The music of Dutch duo Fouk is the result of a lasting friendship and a deep commitment to funk music of the past and present. The talents of Junktion and Daniel Leseman harmonize perfectly in the project, exemplified from their first Outplay release to their most recent Gruff EP. We were lucky to exchange a few words with the pair, and are thrilled to showcase a fresh mix from them, exemplifying their infectious style.
You guys each have an impressive discography in your solo work so far, and every release under Fouk has been amazing! Kill Frenzy and The Great Unknown were easily top house records last year for me. What led you two to meet and what draws you to working together?
Thanks! Yeah, we’re quite happy with how it’s going so far! We met each other in high school. So we’ve been friends for quite some time. We started making music since we were 15/16 years old. Doesn’t mean our first productions were any good though, hehe! Since we know each other for so long, working together feels natural. We share the same vision that we’d like to express in our music.
How often do you two like to play shows?
As often as possible next to our studio time ;) At the moment we do a lot of DJ shows, but we’re planning on doing live sets in the near future.
The Gruff EP picks up right where last year left off in quality. What else are you getting up to this year?
We just got back the masters for our new EP, all we can say it’s coming in July :) Expect a nice summery vibe! Next to that there are a couple of remixes we’re working on and a track for a very special V.A. with loads of great artists is also coming up.
How do you balance researching music and creating it? Do they go hand in hand in your process?
Yeah, it’s all part of the process, both for production and dj-ing. We get inspired by contemporary artists and music from 70s and 80s. Most of our time we spend in the studio. While we’re making new stuff and looking for inspiration for instance, we come across a lot of music we can play out as well.
What is your studio set up like, and how would a typical jam session go down?
We live in different cities and both have our own home studio. The basic setup is similar. We work with Logic Pro X, the same monitor speakers and a couple of the same plugins. We have different hardware synths, so together we have built up a nice collection (Juno 106, JP8000, Moog Slim Phatty and Sub Phatty, Arp Odyssey, and we recently bought a Prophet 6). Usually we alternate where we work on stuff, one day at Hans’ and the other at Daniel’s studio.
But we do have one special place we go to every few months; Hans’ parents have a summer home at the Dutch coast. Then we haul everything we have over there and make a pop up studio :) The region has the most sun hours of the Netherlands, so often we have a very sunny studio and it inspires us a lot. We can get quite creative over there.
Our typical jam sessions start with a nice groove/beat or sample. One of us will start jamming on the Moog for instance and then the other counters that with something else. It’s a bit like question and answer, going back and forth, bouncing ideas off of each other. Sometimes one of us will press record during a jam without the other knowing it. That especially can capture the best spontaneous moments while jamming; like the lucky mistakes that happen during the process. With playing through midi, Logic has this great “capture recording” feature. It records all midi data while jamming without pressing record. So there’s less danger of losing good ideas.
I think we can all agree that Fouk basslines are a cut above. Do you have any favourite bassists, and where do you find melodic inspiration?
Thanks for that :) Well, we don’t have a specific favourite. But we do listen to a lot of funk/jazz/disco/soul etc. Sometimes we sample bits of bassline and then we play a bassline on top of it or around it.
Or we play our own bass melody. Funny thing is a lot of the times we end up using the first take of our bass jam sessions (next to fixing some minor timing errors).
What is your relationship with sampling, and how would you go about choosing samples, say, for an edit?
We do sample a lot, but it always has been a bit of a grey area. The divide between edit and something more “original” can be a bit vague sometimes. What we mostly aim for in our originals is making sure to have a totally different context or feel in our own production when using samples. Or combining samples in a creative way that will make a totally different sound.
If we make an edit we would try to do much more than just simply adding a beat to 16 bars of a disco track. It feels way too easy for us to do just that.
It’s actually quite difficult to explain the “rules” of sampling, now that we’re talking about it, it so much comes down to feeling and personal preference and perception. For us, it essentially comes down to this: sampling when done right is blending in the samples in such a way with the rest that they make the track/groove feel as a whole new thing. That said, we don’t mean it’s bad that a sample is recognisable from the original.
What have you listened to today? Any favourite artists at the moment?
Blair – Nightlife, a 70s jazz funk disco-ish track. Nice and sleazy, just the way we like it ;) Well, artists we have mentioned multiple times before are Nu Guinea and Harvey Sutherland, but Laurence Guy has been steadily putting out quality productions as well lately. We’ve been lucky to have his track Strings Attached on our fourth Outplay release.
Thanks a lot for your time and the mix! Any comments on the selection?
It’s what we’ve been playing lately and it features a track of Junktion’s new Outplay EP. Should be in the shops when this interview is published :)
1. Harry Wolfman – Casillero (Saine Remix)
2. Laszlo Dancehall – Channel
3. Thatmanmonkz – Boogie Down ft. Erik Rico (Laurence Guy Remix)
4. Simba – Susan Sorandom
5. Skylevel – All Night Rumble (Nebraska Edit)
6. Crue – Crue A
7. Times are ruff – Bottles
8. Junktion – What We Are
9. Nebraska – Done My Best
10. D-Ribeiro – Donut Breakin’
11. Dego & The 2000 Black Family – Find A Way
12. O’Flynn – Spyglass
Interview by Oliver.