FEATURED (MIX): Funky Loffe – “The Chameleon”
Posted on September 2, 2011
Words by Mikael Lopez / Photos by Martin Rinman
For this first-time-combined FEATURED interview and FEATURED MIX we wanted to introduce you to the eclectic sounds of DJ Funky Loffe. We asked him to put together something weird and unexpected for us and he delivered The Chameleon Mix which turned out to be the perfect aural complement to an interview with a DJ set on avoiding definition.
”As an artist you are your work in a completely different way than somebody working in really anything that doesn’t have to do with art or sports. When you go home you’re still your profession. When I relax, without thinking about it, I look for music. Everything I do is focused on music.”
The classic image of the DJ is the two turntables with crates of vinyl beside, specialized in one or two genres with the the names of the records kept secret. Funky Loffe grew up in that world, digging in crates, looking for breaks and samples, and still goes out looking for records almost daily. But he also keeps himself updated with a stream of blogs and isn’t a format purist by any means, playing both vinyl and CD and mp3.
”Picking up a vinyl record and putting it on is something else completely than looking for a file name on my Serato list, but when you play like I do you don’t have the possibility to bring record crates with you every time.”
”I don’t see the point in focusing on only one genre because there is so much good music out there, when you look for music you don’t always know what you’re going to find.”
Loffe simply plays music that he loves and he just happens to love a lot of different styles of music. ”You have to be able to play Wildchild’s Renegade Master even though it may not be considered high-class house culture” he says about the blurry line between ”good” and ”bad” music.
Calling yourself ”Funky Loffe” is a good sign you’re not taking yourself too seriously. He chose his DJ alias by combining a nickname with a worn out adjective to create a name that would ”sound so damn ugly” people would have to remember it. It was also a symbolic transition from his former artistic identity as a dancer to his new one as a DJ.
Loffe started dancing as a boy, at a dance school focused on competitive dance, ”disco freestyle, bugg, latin, that kind of thing”. Later he discovered street dance and in high school he applied and was admitted to the Royal Swedish Ballet School. This restless nature, the constant curiosity for something new and different, is what seems to drive Loffe, both as a DJ and a dancer.
”I had difficulties finding my genre in dance. I didn’t know if I was a jazz dancer, a contemporary dancer, a b-boy, a locker or whatever. But I don’t think that I’ve ever cared if other people took me seriously or not, as long as I’ve enjoyed what I’ve been doing.”
”I stopped dancing because I realized that I wanted to do a lot of other things than just dancing. It’s difficult when you’ve been dancing all your life, it took me several years to accept that I wouldn’t become a dancer. But I haven’t disappeared from the culture, I’ve just taken the next step in my growth.”
Loffe has definitely not left the dance culture in any way. He’s frequentely booked to play at street dance battles, particularly at waacking, vouging and experimental competitions, becoming something of a dancer’s DJ (much like his senior DJ Prime) a DJ always making dancers’ heads turn. ”I guess I’ve found my position,” Loffe remarks.
”I play for dancers because I am a dancer at heart and it’s with that perspective that I look for music. I always think about what kind of dance floor, what type of dance, what type of club something will work with. It’s always with that approach. I always find a purpose for a track.”
It’s easy to get lost in an ever-expanding ”genre jungle”, but for Loffe it’s always been about finding music that makes him and others move, regardless of what it’s called or how it’s perceived by others.
”People usually want to put you in a box, but I’ve never been the kind of person who likes to be pigeonholed and then stay there. I like lots of different forms of culture and music, that’s just the way I am. I can say I play for the dance culture, but I like all types of music for the dance culture.”
For the last five or six years Loffe has been digging in an obscure part of music history, Swedish disco and funk from the 70s and 80s. Groups you’ve never heard of like Koda and Gimmicks and rarely heard disco from Swedish pop artist Tomas Ledin. ”It’s a little overlooked and there isn’t that much,” Loffe says, ”it’s very nice, but it’s our heritage, we’re a nice people so you have to take it for what it is.”
A less obscure corner of music that Loffe is excited about right now is the post-dubstep scene (or ”that electronic genre from the UK” as he calls it) that has split into several different directions making it hard to define. The difficulty in defining it at the moment seems to have encouraged many producers to experiment more and bring in unexpected influences like juke and always heading in a new direction.
”It’s a genre that is happening now, it feels like a pure expression, like jazz gone electronic. I think Kingdom is absolutely fantastic, Burial is really good and James Blake and Jamie xx are taking it to a broader audience. They can do anything they want and it works, as long as there’s a feeling to it.”
Funky Loffe co-runs the club nights QLTY (with DJ Love Story) and Suck My Disco (with Chia K.O.) and DJs at dance events around Sweden. He’s also one part of the production duo Kings of the Universe, an electronic pop group that flirts with 80’s Chicago house music.
Download the shapeshifting sounds of The Chameleon Mix:
Luis Junior – Colache (Sometimes Mix)
Cajmere – Perculator (Loffe’s Screw)
Andy Scott – Intermittent
O. Children – Ruins (Drop the Lime’s Afterhours Mix)
Alice Coltrane – Galaxy in Turiya
Lasse Fernlöf – The Chameleon
Com Truise – Flightwave
Burial – NYC
Mount Kimbie – Would Know
Arp.101 – Korg’A’Tron
MOTHS – Slow/Down
Redinho – Pitter Patter
Jamie xx – Far Nearer