DJ Funk and Parris Mitchell on Ghetto House, Advice for Young DJs, Favorite Drum Machines, and Crazy Scenes in the Club
Interviewed by Ali Berger
ALI BERGER: For those who haven’t heard it or don’t get it, what is your music about?
DJ FUNK: It’s all about shakin’ that ass. Party music!!
PARRIS MITCHELL: My music is about having a good time. We had fun making music for people to enjoy. Almost like DMSR [dance music, sex, & romance].
AB: What do you want from a crowd and what makes a party special for you?
DJ FUNK: I want a good response back from a crowd that’s having a good time. Laughing along with my goofy ass on stage. Every party is special because each one is different, you never know who you gonna run into.
PARRIS MITCHELL: I like it when no one is paying the DJ attention. It’s more about interacting with one another, dancing and doing what they are there to do… Party and have a good time! Nowadays, people seem to get this whole thing misconstrued. I’m not performing—I want them to perform for me!! The way it used to be.
AB: What’s the craziest thing you’ve seen someone do on a dancefloor during one of your tracks?
DJ FUNK: I’ve seen A LOT of sex. Girls, guys, couples. Going at it on the dancefloor!
PARRIS MITCHELL: Once a musclebound guy picked a petite girl up on his shoulders (backwards), and well… I guess you can figure the rest out.
AB: Were you ever nervous about getting on the mic?
DJ FUNK: When I first started yeah, but not anymore.
PARRIS MITCHELL: I’ve been in bands, playing guitar, doing choreography, and backing vocals since I was 12 years old. I separate the two things: performing and DJ-ing. I do very little talking on the mic, if any. Most times, I prefer to not to.
AB: What should we expect from the live drum machine aspect of your set and how long have you been doing stuff like that?
DJ FUNK: Raw and true music. I performed live on drum machines back in the day but now it’s more consistent. It adds more to the music and set because you make it up as you go along. I play what I feel in the moment.
AB: Do you think there are still good vocal hooks out there that haven’t been done yet or is that whole style old news to you?
PARRIS MITCHELL: I believe there is nothing new under the sun. There is the same amount of electricity today, as there was 2,000 years ago. We just harness it to be utilized safely and more effectively. Same with steel, metal… even music and lyrics.
AB: We know a lot of DJs and producers are gonna read this — any advice for them on how to be raw & real in their music?
DJ FUNK: Always remember where you came from, your roots. Respect the music.
PARRIS MITCHELL: The roots of dance music—research and appreciate the elements that spawned the evolution of what the dance music/house/techno music has become today. I hear and read people that say, “Ah, I don’t like Disco, or this or that type of music”. That’s complete non-sense. How will you be able to reach your full creative potential with a narrow mind? Embrace, and research the roots, and appreciate the evolution.
AB: Favorite non-house/techno track?
DJ FUNK: Donna Summer – “I Feel Love”. James Brown – “The Big Payback”. Too many songs to name… anything that makes you feel good!
PARRIS MITCHELL: That’s a tricky question there! I like all genres. When I’m in the hood, or at a gathering with people from the hood that are older in age, I listen to Chicago style pimp, players, hustlers, and steppers type joints. If I’m playing guitar, I would play things like James Taylor, Hendrix, etc. Chill mode would be old school R&B or Jazz [real jazz]. Maybe even some Carl Davis brassy horn style stuff or Curtis Mayfield. I have a very eclectic and vast taste in music, it all depends on my mood.
AB: Track we should be ready to sing along to at the show?
DJ FUNK: “Booty Clap”, “Face Down Ass Up”, “The Roof is on Fire”, ALL OF THEM! Get ready!
PARRIS MITCHELL: “All Night Long”, “Pump That Shit”, “Hit It From The Back”, and more!
AB: Favorite Hot Mix 5 DJ?
DJ FUNK: Farley Jackmaster Funk, duhh!
PARRIS MITCHELL: Edward “Get Down” Crosby. Dopest, most underrated DJ that I have ever met. He also gave me my first remix work—remixing Laura Branigan for Atlantic Records. That was followed by a Gold Award for a Janet Jackson remix that I played keyboards on and co-produced.
AB: Favorite drum machine? (besides the 808/909)
DJ FUNK: Linn Drum—used by Prince, Michael Jackson and many more. Many hit records were made with this one. And Casio RZ1—one of the first to have a sampler.
PARRIS MITCHELL: Casio RZ-1, Akai MPC 60, and SP 1200, and of course the MPC 3000 (LE). I just can’t relate to programing drums on a DAW. Seems so unnatural. I like to beat on things—it’s suppose to be a percussion.
See DJ Funk (LIVE with drum machines and rapping) and Parris Mitchell with Shake residents Ali Berger b2b Dev/Null at Good Life on Friday, May 29. For more info, check out our website or the Facebook Event.