Today, we’d like to introduce you to yet another of our loyal power uploaders, one that has been keeping our feeds funky fresh since 2009: Double D. from Offenbach near Frankfurt/Germany! For six years already, Double D. has been using Play.fm as an archive for his radio show named Funky Fresh – and this has been growing ever since, counting almost 100 uploads by now and attracting an increasing audience. He kindly took his time to chat with us about his show, his hood, his two decades of DJing experience and lots more…
You’re host of the show Funky Fresh, broadcasted live on Frankfurt based Radio X bi-weekly and available within the Play.fm archives later on. When did you start the show, and what was the initial idea?
Back in March 1997, the federal state of Hesse developed first plans on launching a frequency for a non-commercial local radio station. At that time, two applicants in Frankfurt started a week of test broadcasts. That was when the first Funky Fresh show was broadcasted on Radio Tox. Radio Tox, however, was a bunch of unorganized hippies with autonomous structures, and so, after that week, the better organized team of Radio X received the license. A few weeks later however, they asked me to start a Hip Hop show on their frequency, as they were told that my test show on Radio Tox had been pretty good. Ever since, I’ve been doing up to three shows per month (each first, third and fifth Saturday from 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM) as well as a monthly DJ night (each third Tuesday from 11:00 PM to 2:00 AM) up to this very day. In total, that’s seven to nine hours of radio each month. At Play.fm, a former editor named Dr. Glocke opened the door for me – which I’m still very thankful for.
The title Funky Fresh tells pretty much of the concept, still: To someone who hasn’t heard your show yet, how would you describe the musical bias?
True, the name says it all: The music has to be funky and fresh. FUNKY stands for a reference to Funk music, the musical structures of broken beats and fat, groovy basslines. FRESH means, that the songs have to be “new”, at least to the show – in all the years since 1997, I’ve never played a song twice. Each show is being freshly prepared with music that I’ve come across within the last weeks. The musical bias, thus, is “new” and “funky”, yet hailing from various genres: Funk, Soul, Downbeat, Reggae, Easy Listening, Dubstep, Drum & Bass, House, Disco, Boogie, Rap and Hip Hop might pop up on the show as well as mashups, remixes or edits of old classics, or – I don’t even know what they call it these days? Trap, Ghetto Funk, Neo Funk, Nu Soul…? It simply has to kick me and have a groove of some sort. Furthermore, I’m strongly involving myself as a DJ on the show, so it might get hard to even tell the borders between the single tracks. Funky Fresh, that’s it – a term that’s rooted in a Hip Hop context, appearing in a lot of songs from the 80ies and defining something that’s new, fresh, cool and hip.
How can we imagine a Funky Fresh show being produced? Do you select the music spontaniously fitting to your current mood, or are the whole two hours planned in advance?
I plan everything just as much as I find the time 🙂 Basically, I prepare the show in several steps. I’m continously scanning new music – if I like something, it ends up in my crate. Once it’s in there, I analyze the BPM, sort the songs by genres and score them using a five star rating. That helps me filtering the tracks and getting to know them better. Indeed, it may happen that a song that already made it into my crate will disappear again. Within two weeks, I usually check out between 200 and 300 songs, of which a maximum of 80 finally gets into the Funky Fresh crate, where I once again sort them by tempo and mood. I usually start the show rather slow and mellow, getting increasingly faster within the two hours. I usually drink one or two 0.5l bottles of coke during the show, which makes me ever more pumped and hectic. You have to keep in mind, it’s Saturday noon and mostly, I’m still tired and hungover from Friday night. It’s sort of a mutual process – the music boosts me and I, accordingly, choose the music within my prepared track pool. Usually, I mix up between 45 and 60 songs within 120 minutes.
First of all, I like that I get listened to a lot. I’ve always digged Play.fm, yet, the new player is lovely and the layout is even better arranged and up to date now. I’m having fun putting up mixes on Play.fm, it’s self-explaining and easy to do. Back then, I was looking for a appropriate platform to host my mixes online permanently, as Radio X only broadcasts terrestrially, via cable and live stream, but does not offer any downloads or online archives due to legal reasons. I have to state though that all Funky Fresh shows on Play.fm are edits of the original broadcasts. I cut all the moderation, add an extra intro and might do a few additional edits, making place for new, distinct mixes to emerge.
You’re living in Offenbach am Main, a direct neighbour city to Frankfurt. That area has been a European stronghold for Techno for a long time, with legendary clubs like Dorian Gray, Sven Väth’s Cocoon Club or the Robert Johnson, which is still in business. How do you feel about the local scene, and what is going on besides Techno and Trance?
A big question. I was born in 1972 and fell in love with Hip Hop in the early 80ies. Back then, there was no Techno, but instead, a lot of GIs and US Americans living in the surrounding area. As a consequence, besides Berlin, we used to have one of the most vibrant Hip Hop scenes in Germany. However, as Frankfurt is a rather cold city with a huge focus on money and economics, the scene went commercial pretty soon (remember Snap and such?). In the early 90ies, Techno emerged and of course, I had a few blasts at the Omen or left some graffitis at the Dorian Gray. I’m still going to Robert Johnson every once in a while – rather not because of the music though, but because latenight, it’s often the last spot where there’s still something going on. The local scene, however, is very diverse. It’s true that electronic music is pretty dominant, but within the whole area, there are way more things going on. We have a vivid underground representing all imaginable musical genres. The area around Central Train Station is very hip, as well as a few other spots within the inner city. The harbour of Offenbach is definitely hot, you’ll find anything going on from mainstream to underground. There are three clubs within 75 metres right along the Main riverside: MTW, Robert Johnson and Hafen 2. That builds a narrow, tense atmosphere.
For those who are willing, the technique has changed a lot. Of course you can still rock a party with nothing more than two turntables and a simple mixer, that was and still is a wonderful thing to do. However, I’m honestly happy that these days, we have long durable crossfaders and the chance to adjust Highs, Mids and Lows for each channel individually. As a trained radio and television engineer, I’ve always followed the technical progress and supported new developments. Each time has it’s evolution, and today, we’ve almost overcome the analogue vs. digital debate. The progress goes on and Native Instruments’s Traktor software, for instance, comes up with one innovation after another. That makes room for new creative ideas and expands your options. Personally, I prefer the DVS option as I like to keep the feel of vinyl, but don’t feel too much like carrying all my 12.000 vinyl records to each single gig.
Your DJ career took you to quite a lot of places, as part of cultural exchange programs with China and Russia for instance, or as an instructor for Vestax DJ School and VibrA School of DJing. Currently, what does your everyday life look like besides hosting the radio show, and what projects will you be focussing on in the near future?
I’m currently self-employed and do a lot of work with kids and juveniles. According to the motto “Eachoneteachone”, I’m continously trying to help people escape from their everyday frustration and let music and the according emotional perception shine on them, encouraging them in their creative abilities and self-confidence. I’m active in the field of prevention of violence, but also willing to be booked for well paid jobs at a fair occassionally. Anything can, but nothing has to happen. I try to keep the fun in my work and only do what I really feel like. That doesn’t always pay with cash, but mostly with appreciation. I’m still involved with international exchange programs, we try to accomplish with likeminded artists what politics don’t: Equality and exchange of positive minded people to overcome the fear of the unknown, the reduction of prejudices and appreciation for foreign cultures and lifestyles. Those are our goals.
Keen to know what Funky Fresh sounds and feels like? Take a digital slide through memory lane from last week back to 2009 right here – and be sure to follow Double D.‘s profile right here on Play.fm to stay current with way more yet to come!