The Dutch house stalwart and fellow countryman Cooperated Souls have produced what could be one of this summer's festival anthems
Though he's been releasing records since the turn of the millennium, it was really 2006 smash Speed Up that put Dutch DJ/producer Ardie van Beek - better known as Funkerman - on the international house music map.
By that time he'd already set up Flamingo Recordings with fellow Dutch producers and long-term friends Fedde Le Grand and Raf Jansen, and Flamingo remains the primary outlet for his music, alongside his (and Jansen's) other label Can You Feel It Records. He's released a constant stream of singles on the two imprints over the past decade, as well as providing remixes for acts as diverse as Moby, Todd Terry, Lenny Fontana, Kaskade, Chocolate Puma, Sugababes and even the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Last year saw him release his second album Straight From The Heart on disco:wax, which followed his 2010 debut long-player House For All. Earlier this year, this serial collaborator - partners-in-crime have included Baggi Begovic, Jesse Garcia, I-Fan and Mitch Crown, as well as his label partners - teamed up with rising Dutch EDM star Cooperated Souls on the single Work Your Body, and now the two have joined forces again on his latest Flamingo offering, Bad Boy Beat.
Opening with a spoken eulogy to the rave era courtesy of MC Gee, Bad Boy Beat is no shrinking violet of a tune, but rather the kind of accessible, hi-octane stomper you could imagine hearing in a Fatboy Slim festival set, or even finding its way onto the USB sticks of out-and-out EDM superstars. It's a birrova beast, truth be told.
So can Bad Boy Beat replicate the success of Speed Up? Only time will tell - but just in case it does, we thought we'd best grab him for a quick chat now...
How did you come to hook up with Cooperated Souls, and what was the impetus to go back in the studio together?
"When something is nice one time, why not do it twice?! Simple as that. I can help him with my experience, and his youth and enthusiasm give me energy."
You have a long history of collaborations. What is it you like about working with other people, versus working on your own?
"Both have their positive sides. What I like about collaborating is that when you have a good time it can translate into the music, but when I'm working alone I very much like the level of concentration I can get into."
What artists would you most like to work with that you haven't so far?
"Wow, that would be quite a list! But to name a few: Âme, Roisin Murphy, Armand Van Helden, Daft Punk, Norman Cook and Rick Rubin."
The new single starts with a eulogy to the rave days. So, where were YOU in '92?
"I was living in Holland, as I still am, I was really into raves and I was already DJing on a local level. But I couldn’t make a living from just DJing, so my list of jobs in the music industry is quite big."
…and the big question: WAS IT better in the old days?
"There is one thing that was definitely better than it is now: we used to listen to artists we loved and be inspired to try and be as good as they were, but different. Back then, most guys tried to be original and you were appreciated for it. Nowadays I think too many producers and DJs just try to sound exactly like the artist that is the flavour at the moment."
There's a big divide right now between 'traditional' house and techno on one side, and EDM on the other. Where do you feel your music sits on that continuum?
"I don’t believe in pigeonholes, actually: I’ve seen many name tags and in the end there is good music and crap. But if I have to place it, my music is more left-of-centre, so more house/techno than EDM."
In fact, how do you describe the music you make generally? You're often associated with the 'electrohouse' tag, but is that something you're comfortable with - especially in 2017?
"No, electrohouse has actually never been my thing. When people ask me, most of the times I just say I play house music - it feels more general to me. Even just 'dance' feels better."
Can you tell us a bit about what's in your studio? Are you a hardware fanatic or more a plug-ins kinda guy?
"I’m a hybrid person, so I use whatever I feel like. I am fortunate to own a really nice analogue console and a bunch of 'collector' compressors and EQ’s that I love using, but, especially nowadays, plugins are phenomenal as well. I like to use whatever inspires me."
And if that studio was burning down, what one piece of kit would you grab as you ran out?
"My hard disk. Everything else I can replace! Actually, about a year ago I disconnected all my hardware to persuade myself to use different stuff than my go-to's."
The single comes on your own Flamingo Recordings. How's that been going, and what else does Flamingo have on the horizon?
"Flamingo has been going really strong again this last year. I’ve been fully committed again on the creative side, like in the first few years. Sometimes a touring schedule can be quite hectic, but now I’ve been really investing in my relationship with our artists again, and for me that is such a great feeling. Helping other guys to reach their goal! A lot of great stuff is yet to come."
Finally, what else have you got coming up that iDJ readers need to know about?
"There are some more collaborations coming up that I can’t get into detail about yet, but I promise it will be unique!"
Words: Russell Deeks