Interview with P-Funk North

P-Funk North, meaning North Plainfield, is in reference to their hometown and being George Clinton’s neighbor to the north. PFN is the brain child of frontman/bassist David Sloyan originating back in 2013 with some fellow North Plainfield, NJ natives. Things started picking up quickly which led to tours to Florida and Chicago with memorable stops in Washington DC and Detroit. Over the next few years they shared the stage with the likes of Badfish multiple times, Ballyhoo!, Eve6, Darenots, Obie Trice and even Aaron Carter. Yes Aaron Carter.  Ryan Weil came on board to produce/engineer their debut full length ‘Buds Won’t Break Your Heart’ and joined as full time percussionist later moving to behind the kit as their full time drummer. Rounding out the lineup with frontman/bassist David Sloyan and Drummer Ryan Weil are guitarists Tam Garcia and Milan Lazistan who are North Plainfield born and bred as well.

This summer alone has seen P-Funk North supporting Rebelution, Stephen Marley, Common Kings, Zion I, King Yellowman, Tunnel Vision, Fishbone and Badfish. They also received their own custom cajon courtesy of Bangbox Percussion putting them on the list of clients including Pepper, Dirty Heads, Matisyahu and many other bands/artists.

Check out PFN at The Garden Grove Festival on 9/8 with Badfish, Ballyhoo!, Roots of Creation, Bumpin Uglies, Mighty Mystic, The Elovaters, Of Good Nature and Roots of Rebellion!

 

 

Mark 360 – Let’s kick it off- Who is P-Funk North?

Dave – P-Funk North is more than music. It’s a state of mind. I’m Dave; bassist, vocalist. I started rocking this a couple years back with some friends and we’re keeping the party going!

Ryan – I was the producer for Buds but later joined doing percussion. We also have two guitar players that have been playing live with us and rocking out; our musical bros, Tam and Milan. Lately, Dave and I have been the driving force for the production and writing aspect of it.

Dave – Yeah Ryan came in at the right time. We went on tour with his band Backyard Superheroes. We blazed with Ryan and the rest is history.

John 360 -You said P-funk north is a mindset, what is that mindset. Can you elaborate on that?

Dave – Oh hell yeah man, P-Funk North means North Plainfield which is where we originated. It encompasses everything about us and our town. We were kind of looked down upon growing up, people were like “oh that’s the ghetto” but we’re really not; we are so much more. We kind of have an attitude to just do what we want to do and have fun. At the end of the day, it’s become who we are.

 

Photo by Kelly Marie Photography

 

John 360 – When looking at different reggae-rock genres you see all kinds of sub genres and influences from r&b to punk. Looking at the spectrum, I’ve heard you identify yourselves as a reggae party band. Can you speak on your identity as a band and where you guys fit in?

Dave – We are a party band cuz we’re always here to have a good time. If they’re not having a good time than that sucks for them but for all the people that are having a good time that’s why we do it!

Ryan – When we play our party sets we do a lot of mash-ups and keep the party going. People get pretty stoked on that and enjoy the constant energy. That P-Funk North energy and attitude is what defines us as a party band.

John 360 – So what’s North Plainfield like?

Dave – It’s a melting pot of cultures with some epic musicians. Reggae, Dancehall, Latin; all about the different influences, we are dirty Jersey baby!

John 360 – Listening to the album and thinking about the energy you guys bring I can absolutely see how you guys can rock a party. But also listening to a song like “Poppies and Gin” you guys lay down some lyrics that are pretty fucking real; you guys don’t hold back. It’s refreshing, there is a lot of music out there that is watered down. I’m wondering is it a conscious effort to include that realness as well as the party anthems?

Dave – There is a lot of real shit with the original music we put out. We like to keep it real in a way that’s upbeat and fun. Think of the Third Eye Blind song “semi-charmed life” that’s like happy, but is all about depressing drug shit.

John 360 – So you guys are doing a show in Massachusetts soon right? I’m pumped to get the chance to see you live.

Dave – Yeah, we are on September 8th, Garden Grove Festival. Courtesy of our homies Badfish; big ups to Badfish. I remember some of the first shows I went to were Badfish and now they are hooking us up with this festival. I cant even put it into words it’s amazing. I could go right now and be happy haha… Making memories man.

Mark 360 – You mentioned the single you are working on “So Damn Destructive”. What’s the inspiration behind this one?

Dave – I kind of just started writing it like, the first line- “did we ever really have control.” Just a weird place of trying to figure out what’s going on. You know indulging in things that I shouldn’t be instead of what I should be. Its kind of about music, kind of a reckless cycle. The cycle of living and knowing what you should be doing or what society thinks you should be doing but in reality you just have to live for yourself.

Mark 360 – Right on.  So your logo… what is it? Tell us about it.

Ryan – So I drew this cat while I was on vacation in Arizona. We take a lot of inspiration from Sublime and I always loved Lou dog. Thought it would be tight to have a similar mascot for the band. I drew it up over our old logo and I called him Smokey the Cat. Pretty awesome that it’s now on our custom Bangbox, thanks Joe.

Dave – Whatever your listening to and whatever your watching its kind of like “ yo its P-Funk North, it’s the P-Funk North show, all day 24-7, same channel, same network”

John 360 – I know you guys have crossed paths with some very interesting people. People like Obie Trice, Aaron Carter, and Yellowman. What’s it like meeting some of these larger life than life people?

Dave – Its awesome. A lot of them were really cool and good people. Obie Trice was cool. It was crazy that we opened for him, we were the only actual band there, a lot of rappers but everyone enjoyed it. We held it down doing some covers like “Forgot about Dre” or some Jay-Z so it worked out nicely

 

Photo by Kelly Marie Photography

 

John 360 – You guys might be the only reggae rock band to open for Obie Trice.

Dave – We also opened for Aaron Carter.

Mark 360 – Wait, like the Aaron Carter I’m thinking of?

Dave – Yeah, basically the Justin Beiber of the early 2000’s. A lot of people were like “Why would you play with Aaron Carter” and it turned out to be a packed house full of females, and we were like “Yeah, this is why we would play with Aaron Carter”… He was chill though.

John 360 – So tell me what someone should expect who has never seen you play live before? What experience is in store for people when they come to a show?

Dave – Have you ever seen a Toni Braxton cover band? Didn’t think so, yeah so expect a good time, a fucking party. We’re going to go up there and rock out. A good vibe, its infectious. A lot of energy, we’re going to get crazy and you’re going say “P-Funk North” a lot of times.

John 360 -You guys have such a unique style. It’s crazy, it has energy and substance…

Dave – A lot of substance, too much substance, it borderlines substance abuse.

John 360 – You could say- you guys put the substance in substance abuse?

Mark 360 – What are some of the craziest moments from some of the shows or tours you’ve been on?

Dave –  We don’t have any fun on tour, we just play songs. Haha… We played out in Indiana and there was a tornado watch. We just happened to have a cabin that night and it looked like a scene from Twister. Fucking Bill Paxton and Helen Hunt and shit. Yeah Helen Hunt flew by on a cow.

Dave – One time we were playing at a punk show and I got up on stage, climbed on top of the speaker and mooned the whole audience. I was pretty drunk. Don’t drink the Jack in the van. Just kidding, do it.

John 360 – It sounds like you guys have a ton of momentum and a lot of things planned out in the near term. Are you guys ambitious to reach the next level or maybe just taking it day by day and enjoying the ride?

Dave – Its actually both. 100% of each at the same time.

Ryan – We are always enjoying the ride but we certainly have ambition to keep getting bigger.

Dave – Yeah, I started playing in the early 2000’s, just playing those shows, it’s like a drug; good vibes and good times. The older we get and the more we do it, the more we get to spread good vibes. If we can help people escape things even for a minute, just rock out with us; we’ll bring the party. Laughter is the best medicine, right behind Xanax. The more we can do that versus a day job the better. I want to travel, have adventures, good times, good vibes, with my boys, get into shenanigans. We have one life, what the fuck, I cant be clocking in and out everyday.

Mark 360 – We appreciate you guys.  Stay on that grind and we look forward to seeing you up here in MA for Garden Grove.  To wrap it up, who do you guys want to big up?

Dave & Ryan – Family, all our friends, Eden, Kelly, the academy, and everyone who’s supported us, especially Toni Braxton, Bangbox percussion, Tunnel Vision, Seranation, Darenots, Ballyhoo!, all the Law Records family, Lucent Records, Riotfarm Records, big ups to Reggae 360 all day, every day. Tommy at the Old Bay/Blackthorn NB. Kenny Franks, Ease Up Music, everyone showing us love. Big ups to Sublime, Vitamin Water, Rebelution, Stephen Marley, Badfish obviously, love those guys, honored and humbled. Big ups to all the bands we’ve played with and venues we’ve played at! Big ups to Kingsley, the greatest hypeman in the world, If you see someone dancing in our videos, its probably him.  Think outside the bun…and Margaritas, yay.

 

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