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Fort Knox Five finds a second home

If you’ve spent any time in the West Coast EDM scene in the last decade, chances are you’ve run across Fort Knox Five. Leaders in the ever-strengthening funk and breaks scene, Fort Knox Five embody much of what the West Coast sound is known for. Even though they sound right at home here on our coast, they’re actually from the opposite coast, hailing from Washington, D.C. “B.C. is definitely our home away from home. We’re very, very tied to the West Coast,” says DJ/producer Jon Horvath, talking to me from Fort Knox Studios in D.C. while taking a break from putting the final touches on the group’s new record, Pressurize the Cabin.

“It’s an absolutely magical place. The people are magical. The appreciation for music, funk, and to get down is amazing. It’s so great to see how important Canada has become in the last decade. Before that, there wasn’t too much happening, but now there’s a ton of massive artists coming out of Western Canada that are making fantastic music, pushing the scene forward.”

The group’s strong relationship with the West Coast started just under the 49th parallel in Seattle and led to the ongoing Funk the World series, one of the group’s best known works, Horvath says. “The way Funk The World came out was we used to have a radio show on KEXP in Seattle, and it was called Mo’ Glo, Modern Global. We did that once a month for about three and half years. It ended because one of the stations that was sponsoring it in New York changed their format. When we lost that, we had been getting such a good response from Mo’ Glo that we needed to do something else,” recalls Horvath of the series that just saw the release of its 28th entry. “We were just kind of joking saying, ‘Man, Funk the World,’ and thought that sounded good. FTW: For the Win. We basically started doing that mix and got our friends on it and it started taking off.”

Another main anchor Fort Knox Five has in the west is at the Shambhala Music Festival, nestled in the Kootenay Valley, where the group is scheduled to return for their 10th appearance. “Shambhala, to me, is the best music festival in the world. It’s such a special place. It’s a beautiful farm with a beautiful vibe. It’s crazy to think of these mountain kids, most of them, in the middle of nowhere, as talented as any of these production guys at any of these multi-million dollar festivals that are happening. These guys are literally out there making some of the best stages with the best productions, best sounds, best vibes, and the best lineup you could possibly see.”

But this is about Victoria, where the group is set to make a triumphant return in April with friends both familiar and new. DJ Stickybuds and Mr. Lahey and Randy of the Trailer Park Boys rock out for a night of funk and comedy with Fort Knox Five. “We love the Trailer Park Boys. They’re legendary. The chance to get to meet them and to rock out with our brother Stickybuds [is great]. Victoria is another one of those places that’s incredibly special to us and that show looks like it’s going to be really awesome.”

Catch Fort Knox Five w/ Stickybuds at Distrikt, April 19. Advance tickets $20.