Logan Anderson, otherwise known as Defunk, is an increasingly prominent artist who’s known for pushing the limits of genre. He infuses classic funk with heavy bass, pioneering fresh sounds seldom heard from any other artist. His music incorporates styles from different eras of music and can include anything from jazz, ghetto funk, deep bass, blues, and everything in between.
Defunk is a natural performer whose live sets include dynamic keyboard action alongside breakneck live mixing. His musical inspiration has been drawn from the musically rich realm of British Columbia, live music experiences like Shambhala Music Festival, and his influential hometown of Calgary, Alberta.
We got to ask him about his creative process, insights into the music world, the strangest place he’s ever been to, and more. Here’s what he had to say!
Westwood: Thank you for chatting with us, Logan. In years past you’ve taken inspiration from Fractal Forest, and now you’ll be joining Westwood this year for a takeover of the legendary stage. How does that feel?
Defunk: It feels amazing to be a part of a truly supportive like-minded family of artists. Westwood is very much just that: a family of friends from all over the world who come together to support one another and work together. This year’s Westwood takeover is just going to feel like a giant house party with all your best friends and I couldn’t be more excited.
Westwood: Like most of us you began as a music fan being inspired and mind-blown by places like Shambhala and other live experiences. You’ve since worked your way up as an artist. Do you now identify more as a musician or a music fan that happens to create music?
Defunk: Over the years I’ve become more and more inclined to consider myself a musician. Production gets better, you gain better understanding for flow between keys when mixing, composition becomes more natural, and you have a better overall sense of what makes music great for dancing. Not to mention I’ve continued to add live elements and incorporate live keys and synths more and more in the last few years. All of this adds up to a considerable amount of music knowledge that I did not have when I was just experiencing festivals as a listener.
Westwood: You’re a producer who goes against the grain and experiments with different sounds, but putting a piece of yourself out there is an inherently vulnerable process. Do you ever fear the response from listeners?
Defunk: I’m definitely always nervous trying new avenues for my music. Your fanbase is crucial and veering too far off the expected sound can be detrimental to your career in certain circumstances. However, from the very beginning I’ve always pushed my music in all kinds of directions. I rarely attempt to make music that sounds the same as the last release, so in a way I’ve built a level of trust with my listeners who come to expect the unexpected. My catalogue is so varied that hardly anything will surprise my listeners by this point. It’s taken a long time to build that level of trust, but it is incredibly freeing to be able to have that capability.
Westwood: Speaking of different sounds, there’s been so much variation in your music over the years, and your newest single “Anarchy 2088” borrows sounds from many different subgenres. What was the inspiration and production process for this song like?
Defunk: I’ve always been heavily influenced by the sounds of drum and bass, whether people realize it or not. My first true experience hearing breaks music was with Pendulum, who were so far ahead of their time. I wanted to create something that was a heavy hitter for the festival season that was a tribute to the artists that really got me into electronic music in the first place. These artists include Bassnectar, Pendulum, The Prodigy, Flux Pavillion, Skrillex to name a few. What these artists have in common is using an incredibly catchy synth line to drive the whole song (think Flux Pavillion’s Gold Dust) I wanted to recapture this nostalgic vibe with an incredibly catchy, nostalgic type synth riff.
Westwood: As a producer who’s also a performing DJ you’ve got to stay on the cutting edge. Does what you’re currently listening to inspire what you feature in your sets?
Defunk: Absolutely. I keep a close eye on sound design trends through Spotify and Soundcloud. I think it’s crucial for me to stay on top of those trends and find a clever way of integrating whatever people are getting into into my music. The key is not compromising your sound, but embellishing it with ever-progressing sound design.
Westwood: Being a touring artist requires a ton of knowhow of many different, ever-changing parts. How do you find that balance and time to keep up with it all?
Defunk: I’m still trying to find the balance to be honest. Waking up early, eating well, keeping in shape will keep you mentally in check. Writing lists for the day of goals to achieve will help you prioritize. Other than that, I simply try to allocate as much time as I can in my life to achieving my goals. That means saying no to going out quite often, and having a partner that understands your need to be working more than most.
Westwood: As a full-time musician you have to take the time to nurture your creativity, but also make ends meet. What’s it like keeping up with streaming culture and the constant changes in the industry? Have you ever felt forced to compromise?
Defunk: It’s quite literally exhausting. This is a major component, in my opinion, of why depression is so rampant in the music industry. I don’t believe the artists, who make the music, and perform the music, should also be responsible for marketing, branding, designing, keeping up with streaming culture, navigating social media trends and algorithms, and a laundry list of other jobs. It’s impossible, and it stretches us too thin. Yet this is the reality for most musicians.
Westwood: It takes a lot of fortitude to pursue a career in art, especially in the music industry. Have you developed any rituals or mantras to help push through particularly rough or monotonous times?
Defunk: Remind yourself that depression within the music industry is incredibly common, and that you are not alone. I have successfully been able to navigate my depression and come out the other end recently, and I’ve found a lot of it has to do with your environment, having good friends or loved ones who understand your career choice and what you need, and taking a lot of time for self care. Be proud of what you do and try not to let anything bring you down.
Westwood: You’ve been making music for a while and have come a long way. What is one of your proudest moments as an artist?
Defunk: Playing Shambhala for the first time was a huge milestone since that was what started this whole thing for me. Opening up for Big Gigantic at Red Rocks was another milestone as it signified my success in a foreign market. Lately being able to call myself a full time musician, paying taxes in two countries, opening up a foreign bank account, and being able to support myself while living out my dreams are all things that I’m incredibly proud of at the moment.
Westwood: You’ve surely experienced many interesting things that many of us haven’t. What’s the most recent thing you’ve done for the first time?
Defunk: Seeing the White House, performing on stage at a riverside venue, and visiting a gym in Pittsburgh all within 24 hours was definitely a first for me.
Westwood: Either musically or personally, what are you most excited for for the coming months?
Defunk: Electric Forest festival in Michigan. It’s been on my radar since I started and it feels like a dream to finally play.
Westwood: Where’s the strangest place you’ve ever been to?
Defunk: Belize City. That place feels like something you’d see in Star Wars on a desolate 3rd world planet. After a sleepless overnight bus ride we arrived in a hot, humid Belize City. Within a few minutes we had seen what was undeniably body bags floating in canals, been hustled for money, witnessed someone on top of a bus pushing power lines out of the way with a broom, and utter chaos. The rest of Belize, however, is magical.
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