We grab a few words with Funtcase, one of the biggest names in dubstep right now, as he prepares to play Get Darker's This Is Dubstep event at Cable in London on Sunday April 8th.
Please introduce yourself...
I'm known to many as FuntCase but my friends call me James. I'm 25-years-old, have a strange looking face and seem to have copious amounts of energy!
Where are you from and to what extent would you say this influences your music?
I come from a little town by the seaside, almost dead in the middle of the arse of England called Bournemouth. I'm not sure it gives me much influence as such, it used to in my drum & bass days when I used to go see people like Sub Zero, Original Sin, Taxman, Dillinja, Sub Focus etc and then I'd dash off home and start throwing down ideas. For me, I think the influence I've had from this area is my want to make deeper dubstep, as there are so many heads around here who push it, and I've grown to love it!
When did you first try your hand at DJing and producing?
Well, that started about probably eight or nine years ago when I decided to learn a professional, dynamic, serious piece of kit known as 'Music 2000' on the PlayStation 2, where I used to try and re-create tracks like Song 13 by Blur and Minefields by Zen! I then shortly discovered I was pretty much able to mix straight away from growing up watching my mum do it, as she's been in the game a LONG time. Then came the discovery of Reason and my eyes opened so far wide at the amount of custom work I could actually do to a track, my mind was blown... and so was the birth of my creativity!
How would you describe your approach to making music?
I'm never really sure how to answer this when I'm asked, it can come in many forms really. Some days I'll be angry but I'll use that to make a soft tune and some days I'm really cheerful and I'll make the most horrible piece of ear trash and vice versa! A lot of the time I listen to radio stations like Rinse, Get Darker, 1Xtra etc and just vibe so hard of the tracks that I end up going back and making something similar! Recently I've really gotten into the Lord Of The Mics 3 videos and have been making tons of grime instrumentals.
What's your studio set-up like?
A lot better than it was when I had Computer Music come over... then I had one monitor and a £30 Stanton mixer that I put my tunes through the mic port! These days it looks like this: 2x Yamaha HS80, Yamaha HW10 Subwoofer, 2x AOC HD Monitors, MOTU 828MK3 HYBRID, Access Virus TI2 Desktop, Korg R3, BOSS GT3 Distortion Pedal, Line 6 Pod Distortion, Custom Built PC (AMD Phantom II 2.4ghz, 8gb RAM) and a nice mic setup I bought but haven't set up yet!
Tell us more about your next release...
I'll talk about my EP coming on Circus. It's four tracks: Doomed with Genetix , In with Persist, Invaderz and Dem Mans.
How did you hook up with Circus Records in the first place?
Well, I consider myself pretty amazingly lucky with the whole thing, I kinda knew Doctor P a bit back in the drum & bass world. We got talking one day randomly and we both discovered that we'd made dubstep then traded track ideas. Shortly after that I got talking to Doctor P again and he's telling me about a label he's thinking of starting up with his mate Flux Pavilion called Circus Records and asked if I wanted to sign So Vexed to them. I said yes... and I don't think anyone thought it would blow up like it has! I'm MASSIVELY grateful that I'm a part of Circus and have such an amazing career already.
You've collaborated with Roska and Swindle on a track called Spanner In The Works that's coming out on Roska's new album, tell us more about what to expect and how collab came about...
Well, as people are starting to gather, I really like to dabble in all sorts of music. The Roska thing was really a random thing to happen. We got talking on Skype and one day I got a message asking if I want to collab on a tune he's done with Swindle. I was really excited about it and jumped at the offer. What you hear to me is strange but fresh, and from what I hear goes off in a club... mission accomplished! The track title was actually my idea, because that's what I feel putting me in as a collab really was to the original idea.
Got any other releases / remixes in the pipeline we should look out for?
My alias Haze has an EP out April 9th (digital release) with a vinyl release shortly after. As far as any remixes go I think there's talk of releasing my Squid Attack remix by Genetix and maybe some other cheeky tracks I have lined up! Also got a few drum & bass bits lined up, keep an eye out for those ones.
What else have you been working on in the studio recently?
Like I said earlier, my attention has been turned to grime a lot, although I'm trying my hand at some more dancefloor styles of dubstep and such. Also drum & bass has been quite good to me lately so I'm carrying that on, as the tracks are getting repped by the boys at Playaz a lot! Amazing!
Where can people see you play in the near future?
If you log on to the Circus Records website, go to artists then select myself Funtcase, there is a calendar that is regularly updated with gigs, with what dates, and where.
Any plans for an album?
It's actually a dream of mine to do an album, and I sincerely hope Circus do give me the opportunity to do it as I think it would show a lot of people my tastes in music production!
Ever thought about starting your own label?
Funny you should say that, I was going to start a label a while back, just before I got talking to Doctor P about Circus! It was going to be called Gutter Dubz and was going to feature a lot of the mad stuff I make and play these days. Of course the style was a lot fresher back then, now I don't think I would do it as there's too much of it about!
What do you get up to outside of music?
I've actually turned into quite the darts fan around my MC's house (Skydro) where my boy Persist also lives! We have darts tournaments regularly, haha! I also have an addiction to Call of Duty, midnight onwards (when I'm not in the studio) I tend to stay up a fair few hours playing it! Also love football, meeting mates and drinking Coke!
Any advice for any aspiring producers / DJs out there?
Positive attitudes and hard work reap rewards.
What tracks, producers and labels are you feeling at the moment?
Tracks wise there are too many, you'll hear them in my live sets though. Artists wise: Genetix, Persist, Joker, Roska, Seven, Jakes, Requake, Badklaat, Cyrus, Benton, Addison Groove, Boy Kid Cloud, Lost, Beezy, Eddie K, Mensah, Kinzy and everyone at Circus!
What's the best gig you played in the last six months?
Definitely Escape From Wonderland in Los Angeles, that was the gig of my life! To this day I still look at the picture I have of me in front of 10,000 - 11,000 people and think "Wow, I can't believe that happened!" The gig was absolutely amazing, had my own trailer, and they supplied me with sweets and coke! PERFECT!! My life is too amazing right now!
Anything else you want to tell us about?
Errrrr... don't do drugs, it's crap.
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