Future Music for the Nostalgic: Funkmammoth
We chat with the undergrad beat-maker about his influences, his musical and professional hopes for the future, and the up-and-coming rapper who he had to bail out of jail.
Joe Gremel is Funkmammoth, and he is making extremely funky sample-driven beats a la pioneers like The Avalanches and J Dilla. Producers of the current Soundcloud Generation have been given the digital keys to dig through musical vaults far and wide where beatmakers then take cuts of songs, layer on beats, transitions and time changes to create a sound and style all their own -- nothing too new, but the efficiency to which this process can come together is increasingly accelerated by streamlined music mixing technology.
As the software for sonic amalagamation advances, so does the depth of the catalogs on the internet's largest streaming services. The result is a competitive environment where it's becoming increasingly tough to stand out. Funkmammoth, in our humble musical opinion, is doing just that. So, we reached out to talk to the producer:
Where are you from, how would you describe your music, and who are some of your influences?
I’m originally from a small town in Nebraska called Seward, but am currently studying at Iowa State University, so I live in Ames Iowa. I would describe my stuff as sample heavy beat music. I take quite a bit of inspiration from a lot of different artists like The Avalanches, Vanilla, Röyksopp, and Dilla just to name a few. Still though, I try to make something unique instead of just trying to copy other people’s sound.
As a young, new music maker still in college, what are your future post-college musical plans/motivations/hopes/dreams...
Yeah hopefully I’ll have some business related job right out of college, hopefully somewhere around either Kansas City or Denver. With that being said I’m still planning on continuing this hustle and see if it goes anywhere. I figure I can come home after work and make a few beats to keep me sane.
You sample some of the smoothest music we've never heard. Who are some of your go-to favorite classic musicians and singers that every music lover should know about (if they don't already).
Thanks, I really appreciate that! In this day in age I think Flamingosis put it perfectly when he said “no sample is safe”, so I’m glad I’m still able to find stuff that nobody has tapped into yet. Makes me proud. Some of my personal favorites are Michael Franks, Chuck Mangione, Joe Sample and The Fifth Dimension. And then some of my deep cut people are Ron Cooley, Santa Esmeralda, and surprisingly Linda Ronstadt can bring some heat if you get the right record.
What are some of the newer bands that you’re currently digging?
I don’t know if I’d really consider them “new”, but definitely keep your eyes on guys like Brock Berrigan, Flamingosis, Bonus Points, Engelwood as far as the beat community is concerned. Other than that, on the rap front you gotta love Yung Gravy. He was actually in Ames for a weekend and I ended up bailing him out of jail haha. Really genuine and nice guy though.
To us, your music is best listened to during a good ole social gathering – we’d call it “sophisticated party music.” When you’re creating your music, do you think about the type of environment you’re creating it for, be it a party, or a kid listening to it in his bedroom with his headphones on?
Happy to hear that! I guess I don’t typically think about the setting, but I do take into account the general feeling or vibe I want to come through. So whatever situation someone stumbles onto my music is good for me. Though I will say the best way to enjoy Night Shift is listening to it all the way through, preferably with some decent headphones.
If you could have had any of your songs featured in a movie of your choice, what would the song be, and what would the movie be?
Easy. The Muppets Go Bird Watching. Just use the song Bird Watching as the opening credits track. I have yet to see a Muppet Movie that isn’t absolute gold, so I feel like it’s a safe bet.
A Film Score By: Funkmammoth
Who doesn't think about the songs that they'd use to score the movie of their life? ... So we came up with some generic scene setters and have our favorite musicians choose the songs that they'd use to best to score theirs...
You're driving down an endless road through the desert in the automobile of your choice (Present day)
Ventura Highway by America
There's a quick montage of your early childhood...
You're in high school, hanging out with your friends, it's an indie-movie type party scene.
Let Her Go by Mac Demarco