This band is possibly the most unique that I have ever featured on BBB, mostly due to the fact that it is a one man band. For this band we hop back over the pond to the UK, and I give you Funke and the Two Tone Baby.
Funke was another artist that was brought to my attention, this time via youtube, because to truly experience what this kickass one man band is all about, you have to both watch and listen. The video for ‘Cecile’s Song’, the first single of his second EP, blew my mind. Through the use of loop pedals, one watches musician Daniel Turnbull, beat box, play guitar, harmonica, drums, and sing the lyrics with an insanely pleasant, roughly commanding voice. Clearly, this sounds like a lot going on, and it could easily be a wreck, but it is far from it. It’s absolutely enthralling. I sat watching with my mouth hanging open for the entirety of the video. The modernist experimental blues tunes he is cranking out captures and keeps your interest within seconds.
There is a lot I could attempt to describe about Funke and the Two Tone Baby, but I think that I will spare you my rambling admiration of this insanely talented musician and I will let Daniel’s interview and video speak for itself. Daniel was kind enough to take some time to talk to BBB, so read on to find out how he became a one man band, what music he grew up listening to, and how he practices through trial by fire.
Seriously though, do NOT just read this post, WATCH the video (SEE POST BELOW), hell, go watch all the videos, and listen to the truly unique band that is Funke and the Two Tone Baby.
When and why did you start playing?
I started playing guitar roughly when I was 13 / 14. My mother’s always been into music, but isn’t a musician herself. When I started taking an interest in music, she bought me a Black Acoustic Stagg and my cousin gave me a beat up Squire and a really dirty amp and pretty much that was me hooked, have never put it down since.
First tune you learned?
Nirvana – Come As You Are. My cousin showed it to me and within five minutes I was playing it. Couldn’t believe it…
What kind of music did you listen to growing up? How does that differ from what you listen to now?
When I was a child, a lot of Motown, Soul and a lot of ‘Classic Rock’, but none of this Black Sabbath and Queen bollocks. It was more towards the Zeppelin, Floyd, Hawkwind-y kinda route. Then as a teenager I listened to a lot of grunge and heavy rock, Nirvana, Korn, Deftones etc. Now my real listening passion is electronic music; lots of bands like Holy Fuck, Black Moth Super Rainbow, Tobacco, Bonobo, Blockhead and Add N to (X). I love the way sound is limitless, with a guitar you can only make so many sounds, but with electronics, you can do anything! That really appeals to me.
Which musicians do you admire? Why?
Anyone who can do something I can’t or can create an atmosphere. I’ve seen so many people lately who, when they start playing, totally change the whole dynamic of the room and totally stun and capture an audience’s attention. To me, that’s worth more than just being a very good instrumentalist.
So when did you decide to be a one man band? Does it ever get overwhelming?
It just kind of happened. All my band left to go to uni, and at the time, I didn’t know what I wanted to do. So that left me on my own with all the time in the world. I’d heard rumor of these things called loop pedals and I saved up, bought one and voila! It’s just naturally developed from there. It’s never been overwhelming as such, but in the beginning when it was all messing up and I was standing on my own in a pub full of people… I could have killed for a band, just for some support… or to shift the blame.
How long and how often do you practice?
Very little. I gig so often that my shows are my practice… Think they call it trial by fire. If I have a new song, most of my practice is in my head; what do I pick up next, what pedal do I press next. A lot of the time it’s memorizing a series of actions.
Describe your show visually & musically for those who have never been.
I’ve been described as ‘a technological one-man bluesband’, and I think it’s pretty spot on. Without sounding too much like my bio, I perform a traditional blues song / structure with beat-boxed, breakbeat rhythms, overdubbed with loop pedals, delays, huge basslines, harmonica and angry vocals. People say I have a lot of energy on stage… from up there it feels like I’m vibrating on the spot, but how knackered I feel when I get off… I must look like I’m running a marathon.
How does your creative process typically work?
I just let it come to me. I maybe won’t write a song for a month and then could write three in a day. I start with an idea and just let it develop naturally, and when I have enough ideas in vaguely the right order, I start testing it out at gigs and it naturally moulds itself into a song.
What do you think you biggest break or greatest opportunity has been in your career so far?
Recording with Ian Button from Death in Vegas… twice. He is an amazing man and I’ve really learned a lot from him… though that was more an experience. With regards to greatest opportunity, I’m supporting Bob Log III on May 9th at The Chambers in Folkestone. I’m amazingly excited as that’s a man who I think I could learn so much from – particularly regarding the number of shows that he pulls off every year. I don’t normally get nervous but…
What are you working on now, and what can we expect from you in the coming year?
Though I’ve only just released my second EP I’m already planning my third, but that’s probably still about six months away. Closer to the time, I have a 20-piece dance troupe from a local college choreographing a dance to my next single ‘Tomorrow Brings A Better Day’. Currently I’m working out the logistics of filming and releasing that at the moment.
Why should people listen to your music? What makes your music unique?
Hopefully, because I’m doing some a bit different and interesting. I wouldn’t necessary say original but definitely music with passion, feeling and a bit of balls. I like to keep what I do varied so I’d hope someone could find something they like, whether it be the music, videography or artwork that accompanies it.
One song you never get tired of.
I’m fairly sure this will change depending on my mood and day of the week but – Holy Fuck – P.I.G.S.
What is the best live show you have ever gone to?
This must be getting a little bit monotonous, but they are my favorite band: Holy Fuck. I’ve seen them five times now and they just get better and better and better. To the point where it was hard for me to go to see live music for a long while. Nothing can beat them, they’ve left me speechless everytime, no competition, first prize, Nobel Prize, presidency, yadda yadda yadda.
Favorite things to do NOT musically related.
That’s actually pretty hard without sounding very dull… music is what makes me cool! Otherwise, I’m pretty lucky with where I live at the moment – on the coast, so I spend what time I do take off just wandering around the local area, visiting friends – the usual, really! (I’ll bet that’s disappointing!)
If you could be a fictional character, who would you be?
Some kind of superhero, nothing to do with the whole God-complex thing… Would just be amazing to fly… or to be able shoot lasers from my eyes.
Cecile – my car. Without her, I wouldn’t be at more than half the shows I’m fortunate enough to play each week.
FIND FUNKE HERE: