Funny story here. At Amsterdam Dance Event 2007, the person I was most excited to meet was Funkerman. His song "Speed Up" totally inspired me to change everything that I do as a DJ. Yes, the song is about getting a girl into bed with you, but there is one line which goes "baby, step up your game," and that one line floated through my head during all of 2007. Upon meeting Funkerman backstage at last years massively successful Flaming Records party at the Melkweg, I burst into the story. He looked at me strangely and smiled. It was then I realized that the combination of loud music and my talking way too fast made the story unintelligible. This year at Amsterdam Dance Event 2008, I got the chance to sit down and talk to Ardie Van Beek about "Speed Up," the new single "Remember," the upcoming album, and the roots of the Flamingo Recordings label.
DJ Ron Slomowicz: So it's been a big couple of years for you with "Speed Up"
making it big on the international scene.
Ardie Van Beek (Funkerman): Yes, it has been really a big surprise for me the way this tune worked out. When we just released it, it took a year before it was noticed. In the first year I was playing it, nobody really wanted to sign it. Then after a while it became a big club record in Belgium, and then it started off. It's really strange because it hops from country to country now. It was not one big explosion, but every time one country was added to the list of countries where it was a big hit. For me it's a really gradual growth, and a really progressive line. I think that's actually the best way to grow into a bigger position as an artist.
RS: Did you write the vocals for it?
Funkerman: No, the vocals were written by I/Fan, who is the singer. We're working on an album which will have, I think, three more tracks of him, songs that he sang and wrote. He's a guy we've been working with for a couple of years already.
RS: You say 'we.' Who's we?
Funkerman: Raf and me, we produce all the tracks, which are released under the Funkerman thing, and it's me playing.
RS: Whats the story behind the new single "Remember?"
Funkerman: "Remember" is a love song. When you see the video, I think everything will be clear to you. It's remembering the things you love and remembering the things you like. It could be love for a lot of things in general, a lot for the music and a lot for a girl, or whichever you lost and hate that you lost.
RS: You also released a club record called "You've Got To Be The
One For Me?"
Funkerman: It's a club track and it's actually the last track that we've released on a different label than our own. It was the last option outstanding on the Roger Sanchez imprint. So we made that for them and I think it's a club track, which is kind of OK for radio but not really that much of a crossover. The real follow-up for "Speed Up" is going to be "Remember," and it's going to be released on our label, Flamingo.
Funkerman's label - Flamingo Records
RS: Is Flamingo Fedde Le Grand's label or is it a group label?
Funkerman: Flamingo is three guys, it's Raf, Fedde and me. We produce things ourselves and in combination with one of the three. We help each other out. We have two studios next to each other, connected to one vocal room, so there's a lot of cross-reference going on in the studio. It's really a nice environment to work in.
RS: How did you meet up with Fedde and Raf?
Funkerman: I knew Raf through a good friend of mine. I was producing a lot of dance music and they said, 'You should hook up.' Actually my friend is now married to his stepbrother. It's too complicated, but we met up like eight years ago. I think one or two years after that I met up with Fedde, because he was a resident in a club on Fridays and I was resident on Thursdays. When I played on Thursday he used to drop by a lot, and then he came with new tracks. He always liked me to try out his new tracks before he does himself. It's still like that, but that's the way we met.
We found out that we have a common way we think about music and about musical integrity. That's the most important thing, because it doesn't matter which music you produce or whatever music you're involved with, as long as you do what you feel. For me, I see a lot of guys doing stuff and I'm like – You should listen more to your heart and make that kind of music because it would appeal to me more than just copying some stuff that you see is successful. Maybe it will make you successful in a financial way, but I think real success is the minute before you die you want to think I did something I'm proud of. It's not about making the money at all.