Funkot / Hardfunk is a fast & pumping dance music genre originated from Indonesia and begin to grow audience there in the early 2000s. Its key signatures are funky drum patterns, pumping basslines, atmospheric synths and heavy use of voice samples. Another common characteristic is the groove flow that feels quite similar to locally-popular dangdut music, which also originated from Indonesia.
Funkot/Hardfunk was born initially as an experiment by some Indonesia’s early generation DJs/Producers such as Jockie Saputra, Krazy Sandy & Tommy Fans. Jockie Saputra exhibited some early funkot form with his creative live-mixing and loop sampling skills, for example his live-remix performance of “Kolam Susu” in mid 1990’s. Later he will remix many popular dub, soulful & classic house music either live or digitally to became sounded more “funky” or “urban”. Tommy Fans & Krazy Sandy mostly well known for several original tracks with unique beat model (later become one of funkot’s basic beat model) such as “Lenong Groove” & “Soon Da”. Tommy Fans particularly was the most advanced thinking and professionally equipped music creator in Indonesia at that time. Many yet-to-become future producers looked up to these early legends as their inspirations and also tutors.
With the arrival of hard house and hard trance to Indonesia in the late 1990’s, fast & powerful dance music became increasingly more popular than conventional house music. In this particular period few creative producers such as C2 frequently modified several parts of a popular club song (chorus part for example) by replacing the usual 4/4 kick pattern with funky drum pattern & also sometimes modified the bassline to dangdut style bass. These remix method proved to be very well received by most Indonesian partygoers at the time due to its culturally familiar sound result. This modification extended over time from partial to eventually entire song utilized various sampled materials from many classic hits such as percussion loop, instrumentals and voice phrases makes it a new unique bootleg genre. While some DJs still mention this kind of music as “House Music” or “Funky House”, most Indonesians acknowledged this genre as “Funky Kota” or simply “Funkot” due to its origin of popularity (and producers) at “Kota” district in Jakarta, the city’s dance music & nightlife central area. However nowadays alternative names are also used such as “Hardfunk” or “Funkcore” which eliminates “Kota” word thus give it more relation with the actual content rather than geographic reference.
Because general club tracks in early 2000s have a universal tempo range (around 140BPM – 160BPM) means almost every song existed technically could be remixed to a club track. And because funkot in particular was not bound with any existing genre’s characteristics meaning it was a more versatile and interesting new option for a remix. Many amateur & already existed producers applied funkot remix to various pop hits at the time & also reworked classic dance hits which met by overwhelmingly positive response from the crowd. The tempo itself continued to increase every year (influenced mostly from the booming & popularity of ecstassy which makes the user always wanted to go faster and harder) until in recent state reach 180BPM as its basic tempo and sometimes featured a 130BPM downtempo section if the remix material couldn’t fit perfectly in 180BPM. Although most early funkot production quality were deemed pretty bad by today standards (both technical and creative aspects) that didn’t stop the trend to keep continue gained mass popularity in Indonesia until around year 2010.
The genre itself keep changing forms and adapt many new music trends from all over the world, with its leading pioneer Jockie Saputra became its first main developer with his iconic pumping percussion sound and fat bassline style. Other brainchildren of the genre include some of the most creative minds in Indonesian funkot scene such as DJ Abaz, DJ Andi, DJ Ronny, DJ Roy B, DJ Apin, DJ Nicko, DJ Dealy and many more (later including their proteges) helped to develop the genre in their respectively distinct style and signatures. In their hands the genre reached its peak popularity and creative performance. Unfortunately until then this genre had not yet recognized outside Indonesia mainly due to poor management and lack of proper promotion skills of the producers. In most cases many independent individuals self-published their own tracks or remixes, even the ones officially published by record label were not distributed or promoted very well. Resulting in degrading production quality and image.
Lately due to the extensive efforts of well designed promotion and constructive interactions between some Indonesian Funkot pioneers and other producers worldwide the genre already started to recognized by several small community groups in related countries such as Japan, India, US, Myanmar etc., and so far it generally received positive responses. Ironically while it seems to start blossom in some countries it actually begin to lost significant popularity in its own birthplace Indonesia. The main cause beside introduction of new fresh genre is funkot considered dated right now by most Indonesians after aired for more than 10 years whilst in other countries it is still a fresh and exciting new stuff. Some producers from other countries are even already active producing their own version of funkot.
The light may already started to dim at home but the story is just about to begin in other places. For those creative minds everywhere the limit of what this genre can do is endless. As for the ones who from the very beginning dedicated their career for decades to developing and bring this genre till this point, it sure will always has a special place in their hearts.