20 Years of Fort Knox Five

Cultural pioneers Fort Kox Five are celebrating 20 years of music in 2023 and returning to Bass Coast for their 13th performance. To mark the occasion, FK5's Steve Raskin has compiled 6 favourite tracks to define two decades of funk.

"From DC to BC! - The story of Fort Knox Five starts in 2003 in Washington DC, and over the last 20 years we pioneered a style of funky music that crosses genres from hip-hop to breaks and all points in between.

The early tracks, including The Brazilian Hipster and Funk for Peace  all the way through to Whatcha Gonna Do, celebrated artists from the DC Music scene. While the originals weremore mid-tempo funk, our DJ sets flipped these original songs into prime time festival bangers. 

The 4 deck DJ sets that Jon Horvath and I played, inspired the (then) young artists like the Funk Hunters, Stickybuds and Jpod and helped nurture the scene which is now global and breaking boundaries.

After all these years I have relocated to BC and the music has turned towards working with Canadian artists, including collaborations with Lazy Syrup Orchestra (Start the Ride) and Slynk (Keep the Funk Real) and continues to explore all facets of the FUNK. 

Bass Coast has been an important part of our story and every year I try to up the ante and bring the heat. If you haven’t checked out last year’s set you can peep a little clip here and see what kind of festival mayhem you might expect!"

FK5 - The Brazilian Hipster 

Hipster is the track we are probably best known for and was one of our earliest hits. When we first started FK5 the goal was to make music that crossed all genres from funk to hip hop to electronic music - but the focus was always about live instrumentation and this track laid down the foundation for everything that followed. I love the world-y elements without being world music. With Its upbeat fun summer vibe, that swinging guitar line and those horns it is still irresistibly catchy

 FK5 ft. Mustafa Akbar - Funk 4 Peace

Mustafa was THE voice for FK5 and appears on more of our tracks than any other vocalist. His commanding soulful voice and smart sincere lyrics were the perfect match for our funk. Funk for Peace has a lot of odd and quirky live instruments that we love to incorporate in our songs, including sitar, booming beats and some seriously distorted guitars - not sure this genre - headbanger world funk?

FK5 ft. Mustafa Akbar - Whatcha Gonna Do?

Another Mustafa gem. Mu really had a way of finding those sing-along anthem lyrics and delivering them with such ferocity that I dare you not to put your hands up when he tells you. Fort Knox Five helped pioneer this mid tempo funk style and this track has all our signature sounds that always seem to make it into our songs, including live horns and those big banging funky drums!

FK5 ft. K+Lab - Jinglin' Janglin'

After moving to BC, the first thing I did was look for my musical family and didn’t have to look far as so many of my friends/ peers were living and working in the Vancouver area. The first of my DC to BC collabs was Jinglin Janglin with my friend, and perhaps the best key-tarist in the world, K+lab. The vocals came from a session with Baby Bam from the Jungle Brothers that I had recorded years before in DC that were so good but never had the right music for it. I love when you hang on to something waiting for the right moment and it pays off big!

FK5 ft. Slynk - Keep The Funk Real

Next up on my DC to BC wishlist was Slynk. Keep the Funk Real is a true blend of both of our styles - you can really hear those Slynk synths funking things up while the horns and string stabs look back to the OG FK5 sound. When we were looking for a vocal to compliment the music and got to talking about Mustafa (who had recently passed) we dug through some old session outtakes and found this little snippet that really brought this one home for me.

FK5 ft. Lazy Syrup Orchestra - Start The Ride

I love when you finally get together to work on a project after years of just talking about it and create a Banger! Last year Dunks and I fulfilled a decade long dream to work together and made this trippy syrup-y disco meets chill wave tune. Part of the Fort Knox Five sound has always been about exploring all sides of funky music and I love how this track is both laid back and bumping at the same time.

This year marks 20 years of Fort Knox Five and we are going to celebrate this milestone with some brand new remixes from some heavy hitters, some retrospective compilations as well as some other secret goodies dropping this Fall! 

Watch FK5 live at Bass Coast 2022

Connect with FK5 on Instagram 


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