If James Brown and George Clinton laid down the foundations for what we now know as funky breaks, the acts we’ve chosen for this list are the genre's flagbearers; re-packaging them golden funk tunes for the B-Boys and good girls that grew up on hip-hop and broken beats. But it’s not all about mandy-eyed revivalism. A set from the guys listed below could take in everyone from The Jackson 5, to Run DMC, via Andy C. Daft Punk and Duke Dumont.
They are at the forefront of a burgeoning UK funky breaks resurgence (or rerub, if we’re using the industry parlance). We've purposefully gone for a mix of old cats and new blood so, even though they're not featured, guys like Stickybuds, Funkamonics, Slynk and Pimpsoul are worthy of a place on any list. That’s not to say there’s also not plenty of others across the world, especially in Canada, Germany and Australia. But that’s another piece for another day…
If we’re fanboys of anyone over here, it is most definitely of Mr A Skillz, aka Adam Mills. That hardly puts us in the minority, as he was voted 2012 Best DJ at Breakspoll (the breakbeat Oscars) and along with Krafty Kuts has carried the flame for over a decade now. Can always be relied upon to put out two or three top tunes a year; his ‘California Soul’ remix and ‘Cold As Ice’ bootleg with Nick Thayer have entered the pantheon of legendary cuts. Big shout out to Bomb Strikes who released some of his earlier stuff. The chief down there, Mooqee, has had funky breaks’ back for too long, and knows his shit more than any man. Believe!
In his own words: “a man on a mission to funk his way across the globe.” A grand aim it may be, but he is on his way with recent gigs in Australia and Canada added to an impressive show roster that includes Glastonbury, Bestival and Beat Herder. Without doubt one of the foremost producers of mid-tempo breaks, his first record for Ghetto Funk Records in 2010 is a classic and helped establish the label as a major player on the breaks scene. His ‘Dreamer’ tune- sampling I Monster’s ‘Daydream In Blue’- is definitely one of Upfront resident Some DJ’s most played.
Three times winner at Breakspoll, and the Dark Lord to A Skillz’ Han Solo. If it’s approaching 1am and you’re in a really top breaks night, the chances are that sometime in the next two hours you’ll be sweating some gunk out to the breaks legend that is Mr Martin Reeves.
The new wave. Their remix of Toots and the Maytals’ ’54-46’ propped up a thousand summer playlists in 2012, and had us playing it out at every available opportunity. The summer after they repeated the trick with their version of Krafty Kuts’ ‘Feel Like Jumpin’, which saw a move towards the glitch-hop sound now popular enough to have its own awards show. As comfortable behind the decks as they are the editing suite, live they have a reputation for bringing a dirty, happy party. For proof, check out their live set from this year’s Boomtown. Boom is the word.
Another Ghetto Funk stalwart and the youngest name on this list, he announced himself with a debut vinyl release on the label back in 2012. The artist also known as Joe Gale has got a very distinct style all of his own, weaving together chunky square bass into a web of glitchy cuts. Not afraid of taking on a mega hit, least of all ‘Get Lucky’; his version of which makes you wonder why people kept listening to the original when they could have been locked into this. Sent up a flare in 2011 with his ‘Up Here’ smash that remixed Royskopp’s ‘Happy Up Here’ ; he might be one for the future but you’d be forgiven for thinking he was smashing up the present.
Upfront are putting on their third night this Friday, at Metropolis Stripclub in Bethnal Green. Tickets are onsale here.KROSSBOW will be playing 12:30 and Some DJ will be closing the night. Get on down...