Hello people of Earth! Meet K+Lab, your reigning Intergalactic Funk Champion!

In the few years I've been listening to K+Lab, I just plainly assumed that he was an alien – an intergalatic traveller with the funky secrets of the universe, merely stopping by Earth to enrich the funkless lives of our planets inhabitants.. His brand of sonic electronic goodness is impossibly heavy, thoroughly disorienting and frankly sounds like it came from another bloody dimension. But no, he's just a normal, albeit super-funky, dude from New Zealand. His performances are impossibly heavy forays into deep space funk, as he's up on the stage, funkifying unsuspecting crowds with his producer/DJ rig and the keytar that's become something of a signature.

“People really get excited when they see the keytar,” notes K+Lab. It was the same excitement that immediately gripped him when he first discovered this powerful part of his arsenal. “I was just walking down the street one day and I saw the keytar in a shop window. I walked past it then turned around and walked back and thought, 'Well, that's gotta be mine, now.' It chose me.” It was as simple as that. A warrior found his weapon and the rest, as they say, is history.

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5 Questions with Rags #48 - Steve Raskin of Fort Knox Five

I've written extensively about the effect Fort Knox Five has had on my listening habits. (Here and here and here and here.) One of my entry points into electronic music, FK5 remains a staple of my listening diet to this day. Their Funk the World series is an endless stream of funky greatness. Their albums and remixes are always relentlessly funky and instantly accessible. When I start to get sucked into the world of ultra-heavy, mostly-dark bass music, Fort Knox Five is right there to lighten things, splash some colour into my ears and get me back to the roots of Funk. In all this time pouring their music into my ears, writing about and even interview FK5, Steve Raskin has escaped me. I finally managed to catch up with him at home in DC during a brief break before he's back out into the world, back to my beloved Canadian West Coast - Including two HUGE shows in Vancouver on 4/14 with Shambhala vets Spiltmilk and Hoola at FIVESIXTY, then a funky-skunky 4/20 party in Victoria at Distrikt.

1. Do you remember the first album you bought with your own money?

The fist album I bought with my own money was the soundtrack to The Beatles' Yellow Submarine. I remember being fascinated with all the psychedelic imagery and singable songs that I still listen to.

2. If you could spend the day with anyone, living or dead, who would it be and what would you do?

I would have killed to have been able to spend a day with David Bowie. Pretty sure I would have just nodded my head and not said a word no matter what we were doing!

3. What's your most positive memory of a school teacher growing up?

My grandmother was an art teacher and convinced me at an early age that you can do art for a living… Blew my little mind!

Photo by Oberto Photography. 

Photo by Oberto Photography

4. When is the last time you did something for the first time?

This year I tried Yoga for the first time. For real...

5. I always get a guest question from the last answerer, but today you get two! The first one is from Dan aka FxFarmer of Funkanomics... What means LOVE to you?

Love the wording of this question from one of the funkiest Germans I know….

LOVE - colours everything you do - the good and the bad - taking you to high highs and low lows - and always worth the journey

6. The second guest question is from the actual last answerer of the questions...Singer/songwriter/ruffian B.A. Johnston asks.... Which 80s wrestler best describes your sound?

Andre the Giant - because he’s larger than life!

Upon doing a bit more reading after his interview, I realized that Raskin is also part of THUNDERBALL! Don't know how that one slipped by me, but either way, listen to this fresh Thunderball track!

5 Questions with Rags #45 - Father Funk

Father Funk had been on my radar for a little over a year before his debut in Fractal Forest at Shambhala last summer. I was not surprised when he blew the faces off everyone in the Forest to start that Friday night with the Fractal Family. However, when one notoriously picky electronic-expert-listener friend was blown away by his set as well, I knew it was something special. You see, she had seemingly moved beyond the realm of easily accessible, hard rocking party sets and needed things to be more abstract, odd...I don't even really know with her sometimes. But here was Father Funk, coming right over the middle of the plate with heater after heater, accessible and funky as hell, smashing her selective ears apart. Luckily for her, her ears still work, despite the relentless Funk assault that was unleashed that night and, luckily for the rest of us in Canada, Father Funk seemingly found a new base that weekend. I caught up with the homie in the midst of his latest Canadian tour, to talk about Jimi Hendrix, good advice and the meaning of “Love.”

Come bust a move to Father Funk's Full Frontal Funk Fest with yours truly this Family Day weekend in Victoria at Upstairs Cabaret!

1. Do you remember the first album you bought with your own money?

I think it was probably “All Killer, No Filler” by Sum 41.

Wow. Do you ever still listen to it?

Not really. I still regard it as a good album. I mean, I still listen to that sort of music but I like the ska and punk side of it. I listen to a lot of Mad Caddies, Streetlight Manifesto, Less Than Jake...bands like that. Sum 41 was more of a teen phase.

2. When is the last time you did something for the first time?

I guess, fairly often, being a DJ and going all over the world, being in different countries I've not been in. That's probably it. Oh, well I watched a hockey match last night for the first time. It was good. It wasn't a full-on professional game. My friend was having a bit of session with his local team.

Where's the last place that you went to that blew your mind with the energy they had for you?

I guess Kelowna the other weekend and them Big White (Whistler) the same weekend. I guess that was more people who didn't particularly know who I was. They were just enjoying the music I was playing. I think sometimes that's even nicer, I guess it's a bit more real when someone's responded to your music organically rather than because it's hyped up or whatever.

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5 Questions with Rags #39 - The Russ Liquid Test

In the build-up to Shambhala this past year, there was no act I was more excited to check out than the Russ Liquid Test. For about as long as I've been into electronic Russ Liquid's name has been a mark of quality – groovy, funky quality. The idea of seeing his musical vision through the prism of a live act at Shambhala, one of the great venues on Earth to see live music, had my ear-pussy soaked with anticipation. The power trio – Liquid, guitarist Andrew Block and drummer Nick Mercadel – battled through early sound problems (With some timely help from Miss Erica Dee) and delivered one of my favourite sets of the weekend. Even better, soon after I arrived home from the Farm, still abuzz with all the great music, the trio released their first official single, “FNK FWD” (feat. Steve Swatkins), a wonderful glitchy dose of bright, lively funk. It's a perfect night-starter or pick-me-up on a shitty day. Even luckier than getting this into my eyes, I managed to meet up with the Russ Liquid Test at Shambhala to get them down with the 5 Questions, in which we discuss Stevie Wonder, the beautiful tragedy that is Mardis Gras and the some of the guys' most positive school memories.

Keep abreast of things Russ Liquid over on the ol' Facebook and Twitter.

And, more importantly, keep up on the musical happenings over on Soundcloud.

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1. Do you remember the first album you bought with your own money?

Andrew Block: Doggystyle. Actually, I bought two at the same time. Doggystyle and Aerosmith Get A Grip.

And which one do you listen to more today?

AB: Doggystyle. At the time though, Aerosmith, actually.

Russ Liquid: The Beatles The White Album.

Favourite track?

RL: Oh man, there's so many of them. I like “Savoy Truffle.”

Nick Mercadel: It was a Stevie Wonder record. I don't know which one it was but I know my first purchase was a Stevie Wonder record in an actual brick & mortar store.

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#festivalseason - An in-depth musical review by a Groove Rider at Shambhala.

There is no experience like Shambhala. The mountain setting, the Life-giving river, the PK Sound, the hoards of beautiful people, the ridiculous stage designs, the colours, the art...all of it combines for one of the most unique experiences any of us are likely to find on this planet. But all of this pivots on the music. The best Djs, spanning nearly every genre of dance music you can imagine, provide the soundtrack for all the ridiculousness and that soundtrack is the thing is thing that keeps me coming back year in and year out. There are many places to read about the people and the culture of Shambhala, albums of photos by people far more qualified than me documenting the bliss (Check the Shambhala FB page for a cornucopia of said photo albums). So with that, here is my overly long, in-depth look at the way I spent my musical time on the Farm this year.

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