Charlie Funk, long term staff writer with True Groove Records in Brooklyn, New York, released his debut album, ‘Give Me A Groove’, earlier this year. We caught up with Charlie and asked him his story.
EP: How do you define funk as a genre?
CF: Funk, I think,is a feeling. It contains elements of soul, rock, blues, jazz, which are all related to begin with. Dr George Clinton said something like if someone digs classical, that’s their funk. I was thinking that if it feels good to your mind, you may be into some funk.
EP: Talk us through your album, ‘Give Me A Groove’. Is there any one song in particular that you love more than the others?
CF: Well, ‘Lunch In Babylon’: Tomas Doncker said something about eating lunch in Babylon. I said that’s a song. Tomas agreed and said write the lyrics and send them too him later. That was how that went down.
‘It’s Not Unusual’: My mother bought me the legendary Tom Jones album when I was six years old. My sister Zadi and I would watch his show back in those days.
‘It’s Not a Joke’ is about freedom; being able to do what you feel. It’s about expressing yourself. Artistically, for example. It’s about unconditional love.
‘Give Me A Groove’ is that party/hang out jam. “Going to the place where the funky people meet…”Let’s party, y’all!
‘Sexy Cutie’: I was toying with the idea of sweets, pastries, etc for a song for a while. I connected that idea with the ladies, “so sweet”. It may be a funky love song. Funk and love, baby. The essentials of life.
‘Sexy Cutie’ (Touchy Feely Remix): Great remix by the amazing James Dellatacoma, I call him J-Funk. The textures of sound, the layers, the vibe is genius.
If I had to pick one it would be ‘Sexy Cutie’; this is the one that got the ball rolling, as far as the CD is concerned.
But, it could be ‘Lunch In Babylon’ tomorrow.
EP: You’re the long time songwriter with True Groove Records. How did you start with them? Where do you go from here?
CF: It started with meeting the legendary Tomas Doncker in the 80s.We started writing back then. When True Groove was born, I continued working with Tomas and some super-talented artists at True Groove. I’m privileged to be associated with so many talented artists at True Groove. I just want to continue writing songs that can touch and move people.
EP: Opening track, ‘Lunch In Babylon’ talks about corruption, racism, terrorism…Would you consider yourself political?
CF: There’s no one alive that’s not touched by politics in some way. Personally, I grew up around some political people. Then I heard ‘What’s Goin’ On’ by the great Marvin Gaye. Before that was ‘Stand’ by Sly and the Family Stone. Last, but not least, the great Bob Marley. I’ve heard it said more than once that politics is everyday.
EP: What’s your background? How did you get into music in the first place? Has it always played a huge part in your life?
CF: I guess it was church first. My parents enjoy music. I find myself humming or hearing lyrics in my head. My dad took me to see several of the Jazz greats. I also grew up on a very musical block in Brooklyn.
EP: Who should we be listening to right now?
CF: Everyone at True Groove. And of course, there is talent and inspiration out there. Kendrick Lamar, for example. It’s what funks your boat.
EP: What question do you wish someone would ask you in an interview, but nobody ever does?
CF: Perhaps, what I wish for the world: Funk and love. Thanks so much for the interview Essentially Pop!
You can stream ‘Give Me A Groove’ on Soundcloud. Find Charlie Funk and True Groove Records online on their website, Twitter, and Facebook. ‘Give Me A Groove’ was produced by Tomás Doncker and James Dellatacoma for True Groove.