A new production house in Red Hook is bringing DJs of all stripes to the neighborhood for a weekly live stream that showcases their work.
Longtime friends and business partners Anthony Vitale and Michael Gentile opened The Funktion House in January of 2015, at 31o Van Brunt St. near Pioneer Street, serving as a brick-and-mortar venue for the 8-year-old DJing company, Funktion DJ.
"We basically turned our warehouse into a fully functioning broadcasting studio," Vitale said.
Gentile, 37, and Vitale, 35, met in the mid-90s through mutual friends as high school students studying at different Brooklyn schools.
While Vitale, who grew up in Carroll Gardens, was just getting started with his career, Gentile, of Marine Park, was already DJing and helped introduce Vitale to the business.
After working nightclubs such as Enigma and Gazebo in Brooklyn, the Metropolis in Queens and Manhattan's Palladium and Roxy, their careers took different paths. Vitale toured the world and DJed in Japan, Italy and France. Gentile focused on private parties before starting his own entertainment and DJ production company, known as Funktion DJ.
Now the two are back together and working to build Funktion DJ's clientele and turn Funktion House into a production venue.
To highlight professional and aspiring DJs, the Funktion House hosts live stream events on Tuesday nights that feature interviews and sets by a guest DJ.
"We invite older DJs, new DJs," said Gentile. They hope to eventually bring in other entertainers as well.
"They play whatever they want, however they want," he said. While DJing nightclubs, Vitale found that there wasn't a lot of room for creativity. Club managers and wealthy clients wanted specific songs, rather than let the DJ decide on their own sets.
"For me sitting in a DJ booth, I have to cater to that one person," Vitale said. "Because he's spending money."
"We have to listen to the management or you just won't get hired again," he said.
But through The Funktion House, the duo can "create and dictate what we want to musically," Gentile said.
When they aren't live streaming from the Red Hook venue, Gentile and Vitale use the space for light and sound production as well as demonstrations for potential clients. They're also keeping it open for photo and video shoots as well as private events.
As the brand grows, they hope to
have a "Funktion House" in every borough.
“If You Treat Djing Like A Hobby You Will Never Be Paid Like A Business “ 5 Insider Tips With Anthony Vitale
“I was hired to DJ in Brazil. I arrived early so I decided to go to hotel and then the beach. My hotel phone rang and it was the club promoter. He told me he was coming to my hotel and to not leave the room. He shows up and tells me I need to go back to São Paulo there has been a “little problem”. The drug lords in the favelas shot down a police helicopter and to get the police out of the favelas the drug lords sent people to the streets to burn the city buses. I was in and out of Rio within 5 hours. I liked how he identified it as a “little problem“”
I had the pleasure to interview Anthony Vitale of THE FUNKTION HOUSE. Anthony Vitale and Michael Gentile, began their careers as young teenagers and were true to the art. Born and raised in Brooklyn, NY, Vitale and Gentile were passionate about DJing and found their career path at a young age. At just 12 years old, Vitale was quickly introduced into the party scene, spinning at night clubs across New York. He continued to grow and with more and more popularity he started spinning across the globe at some of the hottest spots in New York, Miami, Tokyo and Paris. Meanwhile, his soon-to-be counterpart, Gentile was 14, starting his career in the nightlife scene that would bring him to start a private events company. He was doing it all and was the “go-to” for private events across the tri-state. After years of DJing, being a part of the New York nightlife scene and running private events — Vitale and Gentile decided to combine their skills and opened THE FUNKTION HOUSE. The two took a warehouse space in Brooklyn and created a studio where DJ’s stories would be told. Before Facebook Live and the many streaming services we have today, Vitale and Gentile kicked off a show that featured veteran DJ’s along with up-and-comers to provide them with a platform to share their experiences. Being DJ’s themselves, Vitale and Gentile know the work that goes into it and are on a mission to keep the art of DJing alive. With their series, DJ’s of all caliber share their story, providing inspiration and advice. The series has given DJ’s the chance to discuss how they entered the industry, what they love about it and more. Now, with over 100 episodes under their belt, Vitale and Gentile are taking it to the next level. Currently, the entrepreneurial DJ’s are creating a new platform that is going to make a major impact for DJ’s across the globe.
What is your “backstory”
I was born and raised in Carrol Gardens Brooklyn. I come from a middle-class Italian family. My mom Angie, my dad Sal and my brother Sal are the reasons I became a DJ. My brother who is two years older would collect cassette tapes. He has an in depth knowledge of music. Being around him introduced me to nightclubs and parties a young age. This is what led me to get involved in DJing early on.
Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that occurred to you in the course of your music career?
Funniest story, I was doing a private party at 1oak on a Monday night for Jay Z and his friends. Kanye West shows up and walks into the DJ booth. Standing directly behind me with his arms folded, bopping his head, he says hello and asked me if I got his “new shit”. His album had dropped that night at midnight and he wanted to hear his tracks but I didn’t have them yet. He then told me go download them, so I pulled up LimeWire on my computer screen. Kanye turns and says “don’t download my shit go buy my shit” and stormed out of the booth pissed. One of his boys then handed me an iPod with his new album on it. I played it off that.
Most interesting, I was hired to DJ in Brazil. I arrived early so I decided to go to hotel and then the beach. My hotel phone rang and it was the club promoter. He told me he was coming to my hotel and to not leave the room. He shows up and tells me I need to go back to São Paulo there has been a “little problem”. The drug lords in the favelas shot down a police helicopter and to get the police out of the favelas the drug lords sent people to the streets to burn the city buses. I was in and out of Rio within 5 hours. I liked how he identified it as a “little problem“
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
My partner Mike Gentile and I opened The Funktion House. It’s a broadcasting studio based in Red Hook, Brooklyn. It’s a place where a DJ can come and broadcast to the world with high quality video and audio. We are currently in the development process of a new DJ platform that should be in first release by the end of 2018. We anticipate some major waves taking place in the DJ world.
Who are some of the most interesting people you have interacted with? What was that like? Do you have any stories?
I’ve crossed paths with a lot of celebrities.
I’ve curated an interesting Tuesday night in Tokyo with “Uncle Jesse“ aka John Stamos. I was introduced to him through people in NY. He was in town playing with The Beach Boys and wanted a night out on the town. I was the resident DJ at a club called Feria in Roppongi, Tokyo. I set up a dinner and very cool evening with some friends.
I DJ’d Alex Rodrigues 34th birthday with my friend Jake. When Alex got on the mic he thanked everyone for coming to his birthday. He then guaranteed to win the championship and jumped in the pool with all his clothes on, only to have the rest of the team follow. That year the team won the World Series.
It was a very high profile night in a private home in Purchase NY.
I was DJing a party in Paris for fashion week when Bruce Willis stumbled into the booth and slapped the camcorder out of my friends hand as he thought he was filming him. Lol. He was in Diehard mode.
Which people in history inspire you the most? Why?
Elon Musk is amazing. I like how he is on the forefront of breakthrough projects. He is one person that will be spoken about long after he leaves this world.
Can you share 6 “non-intuitive tips” to succeed in the music industry? Can you explain?
Always keep young, up and coming people around you. Listen to the kids.
Distance yourself from people who are negative.
Switch lanes when you have to.
If you feel like things are slowing down re-invent yourself.
We live in a very fast paced world with technology, one week it’s hot the next week it’s not. Stay on top of your stuff, always be learning. If you’re the smartest person in the room you’re in the wrong room.
“If you treat DJing like a hobby you will never be paid like a business “
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
I have taken my years of experience to mentor up and coming DJs. I explain my mistakes with hopes they will actually listen. I love to see new DJs succeed it’s much harder now.
My partner Mike Gentile and I created The Funktion House to help DJs, and with focus on keeping the art of DJing alive. The craft is lost in nightlife and we are showcasing it to hopefully be a guide and inspiration to the young up and comers.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
Plan for the future. ( Invest in more than just yourself )
Keep it business ( Don’t get too friendly with the people who hire you. It makes things complicated)
Be careful who you keep in your company. You meet people in this industry that just want to use you as a stepping stone. (They are social climbers ) They are not your “brothers”.
Wish someone told me to buy stock in Amazon.
I have been blessed with the opportunity to interview and be in touch with some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she just might see this.
Musically, I would like to have lunch with jimmy Iovine . He grew up in the same neighborhood as I and is a key person in the music industry. I respect what he has accomplished and I think we have a lot in common.
Atlantic City - Acclaimed DJs Anthony Vitale and Michael Gentile chatted with Digital Journal about Funktion House, and the digital transformation of electronic music.
"The Funktion House was a creative idea that came about from a conversation," they said. "After starting out as DJs together and then going our separate ways, we decided to partner up again as DJs to perform. While building out our studio in Redhook we had this idea about showcasing DJs and the culture and The Funktion House was born.
"Most recently, from August 13 to 15, they had a pop-up at the DJ Expo in Atlantic City, New Jersey. "We are always looking for new ways to connect with people and showcase our brand. The pop-up gave us a cool way to meet and network with different people in the DJ Community. We set up the shop in a beautiful suite in the Harrahs hotel. PioneerDJ and BassBoss speakers provided us with all the DJ Gear for the event and BrealTv along with Beatport provided us with the streaming channel for the two days. We showcased some really cool DJs and DJ Sessions with Pioneer DJ, Serato and Denon DJ. DJ Kool even stopped by to talk about the convention,
" they said.They are drawn to electronic music due to its "variety." "Today, we have so many different genres of electronic music so it creates so many different styles of DJs. Through the different styles of DJs sprouts creativeness which is always showing the DJ world something new. The only downside is that because there is so much music, there is no longevity to the individual music tracks. Very hard to make a classic song these days," they explained.For aspiring DJs, they said,
"Create your own lane and stay focused on perfecting your craft. Keep up with your social media because it's necessary but understand that the DJ game has its own ecosystem. The true talent always survives. Great pictures will only get you so far, eventually, your true talent surfaces whether good or bad
."Digital transformation of electronic dance musicOn the impact of technology on the electronic dance music industry, they said, "Technology is a double-edged sword. It has helped and it has hurt the industry. Let's look at the pros. You no longer have to carry five crates of records to gig. The back is appreciating that one. Also, recording studios are now packed into a laptop. Ease of use and quality are at everyone's fingertips. The one real negative aspect of technology is the saturation it has caused. Everyone is a DJ and producer so you have a huge dilution factor. We have some really great DJs but we also have some really bad ones. It's easier to become a DJ, but harder to make it as a successful DJ. But again the ecosystem takes care of that. If you are true to your craft and put in the time, you will rise to the top.
"On their use of technology in their daily routine, they said, "We are producing live stream shows every week. There is a lot of hard work that goes into the production aspect of it and there are many technology tools that we use along the way. Whether its Photoshop for graphics, Logic for Audio, or Blackmagic for camera production, without it we wouldn't be able to look as professional as we do."For their fans, they concluded,
"This was the first year the DJ Expo saw a live streaming aspect to the event. It was a pleasure to work with some of the great brands of the DJ industry and to be apart of what they are trying to achieve. The DJ Expo definitely has more potential and hopefully, we can continually contribute to its success."To learn more about The Funktion House, check out the official website.
The Funktion House Brings Nightclub Culture to the Masses [Interview]
Bringing nightlife to the masses, The Funktion House has been living up to its mission since its creators made the decision to launch the visionary DJ company. Maturing and evolving over time, the visionaries behind the brand filled us in on how The Funktion House has grown since they started changing the game three years ago.
Their innovative Live From Red Hook series offers DJs the opportunity to showcase their talents with a 1.5-hour set in the style and genre of their choice. The ensemble is live broadcasted across The Funktion House website, social media channels, and cross-promoted through the artists’ channels. The series also allows the talent a chance to fill their existing fans in — as well as gain some new followers — with a 20-30 minute interview.
We caught up with Michael Gentile and Anthony Vitale following a first-hand account of The Funktion House. The guys’ behind the brand sat down with us to bring us up to speed on The Funktion House and how they believe it lives up to their vision. From the vibe of the room to the DJs that have played the space — and those who they hope to still perform there — Vitale and Gentile fill us in on what The Funktion House stands for.
The Nocturnal Times: How, when, and why did The Funktion House first come to fruition?
The Funktion House: The Funktion House was an idea that was born while we were renovating our space in Red Hook. We came together to start DJing again and The Funktion House space was going to be our office/studio/warehouse. As the space was coming together our creative wheels started to spin. As DJs who came up in the 90’s, we felt the culture of DJing was missing its true artform. We wanted to have a dedicated night with just hanging with friends playing rare records. Putting a show around that concept inspired us and that is when The Funktion House was born.
The Nocturnal Times: When did you guys first meet and what was the initial vision before The Funktion House was formed?
The Funktion House: We met when we were in our early teens. We DJ’d local teen parties together and then eventually went our separate DJ ways but always remained in contact through the years. Then about 3 years ago we decided to partner up again as DJs purely focusing on the private events side. So our initial idea was to DJ parties together which we currently still do. Another lane within our business model is a mobile entertainment company.
The Nocturnal Times: Is your current vision or mission any different from when you first began The Funktion House?
The Funktion House: It has definitely matured and has taken on a different direction as we continue our journey. When you start something in the area of DJing and livestreaming it’s an industry that has a lot of challenges and obstacles. You have to stay focused and most importantly positive. Our primary vision of keeping the art of DJing alive hasn’t changed. How we monetize our vision is what we have adapted. The Funktion House is helping us build a network of DJs and industry people. Through this network it will enable us to pivot to a new platform that we are working on that we will feel will have a strong impact on how everyone will DJ going forward.
The Nocturnal Times: You guys just took The Funktion House to the DJ Expo in Atlantic City. What can you tell us about your experience at this year’s conference and expo?
The Funktion House: We wanted to do something that would shake up the Expo and help build brand awareness for The Funktion House. We also wanted to be different. We felt that being on the Expo floor would not have gotten our message across as good as being off the beaten path. We took a suite in The Harrah’s hotel and transformed it into a mobile Funktion House. The DJ’s were excited to be a part of what we were doing and it gave us a great opportunity to network with different brands. Table 87 was kind enough to sponsor delicious Pizza for the event and Heineken provided the beverages. We were fortunate enough to have Pioneer provide us with all the DJ gear and BassBoss provide us with the sound system. They were also a part of our live streams along with Melissa Nikita from Denon and OP Miller from Serato. We plan on doing more of these in the future with all brands involved.
The Nocturnal Times: Having hosted three seasons of the Live From Red Hook series, which of the streams have been the most memorable or your personal favorites thus far and why?
The Funktion House: There are so many to choose from. With the help of Johnny D from Henry Street music, we had Todd Terry as our guest for our 2nd show which was truly special. To have a legend like Todd on our show at the infancy was truly inspiring and we really felt like we had something that early on. Dennis Ferrer was also a very special show for us as he has been a big inspiration within the NYC house music community.
It’s always a pleasure to listen to one of the greatest DJs of our time DJ Riz. We’ve also been able to showcase DJs that we weren’t aware of that turned out to be incredible talent such as DJ Encore and DJ Rumor.
The Funktion House Live From Red Hook with Michael Gentile, HARBER, and Anthony Vitale.
The Nocturnal Times: Who are some of your personal favorite DJs and producers? Dream guests or visitors you hope to one day have play The Funktion House?
The Funktion House: We are big fans of Danny Tenaglia and the Master at Work guys. They have played such a huge role in the house music world not only in NYC but across the world. On a hip hop tip definitely a guy like Premier, Jazzy Jeff or Scratch would be an amazing show. To have anyone of those guys on the show would be an honor. It’s not only about having them play but getting to sit down and interview them would be really cool.
The Nocturnal Times: What are some of your favorite things about what you do? What are some of the pitfalls to working in the music industry?
The Funktion House: Showcasing, discovering and mentoring DJs is what we truly love. We get to see people who come on the show and express what they truly love to do. That is one of the most satisfying aspects of what we do. Nothing feels better than inspiring people to want to come on your show. When they play an unbelievable set it reciprocates the inspiration!
The industry right now is very saturated in all aspects and everyone is trying to capitalize on it. You always have to be onto the next thing. We truly believe that if you stay consistent and provide a good product people will recognize it and want to be a part of what you’re doing. We are definitely seeing that. Keep it real or keep it moving is what we say!
The Nocturnal Times: What can you share with us about any partnerships or sponsorships The Funktion House has, had, or potentially would like to attain in the future?
The Funktion House: As we continue to grow and mature the platform we have come across some great opportunities that have created unique collaborations opportunities. We began a relationship with Beatport and they support and get behind our streams that pertain to house music artists that are synonymous with both brands. With the help of Eddie B Swift BReal. TV has also gotten behind our content and they broadcast our streams through their channels as well. We also started a show called The Network with Hector Romero. This show has helped to grow the brand and has opened up the doors for us to experience some really well respected DJs in the industry. The plan is to touch every DJ with The Funktion House and through awareness create relationships with the big brands so that we become a top streaming platform for all DJs.
The Nocturnal Times: After visiting The Funktion House studio, everything is well-planned, the space and equipment are the highest quality, and the vibe was unparalleled. What can you share with us about the space?
The Funktion House: It’s our baby. We take a lot of pride in the space. If you ask anyone who walks through our doors they will all tell you the same thing, “There is something special about The Funktion House.” We felt it as soon as we started building it. There is something in that room that inspires everyone who visits. The buzz grows every day.
The Nocturnal Times: What’s in store for the immediate future of The Funktion House? Where do you see the brand in five years?
The Funktion House: We are constantly working and looking for new ideas that can help us to diversify our content we produce at The Funktion House. So in the near future, look for us to be out in the field producing content and incorporating different styles of shows. They will still pertain to the music and DJ world but may have less to do with a live set. We also see ourselves aligning with a big brand that will pivot us to curating streams for big DJs across the globe. We also have our new platform that is in development that we will disclose at some point in the near future. We see ourselves worldwide. Stay tuned!
The Nocturnal Times: Reflecting at The Funktion House within a huge scene and community, what do you hope to leave behind with the show’s legacy?
The Funktion House: The Live From Red Hook show is for each DJ to create and document their own story. When it’s all said and done you will be able to go back and reference any DJ you want and find out what their story was! We want to be remembered for making every DJ known and keeping the culture alive and in the forefront.