UK Funky is one of those genres that, despite dipping and disappearing, has never really waned in how immediately effective it is, particularly on the floor. Since they first came through around five years ago, FunkyStepz have been one of the acts to define in the best terms exactly why this is the case. While Renay, Stimpy and Maxsin actually hop genres a fair amount — between house, garage, bass, and bashment — their ear for slamming beats and popping, walkabout basslines have made them one of the shaping forces behind the UK Funky sound, and their latest effort, the Special Delivery EP on Club Soda, shows no signs of bucking this trend.
The whole release is full of taut grooves, and nimbly executed house-inflected bass, and this is no more typified than on the track they are premiering exclusively on THUMP today: "Moruga Reloaded". As far as we are concerned, it's amazing to hear the trio on such rib-tickling, bass-building form. "Moruga Reloaded" is the sort of aerodynamic banger that's perfect for the deepest point of a lost-in-a-basement kind of night. We were so excited to hear the new stuff, and the refreshing return of UK Funky to our ears, that we reached out to both FunkyStepz and Jon Parish from Club Soda for a few thoughts on the record. Here's what they had to say:
THUMP: How does it feel to be 'back'?
FunkyStepz: It's great to be back with another release. I think the label it's coming out on (Club Soda Records) picked a good selection of tracks. We've been lucky to have great support from them and the DJ's. Hopefully everyone will like it.
Jon: We've been into FunkyStepz ever since their releases for Hyperdub - two of the most underrated records to have come out of that label. Then "Losing You" which came out recently really piqued our interest, with its psychedelic synth over funky riddims. I got in touch to see if they had anything else floating about and was blown away by what I got back. "Moruga Reloaded" in particular stood out, with its sense of space, building tension and piano skank nodding back to UK soundsystem culture.
What were you keeping busy with between this and the last release?
F: Some people may of missed our last release — Losing You/Witchcraft — out on our label imprint. It got good radio play and feedback. We gave out a few free original tracks and some remixes that have been getting good spins. If people check out our Soundcloud it keeps you up to date with what music we've been making.
Is UK Funky still as fresh as ever?
F: I'm seeing the UK Funky sound slowly being played more and a few more producers making it. Even with our last tracks like "Losing You" or now "Moruga Reloaded" I feel we took it back to before it was even called UK Funky. When people just called it Funky or Funky House (even though it was a incorrect term for it). I think we've made it fit more in the current times and it is sounding fresh instead of just sounding like a UK Funky track made in 2009 or 2010. It will be good though if more producers start making it to freshen it up even more, 'cause the ravers and listeners love it. UK Funky has 100% got a special energy to it.
J: UK Funky seems to be enjoying a bit of a resurgence lately, which is more than deserved given its relatively short period in the limelight a few years back. Mele's last EP was steeped in it, while Roska and DVA are back soon with a new one. We've always loved it at Club Soda, from Apple's obscure, astonishing white labels to Roska's slew of consistently great records. Like Maxsin says, much of this EP nods more towards a vibe that pre-dates funky, though Flexin' is probably where it kicks in most, with its clattering drums and hypnotic ear-worm bass.