Arts & Events

Overlooking the Sound: DJ Mike Villa’s “The Funk”

This week: “The Funk” with DJ Mike Villa, Thursdays from 2-3 p.m.

In a word, the music chosen during this hour is “colorful.” Perhaps it was the sunny day, but even when dreary, “The Funk” will add some pizzazz.

On an absolutely gorgeous Thursday afternoon, just when it was heating up for real, the airwaves started getting a little funky. The song choice during this show matched perfectly with the mood of the day: festive, cool and downright joyful all at the same time.

DJ Mike Villa brings back dancing music that we know in our souls, from our parents and from our childhood. This particular show started with “We Are Family” by Sister Sledge, which Villa described as his own family’s anthem. While many (if not most) of our parents were listening to Bonnie Raitt, Bob Dylan and CSNY, apparently there was a different trend in the warmer climates. Funk and disco music during summer parties with family, friends and dancing were such a part of growing up that DJ Mike Villa’s iTunes library is still full of funk, which he thankfully shares with the KUPS community.

The music aired on this show is qualified not by whether or not it fits into the genre, but rather if it is likable and worth a listen. The DJ even admitted that his show has sort of morphed from funk to disco. (But really, where is the line anyway?) As such, “The Funk” brings you danceable contagious music with an awesome moving groove.

Classified most typically by slapping fretless bass and playing with acoustic sound effects, funk was the original experimental “bassy” music.

But paired with sassy-sounding horn sections and soulful vocals that the audience is encouraged to respond to, this music sets itself apart from today’s bass-heavy and experimental music (aka dubstep).

Of course the show included traditional songs and artists like Stevie Wonder, the Temptations, The Bee Gees’ “Stayin’ Alive” and Smokey Robinson’s “Tears of a Clown.” The songs we can sing along to. Interestingly enough, DJ Mike Villa tossed in some 2003 remix funk by Chemise called “She Can’t Love You.” It was just as grooving as the standard go-tos, but with chime-like electronics and a sexy lady singing lead.

The best part is that this new funk was shared between KUPS DJs with similar, yet surprisingly distinct, shows with the same old danceable feel. I’m starting to notice a funky vein running through the station, which brings me to a more decisive statement of my previously hypothesized theory that funk is replacing bluegrass as the new revival music to get behind.

DJ Mike Villa brings you this funk revival in a clean, polished, snappy manner. Names of songs and artists roll off his tongue as he hits the microphone during his confident talks. The transitions are simple and clean between songs, intertwining beats for just long enough.

You get a hint of how much he loves this music in his voice, but what you do not hear is the occasional outburst of a chorus, or see the excited little dances he does with each song’s intro.

If the theory is correct, funk is around to stay at least for a little while, and DJ Mike Villa will be here with it. As the new communications director and the one responsible for the new KUPS webpage, among other renovations, Michael Villasenor has a lot to look forward to; his listeners do, too.