To describe Frank Gossner, AKA Voodoo Funk, as just a DJ would be like calling Indiana Jones just an archaeologist. But Gossner, who hails from the southwest of Germany, is so much more. He began DJing in the mid-'90s in Berlin and soon after started spanning the globe in search of more interesting sounds.
He found those sounds and more, eventually specializing in the African funk of Guinea, Sierra Leone, Ghana, Benin, and Nigeria. True to form, when New Times attempted to catch up with Gossner to preview his rare U.S. show at Gramps this Saturday, we were informed that he was in Oaxaca, Mexico, without a phone. So instead, we were forced to have a written correspondence.
New Times: What inspired you to go to these faraway lands for music?
Frank Gossner: West Africa isn't that far away. From Berlin, you can fly to Accra in under ten hours, while it takes 13 hours to get to Miami. It wouldn't have been possible to get the records that I wanted simply by buying them on eBay, and I also wanted to gain some insight into the local culture.
Gossner in Nigeria.
Photo Courtesy of Frank Gossner
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What was your most fulfilling buy as a record collector?
I've assembled a relatively large number of records over the years, and even after sorting out the rarest and personally most valued records, I'm still confronted with several hundreds of them, out of which I can't pick one or even a handful of favorites. I don't think any true music lover can single out one or five or ten "favorite records." To me, loving music means to love the endless variety of it. I don't even consider myself a record collector. I love music, and most of the music that I love was originally released as records simply because it was the medium of the period, so I go out and buy them but I don't "collect" records. I also love to read books, and yet I'm not a book collector.
What can the audience expect from your show at Gramps?
It's not really a "show." I'm just going to awkwardly stand behind two turntables, putting on one record after the other and pressing the "start" button roughly around the time the previous record comes to an end. I'm not doing any mixing, fading, beat-matching, or whatever some DJs seem to do in an effort to turn playing other people's records into a perceived art form. But you might get to hear some tunes you can't hear at any other place.
Voodoo Funk. 9 p.m. Saturday, September 24, at Gramps, 176 NW 24th St., Miami; 305-699-2669; gramps.com. Admission is free.