Get To Know: JFunc
GET TO KNOW: JFunc
When you were at school, the arrival of a guest speaker was always a particular highlight. Usually it was someone exceptionally boring, but if you were lucky it could be an enthusiastic police or fireman, on hand to teach you about the Green Cross Code or rescuing a stricken cat from a drainpipe. At Andy Jackson's school however, they went one better and got the local hardware fanatic to present some of his more impressive kit – a collection which included the likes of a Roland CR-78 and Yamaha DX7 - something which immediately resonated with Andy and would perhaps shape the path of his career.
It was only some three months ago that we stumbled across Andy’s music, seduced by an instinctive groove which underpins all his productions. Regular contributor to Esa’s Rememory Music, his sound channels classic notions of Chicago and Detroit House, fusing addictive vocal cuts with a rolling groove which is subtly irresistible. Tracks like ‘Lovers Change’ and his recent collaboration with the aforementioned Esa have a distinct quality which permeates with every beat. However, it’s only when learning about his impressive credentials that the eminence of these songs starts to make sense.
Having been enthralled by the Acid era, while also listening to the main players associated with the explosion of House in America, he went on to study Audio Technology and Electronics at university before taking a job as what he refers to as a ‘Radar Geek’ in the Air Force. Stints as an architect and now sound engineer have all contributed to a very intricate and comprehensive understanding of what makes a track truly stand out, and it’s with this knowledge that Andy has made a name for himself as JFunc, one which we think you’ll be hearing a lot more of...
Check out some of JFunc's music below as well as an interview with the man himself:
Synth: So lets firstl talk about your history with club music which always fascinates us. What initially interested you or got you excited about dance music and who or what were the main influences that ignited your passion?
JFunc: I started properly getting into dance music around 1987/88. That’s a long time ago!! I remember going to ‘The Warehouse’ around ‘88 at the time of the Acid House vibes. It was one of the most amazing things I ever heard, and it still is! I still have a severe soft spot for anything 303/606/808/909! It was a very inspiring time...an exciting time for music in Glasgow too, as there were lots of bands springing up and releasing tunes on local labels, such as Clubscene etc. My influences definitely come from a fusion of Detroit / Chicago House. I’d also say I was heavily influenced by labels such as Strictly Rhythm, Trax and UMM. I listened to a lot of this stuff in my teens, growing up, you know? Guys like DJ Pierre, Kerri Chandler, Derrick May, Kevin Saunderson for example. I love a good swing in a track (especially MPC grooves). I once read about this guy saying that he judges groove in a track by how much his shoulder moves. If my shoulder moves involuntary...then I know it’s a great groove!
Synth: At some point you obviously decided to start producing, what inspired you to take that step and how did you find the learning curve? Any tips for people who may just be getting started?
JFunc: Well, that’s an easy one: it was an early decision!! I was around 11 or 12 years old and the bloke from the local music store came to our school and brought in a Yamaha DX7, a Roland TR-909, and a Roland CR-78 for a demo. I was instantly hooked!! The sounds that this kit was making totally blew me away. I couldn’t afford to buy stuff, so I was always round annoying the music department at school. Luckily I had a very enthusiastic teacher who encouraged me. The learning curve at the beginning was steep, as here was this young guy getting into oscillators and envelopes, CVs, Gates and Midi, but it was generally OK. I've been quite analytical all my life. I have history in technology. I studied Audio Technology & Electronics at University, served as a Radar Geek in the Air Force, and worked as an Architect. My top tip for inspiring producers? Keep it simple when you are starting out. Don’t try and go mad and learn every single thing. Limit yourself initially. I know that sounds a bit backward, but limitations are the most motivational thing. When you have limitations, you get to know the equipment inside out, and can squeeze more out of it. You will learn more about track construction and how sounds fit together.
Synth: Your sound mainly revolves around different variations of House, from deeper late-night stuff to more upbeat jacking vibes. What is it about House that really captures your imagination and how did you arrive at your current sound?
JFunc: You know, house is a feeling that no one can understand really unless you're deep into the vibe of house! Okay, okay! So I stole that from Rhythm Controll, but it kinda sums it up. That whole lyric describes it to a tee. I guess it’s the way that you can go to a club, and every single person in the place has that commonality of being there for the music. My current sound has developed over the past 4 or 5 years, as I used to be more techno oriented. I’ve worked on tracks with a lot of great guys, such as Esa Williams and Tommi White for instance, and no matter how much you know, you always learn from your peers. I think your sound will always evolve as you meet new people and pick up tips and tricks. I feel it’s a very bad thing to be aloof and think ‘you know best’. I have no problem letting folks know how to achieve a certain sound if I can help!!
Rememory Music: vibes
Synth: You're of course closely affiliated with Esa & Mervin Granger of Rememory Music, how did your relationship start with them and how would you define the label as a developing imprint in Glasgow?
JFunc: Esa and I met whilst working for Apple, and we kinda hit it off straight away, talking about music and production. He played a couple of my tunes out, and we started a project together and wrote some cracking vibes. We might still
release these at some point, as they are quite special! I remember Esa telling me about his Rememory Music label and getting quite excited about it, as the city needs a boost musically I feel, something fresh you know? He is a very focused individual and this label will be releasing some amazing artists and talents from across the world. Only the best will do for Esa, and it’s this attitude that will give the label longevity. He’s not afraid to try things from a different angle and not afraid of hard work.
Synth: For all the tech-geeks out there, what is your set up like at home or are you in a studio? Do you use any hardware or is it all software based and what are your favourite plugins etc?
JFunc: Great question! Because of my work as an Engineer across all of the disciplines (Recording, Mixing, Mastering and Live), my setup is very fluid. I do have a base set of tools at my home studio consisting of a Mac Pro, ProFire interface, Genelec Monitors, and a couple of self built hardware 1176 compressors. I’m currently building another 4 as you can never have enough compressors! I have an old Roland RS-9 88 note semi-weighted keyboard and a Novation Remote SL37. I’m looking at an APC40 for live gigs too. I do get the privilege to use an amazing array of classic hardware studio gear. There was a time where plugin emulations were not that hot, but I’ve personally A-B’d a real 1176 against the plugin, and a real Neve VR Dynamics section against the 88RS plugin section, and you can’t really tell the difference. Every electronic circuit can be described mathematically, and it’s on this basis that plugins are built. Computing power has now made this possible. Plugins wise, I love the Universal Audio (UAD2) stuff and the McDSP stuff too, particularly the ML4000 Limiter. Arturia Classic Synths are a MUST!!!!
Synth: Finally, we're quite anxious to see a new release from you soon and it would also be nice to see you DJ? When we can expect something new from you and what else do you have in the pipeline over 2012?
JFunc: I’m working on some new stuff just now. It’s been pretty hectic as I have been out touring as a FOH Engineer, then planning for another tour and I’m literally just back from T In The Park. In fact, whilst doing the sound for the Captain Morgan’s Tent (run by the Sub Club) I wrote a new one. I had an hour to kill, so used it wisely. It has the obligatory swing of course! I won’t spoil it for you, but I might give you a sneaky peak! The new tracks will appear very soon and I’ll probably be out DJ’ing in the Autumn I’d say, so I’ll let you know when and where.
You can check out more of JFunc's music at his Soundcloud
JFunc on Soundcloud
JFunc on Twitter