Culture | CKUT weekly pick

Show: Wefunk

Hosts: Mike Lai & Nick Foster, a.k.a. DJ Static and Professor Groove

Time: Friday nights from 12 a.m. to 2 a.m.

A few years ago, a hip-hop-savvy friend accused me of only listening to groups that every cool college kid likes: namely, A Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul, and Digable Planets. “Well, that shit’s good,” I replied – but those three groups are hardly representative of an entire genre.

Enter Wefunk, CKUT’s weekly two-hour slot dedicated to spinning out the musical lineage of soul and funk as well as hip hop. Spanning the spectre of both genres, the show is a prolific genre-mash of tracks from the last 40 years.

Co-hosts DJ Static and Professor Groove joined forces over ten years ago, while both newbies were doing their volunteer training at CKUT.

“I wasn’t deejaying before CKUT,” Groove relates. “I had been interested, but it was through doing the show that I got my feet wet. I was just curious – I’d always listened to campus radio.”

“Back when we were growing up, in the late eighties and early nineties, the only place you could hear hip hop was on college radio,” remembers Static. “Growing up in Vancouver and listening to college radio really inspired me to do my own show.”

Upon meeting, Groove and Static drew the link between their musical specialties, and ran with it. “There are all sorts of different kinds of funk,” Groove explains. Static spins both commercial and underground hip hop, past and present. “We divide the music into sets, and create transitions that make a link between different styles and eras of music, where one is borrowing something from another.”

Accounting and neuroscience students by day, the two McGill attendees have become internationally infamous over the past ten years – Wefunk is listed in iTunes’s podcast library, attracting listeners from Croatia, South Africa, South America, Switzerland, and beyond. The pair has toured Europe seven times.

Wefunk also received the National Sylus DJ award in 2007 for College Radio Show of the Year.

Their success came as a total surprise. “When we started, we definitely didn’t think it could or would go this far,” muses Static. “It was totally unexpected – [we] started off as a college radio show like any other.”

Whether you’re an enthusiast or a curious beginner, the pair recommends setting foot in the studio and trying your hand at deejaying. “All you need to do is come in with an idea and music,” advises the Professor. “[CKUT] provides the training and equipment for you. We walked in not knowing the first thing about radio, except having listened to it. If you have a good idea for a fun show, run with it. Who knows how far it could take you.”

Wefunk’s 530-show archive is online at wefunkradio.com; show archives are also available at ckut.ca. To volunteer at CKUT, check out the station’s open house on Thursday, Sept. 18, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at 3647 University.


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