It's going to be one hell of a party. To celebrate five years of the Beirut Groove Collective's epic throwdowns, Funk DJ Florian Keller is hitting up the decks at White Beach this Saturday, September 13.

The German DJ has been touring the globe since the mid 90s, from WahWah in London, to Ellbow Rooms in San Francisco and Sochi in St. Petersburg, Keller's musical repertoire spans from raw Funk and Block Party Breaks to boogie, Disco, Hip Hop and Drums & Bass.

Beirut.com had the chance to ask Keller a couple questions ahead of the big anniversary event. Check it out:


(Photo via residentadvisor.net)

Beirut.com: This is not the first time you've performed in Lebanon. Is there anything you think sets the Lebanese audience apart from others around the world?

DJ Florian Keller: Actually no. When I DJ-ed at Lila Braun back in the early 2000's, I remember the crowd championed oriental Percussion in some tracks over more heavy and slow drum breaks, but Ernesto Chahoud (from the Beirut Groove Collective) and the boys from Yunkunkun have brought in so much Funk [over the last few years] that this is no longer an issue. And fortunately, other parts of the world know how to seriously party, too! :)

Beirut.com: Who and what inspired you when you were listing to music growing up?

DJ Florian Keller: I started to love this music when I was maybe 10-years-old. There was no one in my universe who shared that love. It was the early 80's and I loved James Brown, Defunkt, Alvin Cash and – if I met someone who was into “Black” music at all, they were talking about Gap Band and Disco (that I started to appreciate eventually some years later). Later I met Jan Weissenfeldt, who ran a school band that later became The Poets Of Rhythm who I could exchange with at my first Dj gigs around 1986. It wasn't until 1988 when I first heard from the “Rare Groove” movement that started to appear in London at that time. Norman Jay, Femi (Fem) & Marco, as well as IG Culture & Dodge were the first Funk DJs I ever heard in a proper club – and [around the same time,] the first serious Funk-samples showed up in Hip Hop (EPMD, Jungle Brothers, Biz Markie & Beastie Boys). It was inspirational to finally see and hear equal-minded musical tastes around me.

Beirut.com: What is it that differs a good set from an awesome one? What’s ‘the trick’?

DJ Florian Keller: I think there's a “trick” that makes a set good instead of bad: take your job serious, be daring, don't underestimate the audience (by unnecessarily playing hits) and at the same time, don't ignore them (by just presenting your ego or connoisseur-ism). It's that narrow ridge that makes a night interesting for the clubbers. But an awesome set has no tricks: It happens when the audience/dancers and the DJ can really feel each other and let it go. It needs a good location and a warm atmosphere, a great p.a. and a lot of things that cannot be influenced (spirit ?).

Beirut.com: Is there any special ritual you have before your shows?

DJ Florian Keller: I prepare my records with the location and people in mind that I imagine to expect, but that is before I start to travel naturally. i Love to have a decent meal (preferably serious local food) and then off to the venue. The only ritual is that I really need is to bring my own beautiful red velvet slip mats, my 45 adapters AND Stanton 890 systems, install everything, see where I can put my records comfortably and turn on the special lights for my records (the Osram LEDstixx) – and then the party can start!

Beirut.com: What can we expect on Saturday in Batroun?

DJ Florian Keller: I will definitely play a wide range of what Funk is all about, from nose-bleeding Heavy 1970 stuff via proper Discofunk to Hip Hop, to maybe some Reggae and Jazz – and all the way back again. Definitely 100% vinyl (as always) – and most likely 45's only.

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