Post image for Funk Evolution Project

Funk Evolution Project

by admin on November 14, 2014

From James Brown and George Clinton to Lettuce and Prince, funk has rocked the dance floors in smoky clubs, festivals, and basements throughout the world for roughly half a century.  Since emerging from the soul and “Motown” sounds of the early ‘60s, funk has undergone exponential evolution.  Throughout the generations, funk has always been a high-energy dance/groove sound.  However, as time and technology move on, it has become increasingly more electronic.  After coming out of Soul music like the Temptations and early Stevie Wonder, funk started taking a turn towards a deeper, more groove oriented sound.  Being fronted by groups like Parliament, James Brown, and Sly and the Family Stone, this groovier sound seemed to be the main one in funk music for the next couple decades until the synthesizer really took off in the late ‘90s-early 2000s.

Today, although traditional funk still prevails, there is a different sound that is emerging with all the new innovations in sound technology.  This “new-wave” funk has very similar rhythmic patterns, energy, and feeling of groove.  However, instead of big twelve piece bands playing with many wind instruments, small groups of DJ’s are coming together to make this new funky-electronica sound that DJ duo The Floozies like to say is “party-rocking funk.”

The Floozies are two brothers that grew up in Lawrence, Kansas listening to their mother’s early funk records by artists like Parliament and Stevie Wonder.  They always knew they were musicians, but didn’t know exactly how to express that until a few years down the road.  They started throwing their electronic twist on the music when they were in their early teens in their basement, and less than decade later, the two are playing shows and festivals all over the country.  When questioned where they got the inspiration for their album Tell Your Mother, guitarist/producer Matt Hill says

“Yeah we just wanted to make this modern funk record using all of these new cool tools like all of these software synthesizers and stuff, theres so much crazy technology that we wanted to take advantage of to make a funk powerhouse album.”

There’s no doubt that the group’s fat samples, and syncopated licks get the dance floor moving just like the early funk icons did.  Just a few weeks ago, I saw the brothers play a show in town that exemplified this perfectly.  They don’t write set lists; they simply play off of the audience’s emotions and, judging by the crowd’s reaction, they really know how to put on a show.  The approach could not be any more resemblant of a funk show from the 70s.  Those who are into funky baselines, fat beats, and big drops should not miss this show if it ever comes to town.

I believe that funk is headed in their direction and that, similarly to their funky ancestors, The Floozies and groups like them are starting something iconic.  It will not be long before similar groups begin to follow their lead and the consumers really catch on.

by Jacob Secor

Thea Butler November 21, 2014 at 1:28 pm

I really enjoyed your presentation. It was interesting to see the the same genre of music compared side by side from the 50’s to the 00’s. Your take on the change in musical influences is captivating for the reader and viewers. I think this is a topic everyone and any one can relate to and be interested in.

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: