What were you doing when you were 15? While most of us were probably cramming for exams we didn’t understand and dealing with pubescent teenage problems, young Lars Sandberg was busy running not one, but two under-18 clubs.
Different cultural climates aside (who’s heard of an under-18 club here?), the sounds produced by Sandberg aka Funk D’Void are universal. With influences of Detroit techno, deep house, and even some funk thrown in for good measure, the Glasgow-raised DJ is a global force to be reckoned with.
Even with a career spanning almost 20 years, Sandberg has found the time to not only run his own clothing label, but also be a single father of two children. That’s a dedicated man right there if you ask us.
The veteran is respected by many in the industry
So before we catch him spin at Club Kyo on 20 July, we had a casual chat with him about his work-life balance, his colourful teenage years, and how he sometimes feels like actor Guy Pearce.
You started your career at the mere age of 15. How was it like to balance the birth of a career with teenage commitments like school and well, stupid things which teenagers do?
It blended in surprisingly well, I was aware of my passion - playing music to people in the hope that they would feel a connection with the sounds that I loved. And I’m still doing that today! I was still being a teenager of course, but I did notice the power of the DJ when I went to school dances I wanted some of that.
So instead of throwing balls in the park, you were already running two under-18 clubs. Didn’t the pressure ever get to you? Surely it must’ve been somewhat overwhelming?
It was tough promoting as a 15-year-old, but today it’s even harder in the adult world. It’s a hard game. I stopped running big parties a long time ago but back then there was not so much competition. We had a good run of it, both weekend nights were busy. But instead of playing around like normal teenagers, I was giving out flyers for those two nights instead. Most other kids were trying to figure out what to do with their lives. I had it all figured out by the time I was 14.
As a teenager, Sandberg had it all figured out
Though you’re currently based in Barcelona, Spain, we understand that you originally came from Glasgow, Scotland. How did the Glasgow culture and scene influence you as a growing artiste at the time?
I was right in the middle of one of the biggest shifts in musical culture since disco. 1988 was the year acid house exploded, and from that everything else has since been formed, the birth of the club DJ/ producer. It was perfect timing for me. It was a magical time to be young in the UK during the 90s. I sometimes pity the scene of today as I watch the club kids become faded photocopies of decades past. But maybe I’m just old. That’s probably it.
As it turns out, one of music history’s funk daddies Marvin Gaye was crucial in your musical foundation growing up. Did you ever consider being a funk musician rather than a techno DJ?
Never, but I did go through a huge jazz-funk phase when I worked at an independent record store during the 90s. I was in the perfect place of work for an aspiring DJ! I was classically trained at piano, but never thought I would become a techno producer. Knowing chords does come in handy though!
Which do you prefer? Churning out a new original track or crafting a remix?
Right now I would say doing an original, because I’m striving to finish my long-awaited fourth solo full-length album. It seems that everyone and their uncle is putting out a full-length this year, including a lot of veterans like myself. I would say that this is a good thing, as the growing competition and the sheer number of rising new talent is forcing everybody to step up their game and musical output, myself included.
As a single parent with two kids, how do you balance the time between your music career and family?
I don’t. I feel like Guy Pearce in the movie 'The Time Machine' where he’s always having to put away the blueprints of his work in a drawer because his family is shouting at him to come away from his office and play in the garden. So as you can imagine, I’m always fighting for the time to actually create music, not to mention get inspired!
Even with two kids, Sandberg still finds time for his music
Since you started out with a very eventful past, we figured that a question about your future would be appropriate. So where do you see yourself twenty years from now?
I have no idea. But I have no problem with the image of me, old and retired, sitting outside my apartment block on a deck chair with my old friends, drinking beer, telling stories and laughing at passers-by. Actually I do that quite often already.
Also we hear that you have your own clothing label! Care to tell us more?
We just like to print big slogans on shirts, sometimes funny, always limited. We have a t-shirt which says “In Funk We Trust”, that one is proving extremely popular. Next up, DJ Bags, USB cases, and maybe baseball caps!
Forward feat. Funk D’Void | Date: 20 Jul | Time: Late night | Venue: Kyo, 133 Cecil Street, Keck Seng Tower, #B1-02 | Tickets: $20 (inclusive of one drink)