Funkmaster Flux

23 May 2012 | 7:00 am | Chris Yates

"The (Hilltop) Hoods have proven that you don’t need to be [in Sydney or Melbourne] to make things happen... I know Adelaide, I love Adelaide."

"Yeah we're well into it and it's above and beyond what we expected to be honest,” says Reflux (real name Daniel Yates) of Funkoars' current Being Vincent D'Onofrio tour. “It's been bigger and better than the original album launch tour.”

Selling out shows across the country is testament to how fans and punters have reacted to The Quickening, with support for the record still building almost a year after its release.

“We've tailored the show to our fans a little bit more this time around,” he continues. “We've got the time machine with us as such so we're going through quite a long set of tracks from our discography – we're going right through our back catalogue for this tour. It's a bit of a change up to the last tour and we've got a ton of fans coming out because it's not just about the latest record, it's about Funkoars in general.”

The hour-plus show will therefore feature a handful of songs from The Quickening accompanied by two or three tracks from each of the group's previous releases. Reflux says there was a bit of a refresh required to get the old stuff back on track, but everything locked in easily enough once they got into it. As they approach the tenth anniversary of their self-released first album, Who's Your Step Daddy, it's a great opportunity for new fans to catch up and for old heads to indulge in some nostalgia.

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Reflex's history as a hip hop DJ and a fixture on the Adelaide scene dates back even earlier than that both as a solo DJ in his own right and getting behind the decks for After Hours.

“After Hours are another Adelaide group that were around before Funkoars. They're still part of the Certified Wise crew. They put out a record called Different Rules Apply in 2001 and they were also involved with the first Culture Of Kings record (a legendary compilation which basically became the blueprint for Australian hip hop). I was DJing for them when their DJ, Jugular, went overseas, when I was just doing a bit of promoting and some shows around Adelaide. Eventually I stepped up and started doing some scratching with Funkoars from there. We did another After Hours album in 2005 or 2006 and they put out another EP by themselves last year. I'm actually married to (After Hours' MC) Headlock's sister,” he laughs, “so it's all very intertwined, the Certified Wise crew. Hip hop is very much just like that in Adelaide. We're really just one big crew of friends.”

This explains why Reflex, and for that matter most of the Certified Wise crew, have decided to keep their homebase as Adelaide, even when the allure and opportunities of more shows in Melbourne or Sydney have presented themselves.

“I'm happy here now, and it's a good city to base yourself from. Obviously Melbourne and Sydney are the base of a lot of business and stuff like that, but the (Hilltop) Hoods have proven that you don't need to be there to make things happen or anything like that. It's just a great place to do music. I know Adelaide, I love Adelaide and all my friends and family are here, so why would I move? I'm a pretty social person in that regard. You know, years ago I thought about shipping over to Melbourne when I was a single DJ, and that would have made more sense as a DJ at the time, but now it doesn't make much sense at all. At this point in time we're really happy here in Adelaide and you know, it's good for a musician living here, it's really a cheap place to live.”

Maybe describing the relationship between Hilltop Hoods and Funkoars as a mentoring one is not entirely accurate, but Reflux says that they have learned a lot just from watching how the Hoods have done things over the years.

“We've been exposed to the greater music industry by the Hoods really. Hip hop is a live style of music in my mind, and sure you can make a great record, but I really think it was born out of this live thing of DJing and MCing, so the live show is a critical part of what hip hop is. I think people get the Funkoars more when you've been to one of the shows and then they'll get us way more on the records. We've always believed in that and we will always tour, and I think that's how we've carved out our own little spot, giving the fans as much as we can.”

Funkoars have created themselves another reputation on tour as well, by basically being as party as possible. Reflux says they have learned how to keep things under control a little better these days though. Well, kind of.

“Yeah we've gotten older, we've gotten way older!” he laughs hysterically. “We've been doing some reminiscing lately and it starts to hit home. People who have seen us over the years are sometimes like, 'Come on, you guys are a bit tame now by comparison.' What, because we're not smashing jugs over our heads? I mean, we were young, you know? You get a twenty year old touring a record around the country, who doesn't really care about anything, it's gonna get pretty raucous! We've got our fair share of stories and it's still very much a part of us – we have fun and don't take anything too seriously – but yeah, I guess it's just because we're getting old!” he laughs harder. “It's as simple as that.”

Understandably Reflux doesn't want to give too much away about the future plans for the group, but even though he's withholding information he speaks of a possible collaboration with Sydney's old school legends Def Wish Cast, movie soundtracks, TV soundtracks, side projects and much more. Things are also underway for the next Funkoars proper studio stint, even though it's still in the early stages and he has to get down to some renovations first.

“We're basically just throwing some ideas around at this point in time. I'm actually rebuilding the studio, which is causing a hold up much to (Funkoars MC) Trial's dismay,” he chuckles. “So yeah, I've gotta finish that. It's been kind of stalled because of the tour, so I really have to knuckle down and finish so we've got a space to get busy in. At this point in time it's a lot of beats and rhymes being written but nothing actually getting laid down. It should come together pretty quick once we're in there. We're looking at maybe putting out some free music, and there might be some other things out there before we get to the next album.”