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A conversation with The Funkee Caligula and Craig Bevan. PT1
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The Funkee Caligula talks to his producer Craig Bevan - PT. 1


Below is part #1 of an interview between- The Funkee Caligula and his current producer- Craig Bevan.
Craig has over 30 years of studio production work. Literally thousands of tracks have gone thru Craig's hands. These releases range from hip-hop.... dance.... house... drum n' bass... rock... electro... pop... r'n'b... etc... for the gamut of major and indie record companies. As a composer/instrumentalist/producer his compositions and playing can be heard in film/tv and records. From million sellers to zero sellers, regardless always striving for the best.
Q: The Funkee Caligula
A couple of months ago you halted our session on the “Scar Repair” track. You were reading phone messages and you just walked out. Very unlike you. I now know the reason why, but tell our readers. Let us in on the story.
A: Craig Bevan
Yeah, that was a tough day. I learned a friend of mine had died - Ed Fletcher A.K.A. Duke Bootee.
Q: The Funkee Caligula
I did a little investigating. You worked together quite a bit in the 80’s. He was responsible for GrandMaster Flash’s “The Message” , among many other great records. I’ ll put a link in with some details.
Rolling Stone article on Duke Boottee
A: Craig Bevan
Ed was a great musician, writer, friend. Very funny. We always had a good time in the studio. His death was a shock. A couple of years before his passing, someone called me for an interview about the beginnings of Hip-Hop for some documentary. They were told by Ed to give me a call. They also mentioned that Ed said I should give him a call. I didn’t. Big regret. You always think there is time. There isn’t. We did a bunch of records together.
In those days you worked really closely with the people involved. 10-14 hour mix sessions. Laying tracks, same thing. Lots of time spent non-stop with people in a small room. Very unlike today. Most things are done online in some way.
Q: The Funkee Caligula
Well, run down some of the records you worked on with Duke Bootee.
A: Craig Bevan
A bunch of records for PROFILE and his own label Beauty and The Beat, as well as DJ mixes (w/ DJ Cheese) for StreetSounds (UK). I will have to get a complete discography for you on that. I remember doing endless editing sessions for the projects. We mixed everything to half inch tape. Reels and reels of half inch. What we spent just on tape in those days was more than is spent on the entire recording of albums now. We mixed all kinds of dub variations with all the effects the studio had - Reverbs, delays, eq filtering, we did many variations of the song. It all went to tape.
After we were done with about 14 hours of mixing takes. I had the job of figuring out what was good and trying to assemble it in some order. Very time consuming. I generally went to some back room at one of the studios I used and I would wire up two or three half inch two track machines and start cutting and taping it together.
For those who weren’t around in those days, everything was an edit - razor blades cut the tape on a metal splice block, then we taped the two sections together that we needed. I would put the recording tape of the wanted sections of the songs all over the walls to splice in later. It got quickly out of hand.
Q: The Funkee Caligula
Sounds torturous, I’m glad we don’t do that now. Everythings easy, just digitally cut and paste on the old computer. 1-2-3- Easy. When did you make the crossover to in the box editing.
A: Craig Bevan
I was at, I think the first demo of Sound Tools (later renamed Pro Tools) in NYC. My friend Don Peebles (later, Apple Rep - Final Cut Pro expert) was running the demo. It was a 2 input analog box that connected to your computer via a scsi card inside the computer. It ran on Mac only. Well, I was excited. I could finally stop cutting all that tape. The software that worked on the computer was called Sound Designer - just a 2 track editing and arranging program. The first setup with computer and software /hardware was $20,000. Crazy! I was glad to pay - no more cuttin’. They promised a lot of features at the demo that actually took years to implement correctly. But the two track editing was great, it cut the editing time of records immensely.
Q: The Funkee Caligula
Let’s talk about credits on records and who does what. A lot of people want to know what really goes on recording wise in the early days of Hip Hop. You worked on hundreds of records, what's the deal?
A: Craig Bevan
Of course, I can only speak of what I did or was directly involved in. In Hip-Hop - Before sampling , of course we used drum machines and on real early tracks we used humans playing drum kits for the beats. There was a lot of new technology introduced in the 80’s - drum machines - synths - arpeggiators - vocoders - digital delays, digital reverbs and then along came Fairlight and Synclavier sampling keyboard workstations, but they were expensive and hard to use in the beginning.
Everything really changed when the lower cost Emulator sampling keyboard came out. When Emulator first came out we didn’t use it for beats, we put vocals into it- horn hits, orchestra hits, strings - stuff like that. It was a lot of technology to keep up with and the equipment was costly. Now, being the engineer for the session, at the studios I worked at you were expected to know all this technology.
Many times I ended up playing on the sessions. I am a keyboardist, guitarist, turned Drum machinist- sampler guy. Every session was different but it always started with the beat. So I was always familiar with the latest drum machines. I would start by playing a beat asking the client what kind of feel they were looking for, sometimes they had records and they asked me to play a beat like what was on the record. Once the client knew I played guitar and keys - I just ended up playing on the session.
Q: The Funkee Caligula
Well, did you get a player session fee? Credit?
A: Craig Bevan
Well sometimes things move so quickly . Usually credits were for Mixer, engineer. A lot of times I did get session fees. Getting credit for the beat and playing Instruments, that was kind of rare. Never. A few times I was offered a point on a record in lieu of session fees. I didn’t ever take anybody up on that. I didn’t think it would be honored.
Q: The Funkee Caligula
Explain that. Why no credits.
A: Craig Bevan
Let’s take a real world example. Dougie Fresh (A.K.A. Dougy Fresh) record on ENJOY records. I worked for Bobby Robinson a bit (ENJOY RECORDS owner) it was always the same he would book a 12 hour session. He would tell me (in this case), give Dougie a beat he likes. I’ll be back in 10 hours, have a mix ready - Dougie came in, he would describe the kinda beat that he liked - I played it on the Linn Drum, played some keys - very simple, probably on a Prophet 5. Dougie got on the mic and Fuckin’ killed it. He had his shit together.
It was not a short rap. It was probably over 5 minutes. Probably done in one take. He was a young kid, maybe 17. I got the mix together and Bobby came in and approved it. I did get a session fee. I believe credit wise, I got credit as an engineer. Bobby took the producer credit.
Q: The Funkee Caligula
Let’s talk about a few notorious credits at least that I’m aware of. Let’s start with The Triggerman beat. (A.K.A. Drag rap - Showboys)
A: Craig Bevan
Simple, that was a PROFILE record, recorded at I.N.S. studio - that was Ian North’s studio - lots of Hip-Hop classics done there. I did a lot of work for PROFILE at the time. The group came in and wanted to do a Dragnet theme to go with the lyrics. The producer had the Dragnet idea. I played the Dragnet riff on a Prophet 5 and Emulator (Horn/Orchestra hits)- I’m not sure if it was right or wrong - I just kinda played it from memory- I'm sure it isn’t exactly correct, everything moved so quick on most of these sessions. Everybody's pressed for time. Then I played that hypnotic riff on top of the 808 drum beat section - on a Yamaha DX7 that goes thru the verses.
It was something I just made up. No one said no to it, so it stayed in the record - the snare sound is a snare I used in a bunch of records at the time (Batman/Kartoon Krew - Pee Wee’s Dance/Joeski Love- Lifestyles of the Fresh and Fly/MC Dollar Bill - snippets posted below) it was from a Emu Drumulator - expansion kit called rock kit, it was supposed to be like a John Bonham kit. - everybody liked that snare at the time - and there is a straight up Roland TR-808 on the record.
I used the Linn 9000 we just got at the studio. It was a sampling drum machine with a midi sequencer. The hypnotic riff on the DX7 was sequenced on that. I sampled the drum snare and kick from the Emu Drumulator rock kit and Roland 808 beforehand and was ready to rock on sessions. I only got credit for engineering - but - PROFILE always paid session fees, Thanks to Gary Pini - Vice President of PROFILE at the time.
Let me say, the guys who did the rap on Drag Rap had their rhymes together on that one. It was a long rap. I will just say that as the years went by, in my experiece, the rappers came into the studio less and less prepared, compared to the beginnings of Hip-Hop. Probably due to the fact that Hip-Hop started making serious money. The groups weren't as concerned about the budget.
Q: The Funkee Caligula
Run DMC - It’s like That- Jason Nevins Mix. What's that one about?
A: Craig Bevan
That was a huge multi million seller - kind of a resurgence for Run DMC. Jason Nevins had a great cassette version he made with a kinda house/ dance beat of “It’s LIke That”. He played it for PROFILE/ Sm:)e Communications. At the time, there was a little skepticism about releasing a dance record of RUN DMC vs Jason Nevins - Gary Pini (VP PROFILE) loved it - I loved it - Jason did a fantastic job of setting the direction for the mix. So they gave it to me to get it as technically radio ready as possible. I followed Jason's great version - just cleaning it up. With some small production additions by myself. Jason Nevins got credited as producer/DJ - He got a lot of gigs off of that record - very deserved. I got NO credit for engineering/ mixing or studio credit on that one. I believe PROFILE/ Sm:)e Communications wanted to keep DJ Jason Nevins front and center, nothing clouding the vibe. A DJ doing a great mix of a classic record. I got paid session/mix fees on this one. I mixed it at I.N.S. Studio - 24 track Otari- 2 inch machine. MCI mixing console.
Q: The Funkee Caligula
Wooo - WTF?
A: Craig Bevan
Like I said at the beginning of our conversation . Things move fast. I was working all the time. I had no management watching things at the time and … well, that’s the way it goes.
Q: The Funkee Caligula
We haven't even scratched the surface. We're just getting started. I know you have to go. You are working on a film about the 1980’s. The Poles.
A: Craig Bevan
Yes, thanks for mentioning that. It’s a partially true story of old school NYC.

Q: The Funkee Caligula
I will put in the Logline: The Poles
NYC, 1983: Two strip-club owning thugs hire a playwright to create a play for their strippers that will stop the city from closing their club, but the thugs turn murderous, and the playwright must run for his life.
Q: The Funkee Caligula
Sounds cool - I know ya wrote it and you are doin' the music. Nice!
OK Craig - there will be a part 2 and 3 and 4 when you can take the time and sit down. We have a lot of questions, Kanye West track emulation - Bassment Records story. Low Frequency Recordings story. Steinski. Vintertainment. Atlantic Records. Million sellers. Zero sellers. Management. Mighty Dub Katz. New Wave- Craig Bevan and The Tourists. CBGB's. Max's Kansas City. I’ll Bass You and on and on. And of course, “The Funkee Caligula”.




Short Snippets of trax with the rock kit snare (Emu Drumulator) Craig Bevan used mid 1980's
1] Batman - Kartoon Krew
2] Pee Wee's Dance- Joeski Love
3] Lifestyles Of the Fresh & Fly- MC Dollar Bill
4] Drag Rap- The Showboys

Some releases referenced in interview.

Gallery Thumb 1 Gallery Thumb 2 Gallery Thumb 3 Gallery Thumb 4 Gallery Thumb 5

The World's Strangest Stranger - The Funkee Caligula-
- Official video from the beloved ruler!

The Funkee Caligula - Enter The Gates- Official video from the beloved ruler!

The Funkee Caligula - Enter The Gates
- Official Video

The Funkee Caligula - Enter The Gates- Official video from the beloved ruler!

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The Funkee Caligula Coin -

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The Funkee Caligula Merch center.

The Funkee Caligula Musique at Bandcamp

The Funkee Caligula's Greatest - Playlist

A Funkee Caligula sanctioned list of tracks that he has enjoyed bringing to the world.

The Funkee Caligula Musique at Bandcamp