An Incomplete History of DaM-FunK

Seattle artists dj100proof and DJ Supreme chime in on the "Ambassador of Funk."

The 1990s Pasadena native DâM-FunK, aka Damon Riddick, spends time as a producer and session player for early West Coast MCs like MC Eiht and Westside Connection. For that reason, there's more than a little substance behind his claim to be a continuation of boogie funk, not a retro adapter—and while "Ambassador of Funk" is a nickname he might not be entirely comfortable with, it comes to be a fitting one.

"Modern boogie funk, that niche he has, it was only really popular for just a sliver in time," says Seattle's dj100proof. "Taking that funk mindset and experimenting with all the new technology that was emerging in the '80s, people were just freaking it."

July 2006 Funkmosphere, the end-all-be-all of boogie nights, is instituted at Culver City, Calif., club Carbon. Along with DJs Laroj, Randy Watson, Matt Respect, and Billy Goods, DâM-FunK has kept it running and filled with rare jams every Monday night to this day. "When you talk about FunK, the average cat is going to mention Parliament or Funkadelic, which is OK—but they're not really where the FunK is," says Seattle's DJ Supreme, who was introduced to DâM early on through Matt Respect. "People argue with me all the time, but there's so much more to it and so much unheard stuff that'll blow you away."

Oct. 27, 2009 Toeachizown, a two-hour release combining five LPs—LAtrik, Fly, Life, Hood, and Sky—marks DâM's debut on Stones Throw Records. By deliberately letting songs ride out with little or no vocal accompaniment, he focuses strictly on the groove. "I think [the five-LP set] shows that he works hard, he's serious about it, and that he stays making music," says DJ Supreme.

March 2010 DâM plays an incredible 15 sets in four days at the SXSW festival. "SXSW was kind of his coming-out party," says dj100proof. "I saw him spin 45s the first night I was there, and then caught him at the Fader Fort—that was one of his last shows, and he still went full-bore."

Oct. 26, 2010 At the request of Stones Throw exec Peanut Butter Wolf, DâM hands over his archives to be whittled down to Adolescent Funk, a 14-track sophomore record comprising tracks recorded between 1988 and 1992 amid the height of Michael Jackson and Prince. "DâM's always remained the same," said DJ Supreme. "He's pure with it, and that's what he represents down to the way he dresses. He still produces on the same analog equipment that came out in the early '90s. I mean, who still plays a keytar?"

December 10, 2010 DâM-FunK headlines the Nectar Lounge with openers DJ Swervewon, dj100proof, and "second headliner" DJ Supreme. "This was on our bucket list for this year," says dj100proof. "DâM was somebody I needed to have come to Seattle."

music@seattleweekly.com

 
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