2016 has been a big year for Plastik Funk. The duo of Rafael Ximenez-Carrillo and Mikio Gruschinsk signed to a major label and had more than five massive hits (Tight, Here We Go, Trust, Love & Affection, Sidekick, This is It, and Ever). They’ve also managed to go back to their roots of house and transition away from the big room sound that launched them into the stratosphere (Dr. Who). While we await the long awaited release of their song with Fatman Scoop
, we can be sure that 2017 will be full of even more epic tracks!
RS: Hi, how are you guys doing today?
Rafael: We are doing really well for the second day of ADE, still alive!
RS: I have been dying to ask y’all this so we are just going to dive into the controversy. As someone who worked with the Grandmaster Melle Mel on a brilliant update of “The Message,” what do you think of the new Bruno Mars record “24K Magic”?
Mikio: Bruno Mars is really great in whatever he does. I heard the track for the first time a few days ago and it’s amazing. He has a way of bringing the old sound to the new world and it’s amazing, I envy him.
Rafael: I totally agree. It is amazing how he brings funk and high quality funky music from back in the day to another level and to the pop charts of today, the kids love it and dance to it. It is amazing how he made that transition, it’s unbelievable.
RS: Taking about vocal tracks, on a track like “Ever” does it start with a vocal sample or a track? How do you build your music that way?
Mikio: On “Ever” we just started with some sounds. We were looking for some new sounds to use and just started playing around. We had a melody and the vocal came from sample CD. We were just looking for some nice sounding samples and we adjusted everything.
RS: How about a full vocal song like “This Is It”?
Rafael: That started with the vocal, we got the vocal from our last management. We changed management over a year ago but it was one of the vocals that they showed us that really stuck out and we loved right away. It was more pop than stuff we normally do but it was super catchy and we liked the sound of the vocal and their voice. It was fun to work on, it started with the vocal and we created the track around it.
RS: Last time we spoke you were working with Fatman Scoop on a “Be Faithful” cover, what happened with that?
Mikio: We finished it and everything was fine. I have no idea why we didn’t bring it to any label. It’s all finished and it’s on our computers but we haven’t released it yet.
RS: We really want it.
Rafael: The problem was that doing the cover of “Faithful” was not possible because even Fatman Scoop could not get it cleared. What we did was similar to “Faithful” but it was still a different track. From the time that we started that track to now, we have changed our style. We went back to our roots and we are much housier now, everything that is signed to Armada Deep at the moment is 100% house music. At that time we had to produce a little more for the big room and now we can do whatever we want but that sound is a bit old right now. If we start working on the vocals again, because we have everything ready, we will have to totally redo it and start from scratch.
RS: Please do it, we want it. You’re known for great covers like “The Message” and “Everybody Dance Now,” what song from the ‘90s would you redo right now?
Mikio: We have talked about this many times, I think that it is hard to find something that has not been done 50 times. We are looking for something that is not so obvious to be covered, we like to call it “smart sampling” now. We want to use something that is not a big hit from the ‘90s and make it sound up to date.
Rafael: Actually, there is a cover planned but the problem is that we can’t tell you now because I know that there are some people who just wait for the ideas. You are going to be the first one that we tell once we have it cleared.
RS: I am excited. Speaking about the ‘90s, what was it like meeting Jaydee and Tonka yesterday?
Mikio: We have known Tonka for many because he is also from Germany and we have been friends forever. For me it was a big honor to meet Jaydee because I was a huge fan of his track “Plastic Dreams” in the 90s’. Oh god, I’m getting old.
RS: 28 is not old, dude!
Mikio: You’re right, I was not even a teenager. That is why we love to come here to ADE because we always bump into people like Jaydee or Marshall Jefferson or whoever there is. They are all running around Amsterdam right now, we are stoked!
Rafael: Especially Tonka, I remember seeing him when I was in a club at 17, in Germany you have to be 18 to be in a club but he was one of our heroes. My friends and I would go to the clubs when he was playing because we loved all his tracks and his sets were amazing. It has become a friendship and it is so fun to hang out with him. We just booked him for a party for the first time, we are going to do a revival party at an old club in our home town and he will be playing there in November. We are really excited to have a crazy party with him.
RS: Let’s say that you are in a room and the two of you are with Kenny Dope and DJ Sneak, what kind of track would y’all make?
Rafael: That’s really funny you say that because I just met them at the airport a couple of weeks ago and took a picture with them. They are Gods so that’s a good question. It would be a mix of Plastik Funk and the guys, we are big fans of their tracks, old and new. We would just be honored to add our touch to a track with them. It would probably mainly sound like DJ Sneak and Kenny Dope.
RS: Mikio, I saw a picture of you in a bear costume on your Instagram. If you were a furry, what animal would you be?
Mikio: That’s pretty easy, a panda of course, the furry panda!
Rafael: I would be a lovely dog. The funny thing is that is not a bear costume and Mikio was not even there. It was at the airport in Thailand and I saw this huge bear that was Mikio’s size and took a selfie and asked people what they thought of Mikio’s new style. But let’s keep it like that.
Mikio: Maybe we should wear that kind of stuff in the future.
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RS: Like DJs from Mars, that would be great! Makes drinking a lot more difficult though. When they make the movie about your life as Plastik Funk, what actor will play each of you?
Mikio: That is a good question, I would love to have Jackie Chan play myself. For Rafael it is easy because he looks like David Beckham, although he is not an actor.
RS: Yeah, exact same abs. How about Samuel Jackson for you? Or Cuba Gooding Jr?
Mikio: That would be cool!
RS: Where can we get a Funk You Very Much t-shirt?
Rafael: We have our Funk You Very Much t-shirt store and you can get the link on Facebook and order right there. We are going to bring you one next time we see you.
RS: Thank you so much! When you come to Chicago, we would love to have you there. What would you like to say to all of your fans out there?
Rafael: Thank you for all of the support, 2016 was a very special year and a pretty good year. We signed with a big label and we had more than 5 releases this year. All of the releases are doing well and we have a lot of support from the big names in the industry so thanks for all the support. We need your support in 2017.
Interview conducted October 2016.