‘But it’s like a river, I get immersed in it, then once it flows by I’m ready for what’s next.’
What Radio station do you listen to?
DJ Static (DS) – I listen to music all day. Actually I listen to a lot of music at work because I have a desk job. I listen to Beatminerz Radio a lot out of New York and I also follow quite a few shows on Mixcloud, and some playlists on Spotify. Their recommendations are pretty good.
Do you listen to your own show?
PG – I always listen because I do the full mixdown every episode! It’s not ready to post until I’ve had a chance to enjoy it from beginning to end and make sure it’s ready. But it’s like a river, I get immersed in it, then once it flows by I’m ready for what’s next. There’s the next episode to focus on. I do go through phases of listening to our past shows and I have many favorites.
You guys started WEFUNK in 1996 as a community radio station at McGill University in Montreal, Canada. I learned that you were randomly paired by the station to do a training show. Did you guys know each other at all?
DS: No we did not. We were both students and volunteering for the radio station. We were paired to do 15 minute shows for a couple of weeks. Then we put in a proposal to start our own show together as there was a natural connection between what we both played.
DJ Static you mentioned in an interview that WEFUNK runs your lives. Do you guys feel it that it has taken over your lives at times?
PG – The show has given us opportunities to travel and meet people, to discover amazing music, and to create something that people enjoy in places around the world. And it was so unexpected how it grew that way. I love our shows from the beginning because, I guess when you create a radio show you’re trying to make the show you would most want to listen to. And WEFUNK also became a journey of our own understanding of hip hop, funk, soul, and all their connected roots. That journey continues and so the show continues! And when I hear how passionate other people about their own experience of listening to WEFUNK, sometimes for years or decades, it gives so much energy to pour back into making new shows.
‘ I remember a time when one of us tripped over an important power cable next to the stage in Amsterdam. It cut off a legendary hip hop artist’s performance right in the middle of a song. I think we both wanted to turn invisible at that moment.’
What is the most proudest moment for you around WEFUNK?
DJ – We were lucky to play at a lot of weddings. That in itself was amazing. People sharing their special day with us on site. Most recent was a wedding in Hawaii. To me they are strangers. The parents were joking to the groom while listening to our show. Obviously with radio we do not know all of our listeners personally, but when we make that connection like when we’re on tour, we can chat and have dinner together. That is really when you see the impact.
Also with Social Media it is pretty cool where people share their Instagram stories, like this one guy driving his snow plough on a mountain in Colorado who bumped WeFunk. Artists, designers, jewelers, tattoo artists, pipe makers they are bumping WeFunk. People all around the world sending us videos with listening to our show in the background.
PG – I remember a time when one of us tripped over an important power cable next to the stage in Amsterdam. It cut off a legendary hip hop artist’s performance right in the middle of a song. I think we both wanted to turn invisible at that moment.
Professor Groove is the one responsible for most of the Funk as DJ Static takes care of most of the rap. Professor Groove you mentioned that your mission is to dig deep into the full spectrum of funk and funky music, and DJ Static does the same with hip hop. Do you play music that you do not like but you play to mix things up?
DS – That would go against everything we stand for. It goes back to the Vinyl days where you have a limited budget and everything you buy has to mean something. My focus was never to play a lot of club gigs. My money in the Vinyl days went to the stuff that I love and that I can stand behind.
Last night the DJ saved my life. If you had to choose one song to revive a lost crowd, what would it be?
DS – It really depends on the crowd. I personally like ‘Scenario’ from ‘A Tribe Called Quest’. The minute the beat kicks in or just the bassline. You can’t really touch that. I like a lot of the classic breaks which are echoed years after the original track. People may not know the original song. That is our role to make that connection to music that came before. Whether people realize it or not and people are usually pleasantly surprised. We are exposing the roots of the music.
PG – Manu Dibango’s “Soul Makossa” is so magnetic, I love the way people react when it drops! It’s a perfect sweet spot of being classic but not overplayed, and the bassline gets anyone moving.
‘ I personally like ‘Scenario’ from ‘A Tribe Called Quest’. The minute the beat kicks in or just the bassline. You can’t really touch that.’
Who is the most underrated funk/hip hop artist/band at the moment?
DS – I discover 50 artists every given week so it is hard to pick. I will say that bandcamp is really good for independent upcoming artists. Sampa the great, no name out of Chicago, HER is great. They represent a new generation of artists but they are not unknown anymore.
PG – So hard to choose! Durand Jones & The Indications is on my mind at the moment because they just dropped a killer track “Witchoo” that’s stuck in my head, and their singer Aaron Frazer also came out with a great solo release a little while back. East Coast Affair released an album last year and I think we basically played every track on various WEFUNK shows — that’s always a good sign! I think they have a new LP coming out soon. And anytime XL Middleton or Moniquea drop a new track I’m all over it. I could go on and on!
‘Music is so powerful. It reminds me that in the end, music is made by people, and is felt by people.’
Who was the most exciting guest you had on the show?
DS – Kid Koala. The live set. He is a crazy turntablist from Montreal. We had to bring in an extra turntable as he did a three turntable set live from the studio. He is one of the best turntablists in the world. He is from the same area where we started in Montreal so 20 years later he appeared on our show. Coming full circle.
Who is on your wish list and why?
DS – Jazzy Jeff. The history behind to what he has done and what he still does. To be fair we were lucky to have someone from the same era who is as important if not more in my mind which is Cash Money. We met on tour and we kept in touch ever since.
What is your view on playing abusing music with explicit lyrics which is quite common in rap?
DS – We do not filter any music we play. We both believe in the more positive power of music and the music that is a soundtrack to different social movements and progress through history. We do not turn our backs onto one or two particular songs because they say this or that. We do look at the big picture what music has done. Over the past 25 years our focus was on conscious music more than what you would hear on pop radio. We can fairly say that.
What does the future hold for WEFUNK?
DS – If it ain’t broke. We got this secret sauce worked out pretty nicely so we stick to the formula.