GET TO KNOW: Silas Funk
After establishing himself with a breadth of broad and immersive outings this past year, fast-rising artist Silas Funk is back on the grind once again to deliver his captivating new single 'Backwards'.
Lifted from his forthcoming debut album 'Sugarfixx', which is set to drop later this year, 'Backwards' makes for a rousing return to form for the emerging artist. With its bold and driven textures perfectly set to his vibrant vocals throughout, he is continuing to cement himself as a true innovator on the rise right now.
So with the new single available to stream now, we sat down with him to find out more about his background and influences over the years.
What was the first band or artist you fell in love with?
The first band I absolutely became obsessed with was SIMPLE MINDS. They had been around for many years and yet I didn’t know any of their songs beyond Don’t You Forget About Me and Alive & Kicking. But when I was 18, I was digging through old vinyl at a used record store and decided to take a chance on some of their old stuff. So, I bought the Sparkle in the Rain album and I’ll never forget the first time I put it on and played the first song. My best friend, Pete, was with me and the song Up on the Catwalk started playing. About 15 seconds in, both of us looked at each other and started laughing hysterically as we thought it was the worst song we’d ever heard. I stopped playing it and figured I’d just wasted my money.
Then later that evening, I listened to it again. Then again. And again. I called my friend and told him I now liked the song. He thought I was crazy but eventually he liked it too after several listens. I thought it was the most genius song I’d heard to date. The rhythm and arrangement, the keyboard, and vocals. I just needed to hear it more and get used to it. It soon became my favorite song at the time, and it got me interested in checking out more of their old albums. So, then I bought New Gold Dream. This one had an immediate feeling of “oh this is amazing!” when Someone, Somewhere in Summertime started playing. I soon did a deep dive into everything they ever recorded and purchased all their old albums. I bought books about them and even painted a painting of Jim Kerr’s face when I was 20, although you can’t even tell it’s a face really since it’s abstract. It’s currently hanging on my home studio wall.
I’ll go see them in concert whenever they’re touring but I dont care too much for their current albums as they feel fairly unimaginative compared to their earlier work. But I think this is common with bands as they get older. I’m not sure exactly why that is. I hope it never happens to me as I always want whatever I’m currently working on to be my best work yet.
But indeed, their early sound was a huge influence on me, as well as just their overall vibe.
Did you ever form a band when you were younger and if so, what did they sound like?
I formed a band with my friend Paul David, whom I’d met in a Hollywood acting class. We immediately bonded because he too was from Omaha. So, Paul and I played music together every weekend for a couple years before we finally put out an ad for a drummer. We soon added Jonathan Paul for drums who then brought in his artist/surfer friend Vernon Salyers to play keyboards. Vernon had never played an instrument in his life however, so I taught him how to play the keyboard. He had stickers all over the keys to remind him which ones to play. I was the lead singer, bass player and we eventually called ourselves, SnoGlobe. We recorded a 6 song EP and got some radio play with our hit single, Box, on LA’s KCRW. Our sound was very inventive and it’s difficult to categorize it. It was certainly under the umbrella of alternative, but which sub-genre is difficult to nail down. It was psychedelic rock with elements of new wave, post punk and trip hop. The sound was very effected vocals, effected
guitars, effected drums- basically we ran everything through so multi-tap delays and choruses, and it was a wash of colorful panning sounds and heavy spongy compression... with plenty of tape hiss as we recorded everything on an old analogue reel to reel. And the keyboard we used was this old crappy Casio sound bank someone gave to me for free. I ran that through guitar pedals and that was our unique sound. I didn’t want any off the shelf sound for any instrument, but for sure the synth. And it wasn’t a synth anyway but an electronic keyboard. I only used maybe two settings on it as the rest were trashy horns, organs, and dozens of other worthless instrument sounds. The only setting I used was called “tone pulse” and that was used on every song.
Whenever I go back and listen to it, I think if we had stayed together, we would have made it. We had a unique sound, but we had no social media accounts or PR team or any press write ups. We really had no way of gaining an audience beyond playing out and hoping to find our fans organically, which was way too difficult in LA. I tried to go solo at the time after we broke up, but I lost momentum after it became just too difficult and focused mainly on writing TV & film scores as well as becoming a filmmaker. It wasn’t until 2022 that I dove back into writing rock and roll and making it become a reality.
Paul also moved back to Omaha, a few years before I did. We haven’t officially gotten together to jam on any music, but I was able to squeeze at least one guitar line out of him for old times’ sake. One of the many benefits of recording on computers and not having to be physically present. His guitar line plays in the background during the chorus of Backwards.
What has been your primary inspiration in writing music?
My biggest inspiration for writing music is falling in love with someone, to be perfectly honest. I’ll see a certain woman’s face, that special someone and I want to write a song about her. Then I hear her voice and write about that too. Then she finally speaks to me and oh man, I’m running home to write a song about it. And then, finally, that first kiss happens… now I’m writing an album.
Falling in love with a woman is the greatest pleasure a man can have in his life… and pain and frustration and endless waves of emotions and doubts and hopes and fears – the best material for song writing.
The trick is to write about it in a creative fashion, as I certainly don’t want to write “love songs”. Like, the song Backwards is about losing love and the pain and regret that lasted years, causing me to want to figure out a way to turn back time and fix what went wrong.
I realize this probably isn’t anything exceptionally creative in terms of a response, and perhaps it’s even boring, but it’s the truth, nonetheless. I’ve tried to write about political things or how hard life is in general or life’s other miscellaneous events, but they never compare in terms of emotional power like the ones that are about dealing with how much I love someone.
And in the end, everything in the world is pretty much worthless beyond the people in it and the God who made them. So really, the last thing I’d want to write about is that stuff, unless I’m calling out the fact that it is just that, stuff.
What is a song you wish you had written yourself?
Wow what a question. There’s so many to choose from. But just for the sake of saying something I’d not said before, I wish I’d written Beautiful Day by U2. Why? I’m at a place in my life where I want to play something positive, something beautiful, and sing it loudly over a driving rock sound and make people feel like they’re about to get launched on a rocket into the sky. That’s how that song makes me feel and if I was launching on a rocket, I’d be pumping that song into my headset.
If there was any moment in your career you could relive, what would it be?
I was composing a score for an animated feature film. It was a wonderful experience, and I was able to record with a real orchestra, having them play the string sections in a recording studio in Kiev. We needed to communicate via skype and they’d send me videos of the sessions playing my music and I was on cloud nine. This was the first feature film I’d written a score for that wasn’t a documentary and being an animated fantasy adventure film made it that much more fun.
Which artist would you most love to share a stage with?
There’s this somewhat lesser-known band called IDKHOW that I really resonated with me, with not just with their music but overall vibe. Even their music videos remind me of things I used to do when I was in SnoGlobe. I discovered them a year ago by accident as I was scrolling to see who would be playing at the newly reopened Admiral theater up the street from me. So, I bought a ticket and went to see them in concert along with Joywave as they were touring together. I was pretty impressed by their sound, and I thought it would be spectacular to open for the two of them on a tour. I think our sounds and visuals would mesh quite well.
And is there an artist you would love to collaborate with as well?
Man, that’s a tough one too. I think if I could pick anyone, I’d have to choose Robert Smith from the Cure. I mean, to have him write guitar lines for my music would be out of this world amazing. I’m super influenced by his playing and am always thinking, how would he play it? But I’d rather just have him show up and do his thing. I’m daydreaming of course, but you asked, and I answered.
Where do you see yourself in five years time?
On a stage somewhere speaking to an audience and getting ready to play them some music… or on a stage somewhere, speaking to an audience about a movie I just finished… or, on a stage somewhere, speaking to an audience about a novel I just finished… or…
I’m an artist who likes to keep busy. And if one medium doesn’t work, I’ll jump to the next and to the next and rotate until one of them finally works. This is the way I’ve lived my life, always rotating from painting to filmmaking to writing to acting to songwriting. It’s just what I do and eventually, they all connect into a single project, which is what’s happening with this album. The music videos I’m creating for the album are not your typical music videos. They’re more like mini movies. I’m writing complex scenes for all of them in which I’m playing the part of this fictional character who gets stuck in the Nevada desert and taken captive. I’ve turned my loft into a giant set to shoot most of the scenes in and I’ve made several trips out to the desert already to shoot exteriors. There’s also the text version of the story which you can simply read on the main website. It will get more elaborate as time goes. But this is typical for me. I can’t ever do anything the easy way and just make something basic. I always go a little over the top. And so, it would be a total shock if in 5 years I wasn’t still doing what I’m doing now. I’ll just hopefully be better at it and more successful as far as getting it in front of an audience.
Silas Funk's new single 'Backwards' is available to stream now. Check it out below.