Real Name: Simon Ward
2008 was the year that Dr. Rubberfunk joined the Jalapeno family and brought his live drumming, funk breaking, irrepressible good time vibe to the j-funk party. Prior to that he had been the archetypal artist in control of his own destiny setting up his own GPS recordings and successfully self releasing his first two albums, his debut 'The First Cut' and his second album 'My Life At 33' .
'The First Cut' was a record from an earlier era, with lots of cut up samples in the mix. Many people would have been nervous about putting out an album like this without a heavyweight legal team behind them, but as Rubberfunk shared a management company with Fatboy Slim they had seen it all before, and urged him to drop the album as it was without compromise. This album and the tour that followed earned him a worldwide reputation not only as a top producer but also as an innovative and exciting DJ.
One of the nicest guys in the music business, he used the connections he made traveling the world to work with a host of hot talent on his second album - a real progression from the first with fantastic songs and sublime production.
Since 'The First Cut' he had been pursued by the boss of Jalapeno Records who knew Rubberfunk's sound perfectly encapsulated what the label was all about. After a few years of running a label alongside being an artist the Doctor decided it was time to concentrate on the music and signed up to the J-Funk revolution.
The first fruits of this partnership dropped in Spring 2008 in the form of the 'Sunset Breakup EP' - a cracking 4 tracker that rounded up 2 dancefloor friendly B-Boy tracks (originally produced at the behest of the Rock Steady Crew!) alongside the midtempo balearic groove of the title track and the sizzling soul of 'Part Of Me', a brand new collaboration with Dutch soulstress Sitzka.
From these early writing sessions with Sitzka, nowadays an established member of the Jalapeno family, 'Hot Stone' began to take shape. Working tirelessly with a talented collection of musicians, the Rubberfunk studios began to yield a steady flow of songs, and another solid J-Fam hookup with John Turrell on the blue-eyed-soul of 'Northern Comfort'.
A summer afternoon tea & biscuits break, listening to tunes and album ideas in the Rubberfunk record library, led to one of those 'wouldn't it be great if…' type conversations; 'wouldn't it be great if we could get Roachford on vocals', and a few quick emails later 'Trouble Woman' was born. A cautionary tale and a lesson in low slung soul all in one.
Further Jalapeno friends appear in the shape of vocalist Philippo, who's previously recorded with D'Stephanie, and is featured here on 'Rising Steps' - bringing sweet harmonies to some dirty drums, exotic percussion and floating keys.
The vocal tracks are rounded out with 3 more stunning performances from Sitzka, showcasing her talents in a variety of styles, from the rolling jazz piano hip hop of 'It's Not Clear', the mellow acoustic guitar beats of 'Get Away' to the intense gutsy funk of 'You're No Good'. Horns on 'You're No Good' (along with 'Northern Comfort' and 'Trouble Woman') come courtesy of a transatlantic hook-up; Todd Simon, hornsman for The Breakestra, Connie Price & The Keystones and Mayer Hawthorne, amongst others, drops the perfect brass accompaniment to the Rubberfunk sound.
Remaining instrumental tracks on 'Hot Stone' roll from Blue Note style soul jazz to fuzz heavy psych funk, all in the inimitable Rubberfunk style, completing a beautifully crafted album of songs and sounds, moods and melodies - a stone cold aural massage!
Dr Rubberfunk is a lynchpin of a growing group of DJ's and producers pushing an eclectic brand of funky music - at the moment named only by the label that pulls them all together - "Jalapeno" Funk. From the tru-funk of Dr Rubberfunk and Soopasoul to the breakbeat and electronic soul of Kraak & Smaak, and everywhere in between, it's a sound being pushed by the likes of The Big Chill at their festival and their London venues, creating a home in the UK for a worldwide scene.