Together with Raf
and Fedde le Grand
, Ardie Van Beek (aka Funkerman) launched the influential Dutch label Flamingo Records
to release their own music without the confines of the traditional establishment system. The home to massive hits like “Let Me Think About It,” “Speed Up,” “Wheels in Motion,” “3 Minutes to Explain,” and “Tung,” Flamingo quickly gained an international reputation. As dance music got harder and more progressive, Funkerman went on to create a second label ‘Can You Feel It Records!” as a home for more classic and groovy house with soulful vibes. With artists Gramophonedzie
, and Rene Amesz
on board, the label is a mecca for househeads. Funkerman’s recent releases “Coming Home” and “The Masterplan” are a sign of what to come on his brand new artist album set for release later this year.
RS: One of your classic tracks, “3 Minutes To Explain,” just got remixed. Is there a project to remix all of your classics or is it just a one off?
Funkerman: No, it’s a one off. It’s a little coincidental because people want you to play the tracks that they consider to be classics, and when you don’t they get a little disappointed. But you can understand that for Fedde and I, the original track it is not always the most pleasurable to play over and over again for seven or eight years. What we do is we make new versions to incorporate in our shows. I just finished a whole new project and the guys from the record company who do a lot of our business heard it and loved it. They told us that they had to release the mix that we were doing for our shows because it is so connected to all of the new stuff that I am doing now and that it would be great if they could redo it, and I said okay. I am not really into re-releasing, but I love playing it and they were really convincing and the response of the crowd was really great, so that is why we did this one time remix. It was also a little bit of an introduction for the new stuff that is on its way now.
RS: Before we get to the new stuff, this past year you have done a lot of stuff on Flamingo which is very disco-ey and old school disco-house.
Funkerman: No, actually that was the stuff that I did on the other label, Can You Feel It records. I started Flamingo, and for the first year I was handling the business and doing the A&R. You remember that it was pretty housey and house was popular during that time. In the last few years, house went from where we were back then to a little harder and harder. I got to the point where I could respect people that liked it and understood it was quality music, but it wasn’t what I liked playing, so I started another label to release the more disco-ey, soulful stuff that I am personally really in love with. That is what I have done for the last two years, but I haven’t released anything over the last two years from myself, I just signed records for other guys. I was just waiting for the right moment in time for me to get into it again and for house to come back. That is the talk this week, everyone can tell that house is the thing now and it feels really comfortable for me. I can appreciate other kinds of music but it just isn’t me, when I would produce other music like EDM or progressive, it just wouldn’t be honest.
RS: You also did a mix of Laid Back's “White Horse” what was it like taking on that classic record?
Funkerman: That was a great track; do you know that it’s a B-side?
RS: No I did not know that.
Funkerman: The A-side is “Sunshine Reggae,” so it is two all-time classics on one single from back then. I was honored to be asked to do that track; it’s been almost three years since we have done that track.
RS: I lose track of time. What do you have coming next?
Funkerman: We are now promo-ing the first record from the upcoming album, which is called “Tune,” and it is kind of in the same direction as the “3 Minutes To Explain” remix. It’s housey, but the term future house is too much of a gimmick word.
RS: How about instead of future house you call it EDeepM?
Funkerman: It is a good invention, but I don’t think that it will make the cut. Everybody is like “future house, future house,” and yesterday someone told me that every time I say “future house” I have to pay Laidback Luke a dollar. I was like “no, no, no,” he makes enough money already.
RS: Oh wait, I thought Tchami created future house?
Funkerman: I don’t know who created it, but everybody is really in love with it. I am not saying that I am making future house, but future house, UK house, and deep house and all the new house genres inspire me so it may have a little bit from one and a bit from another. I think that what I am doing now is what people that have known me for the last ten years would expect.
RS: Let’s go back in time a little bit, if you were standing in a room and you were looking at yourself when you were 18 years old what would you say to your 18 year-old self as advice?
Funkerman: Stop doing so many drugs, man.
Funkerman: No, I give a lot of advice to young people and the thing that amazes me is that the advice that I give is great advice, but they don’t listen to it. They say okay, but they still do the same thing that they were doing before you gave them the advice. Maybe you need to experience stuff your own way to get your own lessons from it. Just do what you want to do and the way that you want to do it because nobody can give you the advice to make you more happy or successful in life. Sometimes I see kids and want to tell them how to do things and they appreciate the advice and thank me, but then they go back to doing it their own way and that is the way that it is supposed to be.
RS: Take a look at the camera and talk to all of your fans out there, what would you like to say to them?
Funkerman: Hi, thanks for being my fans and thanks for all the support and I hope that I will inspire you with my new music. I hope that you will like it and that I will see you in the club soon.
Interview conducted at Amsterdam Dance Event 2014.