“We take the music very seriously, but there’s nothing like laughing your way into a good drop.”
FM808 is a new funk duo with a twist. Hailing from Worcester, MA, Adam Straughn and Jake Mattison combine good vibes with good humor as they take on the unprecedented genre of comedy-funk.
The project is a celebration of not taking the spotlight too seriously. There are no dreams of vanity here; only funny samples and smooth beats to validate the effort. With only two original tracks released so far, the group has established a formula that’s bound for greatness – and laughter. Check out our exclusive interview with the founding members below!
So how did FM808 come to be? Adam, I know you’re an event photographer, when did you decide you wanted to take on the music firsthand?
Adam: Photography and music are my two biggest passions. I love attending concerts, so being an event photographer was my way to be creatively involved with this burgeoning electronic music scene. But for as long as I can remember, I’ve been creating music of my own too. Thinking back I actually had a stereo with two recordable tape decks and I was making legitimate mix tapes at like 8 years old using sounds from video games and my fathers record collection- no joke. I was also in a few bands growing up but none of them really went anywhere and life kind of just got in the way.
Jake: Adam and I attended Worcester State University together starting in 2009, where we met in the music department and furthermore playing football. When we started working together in Apotheosis, it became clear that our musical ambitions were very similar. Then back in November 2013, We saw Griz in Northampton which triggered our inspiration to write a new style of funky-funny-electro-rock. We started writing our most basic material for FM808 in late May 2014, but it wasn’t until after we attended Electric Forest in late June that we created our first track – ‘Wolf of Funk Street’.
Who are your top influences? Noticing a big Gramatik vibe in your first two songs.
J: Most of my influences stem from 70s and 80s music, however, I have recently been heavily influenced by artists like Griz, The Floozies, Gramatik, and STS9. Other influences include bands like Nine Inch Nails, Filter, and the work of producer Alan Parsons. Adam has definitely helped me to keep my pallet diverse as far as influences go, and he’s always showing me new music to help us keep our mixes fresh and up to today’s industry standards.
A: It’s hard to say who influenced what on these tracks. It’s kind of like an amalgamation of everything we’ve ever liked forming a synthesis that is our sound. For a certain guitar tone, we may have intended to reach for say, Exmag vibes, but then for the electronic noises we may have tried to be mimicking something we heard in a Pretty Lights track. The comedic factor was definitely something that attracted us and we love The Floozies, who have some hilarious samples in their album “Tell Your Mother.” We also listened to a lot of Griz during mastering to get an idea of how everything should be equalized.
The song that caught our ears, “Wanna Get High?,” has some hilarious samples in it, why did you choose them?
A: Well we always like to have a TV on in the back of the studio room just to fill in the void of silence and it just so happened that whatever was on the at the time of composition ended up making their way into the tracks. We chose funny passages from the movie Wolf of Wall Street for our song “Wolf of Funk Street,” and from South Park for this song just to be both experimental and funny. Many artists take a very serious approach so we tried something new and decided to make comedic funk rock jams. Don’t get us wrong, we still take the music very seriously, but there’s nothing like laughing your way into a good drop. As I mentioned before, The Floozies have a similar approach and they are a huge influence on us for sure.
J: I’ve always loved South Park. I’ve seen every episode and I’ve watched a few of Matt and Trey’s Feature length films. I love their humor and it fit perfectly with the funny-funk sound Adam and I envisioned. Also, due to the recent reform in Colorado, we chose to use pot related clips from episodes such as ‘medicinal fried chicken’ and ‘towelie’.
How did the collaboration with DUDEnGUY come about?
A: I’ve known Danny and Kevin for a few years now. We met through the relatively small Worcester music scene and we all worked at the same club last year, me doing photo and them headlining the events. We’ve become pretty good friends and I’ve actually been working on a promo video for them now that they’ve been playing huge events in Boston and beyond.
J: Kevin and Danny are great guys and great producers. They taught me so much during the collaboration, and really pushed me to be a better producer. Kevin spent a lot of time sending files back and forth making very slight adjustments over a span of about 3 weeks. Needless to say the work was tedious, but as a producer you need to be extremely patient. All in all it’s been a great experience and I really hope to work with DUDEnGUY again in the future.
Aside from not taking yourselves too seriously, what are FM808’s keys to success?
J: Patience, Practice, and unwavering dedication to producing the best possible tracks for listeners. We strive to use as much original music as possible verses splicing existing songs/riffs together. What also makes us different is the live instrument element (All guitar and bass guitar samples are played live by myself) and focusing on harmonies and melodies rather than strictly rhythm and subs.
A: I think it’s all about the time put in, as it is with everything else in the world if you’re not born into success. We both have jobs and our own lives so just making time to get together and find motivation is the most important. It’s not so hard once we are in the studio together because our passion for music pushes us forward. It’s everything outside the studio that makes it harder to find success.
Any hints at what we might expect to hear from you guys in the coming year? Any remixes planned?
A: We definitely want to keep it groovy, that’s for sure, but I think we are still developing our sound. Live instruments will always be something we want to incorporate and I think we will endlessly be searching for ways to stay cutting edge when it comes to our production methods. I’ll let you in on a little secret though, the ‘FM’ in “FM808” stands for “Funk Masters” so you can guarantee we’ll be keeping the funk alive. We don’t want to leak any remixes we are working on in case we end up scrapping them, but we will be making some mixes soon as we continue to compose original tracks and prepare to play live shows in the coming months
J: Expect some very diverse tracks in the near future. There’s nothing I hate more than listening to an artist’s LP and hearing 11 different versions of the same song. Diversity is the name of the game, because that’s how you gain new listeners and reach a broader audience. We certainly won’t stray far from our funky-groovy style, but there’s a lot of ‘legroom’ in this genre which makes it a little easier to make every track exciting and memorable. Live performances will also be in the future once we finish up a few songs in the works. Overall, I’m very excited for what’s next.
Follow FM808’s funk journey on Soundcloud and keep a look out for more tunes on the way soon!