Multi-instrumentalist, live-looper, jazz funk bassist Dr Funk brings busking into the 2020s. He makes the four-string sing. He surfs. His dream is to own a 67 Mustang Fastback. He’s not actually a doctor.
Dr Funk lives to play the bass. That’s really all you need to know. Slapping, popping, strumming, riffing, he elevates the humble rhythm instrument to levels of melody and showmanship that are more commonly associated with the lead guitar. Inspired by legendary bassists – Marcus miller, Victor Wooten, Louis Johnson – Funk is the type of player who could jam on a groove for hours, building it up with his loop machine and keys. Fellow musicians stop and play with him. Crowds gather. Intrigued ears fished by Funk’s playing, pausing and taking time out to enjoy a stranger’s soundtrack.
It’s one of the most honest, unfiltered forms of performance you can imagine, and it’s one that the good doctor has known since he was 15. Since moving from Sunderland to Cornwall in search of surf, gigs and good times with his band of schoolmates – south west festival favourites The Big Sets – it’s the only job he’s ever had. Over the years he’s taken his unique style across Europe and, most recently, he’s taken his work across the world as one of the most popular viral street performers online.
His videos regularly amassing millions of views, Funk was unwittingly brought to the world by an impressed music fan with a video camera. For a while he was unaware he’d even gone viral. But over the years, especially during 2020/21 when street performing has simply not been an option, Funk has brought his style to the thriving live stream culture and adapted busking for the modern age. Starting up random live streams when he fancies (just like he’d take to the street) he plays away as word of mouth spreads. A few shares later, he’s attracted thousands of live viewers around the world… All watching as he puts his own twist on much loved rock, funk and pop classics or improvises, creates whole new songs, organically crafted loop by loop.
It’s here, in these improvised moments, where we see and hear the future of Dr Funk. Constantly writing, he’s gradually building his own repertoire with releases and collaborations planned throughout 2021. Capturing the magic of his impromptu performances but taking them to much bigger stages, and taking the artform to exciting new places, Dr Funk continues to stop you in your tracks.