27 year old – Blue Borough bod – Kofi AKA DJ Funkz, is a young business savvy selector who’s earned his stripes on the ground level as a promoter in his late teens. Booking the likes of J Spades in his humble entry to the game. Since then he’s gone on to lay his stake and majorly contribute to our colourful culture and British music scene; from his early career as DJ/Promoter – booking the likes of Miguel and Wizkid. His early days buckin’ up with man like Don Strapzy, Kenny Allstar and Reeko Squeeze as kids, to the milestone’s moments as project manager at MOVES and Artist manager (Marathon Artists) to man like UK Afrobeats pioneer Mista Silva, and one of London’s leading Dj – Rates Award winning – P Montana.
Last night I had an in depth discussion about his journey so far. Here’s the conversation we had:
T: Okay, well this is gunna be an off the cuff conversation. So, you came up off the UK Funky ting, init. So firstly, where did your Journey start as a DJ?
F: I started off in University and I was studying Music Entertainment Industry Management. I’d always liked Music so I was producing – nothing that got any airplay or anything. But, I was actively using Logic, because I studied Music tech at school. What I come to realise really quickly that my strong point was actually promoting Music…
T: Aight I see ya.
F: Yeah, so following that I was in Uni – broke…
T: *laughs* Standard.
F: *laughs* Yeah, so I needed to make some money. So, I got more on the DJing aspect.
T: So, what did you start promoting dances at Uni? Or, in your own endz?
F: Yeah at Uni. Basically I started DJing first – this is like December 2008 I’m looking at how to DJ etc and my first gig was actually a Valentines show with Fis T – who was sick! I had my first show I was gassed off him and whole Funky side of things at the time. So I had my first show at my student Union and that went okay. I didn’t do too great, but I had loads of support from my friends from Uni at the time. So I thought yeah, this is actually kinda sick!
T: Yeah yeah, and EVERYONE’s first bookings beughkey bruv. There aint a DJ out there that can say their first booking was smooth *laughs*
F: Yeah yeah yeah yeah. I was just like cool. Let me cntinue this. So I was practising. When I’m mean’t to be doing my Coursework I’m mixing. And by June my name was around Campus, so then I decided to put on my own night. It was on a Sunday & Tuesday. Free entry before 12, £10 after whatever… But as you know “Black People are always late” *laughs*. So we always sold out and everyone paid their £10, so I was like rah; I can actually see a little money in this.
T: Okaaay. So thats where you got the taste. The flavour for the game. But when did the transistion from Promoter to Manager come into play?
F: I’d built a bit of a name for myself as a promoter – was doing larger events like 2000 capacity venues, regularly as well. So, what I started doing was bringing Artists over, because my competitor was bringin’ US Artists over, and I couldn’t afford to get US artists and my people were coming out to support me anyway. So, what I started doing was booking the UK guys. Actually before that we were already doing the Funky house raves. So, before I started doing managment, I was doing Funky Raves with Mista Silva. Silva was already doing the Funky ting, and obviously because we’re actually family (related) I was involved in that naturally – but I had my own ting at Uni. Anyway, from there I was always focused on the music. I had brand called ‘Inside’ and we were selling out at Uni..
T: And when you say brand – you mean merchandise?
F: Yeah man. T’s and stuff. The brands still going today!
T: Rah Boy! You smashed it! Cash Cow ya’kna!
F: Yeah it’s still doing well. Still out in Napa every year. But initially I had a brand called Overload. But the brand got so big that the police didn’t like it. I mean I booked J Spades one time, J Spades and Squeeks. This the time when Tinchy Stryder had that record with J Spades. That record came out and Tinchy had a booking at my Uni – which is mad coz I know Tinchy now – but the Friday before he had the show there was a fight. So after that the Police weren’t having it. So, I had to use another name to bring through people…
T: So, you’ve been through the Giggs, K Koke, So Solid – Shutdown – experience…
F: Yeah bro. That shit fucked me up man. So from there I had to go again, still attract the same people, but I had to clean the brand up. So I changed the name to Inside. It came from an MC called Tino I used to work with – he’s still about today – and we were gunna start with a birth bash for him, and he had catchphrase bar that went “Inside! something, something, Inside!” (I can’t fully remember).
T: Seen. So, it was his reload barz like…
F: Yeeah. So I thought you know what, let’s run with it. We were gunna promote a single with it. We did the artwork and everything, the single never came out but the rave popped, we sold out. And with Silva, thats family and we was coming to my gigs. So I saw my nights as an oppurtunity to promote the stuff I liked. So, with Silva, it was easiest way to touch to people…
T: I seee. Your nights were your platform to promote your artists and music…
F: Yeah, that was my GRM or Link Up so to speak *laughs*.
T: Yeah yeah, in the form of a dance!
T: So, the progression into managing Mista Silva was just natural.
F: Yeah, but I had P Montana as well. P’s my cousin. So, he came to my Uni a year later. He was coming to my gigs and just liked the whole idea of DJing init. So I gave him my decks. We’re like a year apart (18/19 at the time).
T: Rah Boy! You introduced P to the decks?!
F: What I started doing was doing nights with P as well. So, with P, I worked with him from the conception of the brand. So, it was me opportunity to correct the BS that I’d gone through. So, I’m working with P, I’m working with Silva, we’re doing bits and then I get stabbed at Uni..
T: Woah?! What Uni were you at?!
F: Hertfordshire – Hatfield Campus. It was nonesense. So, what I did was I diverted my attention to Silva and P. Since then I haven’t really focused on myself as a brand. I like DJing, I like playing music, I enjoy it. Any chance and any oppurtunity I get to play music I’m taking it. But, I’m not trying to push myself as a commercial brand in the same way. I’d rather be appreciated for the quality of the things I do. Than being in everyones faces… I’m still busy. I got people who still come out to see me from the beginning. I still do 2 to 3 shows a week. So I get to test out the records, but it’s not a focus.
T: Seen. Well that rolls on nicely into Rah Boy and Red Bull Record Deal situation. Where we at now? How’s things looking for the year ahead?
F: Yeah the whole ‘Rah Boi’ project we dropped last year was dope. Happy with how everything that rolled out. Worked with Dr. Martens, G Shock. We shot some good videos; got deezer to shoot ‘Ama’ as well. So many cool things came from Rah Boy last year…
T: Yeah, I caught the show at Carnival on the Red Bull stage. It was a solid show still.
F: Most of what we achieved last year was off the back of our own relationships…
T: So there wasn’t the “corporate backing” as such?
F: Nah not really. So, not I just wanna grow that. We built a good fanbase in Sweden, The Netherlands and Ghana. And just building on that. Plus we’re working with artists secretly as well.
T: So, you’re recording, but not releasing any info?
F: Yeah, we’re working on songs for ther Album their projects. Produced under P and Juelz. Coz Juelz contrinuted to the Rah Boi project a lot. This year we’re taking the sound to new places. And we’re gunna be a lot more live as well…
T: Will there be dancers? Because, this sound has more of a Dancehall element which allows for a better stageshow. Is that something you’re interested in?
F: Yes and No. Because for ‘Ama’. We worked with a load of dancers. But the key element to the show is that it’s gunna be all Live music. Which is gunna be in April. Can’t say too much though…
T: You covered a lot Funkz. So let’s just take it back to your early years.
F: I spent most of my time in Catford, Deptford.. A lot of the guys my age from Lewisham…
T: So, OGz (P, Black, Dee) there from your sides init…
F: Yeah man. My cousin was in a crew called Top Cat Kids which had Younger Jendor in there and guys like them *laughs*.
T: We can laugh but them tunes were cold back then…
F: Yeah man! ‘Hands In The Air’ that’s my age group in the area.
T: That tunes legendary. Channel U classic.
F: The mandem thought we made it back then. I had a crew bacxk then too. With Don Strapzy, Kenny Allstar and Reeko Squeeze….
T: What?! Kenny used to spray barz!!!
F: Yeeah, but I aint gunna say too much *laughs*
T: He’s doing his ting now, so no one can say nuffin *laughs*. But Rah Boy, you got some history still!
POSTED BY: @TIMI.WATSONROSE