Funky Classix takes you on a journey back in time to the Disco days where dance music started as we know it, and brings you full circle to the present day with Nu-Disco, Funky and Soulful House classics in a series of mini DJ mixes. Also expect to hear anthems from a number of other funky genres too such as Jazz-Funk, Brit-Funk and Boogie.
Before its commercial success Disco was an underground scene, predominantly in New York’s gay community. It was the soundtrack to new freedoms and escapism before being taken control by the soulless mainstream.
Today the term Disco is welded onto tacky retro club nights and compilations, Saturday Night Fever, the Bee Gees and the Village People. True Disco though was the hottest, most loving and sexiest music there has ever been. Constructed with phenomenal musicianship and funky beyond belief.
Disco laid many of the foundations that made club culture what it is today, and its roots are regarded as the first underground dance parties.
The technique of beat matching would be invented at these underground parties by Francis Grosso. Beat matching it would become a required skill for a DJ and was an essential element in Disco’s development.
Disco’s roots would see the very first stereo sound system installed in a nightclub and the very first stereo DJ mixer installed, that would be used to devastating effect by Francis Grasso. This was all made possible by legendary sound-system engineer Alex Rosner.
We would late to catch up in the UK with our American cousins across the pond with DJ’s using beat matching to blend records and installing premium sound systems in the nightclub’s. The first demonstration of two records being mixed together on TV here in Britain was by Greg Wilson in 1983 on Channel 4’s show The Tube.
Greg Wilson - 1st DJ To Mix Live On TV In The UK
Alex Rosner would also be instrumental in helping to build the world’s first commercial mixer, the 1971 Bozak. Invented by, Louis Bozak, the prototype mixer would become the industry standard and is now a collector’s item.
Another legendary underground party to have a Rosner sound-system fitted was at the Loft, hosted by none other than David Mancuso. Many say the Loft was the birthplace of Disco, as it was more influential than any nightclub before or since, it is seen as the place where the music we dance to today, and places we go to do it were first envisaged. And the precision of the sound system that Rosner and Mancuso created would become the accepted standard for every club in the world.
The first nightclub that is regarded to have taken what David Mancuso was doing at the Loft to a more commercial level is the Gallery. Created by Disco legend Nicky Siano in Lower Manhattan, the club would have a Rosner sound-system, copying many of the elements from the Loft. Siano also claims to have been the first DJ to use three decks and of course a Bozak mixer.
Nicky Siano also had a theme tune at the Gallery too, a song that only he and David Mancuso probably have the right to claim as their them tune, as many DJs have tried to claim it as their own. The classic track in question was ‘Love Is The Message’ by MFSB.
By the mid seventies, there an estimated 150-200 nightclubs in New York, many inspired by David Mancuso’s loft, and Disco would also bring the world’s the first super club, Studio 54.
Disco was estimated to be worth more than $4 billion by the end of 1979 that is over $14 billion in today’s money, double what the electronic dance music industry is worth today at $7.1 billion globally.
The Disco era saw the invention of the dance remix as we know now, the person responsible for this is was none other than remixing pioneer Tom Moulton, who also invented the breakdown section and the 12-inch single format. But the 12-inch single happened by accident, Tom Moulton went to have a mix pressed onto vinyl but his mastering engineer Jose Rodriguez had run out of 7-inch metal blanks that are used to cut the master.
Disco would spawn the very first superstar DJ in Larry Levan and the club where he held his residency was none other than the legendary nightclub Paradise Garage. The Garage would bridge the gap between the Disco era and the start of House music.
Larry Levan - Live At The Paradise Garage 1979
Larry Levan was also childhood friend’s with the Godfather of House music, Frankie Knuckles. Even though they are remembered more for their post Disco experiments, both Larry Levan and Frankie Knuckles worked at various New York nightclubs together including Nicky Siano’s Gallery.
July 12, 1979, became known as "the day disco died" because of Disco Demolition Night, an anti-disco demonstration in a baseball double-header at Comiskey Park in Chicago.
Disco would be forced back underground, where it would regroup and rename itself as House music.
A modern day reconstruction of the disco days can be witnessed and consumed at Glitterbox, the party that is saving Ibiza’s soul with every classic Disco and House record played by true legends of the club scene. A 20 year dream of Defected boss Simon Dunmore that was created in 2014, Glitterbox can be found at its summer residency in Ibiza, the Ministry of Sound in London and at other Defected parties around the globe.