Interview: Roel Funcken (Funckarma)


1. Tell us about your trip to Russia. How's Moscow? What did you like and what did you not like? Was there anything that seemed weird or surprised you?

We played a couple of times in Russia, mainly Moscow, but its also around 10 years ago so my memory isn't great on it anymore. We got invited by a museum  (NCCA) a couple of times which was a very nice venue to play. Really nice conditions, very good sound, really cool crowd and awesome food. The guy who invited us most of the times was a really nice guy, We got well taken care of so my memories of Russia in general are good ones.

We also played on the SKIF Festival in St. Petersburg which was a nice experience to, very awesome crowd who was fully into the stuff we played.

The first time we arrived we got picked up by 2 guys with no teeth that didn't speak no single word of english and they drove us to the location, that was a bit weird.

There is another thing that i will never forget. Me and Don where in our hotel room around 7 in the morning. The cleaning lady just comes crashing in the hotel room and I kid you not she starts mopping the carpet. Me and my brother looked at each other like: «What the fuсk is happening here???!!!».

2. Tell us about your album Balaklavskiy Prospex. What's its main message? Is there a backstory?

«Balaklavskiy Prospex bends and twists its way through those familiar, glitchy tentacles of dust and debris that one can instantly relate to the Roel Funcken signature» (quote from Igloo Magazine). It is all my musical knowledge and experience combined into these 14 album tracks. It's a fusion of everything that I did until the moment it got released. It withholds idm, bass, glitch, braindance, dub, ambient, scapes and it feels like all Funckarma projects are in there somewhere. The message is music, there is no deeper meaning to it cause in my opinion its already deep by itself.


3. Do you have a favorite instrument or instruments?

I use the instruments from twisted tools a lot and for instance Ultraloop. Ultraloop is a Reaktor Ensemble that lets you build sick, crazy loops by comping between 128 different loops at once, in real time. It comes with tons of loops, and also allows you to bring in your own. Remixing has become that much easier.
i also dig the plugins from sugarbytes, for instance factory. very unique and  versatile sound coming from a plugin. Ten unique oscillator types. Eleven filter modes, including 8-pole lowpass. Visual modulation grid. Patch morphing. Integrated effects include physical modeling options.  it generates quickly beautiful but complex sounds in an instant.

A good friend of mine, which whom i do the legiac output with has some favourite instruments amongst his gear. for instance the RSF Kobol. It is a monophonic analog synthesizer with traditional controls, knobs, switches and two oscillators for a good solid analog synth sound and the Yahama CS80. It can generate great analog strings, brass, drones and pads with that instantly recognizable classic polysynth sound. No synth sounds greater. 

He has many many more synths. I think by now i have around 200 gigabytes of material from him to mess around with, so i consider myself a very lucky guy.

4. What did you grow up listening to? 

When people ask me this question what always comes to mind straight away is that my mother would use to play The Shadows in the living room, on vinyl even,  instrumental guitar music. I love the fact that she listened to a lot of instrumental music anyway, what unconsciously a big eye opener for me.

Later on I listened to a lot of hip hop and electric boogie type stuff ranging from grandmaster flash to egyptian lover. Really liked the electro beats used in movies like Beatstreet and Breakdance, i even had it on vinyl.

Other stuff that is worth the mention is Art Of Noise. I collected everything from them and see them as a big inspiration. 

5. Has there been a considerable evolution of your musical tastes during last 10 years?

It feels like I'm going back to truly IDM type of stuff, that is becoming the main focus again. Everything that flows around that genre which is easy to combine with IDM. for instance im letting all the dance genres go for what they are. For instance dubstep, i just cant be bothered by 99% of the stuff that is out there, but what i still like about it is how it changed my opinion in how my own music should be mixed and how present the sub bass needs to be in there, what really comes forward in a track like Flamsteed Designation” on Balaklavskiy Prospex.

In my own private listening sessions i really like listening to ambient music, there is always room in the surroundings of daily life to squeeze in a bit of ambient vibes. 


6. What releases that came out last year impressed you the most?

Not sure its all from 2017 but here you go:

You can check most of the above here.

I can go on forever. If you want more musical input I make playlists on Spotify and on Soundcloud every month.

7. Has the project Funckarma ended? Have you done all you could with it? Is the idea depleted and there will be no upgrades?

Nah, it's just on hold. We agreed to hold back funckarma releases because that's us 2 together and we aren’t generating any new material for a while now. It's mainly because my brother has other priorities in life. Maybe there will be a future release but no guarantees. The good thing about it all is that we just can be brothers again, nothing else.

8. In your opinion, does the amount of recorded and released material affect its quality?

That's a difficult question to ask a musician. Of course it has. Looking back I wouldn't have released everything that is out there right now. Because i have the tendency to only hear the elements that aren't good about it, and hear only what I want to change, but there is no point. I rarely listen back to older stuff also because of that. 


9. You and Don have your own label called Funcken Industry. Did you create it just for yourselves? Are you planning on developing it in any way or is it just a collection of digital releases for sale?

Just for ourselves and yes just a digital collection of our own stuff for sale. The nice thing about it its really us. if you wanna support us its best to do it there. The essence of having a label became of less importance over the years and eventually it will all come down to release on platforms like this. 

10. What Russian musicians do you know, and if so, do you know anyone personally?

I know Dronarivm which is an ambient label which is partly based in Moscow. I released an album there as Legiac.

Andrew Noumen (he is from the Ukraine, i know him a bit through social media).

11. What has your brother Don been doing?

for the most part Don is a father, so he is taking care of his kids. it consumes most of his time. He still is making some stuff on occasion and releases a track here and there under the name Dn Fnckn

12. Could you name any Dutch electronic musicians that you would recommend to check out?

13. Your guest mix that you made specially for Data.Wave is called Balaklavskiy Prospane. What could you tell us about its contents?

its going from 74 to a 174 bpm. so it covers a lot of genres. its only stuff i really like from others mixed up with quite a few tracks from balaklavskiy prospex and other tracks from me. there are 2 remixes in there, one just came out tru methlab which is a remix for datacode (check a awesome video for it here). And another remix that still needs to come out for artcloud (track is called sunder). i put much effort in making these mixes flow naturally despite the fact i often mix tracks in there with strange measures. plus i like to use a lot of effects when there is an actual mix going on.

14. What are your plans for the future?

I really don't plan that much, I just let stuff flow naturally. I will always be making new music and new mixes, because that is what i like to do the most in life. its the only way I can enjoy my existence on this world to the fullest. its part of who i am. i need it. 

     Questions: Krib / Ilya Kudrin