Since their formation in 2003, Perth based non-profit association Funk Club have been developing funk and related genres within both the local music scene and across the nation. We sat down with founder, Jimmy Murphy, and the current Chair Person, Rob Ferrari, to chat about we’re they’ve been and we’re they’re headed!
Rosie: Funk and Soul never went away but, going on recent attendances at Funk and Soul themed parties around Perth and Freo younger music punters seem to be realising the ecstatic joy of these genres, in this sense, what do you think is happening in the WA live music scene?
Jimmy Murphy: Funk and Soul will never go away, good music will never go away but I think a big part of it is the general message and values behind funk and soul music. It conveys people coming together to love each other and to stand with one another in a positive way. I think that message will always be relevant, and probably more relevant today than ever. It gives people hope.
Rob Ferrari: I think the local scene is seeing a resurgence of groove based bands, not just Funk and Soul, but anything that can get you up and dancing. I think that has a lot to do with the quality of the music that the new bands are putting out. It’s not your standard 4 chord song, it’s not just a band that stands still on stage and stares at their shoes while they play… we have some amazing bands on the WA scene that write complex but catchy tunes and they put a lot of effort and creativity into their stage shows. When I first saw Barefeet Sojourns and Soukouss Internationale I was impressed with how amazing they looked on stage as well as how good they sounded. When I first saw Pow! Negro, I knew that they would be big and quickly.
Rosie: Funk Club operated very successfully years back who and what was the initial drive that began what became widely knows as Funk Club?
Jimmy Murphy: I am the official founder of Funk Club Inc but it was a big group of funk and soul music (and related genres such as afro, reggae, world, hiphop etc) lovers and musicians coming together to celebrate and spread the music and the message of togetherness and good times. We set it up as a non-profit rather than a business as an experiment that put the focus on the people not the profit which fits the music and people involved. It provided an authentic and sustainable platform that still sees Funk Club running today. Im proud of what the new committee is achieving headed up by Rob Ferrari.
Rob Ferrari: I am the current chair person of Funk Club. I joined the committee about 3 years ago but I have been a punter for over 10 years. Back then, I didn’t know who or what was the initial drive, all I knew was that Funk Club nights were a lot of fun. I didn’t always know who was playing, but I knew that I would enjoy it. I have made so many great friends through Funk Club. For me the initial drive as a punter was that there was always something cool happening.
Rosie: Funk Club Fridays were held at Rosemount for a number of years at Rosemount Hotel. What was the basis of the connection between Rosemount and Funk Club back then?
Jimmy Murphy: Back then we had hosted a couple of one-off parties that went really well at the rosemount. I think the Rosie was diversifying its music offering and wanting to reach out to other parts of the music industry rather than traditional rock/pop and they asked us to move. For us we liked the idea of working in a bigger space which allowed us to bring in touring acts as well as support locals in a venue that valued and understood live music.
Rob Ferrari: Again, I was just a punter back then. The only thing I connected was the good times with the good music. hahaha
Rosie: What are some specific legendary strange or dangerous memories from Funk Club shows at Rosemount Hotel back in the day?
Jimmy Murphy: When one of the guys from Swollen Members missed his flight and I though they’d have to cancel their show but they played without him. Having Soup from J5 and Jungle Brothers and Z-Trip all at that one show was killer.
That NYE when we had the funk club house band merge with downsyde and perform fully live was super fun and there were almost a few train wrecks on stage in the process!!
Rob Ferrari: One magical night I will never forget is when Charles Bradley played the Funk Club. I had never heard of him before, I just knew that it would be a good Funk Club event. I was blown away by his sheer talent. Another time was watching the Crux play for the first time. Those guys were Funky!
Rosie: Tell us about the acts you’ve booked for the upcoming Funk Club show happening Saturday April 1st?
Jimmy Murphy: Soukouss international are a force! Featuring FCHBs guitarist Jamie Searle and the most magnetic Quentin Thorny these guys are heaps of fun and provide a ‘new sound’ to the scene haha.
Rob Ferrari: I’m super stoked that Funk Club are putting this show together. Pow! Negro, Soukouss Internationalle and Barefeet Sojourns are all fresh acts that have been creating something special at every event that I have seen them play. Each of these bands know how to create a good vibe and they all bring something unique to the stage. It is amazing that we could get all three of them on the same event. To add to that, the mystery band Renegades Royale will feature a combination of familiar faces and new comers. Every act has upbeat music that will get the crowd dancing and feeling good. That’s what I like most about this event, it has all the ingredients of a great Funk Club night out. Amazing musicians, great dancers, great stage show, familiar friends and something new and unexpected. I’m really looking forward to it.
Tickets are still available for the Funk Club’s ‘The New Sound’ show at the Rosemount Hotel on Saturday April 1st, get your ticket here!