Earlier this month some leaks from the most anticipated album of the year pricked the ears of UK music fans in particular as Drake, who is currently engaged in a love affair with all things London, continued his hot-streak by releasing ‘One Dance’ featuring a gratuitous sample of the Funky House classic ‘Do You Mind’ by Kyla. Having already shown his love for Grime, he’s slowly enveloping different aspects of British sounds (we’re just waiting on him to hear Goldie’s Timeless…) whilst adding his own unique flavour.
UK Funky (or Funky House) was an oddly short-lived musical chapter in the UK underground scene, rising from the ashes of a dwindling Grime scene and taking inspiration from Garage, House and Afrobeat. Although fleeting, the scene made a big splash in the UK and spawned it’s own anthems, dance moves (skanks), and left it’s mark on the hardcore continuum. A production duo named Crazy Cousinz were behind many of these anthems including ‘Do You Mind’, ‘The Funky Anthem’, ‘Bongo Jam’ and a ton of massive remixes. We’ve spoken to DJ Paleface from Crazy Cousinz, and the artist listed alongside Kyla on the initial release of the track, about his outlook on UK Funky and his thoughts on ‘One Dance’.
Huge congratulations on ‘One Dance’ sampling your hit ‘Do You Mind’ still sitting at UK Number 1 this week! 7 years after the original charted you must be happy with the impact of the music you’ve created alongside Kyla
Thank you, I am very very happy!
You released the original track as a bassline version but your own Crazy Cousinz mix a year later ended up becoming a bonafide classic, what was the decision process behind remixing it?
The decision behind remixing the track was quite simple really, the more mixes of an original track there are increases the likelihood of the track taking off. There were many remixes of ‘Do You Mind’ which were released, the original vinyl came out with my original production and a Rekless remix, my cousin remixed it under ‘Crazy Cousinz’ as a mix swap and in return I remixed ‘Bongo Jam’ twice (a house remix and a bassline remix), other mixes were provided by L.D., TerraDanja, Control S, DJ Swerve and was even a fresh recording over a Mad Professor instrumental.
The tune still totally stands up in it’s own right and OVO and the gang had clearly been enjoying it in some recent studio sessions, what did you think of where they’ve taken it?
I think their production placed the track to global audience that was not really possible before, by slowing the track down it changed the genre immediately and could be considered pop, hip hop, afrobeat and even reggae/dancehall. I think this is brilliant.
Were you a fan of Drake prior to this connection coming through?
I think Drake is a great artist, for me he keeps the essence and culture of hip hop true and doesn’t follow fads, he sets them!
Judging by Drake’s Instagram activity I get the feeling Logan Sama helped with the sample guidance in some fashion here, it’s great to see Drake actually engaging with UK underground rather than just feeding from it, where you aware of this before the call came in for the sample?
I was completely unaware of the sample, I still have not spoke to Logan but I do need to thank him when I see him next.
You’ve had history of being sampled before by Kanye West collaborator Theophilus London on his mixtape track ‘Crazy Cousins’, was there a backstory to this link up?
To be honest this is news to me, however that was an original track produced by my cousin Flukes so I’m sure he would know more about that.
Your Crazy Cousinz collaborator (and actual cousin) Flukes has also had a stellar career, probably best known for his Wifey Riddim featuring Tinie Tempah, are you two still working on music together?
Flukes is now working solo under the alias Luke Larrell and solo under the alias Crazy Cousinz. We have spoken and there are no plans to work on any music in the future.
Grime is really having a moment globally at the moment, do you see any momentum gathering in UK Funky again? You can still hear that swing in Lil Silva’s current output and Roska recently resurrected his Bakongo alias on a similar vibe
I know that there is a lot of talk around UK Funky, I myself have produced a few tracks that could be considered UK Funky (Daydreaming, Fall Outta Love, Pleasure RMX etc) and believe that something could happen with the genre as a whole. I guess it’s up to the main players involved to put something together, however I also believe that when UK Funky blossomed it was totally organic and not reaction based. If there is to be a second wind of UK Funky I would imagine it would be a lot different to the first time round, key producers like DJ Kent and DJ Gregory who were clear influences upon the first wave of producers would be non relevant, it would be very different.
The comeback of Grime has lead to some of the rare & classic 12”s getting reissued and repressed, what do you think of the current vinyl resurgence and are you looking to do anything similar with your Northern Line label?
We plan to release a limited LP every 6 months with the best of the digital releases for the time elapsed, we are pondering with the picture disc idea. I think the resurgence of vinyl is excellent but the usual vinyl buyer nowadays is (and only in my opinion) a collector rather than a DJ, which would make the target audience different to the original audience we aimed at when we first started pressing up vinyl.
What’s on the radar next for DJ Paleface?
Continuing to run Northern Line Records with a consistent stream of releases, release more of my own tracks, continue to develop Kyla as an artist and more than anything else, enjoy life.