Capturing the elements of his home city’s thriving sound system culture, Funkineven, aka Stevie Julien, has spent the best part of his life forming his very own eclectic music that sounds like an array of London borne soul, hip hop, house and techno. Sparking the interests of Alexander Nut and Floating Points’ esteemed collective, Eglo Records, from early on, Funkineven’s warped take on analogue electronics can be found standing proud behind Fatima’s power vocal on records like ‘Phone Line’. Julien’s handiwork has also appeared on various singles on his own Apron Records and the Species EP on Julio Bashmore’s Broadwalk imprint.
But simply put it was Funkineven’s explicit love for machines and hardware that made us ache to experience his music performed live, something that he’ll once again be doing on 21st February when he plays in Room Two alongside Daniel Avery, Kowton, Tessela and Volte-Face. So when provided with the opportunity to dicsuss a few things with him, we jumped at the chance ahead of his upcoming appearance.
Hi Steven, hope you're well. First things first, what encouraged you to take on a live project? A live set was requested and I happily accepted. It’s not my first option as I always enjoy DJing but I’ve got all these analogue machines so I thought I might as well bring them out to play and show everyone my toys.
I’m guessing it’s quite a different experience to Djing then? Very different as live is like making music in real time, on the spot. DJing is playing other peoples music but nah, there’s a skill in that also! I guess you can tell a story in both concepts.
What hardware are you using at the moment and why? My latest big purchase is Universal Audio Apollo (UAD) which allows you to record hardware and transforms it into a digital file using your DAW (Logic, Ableton etc). It’s soooo good! The quality is amazing and the software plugins really sound analogue. It really complements me as I use a lot analogue stuff like Roland 808, 303, 707 etc…I need there to be a good signal path and recording using these machines.
How do you approach production? Do you have a particular routine or is every project different? Well most of my work is live jams that I record into Logic, then edit, mix-down and sculpt into a piece of music. But sometimes again I use only software, like dragging a sample or a song into logic, chopping it up and making it completely different. It just depends on my mood and whenever I feel creative!
And your Funkinevil collaborations with Kyle Hall – what’s it like working with him? I read that you get in the studio whenever he’s in town, is that still the case? Yep! Mostly when Kyle tours in Europe or London he stays round my crib. We jam in my studio, mess around recording live and wait for something special to happen - which most of the time it does. The way we both work solo or together is in a live aspect, so making music by sending ideas back and forth across the internet from Detroit to London just isn't the same!
Do you see yourself collaborating with anyone else in the future or producing/DJing under a different name? Not really, I’ve kind of already worked with everyone I want to work with, (apart from Prince). Anyone else I haven't worked with already has to happen naturally. I’ve got other aliases and people I work with but maybe that’s for a live or art installation project as its less dance floor based and more about textures.
I’ve always enjoyed your NTS shows. Do you find doing the radio show quite a different outlet in terms of music? Radio is definitely different than playing music in a party, to me you have to tell some sort of story without thinking of losing the crowd or playing a song to get people back in. My show is more or less all exclusives, un-released stuff or old records that are quite rare or has influenced me to this day. It’s a soundtrack for your journeys or a run in the gym.