An introduction to “New Beat Fund” and the beach funk genre

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Richard Lin/HIGHLANDER

What do you get when you fuse beach funk and a sunny day by the pool? An abundance of good vibes and an eager crowd comprised of UC Riverside students and talented musicians. On Saturday, May 10, Red Bull hosted its first New Beat Fund Beach-Side event in Riverside for UCR students. Among some of the notable musicians were DJ Lootz, Captain Nomad and last but not least, the headlining band New Beat Fund.

Originating in Los Angeles, New Beat Fund embraces their unique combination of reggae, funk, ska, punk and hip-hop as their sound continues to radiate throughout and beyond Southern California. Made up of members Fat Snapz Lalib (bass), Silky Johnson (drums), Burnie Baker (guitar) and Button (guitar), New Beat Fund is certainly an and humble band to look out for as they release their first upcoming album in Fall 2014. Prior to their set, I was fortunate enough to sit down with New Beat Fund for an interview.

J: First off, I want to know what beach funk is all about? If you were to break that down, how would you best describe that particular genre?

NBF: That’s a good question, amigo. Well, we grew up in Southern California so it’s kind of a culmination of beachy and groovy. Imagine yourself hanging out in Venice Beach with good people and taking in all of the different sounds around you; that would kind of paint the picture of what that is. We were really into reggae, funk, hip-hop, punk rock, some ska and a little bit of everything. It’s kind of like making out under a palm tree with some horchata, maybe a little bit of tequila spritzer and margarita in there too. We actually call it g-punk/beach funk, and g-punk comes from g-funk, which is like Dr. Dre West Coast ‘90s hip-hop movement and punk rock mixed with the psychedelic 1960s San Francisco scene. We also just did a remix with TDE (Top Dawg Entertainment) too, which is pretty dope because they’re holding down the West Coast hip-hop scene right now.

J: Have you guys performed in Nor Cal?

NBF: Yeah, we played in Santa Cruz, Slims, we did Fillmore, which were all rad in their own way. Santa Cruz was sick because the crowd was mouthing our lyrics the whole time and really embraced the fact that we were trying to bring something unique and fresh to them rather than something dull and one-sided.

J: That’s awesome. What did you guys listen to growing up? Did that play some sort of role into who you guys are today?

NBF: Definitely! Let’s see, we got Blink 182, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg and Tupac. We also all listen to JFI, Rancid, and Jimmy Hendrix. Then there’s Acid House, which is like Fat Boy Slim, and a few others. We’ve probably gone through almost every phase of music you can go through. We like so many genres of music, which have all in some way influenced our music. I would say we are heavily influenced by West Coast music in the ‘90s.

J: So a lot of gangsta rap?

NBF: Well, there’s that and also the punk scene. Because in the early ‘90s, there was a huge punk explosion here with Blink 182, The Offspring and Green Day all hitting the radio around the same time. Those were some of the first tapes we bought. In fact, my first tape was an Offspring tape.

J: So you guys are fans of The Ramones and other artists that came over from the UK?

NBF: Yeah, man. The Clash, Sex Pistols, you name it.

J: So recently, I heard a few remixes to some of your songs like “Get Up” and “Scare Me” featuring artists like Jay Rock, Allure, TDE and Mystery Skulls. How do you guys feel about all of the variation being done with your music? Would you guys ever consider collaborating with artists from other genres to make something completely new?

NBF: Yeah, it’s an interesting thing because we’re very specific with our music so hearing it in a new light is like, “Woah, that was kind of taken for a new spin.” In some ways it’s really cool because it opens our area up to a new take on songs and music that we write. Most of all, it’s not necessarily a remix that we like to do, but a new track with a hip-hop artist where we would write the beat and the chorus and get some different artists on the tracks. We definitely got some ideas stirring up in our noggins right now so it should be cool. Some things are more organically collaborative like with the TDE remix. We feel that it was more of a melding of both the genres that stayed true to our song while staying true to theirs as well. It’s pretty crazy because all of our EP (Extended Play) was basically done in bedrooms and garages so to hear those songs remixed by Kanye’s DJ, TDE and Jay Rock is pretty wild. If we were in a club and those remixes came on, we would go crazy! And we would hope there would be some twerking involved — that’s basically all you can hope for.

J: If you were to look back four to five years from now, what would you guess would be the New Beat Fund Classic? What is that hit that you feel would really capture your style?

NBF: I think for us, “Scare Me” kind of started our whole band. It’s the first song of ours that we heard on the radio and first song that got remixed. It’s also the first release that really shaped the sound of our band. We’re also crafting and recording some new stuff in the studio right now so it’ll be interesting to see what happens with our babies. The classics are yet to be released, my friend.

J: Word has it you guys are working on your new first upcoming album right now. What should your new fans look forward to? What sort of different styles, variations, or remixes are you planning to put on there?

NBF: I would say the core of New Beat Fund is to magnify and explore vast areas and really painting a broader picture. It takes our EP and gives it more of a live aspect to it so it’s a little more in your face music. It’s shaping up in a very crazy way right now. There are also some heart-felt songs on there like we did with “Helena” on our EP, so it should be interesting. Basically, we’ll call them panty-droppers, bra-tossers and beer-pounders with some possible twerking mixed in there.

J: When people read this article next week, what is one good reason why people should listen to your music and look you up online?

NBF: Good SoCal vibes! And some weird smells. It’s good music to procrastinate doing your homework to, or more specifically, just kicking back in the sun and enjoying yourself in any way that you possibly can.

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