We guarantee you anyone who knows a thing or two about the independent funk, soul and blues scene also knows Jalapeno Records stalwart – Dr Rubberfunk…
A mainstay of the landscape – his home-grown, honestly composed, and intricately produced recordings, combined with a hands-on approach both in front of and behind the mixing desk, have earned him a well-deserved reputation for being a name synonymous with quality.
That quality just keeps coming as he carries his successful ‘My Life At 45’ singles series into a third installment. With two sell out runs of limited edition 45s having won praise from the likes of BBC6Music, driven mixes on Mixcloud to the top of their charts, and garnered support across the blogosphere, it made sense to continue the good work and get to work on number three.
Extending his fruitful relationship producing fellow Jalapeno Records artist and soul gospel specialist Izo FitzRoy, the lead track sees them team up for some timeless songwriting in the shape of ‘A Matter Of Time’.
Izo is on a real hot streak at the moment having featured on Pt.2 of this 7” series before going on to work with Shawn Lee (BBE Records) and Dimitri From Paris (Glitterbox) on singles that tore up radio charts worldwide. And she delivers on this track once again, with the catchiest melody you’ll hear this year over Rubberfunk’s tasteful, upbeat and lively production.
Backing it up is the bluesy ‘Slim‘s Mood’ which allows the Rubberfunk band to stretch their legs over a driving soul jazz arrangement that’s a must for fans of ‘Boogaloo Joe’ Jones and Grant Green.
The Hoof caught up with the good Dr for a chat before the release of Part 1 of ‘My Life’
So Simon it goes without saying that you a real bonafide Doctor of The Funk, so if you could cure anything in the music industry today, what would it be, I’d personally eradicate the epidemic use of autotune vocals.
“Yeah, autotune as an overblown effect can go. Unless you’re rocking some super silky Herbie Hancock Future Shock vocoder skills – then you can stay. As with any industry there’s a ton of things that need change, but it would be nice to wave a magic wand and cure the lack of diversity for starters”
Your latest release is ‘My life at 45’ coming twelve years after ‘My life at 33’ will we have to wait a bit longer for ‘My life at 78’ it might be stretching it a bit to see the return of that format, but you never know with cassettes making a comeback, seriously though how do you see the industry in another 10-15 years with the growth of streaming, the often common creation of playlists over listening to LP’s.
“You’re probably right that ‘My Life At 78’ is a pun too far, but I’m a fan of the cassette – I still have a car with a tape deck, so it’s a useful format for me, and not just cos I’m too tight to buy a new system for the car! It’s good to see physical formats co-existing alongside digital and streaming services – I’m a big supporter of what Bandcamp have done in particular, for building a community of artists, labels and fans that embrace both. Hopefully this can continue, but the insistence of the major labels on re-issuing albums on vinyl that can still be easily found secondhand is putting such pressure on the creaking vinyl pressing infrastructure that independent labels are suffering in a big way, and unless changes are made now, we might not have the luxury of physical formats like vinyl in another 10 years”
I’ve noticed over the last two years more and more artists and DJ’s are creating playlists for their own and other artists music and every week I am surprised by a record released on Spotify, it may be a classic that would cost me £100’s on vinyl or a small indie release that I would of expected to be just released as a download, so for me personally as a avid music listener I can only see it in a positive way but do you as an artist have a positive outlook, can you see a future working with the three formats: physical -downloads – streaming, working for established acts like yourself and for new emerging acts.
“I love using digital services for discovery too, and did a whole series of playlists last year featuring new music I was finding – whether brand new releases or things I’d re-discovered in my own collection. Much like yourselves, sharing these finds with a wider audience drives what I do as a DJ, it’s an extension of those ‘have you heard THIS?!?’ moments that were a daily occurrence with my friends in my teens and early twenties”
Many of artists already featured on Music to Shake a hoof, including your label mates on Jalapeño records ‘Smoove and Turrell’ are having some great success as a live band and just recently Daytoner has come out of shed/studio and onto the festival circuit have you ever considered bringing the drum kit back out and performing as a live act.
“I’ve always enjoyed playing live, it’s just been a question of the right opportunities, and wanting to gig for the right reasons. I have certain people I love playing with, so it’s mostly a calendar thing as everyone’s busy with their own projects, but never say never”