Ambassador of L.A. Funk to Play Late-Night Set at CMA’s Solstice Party

Pasadena-based DJ, producer and vocalist Dām-Funk (pronounced Dame) will be playing a late-night set tonight at the Cleveland Museum of Art’s Solstice party alongside some of the best international talents the world has to offer. No slouch himself, Dām-Funk has worked with and is respected by the biggest and brightest including Todd Rundgren, Snoop Dogg, Ariel Pink, Juan Atkins and the late Junie Morrison. The Los Angeles Times recently bestowed upon him the dubious distinction of being the “Ambassador of LA Funk.”

“I appreciate it,” Funk says of the title via telephone. “I don’t really trip off that because people make their own interpretations of what it is, but I’m honored that somebody can put me in that sort of space. Especially since I do feel like I’m underappreciated. So when you do remind me of that, it does make me feel like some of this shit didn’t go in vain. I think what happens is that a lot of people study the underground, they take it and flip it and make it a little bigger, polished and touched up. Cats like me stay true to it, so whenever someone says that I just appreciate it.”

Dām-Funk’s discography officially begins in the late 2000s, but he’s created music since the ’80s when he was working for the Red Cross and still uses some of the same instruments to this day.

“Back then I was in my bedroom in Pasadena making tapes just for myself and my friends,” Funk says. “I was never trying to get a record deal, it was like this free era. I was working day jobs and having my own boombox with me. I was working these driving gigs and I just made music because it was therapy, just something to get it out of your system. I would make my own albums and maybe pass it out to 5 people, if even that. I’d make my own covers at Kinkos. I was just in my own weird world. I was listening to Prince, P-Funk, Slave, De La Soul, A Tribe Called Quest and Roy Ayers mixed all in together. Then I was listening to house music and getting into things like Mr. Fingers.”