In the last few years, London has seen a substantial return to the warehouse parties of old. Its more discerning clubbers have become increasingly disillusioned with the lack of appropriate venues for the plethora of new sonic output that continues to be born out of the metropolis. The East End has been the area to give rise to this rebirth, with its numerous disused industrial spaces playing host to just about every style of music and the most progressive of promoters. Such is the extent of their usage today that one would be forgiven for thinking that ‘Secret East London location’ is actually the name of a particularly in demand club.
Two years back, a trio of promoters already a part of this disillusioned population decided to join the warehouse revolution and provide for London’s house and techno heads what no other club currently was. The result was Funkyzeit.
An unexceptional backstory perhaps, but the sheer passion and ambition of the boys – Mikhail, Ben and Oli – behind Funkyzeit has shone through in the last two years, as they’ve worked hard to establish a party of strictly good vibes and featuring only the finest purveyors of continental house and techno.
Tomorrow is the next instalment in the Funkyzeit series and sees Detroit prodigy Kyle Hall flying in straight from the Motor City to lay down his own inimitable style for an extended set at 7-9 Crucifix Lane. It’s their last event until the Autumn, so we caught up with the boys for a chat about how the night came about, future ambitions and their pursuit for the perfect venue…
First of all, for those who don’t know, please introduce yourselves…
Well, we’re Oli, Ben and Mikhail, the FunkyZeit crew!
So, I feel the name ‘Funkyzeit’ reflects a lot about the vibe of your parties – that tongue-in-cheek, not-so-serious ethos of just wanting to throw a fun party, and the German ‘zeit’ reflecting the influence of the European continental scene on your music taste. Where did the inspiration for starting the parties come from?
Mik: It’s pretty simple, two years ago while we were still at university, we were going to lots of the warehouse parties around east London, but weren’t completely satisfied by what was going on, so we decided we had to start something ourselves, for us and our friends, to bring our favorite DJ’s to play, no real plan… and SNAP FunkyZeit was born!
Ben: We wanted to throw parties wh ere people could do quite simply whatever they wanted.. No rules! That was our initial motto, ” Do whatever you want… Its FunkyZeit”
You’ve all had stints in different parts of Europe I believe. How and where did you all meet?
Mik: Yeah we come from pretty different backgrounds, Ben and I went to high school together back in Rome. We met Oli actually after we already started FunkyZeit through a mutual friend, and from then on the 3 way romance began…
You’ve held Funkyzeit parties at lots of different venues over the years. Have you finally found a home at Crucifix Lane?
Oli: We knew after our first party at Crucifix that we’ve found THE PLACE. The staff are all super-friendly, the sound is next-level, plus it retains the gritty feel of the warehouses we used to use but without the problems of shit sound, massive queues, and horrible toilets that are usually associated with such venues.
Mik: yeah we’ve been through a few, I remember our first ever venue was a really rough basement under some Turkish Café on Whitechapel Rd, personally my favorite was Ice Father Nation on Commercial Road, but that’s been shut down. I definitely agree with Oli, Crucifix ticks all the boxes for us, without being a traditional club.
Ben: I think Crucifix was a real turning point for us. Before we spent a lot of time just searching for venues. The last minute problems were routine. For our party with one of our legends, Chez Damier, we got a venue cancellation the night before; I remember spending most of the night just looking for possible alternatives!! Now we can concentrate on what we really wanted to do, bring artists we love and play great music!
In the past, you’ve had everyone from Magda and Sebo K to Nina Kraviz and Chez Damier. Who has been the guest you’ve enjoyed most?
Oli: It would be impossible to choose, every single guest we’ve booked has brought something different to the table, I think we all agree though that Andre Galluzzi represents a lot of the personality of FunkyZeit
Mik: HAHAHA! Yes we will always have special place for Andre Galluzzi, his music and personality definitely fit our ethos. Musically I have to say one of my favourite parties was when we had Federico Molinari and Damian Schwartz playing back2back, they play exactly what I love – dirty house music, and always bring surprises out of the bag.
Ben: I think we all have a special soft spot for Ander Galluzzi!! The vibe when he plays is just unreal..That’s why he is the only artist we invited twice (And intend to keep on inviting over and over again :))
So on Friday June 1st you’ve got your ‘Closing Party’. Quite early in Summer to be having a closing party, isn’t it?!
Ben: Hahaha, I think the closing part might have been misinterpreted, its just a couple of months break from London parties, nothing serious, we will be back in Autumn stronger than ever
You’ve got the new King of Detroit, Kyle Hall, headlining this time. His is quite a unique breed of house music, with flavours of broken beat and electronica in his productions. Are you expecting a slightly more unconventional, less 4-to-the-floor experience with him at the decks?
Oli: With Kyle it’s always hard to say, we’ve witnessed him several times and every time has been completely different, what is standard with him though is the grittiness that we so love. It is true that FunkyZeit is generally a more 4×4 flavoured experience however we welcome diversity and Kyle is the definition of diverse.
He’s certainly a talented young producer who’s continuing the legacy of the Motor City in an interesting way. Was it a natural choice to get Kyle involved?
Oli: Over the years we’ve booked some real Detroit greats, from Stacey Pullen through to Rolando, Kyle marks a continuity between these legends and the present sounds that influence electronic music, from bass music through to techno.
Mik: Getting someone from the US, especially Detroit, is always special. I feel artists from there are not influenced in the same way as they are in Europe, it’s a whole different mindset. Kyle Hall we’ve been following for a while, and are amazed with his talent. No matter if it is 4/4 or not, we have brought him over for his ‘freshness’ and pure musical talent, also he is only 20 years old!
Ben: I agree with Mikhail, getting someone from the States is always special. That’s why since our very first event we have always brought so many artists who originate from there: Shaun Reeves, Magda, Chez Damier, Tevo Howard, Stacey Pullen and Rolando just to name a few.
Where will people be able to find the Funkyzeit crew over Summer, and when are you back in London?
Oli: We’ll be checking out some of the big festivals around Europe and also trying to take some well-needed r&r. We’re also plotting some parties in other European destinations (think beaches!) so keep an eye out for upcoming outdoor shenanigans
Mik: Yeah we’ll be around, in and out of London, and as Oli said keep an eye out!
Any other developments or surprises you’d like to tell us about?
Oli: Beyond our summer plans – we’ll be back in Autumn with some major events and label showcases at Crucifix Lane and elsewhere.
Ben: Next year will be interesting… We have some special events planned out.
Finally, what is the one urban essential you couldn’t live without?