Potent Funk is the creative collaboration between two giants of UK underground Hip-Hop. Dabbla’s residence at High Focus Records, both as a solo artist and as a member of the illustrious Dead Players crew, has helped bring UK Underground music to a huge european audience. Sumgii is the production mastermind behind the operation. He is widely respected for his ability to create the wackiest and coldest soundscapes from samples plucked from obscure genres.
“Nobody” is our album of 2020 because in creating it dabbla and sumgii have found the perfect balance between the two styles whilst not diminishing their individual sounds
1) You guys have obviously had a long established creative partnership with many incredible singles released together. How much fun was it to be able to sit down and create a whole album together? How did the idea of releasing a collaboration project come up ?
Dabbla : Mates aside, as a writer, it’s all about the process working with Sumgii as he rarely sends beats, so you have to go see him and build from scratch. Which is always fun. As for the idea… I think it just came at the right time and space, I feel like we’re both at the peak of our game right now plus the labels going strong.
Sumgii : It’s was definitely the most fun in had making a album .
2) Did you guys record the album over one period of time or has it been a gradual process to get it to completion? How many tunes were on Nobody before the final cut? Will we be able to hear any unreleased tunes in the future.
Dabbla : It felt like this was one as the smoothest album process I’ve ever experienced personally. The only agreement was that Jed had to get his guitar out. From what I remember, we only had 3 sessions where we built a handful of different loops, then I went away and started writing and we shaped the entire thing up from the relaxed privacy of our own quarters using the glorious inter-web.
It’s the first time I’ve written an entire album song by song which stayed in order. We didn’t have to trim off any dead meat so no extra cuts in which didn’t make it unfortunately and it was pretty much written in a matter of weeks.
3) What was the vision when founding Potent Funk? Was there something in particular that you felt the industry was missing or was it a natural development as a result of being friends with & surrounded by so many talented artists?
Sumgii : The idea to have a label was to simply release our talented friends music and to support other like minded artists . Our first release was a AA side vinyl only record by Chase & Status called blowtorch & hoax in 2003 and afew instrumental only tracks followed and at the time it was only vinyl releases .
A few years after a small break in running the label due to the fact vinyl sales started to slow down , we decided to start releasing rap music as well as garage , grime and dubstep tracks and adapt the label to the digital market. We still love vinyl and physical releases too tho .
Dabbla : I think a lot of young musicians dream of having they’re own platform whether it’s a label, channel or whatever. I don’t think we had a vision as such, I guess we simply believe in the music we’re making and releasing.
4) What does your personal creative process when it comes to production look like? Do you have a clear idea of what you want to make before you start or do you start with one dope sound and experiment until you become inspired?
Dabbla : Can’t say I have one, it’s all circumstantial and different every time …
Sumgii : My approach is I don’t have a process. I have no idea on the tempo , the mood or style untill I start messing on whatever I happen to open first. It might be the drums or it might be a guitar riff or it might be a synth line . I find that it means I don’t set my self up to fail because I might not achieve what I planned to do. And It’s easy when I work with versatile artist like dabbla that are willing to adapt to where to music takes me / us. .
5) Is there a potent funk or 616 project that stands out to you, that you were involved in or present for its making, that you look back on particularly fondly or that you still listen to regularly?
Dabbla : I’d have to say ’ Death Moves’ because it taught me how to fully handle an entire record from start to finish.
Sumgii : I’d say there are 2 records that stand out for me . One being the Supergang lp ( lee Scott , Milkavelli & sniff ) and Dream mcleans forthcoming album , both of which I fully produced and it’s probably because I approached them differently with new sonics with live instruments including live bass and electric guitar and the use of real drums on a few of them.
6) Are there certain criteria or a certain sound that you look for when digging through all the demos sent to PotentFunk & 616 ? Is there a different style in artists you look for for 616 then Potentfunk?
Sumgii : The only criteria is that the music must really stand out from the rest . I like personality and unique styles . But we are both willing to listen to all demos sent . The label Is not genre based .
7) Have you guys got any particularly fond memories of Amsterdam? Can we please know if you have any plans to come do a show here in advance so we can cop tickets asap!
Dabbla : We did a label party there a few years ago which was sick but the AirB&B had serious bed bug issues so a few of us had to walk around looked like we had the plague .which for funny for some. I rate Amsterdam,would love to come back
Sumgii : I for one did not have any bedbugs so that week in dam was a great one for me and I Smoked the best weed ever which was called BATMAN.
8) Who did the album artwork for nobody? And what is the concept behind it?
Dabbla : Alex Young from north london. He did the Year Of The Monkey artwork, also most of my tattoos. He’s one insanely talented guy. The artwork for Nobody is a representation of a subconscious collection of components taken from the all the music videos, whirl-winding together in the style of a dreamy acid flash-back. Obviously.
9) Lastly, Who were your favorite artists growing up and what did your parents used to play at home?
Dabbla : Cypress hill and guns n roses, my parents played a lot of Queen and Sting
Sumgii : I listened to a lot of nirvana, pearl jam and other 90s bands and eventually a lot of jungle and garage music . My parents listened to a lot of reggae, cat Steven and lots of old soul .
A Question just for Sumgii:
Is there a particular country/ time period / genre that you love to deep dive into to find samples or musical inspiration?
Not really to be honest . I don’t really sample a lot and Iv never sampled anything pre 1996 . Iv actually sampled a few things from garage vinyls and some west london broken beat records because those had the sounds and vibes I was really feeling and mainly because I was only sampling from vinyls I already owned. I’m no loop digger lol . I prefer play my riffs and top lines.
Question just for Dabbla:
A member of our family here at 2&6 constantly states that YOTM is in his top 5 albums ever and really enjoyed the new album. In what ways did this project presented a new set of challenges & how do you think your style or musical preferences have changed in the time between the two projects?
I’d been sat on some of the songs off YOTM for a long while. Some were almost 10 years old by the time I was ready to release that album. I guess this record is completely different. It’s got the most current, freshest music from us, meaning it was created and released very recently and within a short space of time which has its own very distinctive charge.