Funk D’Void’s links to the alleged ‘alt-right’ Proud Boys movement were outed by Pulse Radio and Resident Advisor last week, leading to a huge outcry on social media. In the wake of the attacks, we witnessed a huge amount of support for the outspoken Scot, who had never been contacted for his side of the story. Interested to learn if the stories had merit, we took some time out with Funk D’Void to get his version of events.
Funk D’Void, it’s been a brutal couple of days for you. As is often the case in witch hunts like these, the ‘accuser’ is often the winner on social media, as some people are quick to form judgements based on what everybody else is saying, and don’t take time to research the facts. For those who aren’t aware, can you remind us what this was all about?
Funk D’Void: I had a couple of Berlin clubs cancel my bookings after calls were made, following articles that were published about a few T-Shirt designs I had on my online store.
We noticed you’ve removed the Proud Boy T-Shirts from your Funks Tees store. What made you decide to do this?
Funk D’Void: The general consensus is they’re alleged to be a racist organisation. I don’t believe in racism so I don’t want to be associated with them if that’s the case. I’m not a homophobe, transphobe, sexist or a bigot either. I’ve been in the scene a long time (i’m 46!) and have always lived by the values of house music.
Thanks for confirming that but the question is on everybody’s mind, if that’s the case, why did you decide to get involved with them and make the shirts in the first place?
Funk D’Void: It seems the perception of the Proud Boys’ mission has mutated beyond what I was initially lead to believe. They were supposed to be an ‘inclusive’ American frat boys group who were ‘accepting’ of anyone who believed in western values. The group was founded as a way to get young people off the couch and give them a bit of confidence. They take their name from “Proud of Your Boy” which is a song from Disney’s Aladdin stage-show FFS! So it all seemed fairly innocent. Yet following those articles last week, things seem to have kicked off, with people branding them an ‘alt-right’ movement. The ‘alt-right’s not my thing and that’s certainly not what dance music’s about. I love what I do and I live by strong values, so I don’t want be associated with anyone who has a stigma like that.
What do you have to say to all the people you’ve offended?
Funk D’Void: I’m sorry for disappointing my fans and anyone that was hurt by this. I made these items a while ago and spared no thought to what this group had become or how they would be perceived.
Yet whilst i’m really sorry about this whole incident, I really believe we need to tackle the power of the press and the political correctness that’s invaded our scene. It’s really gotten out of hand, especially in Germany. Real ‘Tolerance’ is about putting up with things you don’t agree with too.
We know you’re no stranger to controversy. Tell us about some incidents you’ve been involved in from the past?
Funk D’Void: I tweeted this to Calvin Harris and made a t-shirt with these very words that he called me.
@funkdvoid miserable auld cunt
— Calvin Harris (@CalvinHarris) November 28, 2014
Last year I made a “Make Berghain Great Again” t-shirt and had to take it down after they (politely I might add) asked me to.
Also I made a “Downloaded For R.Hawtin” shirt and got a lawyer’s letter asking me to cease and desist with the use of that design too.
So why do you like being controversial?
Funk D’Void: I love designing, it’s something that inspires me; sometimes more than music these days. I have a punk attitude to my work and designs. I also love taking the piss and winding people up. I come from an era where it’s okay to do that and i’m enjoying my freedom of speech while I can. The scene’s gotten way too serious these days. We need to have more fun!
It seems public ‘witch hunts’ like this are becoming all too common in dance music these days.
Funk D’Void: The only winners from these things are the webzines that survive and thrive on this kind of traffic. I have lost a lot of fans and respect over this debacle. It’s been a draining and exhausting few days.
We have to start fighting back against this kind of totalitarian discourse. With great power is supposed to come great responsibility, yet there’s completely no oversight for sites like these. Right now, they have the power to destroy people’s lives and careers with a click of a button. In my case, they’ve become the judge and jury, without a trial. It’s absolutely ridiculous!
Would you consider suing them for defamation of character?
Funk D’Void: If I had the money to do it I would. T-shirt businesses at my level don’t bring in much revenue. As with my music… I do it for the love. I think everybody does in the underground these days.
What needs to change?
Funk D’Void: The gutter dance music press needs to held accountable. Boycott them or fill their comments with disapproval. Use the free speech you have left to try and turn the tide.
Wouldn’t we be better off turning our attention back to the music and letting that unite us instead?
Funk D’Void: I wholeheartedly agree.