Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1101

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Craig Charles: Funky Sensation

Craig Charles interview - Photo Dean Chalkley (BBC)
Craig Charles interview - Photo Dean Chalkley (BBC) Craig Charles interview - Photo Dean Chalkley (BBC) Craig Charles interview - Photo Dean Chalkley (BBC) Craig Charles interview - Photo Dean Chalkley (BBC) BUY NOW

Actor, presenter, comedian, author, DJ and people’s funk & soul champion, Craig Charles, team’s up once again with Soul Bank Music for the second instalment in their mighty funk and soul must-have series. Seamlessly continuing the spirit and sheer excellence of “Volume 1”, “Trunk Of Funk Volume 2” comprises of the best of what’s out there, albeit hi-octane retro-funk greatness from yesteryear or contemporary funk & soul brilliance from the stars of tomorrow. There are Trunk Of Funk exclusives dedicated to Charles, plenty of “O wow, I haven’t heard that tune for ages” moments and if you’re looking to get the party started, then look no further… I recently caught up with the ridiculously busy Mr Charles as he prepared to take the reigns on his new daytime show on 6 Music.

When did you get into DJ’ing?

I first started DJ'ing when Kiss FM became legitimate/stopped being a pirate station in 1990 - I did the breakfast show. I did a lot of radio DJ'ing there but I didn't go out playing it because I was into other things… I was into Red Dwarf and Robot Wars and stand up comedy and blah-blah-blah… there was never really any time. When I stopped doing stand up in the late '90s, early noughties, I just thought, you know, what do you want to do, do you want to go and play out? 2002 I started doing 6 Music and then it just made sense to go and play out a bit, you know, I’ve not looked back Lee, to be honest. Live gigs go so well.

Are you surprised by that?

Erm, I don't know, I'm surprised how young the audiences are. When I first started, to be honest, my audience were full of men of a certain age in Ben Shermans [laughs] and that has changed, so much - it's a really young crowd now. We do mix it up - it's not for the purists - we mix the music so it's relevant to the modern dancefloor. A lot of it is classic tunes played in a way that you've never heard them played before and it keeps the young students [interested in the scene]. They're all like 21, 22, 23... I mean, don't get me wrong, there's still 80-year-olds in the crowd as well, a rich mixture. But, there's a core of young funkateers who will get off on it, so I'm surprised at how young the audience and the crowds are. But, let's face it, the music I'm playing is grounded in the golden era of black American music and you can't play a bad tune! I'm so lucky that funk and soul is the genre I've chosen because there's so much of it out there that is fucking having it.

I profess to have a love for funk and soul and to play it in a way that makes people want to dance and party. I do get that some people know the catalogue number of records and stuff like that, which has never really been my vibe. If it's on CD, I'll play it on CD. I don't have to go out and own the seven-inch vinyl, do you know what I mean? But if it wasn't for the purists though, if it wasn't for the guys who are so anally retentive about some of the details, then maybe the genre wouldn't have survived as long as it has so you need them - there's room for everyone! I throw parties where I play music ground in the golden era of black American music and I'm proud to do that. A lot of the stuff I play is now recorded by bands from Europe and toured. That's the European and worldwide response to that golden period. So yeah, I throw parties mate, everyone's invited!

Well, I can't wait for my invite then, Craig! Thank you very much. [laughs]

Take it as your invited mate, it's an open invitation.

I've recorded you now so you’re on! [laughs]

You can read more from B&S Editor Lee Tyler's exclusive interview with the people's funk & soul champ Craig Charles, including his thoughts on the success of Trunk of Funk Volume 1, what goodies are contained on the new album and what acts provided exclusives for this release. Plus, Charles tell us who his favourite blue-eyed soul acts are, what he thinks of some of the new artists breaking though at the moment and whether he would ever consider reforming the group chosen by his listeners and helmed by himself, The Fantasy Funk Band. All in the latest issue of Blues & Soul magazine - click the 'BUY NOW' link below to order straight from the B&S shop or read on for high street retailer details...

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