Known for his distinct twist on an early ’80s sound, the operator of Funkmosphere and soul, Damon Riddick (aka DaM-FunK) earned his veteran badge in the Los Angeles music scene in the early 2000s. Quickly hailed as the master of modern funk, he picked up a contract with the record label, Stones Throw, in 2007 and has since released three solo albums and numerous collaborative records.
His latest work with DJ-Kicks blends less explored sub-genres of post-disco and deep-house alongside funk. “This mix is giving a lot of new artist opportunities to be seen,” he says, “That’s what this whole thing is about.”
At Primavera Sound, BULLETT caught up with Riddick while he was chilling backstage with a clove cigarette just after his performance.
Who are you excited to see perform?
Honestly, I am a bit more focused on my own work right now. This is not really a vacation for me, but more of a journey. What moves me is to perform, to do something that makes somebody feel something tremendous in their heart. Focusing on other bands takes away from that.
What’s a confession that manifests through your work?
Just being myself and embracing the way I record and the instruments I use. This is art and you have to take what you do seriously. It’s not about trying to create a hit because somebody else has something else that’s hot right now. The confession in my music is what I’ve gotten from my music; a vibration of me being okay with me. At this point there is no turning back.
How effective is music as a tool for protest?
It’s effective in the way that you do it. You never want to come off preachy. The previous generations before us were very good at doing things in a coy manner. You didn’t have to curse, you didn’t have to say the “N” word. You didn’t have to say any of that stuff.
How do you feel about cultural cross-pollination—sampling and reappropriating?
Re-appropriating culture is good but it depends if you respect the chapter. It’s only natural when everyone has different backgrounds.
What are you working on at the moment?
The latest collaboration I’m working is with a duo called EKKAH—they’re from Birmingham. I produced two songs for them. They are really good ladies—young kids who really respect funk and soul.
What’s next for Dam Funk?
After Primavera, I’m headed to Paris, then back to Los Angeles before heading to New York and Texas—it keeps going for me. As far as shows coming up, I have a Red Bull Radio show coming up on the 3rd Friday of each month so that’s going to be fun. You can find it on the Red Bull Music Academy Radio.