Funky Green Dogs
With the October 1996 release of "Get Fired Up," DJs/producers/remixers Oscar Gaetan and Ralph Falcon, going under their Funky Green Dogs moniker, had the fine distinction of being the first artists signed to TWISTED.
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In the early-'90's, Funky Green Dogs From Outer Space (as they were then known) released their first single. Within moments of its release, "Reach For Me" had the worldwide club community agag with its throbbingly deep underground house grooves and decidedly raw diva musings. At a time when many dance music producers were going full-throttle, over-producing everything in sight, Gaetan and Falcon smartly went in the opposite direction, stripping music to its bare essence. By taking a back-to-basics approach, this duo created a new sound that was instantly dubbed the MURK sound -- or, "The Deep South Sound of the Underground," given their Miami address -- and the two men responsible for this progressive sound became known simply as MURK.
For Gaetan and Falcon, the Murk sound was all about music that worked well in the clubs. Nothing more, nothing less. "We have clubs in mind when we're in the studio," says Gaetan. "We really don't think, 'Oh, this will be good for radio.' We create solely for the clubs, from the sounds we choose to the EQing."
Friends since third grade, it wasn't until the early'90's that Falcon and Gaetan united in the name of dance music. At the time, they were both DJ's -- Falcon partial to the sounds of Ten City and Blaze; Gaetan into the sound of Todd Terry and anything on Warp Records -- and wanted to not only play the music, but create it as well. Into the studio they went, with $1,500 in their pockets, and soon emerged with the ground-breaking "U Got Me" (going under the moniker Intruder) on Murk Records. "Our mindset going into this project was to not expect anything at all," recalls Gaetan. "We were happy knowing that some DJs might like it enough to play it in their club."
Liking what they heard, the worldwide club community demanded more. Falcon and Gaetan followed-up "U Got Me" with "Together" (by Interceptor), "Some Lovin'" (by Liberty City), and "Reach For Me." By 1994, in addition to their own productions, the duo was knee-deep in remix work, injecting their Murk sound into production work for Madonna, Juliet Roberts, Deborah Harry, Dee-Lite, RuPaul, Danni Minogue, and Lonnie Gordon. "But," explains Gaetan, "we felt that we were doing too much remix work and needed to put it on hold. We wanted to get back into our own productions and complete the Funky Green Dogs album."
And complete it they did. Getting the festive party started was the album's first single, the seriously wicked title track, "Fired Up!" Sporting fab remixes by Oscar Gaetan and Ralph Falcon, Club 69/Peter Rauhofer, and supple edits by Danny Tenaglia, "Fired Up!" was that ferocious club song the club community has been pining for, eventually catapulting it to worldwide monster status. Many music industry insiders hailed "Fired Up!" as the club song of the year. In Britain, where the song was causing a similar frenzy, Muzik magazine named it the "Song of the Month," while both Mixmag, Update and Record Mirror awarded it "Single of the Week" status. And at the Billboard Dance Music Summit, where several songs vie for the unofficial top honor of "Record of the Conference," "Fired Up!" was the one.
"The song began as a simple track without any vocals," explains Oscar Gaetan. "But then we dumped most of what we had, but kept the bass line and drums, and re-built the rest of the track. We added a string melody and a couple of other things, and of course, a female singer."
Pamala Williams is the featured singer on "Fired Up!," as well as on the album's other vocal-oriented tracks. Ms. Williams' soulful vocal delivery imparts the deep-baked grooves with a vibrant urgency that is vitalizing and unrefined -- and always raw. On the opening track (the second single from the album), "The Way," which revels in hip-shakin' retro acidic bass bleeps and pounding beats, Williams wails the following mantra: "It's the sound. It's so real. It's what I feel. It's the way." Simple lyrics indeed, yet oh-so-catchy. With Williams, Gaetan and Falcon found the perfect vocal stylist who knows a thing or two about control and gut-level emotion. While "Ride" finds Williams luxuriating in big time sexuality ("Don't you see that we can be in ecstasy. And I believe that we can ride all night long together...All I wanna do is show you. Who is gonna do the thing. That I like to do to you."), "Why?" finds her entering clubland's much revered diva-of-despair territory.
In addition to the fiery vocal tracks, "Get Fired Up" includes "vocal-less" moments, too. The 10-minute organ-grinding "Pig Sty" sounds like a cross between an old Paradise Garage instrumental/dub and the more recent "Plastic Dreams." Very trippy in feel, "Pig Sty" is definitely one of those specialty tracks that works best around 9 a.m. on a sweat-soaked dance floor. Conversely, the aptly-named "I Came To Stomp" is more suited for peak play.
"Within this album, Ralph and I really wanted to create something that was not the norm,' says Gaetan, "so we combined vocals with some hard-edge vibes. We wanted the end result to be something that all club DJs could and would play, whether or not they play hard tracks or more melodic Garage all night long. We wanted every song on the album to stand on its own. Too many dance-oriented albums have two strong tracks with the rest being filler. We wanted to stay away from that. Our hope is that each song is substantial enough to be a floor-packing single. That is the basic concept behind Funky Green Dogs."
After the release of Get Fired Up, the Funky Green Dogs continued to do more remix work and Gaetan contributed another record to TWISTED- Kumba Records "Havana FM - Oscar G in'da Mix," released in March of'97. Recently, the two of them headed back into the studio to work on their much-anticipated follow-up to Get Fired Up, which may be ready as early as October 1998.
Says Gaetan, "Ralph and myself -- are ready to work every dance floor. As long as we satisfy the club DJs and the people on the dance floor, then we're satisfied, too. It's that simple."
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