funk from the 60’s and 70’s was a little more tame. With blaring horns from bands like Galactic, the funk of today forces you to not only listen and dance, but to lose yourself, if only for a moment, in funk euphoria. Or as we call it, Eufunkria.
How do you see funk music progressing?
Funk keeps a steady pace. You need to enjoy the party, don’t control it, see where it takes you.
How does funk differ from other types of music?
Over the past 10 years with the rise of EDM and sample based music it’s become increasingly common to see one man and a computer on stage. Fun as those shows can be, there is no substitute for the emotional energy of a big band making a big sound. People want to experience the moving parts.
Who are some of your funk influences?
Pantera, Chaka Khan, Raffi, Captain Planet and Tennille, Art of Cool, Zappa, David Bowie, Danny Tanner, Koji Kondo, Good Times by Chic, Undercover Brother Soundtrack, Weed, All Yacht Rock, Fungus Amongus, Trailer Park Boys, The Starchild, Lettuce, Beethoven (the film), Alan Partridge Project.
What other elements are added into Chicago Funk Mafia besides funk?
The beauty of this band is everyone brings different sensibilities into the mix. We’re a funk band and we’re dedicated to getting down, but we’ve got some tricks up our sleeves and you’ll hear us weave in and out of many styles. Our ally is the Funk, and a powerful ally it is.
Now you may ask yourself, will they live up to the hype?
Their first show is at the Abbey Pub in Chicago on January 29th.