(Upstart Music / Westway Records / Grits N Gravy / Sideshow Kuts International)
International Break Beat Awards 2009 ‘Best breakthrough DJ’ nominee.
International Break Beat Awards 2010 ‘Best New Label’ nominee (Upstart Music).
Perth Dance Music Awards 2010 ‘Best Label’ winner (Grits N Gravy).
Based in Sydney, D-Funk has been deeply immersed in the global music scene for well over the past decade as a DJ, producer, label owner & former promoter. Still seen as a new name to some, he has amassed an impressive back catalogue of releases and performances having released over 100 tracks across 20 different labels & played events in UK and across Europe, Canada, USA, Asia, New Zealand & Australia.
‘How it all started…’
Doug Masters (a.k.a. D-Funk) got his first set of decks when he was 14 – way back in the mid-90’s. After hours and hours of practice he played his first club gig, spinning jungle and techno before gravitating towards house after a night dancing to Tony De Vit.
At university he scored a residency at the Canal Club and Charlie Chester’s Mezzanine in Wolverhampton in the Midlands before heading to Ibiza to play the Mezzanine Bar and notorious clubs like El Divino & Es Paradis.
After moving to Bournemouth on the south coast of England in 2002 he started playing at various local house venues, but got a bit bored of straight 4/4beats and started getting into playing breakbeat, old skool hip-hop, funk, soul and disco. “I was playing at mainly house nights but I was playing a mix of house and breakbeat,” he recalls. “I was inspired by early Stanton Warriors stuff that fused breakbeat and house together. They seemed to be able to play breaks to a house crowd, so I thought I’d be able to as well.”
“I was inspired by early Stanton Warriors stuff that fused breakbeat and house together. They seemed to be able to play breaks to a house crowd, so I thought I’d be able to as well.”
Punters loved it but venue owners weren’t so keen, so Doug started his own night in 2004 – Break Da House. It quickly established itself as one of the most essential nights out in south England, hosting top-notch acts like the Plump DJs, Stanton Warriors and Meat Katie. It was after striking up a friendship with one of the headline acts, the Dub Pistols Soundsystem, that Doug’s first release came about.
Barry Ashworth, notorious Dub Pistols hellraiser, hooked Doug up to release the ‘Electrotek EP’ on Westway – the label he runs with Carl Loben and Billy Borez of the Drum Monkeys. The lead cut was used on a TV ad in Portugal, hit No.2 on the Kiss FM Breakbeat Chart and sent Doug on his way as he’d now caught the production bug – big time.
Fast forward to 2016 and Doug has released tracks on Sunday Best, Ghetto Funk, 2Dogs, Rump Shaker, Manmade, Dusted Breaks, Bloxbox, VIM, Breakz R Boss, Nitrous, Yellowfinger, Big M, Dandy Kid, Mutate, Roca, Booty Pirates and more on Westway, although he was proving himself to be so prolific that he had to start his own label too – Upstart Music.
Another great achievement was being nominated for ‘Best Breakthrough DJ’ at the international Break beat awards (Breakspoll) in February 2009.
The first release on Upstart, the ‘Bust This EP’ featuring MC Manic, received highly favourable reviews and earned him plays on Annie Nightingale’s BBC Radio 1 show and Jay Cunning’s Kiss FM slot.
Another great achievement was being nominated for ‘Best Breakthrough DJ’ at the international breakbeat awards (Breakspoll) in February 2009. Although he had already been DJing for well over 15 years and didn’t win, it helped put him more on the map internationally and reflected the increased number of gigs outside of his south coast residency.
In Oct 2009 Doug made a big decision to move to Sydney, Australia where he currently resides. It was a big move for him both on the professional & personal front, but since being in Sydney, Doug is revelling in his new form musical freedom, with an eclectic gig list to match at some of Sydney top venues.
After being in Australia a few months Doug’s label, Upstart Music, that has been picking up fans worldwide was nominated for the ‘Best New Label 2009’ at the 2010 Breakspoll awards. A true testament to the work & quality of music that they have released since it’s launch in Feb 2009.
If that wasn’t enough, Doug has a new label project with friend & fellow nu funk producer Philly Blunt called Grits N Gravy. The label is focused on the more funk based end of the spectrum, an area in which Doug is also gaining a big reputation. The first release was in Nov 2010 which went on to top the Juno download singles chart & also the ‘breaks & electro’ track & release charts. As with Upstart Music, Grits N Gravy will feature a heavy release schedule from Doug himself along with other musical peers & collaborations between like-minded artists. More success was on it’s way with Grits N Gravy being nominated for ‘Best Label’ at the Perth Dance Music Awards every year since 2010 winning the award in 2010.
In early 2012 Doug headed to North America for his first visit on an 8 show Canadian tour that included events in Calgary, Victoria, Whistler, Edmonton, Grande Prairie, Kelowna, Fernie & Kimberly. His style of ghetto funk, breaks & bass was eaten up by the loving Canadian masses and the tour was a roaring success.
Later in 2012 Doug made his first journey back to UK/Europe in 3 years & made his debut appearance for We Love at the legendary music meca, Space in Ibiza. The tour also saw him play at leading UK electronic music festival Glade as well as others shows in Ibiza, France & UK. Also in 2012 Doug made his debut in USA playing in San Francisco for the Refreshed radio crew as well as playing on the main stage at Australia’s biggest & best Break beat Festival, Breakfest in Perth. All in all 2012 was a huge year of international shows!
2013 saw Doug return to Europe to play at his now yearly fixture on the Ibiza circuit for We Love at Space as well as gigs in the UK. His ‘Back In Love EP’ released in late 2013 took the number 1 spot on the Juno download break beat track chart on it’s way to becoming the biggest seller on Grits & Gravy.
2014 was another successful year with Doug once again returning to Europe to play a packed to the rafters We Love at Space. He also produced the biggest selling track on Grits N Gravy so far, with a tune called ‘Save Me’ produced with Nicc Johnson under his Sugar Ray guise, going on the become the 8th biggest selling tune on the whole of Juno Download in 2014.
In 2015 Doug made his Canadian festival debut with performances at Motion Notion & Connect festivals. He also performed at Breakfest in Perth, Australia for the second time.
Recent success in 2016 came in the form his tune ‘Get Up & Jam’ taking out the #2 spot on the Beatport ‘Funk & RnB’ chart & staying in the top 5 for over 8 weeks!
He’s been at it a while, but there’s a sense that this talented DJ/producer has only just begun as he turns over a new chapter in his career so watch this space…