Funk Is A Universal Language...
Former editor of URB Magazine and author of the book, "Country Fried Soul"
The key to Tee Cardaci’s international success as a DJ, producer and creative director is an implicit understanding that funk is a universal language. Over a DJ career that spans 28 years and counting, Cardaci has toured through 33 countries, produced countless music events, and shared the stage with groundbreaking musical luminaries. His uncompromising pursuit of pushing music forward has seen him rocking dancefloors from San Francisco’s most revered groove temples and the United Kingdom’s biggest festivals to private villa parties in Ibiza — and even at Brazil’s biggest women’s prison.
His global vision of dance music is diverse and eclectic yet firmly rooted in the canon of black music, including deep dives into funk and soul, disco, house and boogie and flirtatious forays into post-punk, psychedelic and old-school hip-hop. As a lifetime collector of music, his knowledge of multiple genres, from the mainstream to the most obscure, is among the world's elite. Above all, his gift of connecting with people of all persuasions and in all situations through the power of music makes memories.
“I think my main strength lies in my ability to take chances and connect dots among diverse genres while always keeping it deep and maintaining a musical progression that flows effortlessly,” he says. His philosophy is really simple: “I think life is too short to listen to one genre all night long.”
Although he began DJing in 1991 while living on the East Coast of the United States, the chronicles of a life that would be dedicated to the singular passion of music started being written much earlier.
“I began collecting records at the age of 8,” he recalls. “My mom would take me to the local record shop and let me pick out a few 45s as a reward for doing well on a test at school. Some of the first I remember buying are ‘Jump’ by the Pointer Sisters and ‘You Spin Me Round’ by Dead Or Alive, two songs that would anticipate my life-long love of soulful dance music as well as drum machine and synth-based music.”
Cardaci moved west to San Francisco in 1997 to work for the seminal dance label Hardkiss Music, and it was in the City by the Bay where his style blossomed and evolved. He anchored several DJ residencies at notable hotspots like Liquid, where he played for four years, and The Top, where their opening happy hour DJs were Justin Martin and Sammy D, now known as a Dirty Bird artist and member of PillowTalk, respectively.
From his current home base in Rio de Janeiro, Cardaci plays at the most exclusive spots in the city. But he also maintains his healthy connection to the underground, playing free parties from the beaches of Ipanema to high atop the favelas.
2013 marked the four year anniversary of the Botafogo Social Club party he co-founded in Rio. From the party’s humble beginnings, BSC has grown to one of the city’s best and most consistent events, receiving press in Marie Claire magazine and regularly getting tapped as "Critics Pick" in Time Out magazine. Highlights include hosting Gilles Peterson for a rare five-hour set as well as throwing renegade Carnaval street parties resulting in the police shutting down the street to traffic due to thousands dancing in the street, on top of cars, and in the trees. Funk knows no bounds.
While somehow always managing to fly just under the radar of the general public, Cardaci has steadily toured around the world DJing alongside a wide variety of top DJs and musicians, including BBC Radio DJ Gilles Peterson (at the Botafogo Social Club party in Rio), disco and funk legends Nile Rodgers and Chic (at the Galway Arts Festival in Ireland), seminal house singer Robert Owens (at the Glastonbury Festival in England), and acclaimed electronic producer James Murphy (at the Body & Soul Festival in Ireland).
As a producer, Cardaci has released music as part Metaversal Synthphonic Orchestra, 2 Block Radius, created timely edits under the Sine Qua Non moniker, and has explored other aliases including The Beat Nicker and Teeski At The GoGo. He has always classified himself primarily as a DJ, but his productions have gained a strong and dedicated following on Soundcloud and through an international roster of supportive DJs such as Severino Panzeta (Horse Meat Disco), Kev Beadle, Mark Quark, Finn Cambell Notman (The Groovers), Sergio Fedasz (GO Bang/Synthetigers) and Hesohi. Severino even contributed a remix to the 12-inch single of Take You Back from 2 Block Radius on San Francisco label Uncut Records.
Though Cardaci is not afraid to plane hop and globe trot, he has even more ways of sharing his sounds with the world. Deep & Dusted, a radio mix show delving into the deep and spacier aspects of dance music, broadcasts on London’s Downlow Radio. Peruse the show’s collection of past episodes and the versatility that is his larger narrative is easy to feel.
“I think my musical knowledge and the depth of my crates is strong enough to go head to head with the best DJs of their genre,” notes Cardaci, “but what I feel I can do that sets me apart is combine the best tunes of all these genres and all these eras in one cohesive set, depending on the venue, crowd, time of day or night and general vibe of the party.”