funk music

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Interview: Tayo of Five Alarm Funk

Posted by funkatop On March - 14 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

Five Alarm Funk - Sweat

Mr. Christopher got a chance to sit down with Tayo Branston, drummer and vocalist of Five Alarm Funk.

They discuss their new album Sweat, great funk bands from Canada you need to hear, their big upcoming tour, and what it’s like being a funk band in Vancouver.

Tune into the Soundcloud interview below that also features two tracks from the brand new album!

Interview : Space Orphan – John Wirtz

Posted by funkatop On January - 6 - 2017 2 COMMENTS

space-orphan-shut-up-about-the-sunMr. Christopher interviews one of the winners of Funkatopia’s Best Funk Albums of 2016 , John Wirtz from Space Orphan.

Listen in as they talk about the unusual backward process they have for music creation, but also the reverse process in getting the band together, and the reasoning behind their change-up song structures.

The funk jam band released their debut album to rave reviews and is gaining traction very quickly and making all of the right connections. Visit their website at and pick up their newest award winning album Shut Up About The Sun on Amazon or iTunes.


Interview: FOTDP

Posted by funkatop On September - 14 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

Federation of The Disco Pimp
Mr. Christopher interviews Marco from Scottish band Federation Of The Disco Pimp.

The interview is lively and fun as they talk about touring and the future of funk. They’ve been storming the world since 2010 and have already played with Pee Wee Ellis, have an album produced by Joel Hamilton (Lettuce, Elvis Costello, Justin Timberlake), and stolen away the Scottish Culture Award from the Scottish Ballet.

This interview is not to be missed.

Exclusive Interview: Prince Artist Spencer Derry

Posted by funkatop On August - 13 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

Prince wearing Spencer Derry artAfter Prince‘s passing, many people reflected on how Prince touched their lives and in many ways Spencer Derry had a lot to be very thankful for.

Spencer Derry‘s artwork was always either sublime and ethereal or erotic in nature, but his work caught the eye of Prince who commissioned Derry to create a series of pieces for him to use to support his then upcoming tour.

Funkatopia sat down with Spencer Derry to get the full story on the email that would forever change his life.


How long have you been a professional artist?

6 years and 8 months

How did Prince come to find you and hire your services?

I was showcasing my Prince art from my pseudonym Twitter account 3rdeyeboy, since January 2013. The band members saw my art in 2013-14, when I posted illustrations and concert posters that I had created. A handful of them were uploaded  or shared by 3rdeyegirl members. I received an email from Paisley Park in April 2014 where Prince had seen my Twitter account and I was the first artist to create a 3rdeye art illustration of Prince that I created it on 7th Jan 2013 and it was my profile image until April 2014.

How involved was Prince in the development process?

I received emails from his assistants relating to my art.  Prince wanted certain artworks that he had seen via email or internet, so I would email illustrations to the team and Prince would decide which ones worked.

Did he have a general idea of what he wanted or did he give you freedom to do what you wanted?

I would say there was about 99% total freedom as I created the art and then emailed it over.  If they liked it, I would receive a reply. The main request I received from Prince was the 3rdeyelens drawing. Prince asked for an afro rather than straight hair- my rough original was created in early 2013, so I had to recreate a second version in April 2014.

Spencer Derry art

Did you ever speak to Prince directly on the phone or was everything pretty much email? 

Everything was through email.

You like to focus a lot of eroticism in your art. Do you feel like that experience translated well into creating the pieces he commissioned you for?

No not really, but perhaps early Prince music involving sexual themes influenced my art.

Prince - Spencer Derry shirtWas there something specific that he indicated he liked about your work or style?

I think he liked my work because he thought the style was striking and original.  I could tune into what Prince wanted through a sixth sense process.

How stressful was it to know that you were creating drawings for Prince?

I was ill the first time I had to create an art commission! I had one day to create it, I think that was stressful; I must have completed three versions until I decided which one worked best. After that I wasn’t stressed as I saw the work as a professional task for a client.

Have you been out in public and seen your work on shirts or other merchandise and how did you feel about it?

I’ve never seen anyone wearing merchandise with the art I created upfront in public, but I saw photos of fans wearing Free Urself and the original 3rdeye Prince shirt on the Internet. I was happy with how the T-shirts looked.  It would have been good to see Prince wearing my artwork on the last ever UK HITNRUN Part II Arena Tour in 2014 but I was ill so didn’t go.

Where were you the first time you saw Prince wearing a shirt with your artwork on it and what thoughts were going through your head?

I was at my desk, I thought I wouldn’t go on the computer until midday.  I knew Prince had just played his first concert arena on 15th May 2014 at Birmingham, LG Arena. I had a vision the night before- a clear image in my mind of Prince walking on stage with my artwork on his tunic.  I was taken aback when I saw the photo highlights from the concert on my alias account. My wife was proud of my achievement, I was amazed.

Have sales of your artwork increased as a result of your involvement with Prince?

Core fans and team members know what I have achieved but I’ve mainly kept in the background. I’ve had commissions from some fans and a musician who worked with Prince.  I don’t sell Prince art to the general public. My surreal and erotic art caters for a niche market at present.

Spencer Derry artwork - Large - In ConcertWhere were you when you heard about his death and how did it make you feel?

I was finishing my art for the day, my wife got a text from a friend.  I felt stunned and nostalgic.

Are cool/funny stories relating to Prince that you can share? Like any one-on-one conversations, specific requests he made to changing the artwork that made you scratch your head, etc?

I had drawn an illustration of Prince with Wendy and Lisa in January 2013 and I remember posting it that day on social media.  Prince was playing a concert at Dakota Jazz Club that night. A fan tweeted me and said, “It’s Windy and Lisa”.  The next day I heard the soundboard of the track ‘Chapter and Verse’  and Prince said “It’s Windy outside, it’s Windy and Lisa outside” and the crowd laughed.

I stopped the 3rdeyeboy, Twitter and FB accounts because I was burnt out after three years of posting news, art and also because some fans thought I was Prince – I received naked photographs from female fans, which I didn’t mind but my wife saw these and told me to stop.

And if there are any links to galleries, books or merchandise you can share for fans who want to know more about your work? 

If fans want to follow my social media links- I mainly post links to artworks of adult surreal erotic art, but will sometime tweet about Prince.

Exclusive Interview: Electrophazz

Posted by funkatop On June - 12 - 2016 1 COMMENT

Here’s a band you’ve never heard of that is more amazing than you could possibly believe. Electrophazz is literally a hybrid of the best funk jazz projects all rolled into one,

Take the funky light jazz funk inflections of Brand New Heavies and the intricate song structures of Snarky Puppy and you end up with the phenomenon that is Electrophazz.

The band just released their latest EP this year titled Summer In Your Eyes and you can check the track below. But this isn’t their first submission into the music ether. Their first album Made in Phazz – Trip 1 came out in 2010 as well as the follow up Growing Strong in 2015.

Their popularity overseas in very palpable but in the states, they have yet to scratch the surface.  This time around, they believe they have the perfect recipe and we think they’re right,

So Funkatopia’s Mr. Christopher sat down with their MC Kevin from Detroit and drummer Tim Campanella to chat about their tour, music overseas, Kevin’s move from Detroit to Paris, and tons more. Check this exclusive interview and get ready to have a new favorite band.

Exclusive Interview: Wang Chung’s Jack Hues

Posted by funkatop On May - 3 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

A great band that has always been sorely overlooked over the years was Wang Chung. Beyond Everybody Have Fun Tonight (Everybody Wang Chung Tonight), Dance Hall Days and Let’s Go, Wang Chung suffered at the hands of pop radio and their hits were all anyone had heard.

A deep dive into their catalog of the same albums that housed those hits, you would find some amazing songs that were wonderfully crafted and way better than what people were actually hearing all the way up to their previous release Tazer Up just released a few years ago.

Wang Chung lead singer Jack Hues sat down with Funkatopia’s Mr. Christopher to chat about the loss of PrinceDavid Bowie and how it affected him emotionally. He also delves into his new project Jack Hues & The Quartet as we dissect the 6 song adventure that is available now as we speak.

Enjoy this exclusive Funkatopia interview and learn about the crafting of an album from a living 80’s legend that is still putting out music with Wang Chung and his new project.

D’Angelo: The Tavis Smiley Interview

Posted by funkatop On September - 9 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

D'Angelo on Tavis Smiley 2015

PBS and The Tavis Smiley show have posted the two part interview with D’Angelo. Listen in as he chats a LOT about Prince, Curtis Mayfield, Questlove, the reception of the Black Messiah album, living in the digital age of music, and much more.

Prince fans should definitely tune in to see just how much influence he’s had on D’Angelo and his perception of not only the industry, but the creation process.

Andy Allo Takes Over Funkatopia Radio Show

Posted by funkatop On October - 27 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

The beautiful Andy Allo has taken over the Funkatopia Radio Show!

Andy Allo plays some of her favorite songs, the stories behind some of her inspirations and of course, lots of stories about Prince, secret tidbits you probably wont hear anywhere else, and music styles all across the map.

Tune into Episode 9 of the Funkatopia Radio Show and enjoy over an hour of great tunes, stories and insider meanings.

Interview with FunkJazz Kafe Founder Jason Orr

Posted by funkatop On July - 11 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

Why will FunkJazz Kafe always be important to black culture?

FunkJazz Kafe has shared its stage with many acts you know and has served as a launching pad for performers like Erykah Badu, Van Hunt, Janelle Monae, BilalOutkast, Avery Sunshine, and tons more. Funkatopia’s Mr. Christopher got to speak one on one with FunkJazz Kafe founder and creator Jason Orr. They discuss everything from the purpose of FunkJazz Kafe, the state of radio, and the future of soul and funk music.

Visit their website at to find out when the next one is happening (real soon) and check the awesome interview below.

Funk Jazz Kafe logo

Interview with Elisa Fiorillo Dease

Posted by funkatop On June - 3 - 2014 1 COMMENT

A talk with the Prince NPG vocalist Elisa Fiorillo “Love Machine” Dease about Prince, her new project and more.

Funkatopia’s Mr. Christopher sits down with Elisa Fiorillo Dease about her new project Dease and Reese available right now.  She chats about how she met Prince, Prince‘s favorite song on her new album Life in 20, and even how Morris Day and The Time almost got her disowned by her grandmother.

There’s even a little love for Doc Funkenberry in the mix. Let’s face it. the world is much more funky with Doc and Mr. Christopher at the helm of your funk news. Check the interview!

Audio issues come up every now and then, but it’s still a great interview.