Interview with Valenti Funk
I had the opportunity to interview the multi-talented, Dallas-based music-master Valenti Funk. What really stood out to me is his dedication to originality, creativity, and groove. I hope everybody enjoys his music as much as I do.
Tell us a bit about your current band, or other projects you have going on. Who are you playing with? Any releases coming up? Where do you gig?
Right now, I play drums/keys with The Effinays and drums for Ronnie Heart. The Effinays are about to start working on another CD soon (and I’m in the early stages of putting out an all hip-hop album). Between Ronnie Heart and The Effinays, I’m usually gigging any and everywhere in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area. The Effinays may have a weekly residency at Sundown At The Granada in October and just got some good news that we may be opening for a two time Grammy Award winning band in August.
What inspired you to play keys and drums at the same time? Did you have a background in both instruments before you combined the two?
The drums are my first love. Growing up at my grandmother’s house, there was an upright piano in the living room that I taught myself to play over the years. Out of curiosity and the band wanting/needing a keyboard player, I wanted to see if I could combine the two and I’ve been hooked ever since. But, as a side note, people forget that the keyboard/piano is actually a percussive instrument. So, playing both somewhat came natural to me (I do chords/keyboard solos with my right hand and keep the hi-hat and snare work going with my left hand).
What's the hardest part of playing both instruments? What's you're favorite thing about it?
Luckily, I don’t consider that there is a hard part in regards to playing both simultaneously. But, when there is a reggae track involved, I usually like to play just drums. There is a lot of ‘hi-hat work’ and ‘cross stick action’ when reggae is involved and I like to have both hands free. The part I enjoy the most about playing both at the same time would be being able to guide the groove and melody all at once. I don’t like to say, “I like playing both for the control factor”, because while being part of a band, I feel it’s not just about me and what I’m doing, and is all about what the whole band is doing as a unit.
What advice can you offer to drummers who are interested in learning piano and writing their own music? Would you suggest taking time off drums to focus on just the piano? Or should they try to play both?
Man, that’s a hard question to answer, mainly because I feel that I’m not as good on drums as I could be due to devoting time to production (beat making), bass guitar playing and the keys. I will say that it is fun being able to play drums along to a keyboard groove you came up with and then watch it develop into a full song. I can’t really tell or suggest how an artist should split up their time or if they should just focus on one instrument. That question/preference is all up to that individual artist. I will say that I am thankful that I took time to learn all three, which helps me with over all music production.
What inspired you to work with Billy Blast drums? Can you tell us about their instruments?
I absolutely LOVE every single one of my Billy Blast products! His willingness to endorse me in my beginning stages is what inspired me to always want to rock with Billy Blast. I’m forever thankful and grateful that he did so. There is a proud feeling that overcomes me when I get to take my Billy Blast shells out the cases. His kit’s rival any other product you can name. Ego wise (lol), I also LOVE the compliments I get as soon as I take them out of the cases.
As of now, I have (or have had):
rack tom – 10” - white
drum kit – (10”/16”/22”) – black with white polka dots (#2)
natural wood drum kit (10”/16”/22”) – natural, light wood color with a red stripe on one drum, green stipe on one, and black stripe on the other
snare drum – 14” – natural wood with a red, black and green stripe on it
snare drum – 13” – black and silver sparkle
snare drum – 14’ – silver stripe, baby blue stripe, navy blue stripe (STOLEN)
snare drum – 14’ – black and red (STOLEN)
drum set (10”/16”/22”) black with silver pearl polka dots #1 (STOLEN)
Where can readers find more of your playing, your tour dates, social media, and so on?
Surely follow/like The Effianays and Ronnie Heart on FB. Show details and vids of me just ‘funk’n around’ are always posted there. As well, please follow my artist Page, Valenti.
IG – valenti_funk
Twitter - @valentifunk