Soul Avengerz

The king of funky house hits Dubai this week and <em>Time Out</em> won't be far behind. We catch up with the man whose house is always funky as he jets into town.

DJ feature

First things first: what are you guys going to be avenging at Tickled Pink?
Ah, we get asked that all the time. We’re not avenging anything – it just sounded good. When we started out, we just threw a load of words together and said, ‘Oh, we like that one.’ It was only supposed to be for one track. We never thought we’d still be doing it 10 years down the line.

Do you wish you’d chosen something else, then?
Yes, 100 per cent. I wish I’d never put ‘soul’ in it, because that just pigeonholes us. I think a lot of people get preconceptions, they think we play a lot of soulful stuff, but we don’t really .We play quite pumping house music, really funky with good pianos. We still love soul, funk and boogie, so it still makes sense. But ‘soul-something’ is so overused that I wish we’d made up a name that didn’t mean anything. We get called Soul Providers or Soul Searchers or whatever… I do wish we’d come up with a different name.

Bit late now, though.
Yeah, it is a bit late now. And it got us where we are, so who knows? It could all have been down to the name.

How did you and fellow Avenger Wayne O’Connell get together?
We’re both from Islington in London and we were both DJing in the late 80s and early 90s but we never really crossed paths. We were rivals more than anything if truth be known, because we both ran parties at either end of Islington and we were both competing for the same crowds. We got booked to play the same club in Cyprus one night and we had a laugh together. We both had a passion for disco-style house music and so we started producing tracks together.

Funky, disco-style house isn’t very fashionable though, is it?
We love that kind of debate. We’ll shout it from the rooftops, [funky house] is what we’re about and we’re proud, you know? Everyone jumps on the garage bandwagon, then the electro bandwagon, and so on, but we just love what we do. And we’ve been called ‘The Kings Of Funky House’, so that’ll do me.

So why isn’t it fashionable?
It’s been around for a long time, that’s the only reason. Journalists want to find the new, cool thing. Funky house always evolves. It’s not the same sound it was 10 years ago and it won’t be the same sound in 10 years’ time. That’s the way I read it.

Other than Dubai, where else has your job taken you recently?
We’ve been going to places like Serbia and Bosnia over the last few weeks, and that’s pretty mad. You’re thinking, ‘Wow, I’m in places that were at war a few years ago.’ It’s wicked. We were in the Hyatt in Belgrade and it’s got five-star restaurants and spas. People ask what it’s like in Serbia and I think just like being in London, really.

How’re things going for you two right now?
The whole system – everything about dance music and making music – has been in a massive period of change over the last few years. The move from vinyl to CD hit us hard because at the time we were big vinyl sellers. So we lost a lot of income, but now we’ve fought back and it’s all good. We’re number one in the charts with our new track, and we’ve just launched our new label, Soda, so we’re all on a roll.

Soul Avengerz play The Apartment on August 14.

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