British beat-maker Funk D’Void, otherwise known as Lars Sandberg, is known for his remixes of artists like New Order as well as his legendary DJ sets.
He is less known for his love of table tennis, but is still an avid player who takes a set of paddles with him wherever he goes. As he tells it, the skills required of a table tennis player versus those required of a DJ are more similar than you might imagine.
“I need fast reaction times whenever I feel that I’m losing the floor,” he says. “I always need to keep an eye on the crowd, much like when I’m looking at an opponent, so as to react and change the mood quickly. You have to be on your guard, and ready for any situation. Plus, I wear sweatbands for both, so there’s another similarity!”
As Funk D’Void, Sandberg’s records have a distinctive sense of melody, something he attributes to a lifetime love of tinkering around with samples. “I have a huge vinyl collection,” he says, “and I love to process sample from that, especially the old rave and hardcore stuff. Nothing compares to that instant, visceral payoff from sampling cool noises.”
Given the chance, he’ll spend all day long going through old records and taking slices and stabs from them, then throwing them into a sampler and playing them on a keyboard. “As a kid I watched people like Herbie Hancock play around with samplers and was blown away,” he continues. “Machines like the Sequential Circuits Pro One will always give you jaw-dropping modulations and fat sound but I always go back to sampling.”
Sandberg has been in the business for close to two decades now, and is showing no signs of slowing down. I ask if he can identify the force that keeps him vital and inspired when it comes to music, and he explains that really, it’s a combination of factors.
“There’s the feeling I get after a successful gig, when people actually get what I’m playing,” he says. “Likewise, when I hear an artist whose musical ideas are able to surprise me, that’s an aural kick up the backside.” His current home city of Barcelona is also inspiring. “It’s a wonderful city to have as a backdrop to my workspace,” he says, “although its charms and distractions can sometimes make me stray from the productive path.”
Though he still travels the globe as a DJ, Sandberg rarely goes out clubbing himself – a fact he attributed to getting older. “Don’t get me wrong, when I’m DJing in a club in a foreign country, I go full throttle,” he says, “and will go the distance with whoever wants to keep up. It’s a huge buzz for me still. But if I’m not working or travelling, then for sure I do normal things at home – don’t forget I am a single parent looking after two small children.” He describes his apartment in Barcelona as a sanctuary in this respect. “We have a new flat-mate that has just moved in recently,” he continues, “the great deep house maestro, Tony Lionni, so basically we play music all day in our respective home studios, which is perfect!”
Sandberg will return to Australia later this month, and is stopping in for a set at Sydney’s Goldfish. I ask what Funk D’Void fans can expect, and he promises that his show will be nothing short of madness. “I hear Sydney has a great after-hours scene,” he says. “The last time I played in Sydney was the best Australian gig I’ve ever had…so far!”
BY ALASDAIR DUNCAN
Funk D’Void plays Goldfish on Saturday July 13.