On a calm July evening in Greenhead Park, we spoke with the man, the myth, and the legend, Mighty Funk’Houser to discuss his original styles, and his first release of cosmic grooves for Saving Grace Music, Dark Energy EP.
Interview by Max DuBois.
Photography by Kano Kane.
Max: Yes Jarred, what’s good man?
Mighty Funk’Houser: Everyting’s steady my brudda man, just coolin, yano? Just coolin.
MD: All good. So I wanted to ask you about your approach to making music. It seems like a very unique approach. Can you tell us a little bit about it?
FH: Well, to be honest it’s hard to put into words cah I don’t really approach it in any specific manner.
FH: I just jump onto the set and just start laying down whatever energy I’ve got at that moment in time so there’s no real start point, it’s just: get involved and done. I don’t really think about it at all, there’s no thought process, it’s just: start having fun in the creative process.
MD: What got you into making music in the first place?
FH: Getting into the production side of making music, I went to Beaumont Street Studios yeaaars ago, so that was like the first start process. I was just making beats and stuff on whatever software I had. And then my uncle got me one called Music Maker, I was doing little dibble dabbles on that, and my cousin got me onto Propellerhead Reason, that’s when it actually started properly, when I actually started to make music. I can’t even tell you the year that was, it was just at some point over ten years ago.
MD: You’ve been doing it a while.
FH: Yeah I’ve been doing it a while but it’s just depending on when I started to take it seriously, because there’s a few years where it’s just practice, you’re just finding out the software, you’re learning about the software, you’re learning what to do.
MD: So being from Huddersfield, and growing up in this creative environment, how do you think that’s influenced your sounds and your development as an artist?
FH: Well, Huddersfield’s got a lot of strong culture, and cultures, to be honest, so you’re around more than just one specific indiviualities, you know what I mean. Being in Huddersfield’s always had a reputation as well, a heavy reputation, whether it’s the soundsystem style, whether it’s the musicians or however you want to pitch it, the nights that used to happen back in the day, and artists that have come over and performed.
Also, it’s growin up in the household and then being around events and staying with the culture. I just downloaded that into my consciousness as I grew up and then automatically used that as part of the process, if that makes sense. Some people might walk around the park and get inspired by that, and some people might go to certain parties or cultural functions, rituals, or whatever they do, and that is gonna be a part of them. So yeah, that kind of surrounding of being cultured is what shapes part of how I make music.
MD: Tell us abit more about the different cultures that influence your sound. What styles are you into and how do they inform your sound?
FH: The styles, there’s so many styles. I don’t just want to start saying your basic ones, just like obviously funk, soul and all that, standard, you can hear that, if you want to hear that in the music, but really, there’s so many. There’s even stuff that I’ve probably not realised and it’s somehow just come out in my form in that way.
You have your house music. Anything under the umbrella of house, standard. Then there’s the reggae and roots side of things, then you’ve got your funk/soul side of things, your electric side of things, then you’ve got your console game style-sounding kind of thing. And that’s just to name a few, just to put it down on content. But there’s many, many, styles that come involved and then it just comes out, like a scientist in a lab, you know what I mean?
MD: Yehman. What local artists do you rate, and are there any that have influenced your style aswell?
FH: I don’t think there’s been any local artist that has influenced my style to be honest. Obviously they’re just doing what they’re doing, and I’m doing what I’m doing. I’ve never tried to create or be like anybody. But, there’s people in Huddersfield that are repping and just doing what they’re doing anyway. So, yeah, I don’t really have anybody that I’ve been like “aww, I’ve got to be like them.” I’ve respected what they do, but…
MD: You’re in your own lane.
HF: Yeah, I’m not trying to follow anybody or trying to create their sound. But yeah man, I don’t really watch what others are doing. I just do what I’m doing. But, I respectfully recognise what they’re doing, if that makes sense.
MD: It does make sense, and I think it really shows in the originality of your style. It’s not quite like anything else that we’ve seen before.
I’m guessing you’re not really content to be put into a box, like you seem to kind of transcend these boxes, like you’ll take from all of them, but won’t necessarily identify with any single one. Is that a fair assessment?
FH: That is a very fair assessment. Like I say, there’s no point trying to put yourself in one particular box, and my mind just runs so free. And that’s how I move about through life in general. So, however you might see it in the music is just how I am as an individual. You can’t put me there and expect me to just stay there, my mind works in someway that’s just like, yeah, it just needs to explore.
There’s way more than just that. And that’s exactly how my sound is. It’s a very cosmic, universal influence of frequencies. I just put all that together by the way *laughs*
MD: That’s so dope. Your latest release is the Dark Energy EP. Tell us a little bit about that and where you got the name from, what’s the influence there?
FH: The Dark Energy EP. Boi, you know what? That’s just many of the projects I’ve had over the years and I’ve just decided to put some stuff together. So one tune might be from this year, one tune might have been from 2020, one might have been from ‘19, but because the styles went together, that’s how I constructed the four tracks on there.
But, in forms of the creative side of it. Like I say, again I didn’t think about it, it was just vibes. And then the name was because I was just vibing one night and just singing to one of the beats cah I always start with the beat, and then I started chanting “it’s all about the dark energy, all about the dark matter.” And then from there it just constructed and I just let it unravel.
And then, with another tune, Melting, that was just another vibe not thought about. I came back to it, finished it off, decided “ah, you know what, this year I ain’t released nothing for two years.”
FH: So I thought “let me put an EP together.” But, it’s gonna be a different sound to where people understand the levels of where I can take this if I want to. Let the world see a piece of that side of me, and there’s many more styles like that and beyond hehe.
MD: Sweet man. As for the artwork, what was the inspiration for that? And what’s happening in the artwork? It seems to be you on top of a big stack of hay, where did you find that hay?
FH: So, basically, I was at We Out Here Festival last year, I was there and it was the Sunday night. There was massive, massive hay bales through and around the festival, so me just being farce, I’ve just ran up, jumped on (cos they were stacked quite high), you had to have a bit of athleticness about you. So I’ve stacked myself up there, and was just vibing up top.[My friend said] “Yowww you look sick up there, Let me take some shots,” took some shots, sent them, and even that was part of the process when I got them back and I was just chilling. I was like, you know what yeah, the rawness of the feel of them tunes, I said the only way to have something that represents it is to have a picture like that. And then that’s how that was constructed, so the rawness of the picture and how it just looks on a stack of hay, and then with the music, you know it’s not gonna be like some fancy, straight 4×4 programmed kind of sound. So the image kind of speaks a little bit as well of the authenticity and the rawness of what the music will be like. That just so happened, it wasn’t planned.
MD: And you run Black Hudu, the night in Huddersfield with Benaiah Matheson right? Tell us about that night and how it got started, and what you guys are up to with the project.
FH: One, you can’t forget Soulful Grooves, you can’t forget Anouj, you get me, you can’t forget my brother Simmeon, and you can’t forget Is That U? aswell, you get me. So, they’re a part of it, my brothers are strongly part of it.
Yeah, that night just started back in 2015. It was Halloween. It was me and Anouj, we were just like we need to do some nights. We were actually at a BBQ, in the August of that year. I brought a bit of the soundsystem, Anouj was DJing. One of my cousins at the BBQ said “you need to start doing nights.” Funny as I’ve already been thinking about that prior. Me and Anouj were talking, and then we were just like yeah man, we just need to start doing something out there and making people hear the sounds. And then that same year, by October we put on our first night, at the time it was at Little Buddha.
Then obviously Benaiah’s passed through, and then down the line got involved, and it went right up his street of styles and authenticity. Originally it was myself, Soulful Grooves and Anouj DJing, holding down that side of things. But the name stems from my brother Simmeon, he wah like, yeah, it needs to be called this.
Since then, we’ve just been continuing the works and as the years have gone by the night’s gotten stronger, people have started to understand the message, and understand the vibe that we’re creating, and it’s not just playing one genre all night. We’re taking you on a journey. So that’s what Black Hudu is, it’s a journey. If you get there from the start it’s different kinds of styles we’re playing. And then we gradually hit the altitude, hit that peak, then we’re gonna bring you back down by the end of the night.
So it’s a story in vibes and frequencies, which is Black Hudu. So yeah man, that’s the night that we’re running. It’s building, and it’s building very well and I think that’s a sound in Huddersfield that is needed, cos Huddersfield has died on a certain musical level, and it’s like, we’re kind of just vortexing it back out in that manner and just bringing all the pieces of the puzzle back.
We’re the new generation, first and foremost, and our elders have done the work and they even turn out to our events and support it. So they can see what we’re doing and the fact is they respect it and they’re happy about it.
We know we’re on the right track with what we’re doing. We play the underground sounds and attract the people, the universal likeminded heads, old, young, however you wanna call it. So yeah, man, Black Hudu, you come there and you just take a vibration man, and you just hold a medi and you’re nice.
MD: This is the question we always ask in the interviews: if you could go back and give your 10 year old self one piece of advice, what advice would that be?
FH: Keep it real, keep it true, and stay true to yourself. Stay in your lane, don’t let no one diff you away. Just follow what you love and what your passion is, and something will come from it. That’s what I want to say.
MD: Good advice man. And finally, what’s in the future for Mighty Funk’Houser?
FH: Well. In the future… In the future, the past and the present it’s all the same man. I’m just with the ride right about now, I’m dealing with the matter, I’m dealing with what I’ve gotta deal with. The future, I don’t know what the future holds for man. We’re here right now, so whatever’s happening right now is what you see, and you will see and hear more music, you will see me playing here, there, and everywhere.
So yeah man, those that wanna look out a year from now, who knows? Who knows what can happen? So I can’t really say cos another channel might take me somewhere else. No expectations.
MD: Last of all, is there anyone you want to shout out?
FH: Yeah, shout out to all the Ras Amharic family, you know, everybody, all the Black Hudu-ites, all my family, everybody that’s just about, been about, supporting. Everybody, man, it’s everybody that’s just keeping it a hundred right now.
There’s too many names to mention but those in Huddersfield, those in Leeds, those in Manchester, Birmingham, London, those in Croatia who I’ve worked with, you get what I’m saying, and everybody I’ve met along the journey so far, and the journey’s still young. Hold tight everybody and let’s just keep it moving in the right way man.
Mighty Funk’Houser’s Dark Energy EP is out now on Saving Grace Music.
Mighty Funk’Houser plays his resident set at Black Hudu, Northern Quarter on Wood Street, Huddersfield, HD1 1DU, Saturday the 23rd of July.
Street Party – Free
12.00 – 20.00
Club Night – £5
20.00 – 03.00