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Wednesday, 19 February 2014

A Finger Lickin'ly Tasty Interview With Jem Panufnik

He's a DJ, producer and artist extraordinaire, and he's also founder of arguably the funkiest, filthiest record label ever! We caught up with him to talk about python skin boots, huge boobs and smashing chairs over himself . . . ladies and gentlemen, Jem Panufnik!

Hey Jem, we hear the Bush Doctors are back in town! Tell us about Bush Doctors Medicine Show and what inspired the release? What’s your favourite track off the album?

When Rennie and I got back from our Amazonian travels our plan was to use our newly-found black magic and voodoo skills to destroy our enemies in hellfire and bring a new dark age to the world of dance music, so we concocted Bush Doctors Medicine Show - an evil curse which befalls anyone brazen enough to visit My favourite track right now is the one that makes your skull shrink and a thousand fiery beetles stream out of your wretched eyes: “Turn It On” featuring the wickedly sensational Heather McCallum.

We had Rennie headlining our Funk and Filth Summer Party last year, and can vouch for him as a true gent and a hardened party starter! What’s it like for you working with Rennie behind the closed doors of the studio? Any disgusting/disturbing habits?

Rennie might look like a bouncer and make music that’ll headbutt you, but behind closed doors he likes to bake cupcakes and collect milk bottle tops. Sometimes when I tried to bully him into finishing the album he would throw a hissyfit and I would have to bribe him by letting him do jazz flute solos in a grass skirt.

Click here to download for free.

You’ve had a few alter egos throughout your musical career, and of course the one thing everyone wants to know . . . Who would win in a funk-off (or a straight out bar brawl!) out of Jem Stone, Soul of Man and Bush Doctors?

Jem Stone might start in the lead in a slightly fluffy girls-blouse pinching, biting kind of way, but then Soul of Man will suddenly take over with a clumsy sub-woofer punch to the side of the head before a Bush Doctor Daddy Splash sends them all flying. And then when they think it’s all over Freaky Jalapeno flies into the ring for a bit of ragamuffin hair-pulling before 2indaBush smashes a chair over the lot of them.

Click here to download for free.

We’re big fans of your artwork as well as your tunes, with some Finger Lickin’ record sleeves adorning the walls of Funk and Filth HQ. But what’s your favourite bit of your own artwork?

That’s great to hear they’re on your wall! I often get sent photos of people who’ve had them tattoo’d which is amazing – someone literally just sent me the Back2Back (Soul of Man EP) robots on his arm – brilliant! When I have exhibitions the most popular ones tend to be the Feelin’ Kinda Strange medicine cabinet and The Juice. The wife teases me that I’m always drawing either robots or huge boobs. You’d imagine she’d love it if I could somehow squeeze both in at the same time - like I did for my latest Jem Stone EP “Well-Oiled Machine” - but she didn’t even sigh or shake her head with that one.

As founder of Finger Lickin’ Records you’ve been responsible for unearthing and disseminating some of the funkiest breaks tracks ever. What’s your favourite ever Finger Lickin release?

That’s impossible to answer, not least because they all remind me of a certain time or place - for example Creepshow might not be the greatest Plumps record but I have such amazing memories of dropping it. Dirty Waltzer (2002), if I’m allowed to choose one of my own, was pivotal for me as it was the point when it clicked just how big and influential the label had become - Justin and I were buzzing confidence and excitement! I remember it just seemed to write itself, and then of course we went on to spin it at some of our biggest ever gigs, watching it go off in Australia and other exotic and far-off, crazy locations. I think in retrospect it is the epitome of the Soul of Man sound – a tribally-housey-robotic-funk groove… I also later found out that the woman I ended up marrying had used it years before we met to make a video at art college - how romantic is that?! And come to think of it there’s not one but two pairs of boobs on the sleeve. Can that be a coincidence? I think not.

True, that last question was a hard one! Ok, so I will eventually get round to seeing a professional about my increasingly worrying footwear fetish! But in the meantime, please fulfill my lust for shoe-porn! What’s your favourite pair in your footlocker at the moment?

Well if you’re asking, my favourite footwear in the world is a pair of genuine python skin Texan cowboy boots a promoter named Murph sent for me after I complimented his at a party in Miami 2002. They are stupendous.

While we've got you captive, we have to tap your music mind! Have you spotted any funky/filthy newcomers on the block that we should look out for? DJs, producers, vocalists – who’s floating your boat right now?

I got asked this in another interview recently and it occurred to me what an old man I am. I’m currently wearing a wooly cardy listening to Steely Dan. Actually if you want to know my most exciting discovery of late it’s Boz Scaggs’ 1974 version of Aaron Neville’s Hercules. Oooph.

What else is on the a-Jem-da for 2014 (sorry about that, so sorry!)? Got any plans for the rest of the year you could share with us?

Well there’s another Jem Stone EP in the works which will appear alongside all the other tasty bits on my exciting new Bandcamp page, I think I’m allowed to reveal that I have an upcoming release on Ghetto Funk I reckon you’ll like... I might also just be doing something else on another label under a new guise as it’s a bit different, but you’ll probably guess it’s me straight away because I’ll end up putting boobs and robots on the sleeve. I’m also having fun making booties and offering them up for grabs on my Jem Stone Soundcloud – the last one I did was the Plumps classic, now named Flunk Hits the Flan, which seems to have gone down pretty well, even with the Plumps… Got a couple more crackers lined up so start following!
I’m pretty busy with artwork commissions for branding and logos for various record labels, DJs and club nights – you can see some of the latest on my Facebook page if you’re interested.
There’s a strong possibility of another art show and I’m also heavily involved in events surrounding my dad’s centenary this year – he was a contemporary classical composer – have a listen and help me choose which of his pieces I should remix:
And I might get back in the studio with Rennie if anyone dares to go to - AND LIVES TO TELL THE TALE.

Click here to download for free.

Click here to download for free.

Boom! And that's all we had time for, before he slipped on his snake-skin boots and giant fake robot boobs and twerked off to bake muffins with Rennie Pilgrem! Check out the array of Jem's free downloads that we've splattered about this post, and definitely check out the Bush Doctors Medicine Show for a slice of the funkiest beat cake you can cram in your face! :)

Click the pic for tasty Funk and Filth t-shirts, hoodies and more!

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