An interview with Gushi & Raffunk
by Sophie Gatward
Gushi & Raffunk is an Electronic Trip Hop duo formed in 2005 by Gushi from Argentina and Raffunk from Italy. They currently live and compose their music in Italy. She, who comes from the southern half of the world and he, who comes from the northern half… two hemispheres, two points, two souls making a unique world.
They began their work together by producing revisited versions for ‘Amnesia Ibiza Chillout Sessions’. They found the chemistry to compose original tracks which eventually would become their first album.
Their latest productions record the releases of “Eyes”, “Travel EP”, “Sound Of You – The Remixes EP”, “Reflection” and “Deep House Flavours” – all works having been released by international labels.
Seeing these two perform live is a treat – their performances are fresh and intimate in lounge chill-out and deep house style. Their DJ sets are more up-tempo club style with live vocals enriching the experience. Aside from all this musical talent though– they are the nicest musicians you will ever have the pleasure to meet. It’s all about the love with Gushi and Raffunk. Love, in the deep, spiritual sense of the word. Love and music – what more could you want?
Gushi & Raffunk is an interesting name combo. Where do these names come from?
Gushi: Thanks for asking! The name Raffunk came out in 2003 and it is the combination of his real first name (Raffaele) and Funk. At that time, he was the lead guitarist of a band which made that genre of music, so the name Raffunk seemed to fit like a glove!
Raffunk: Gushi has a story of its own, as this is her nickname since she was a child. Then, we started to do some little research and discovered that Gu Shi means “Old Poetry” in Chinese language… isn’t this a beautiful coincidence?
Musically, you two are a couple. Are you a real couple also?
Let’s leave this one to your imagination… haha!
You both write and compose. What inspires you to start writing and creating a new song? Can you give us some insight into how the process unfolds.
Raffunk: Any visual stimulation or emotion can set the spark alight that starts the whole process of composition. Sometimes it’s a sound, a sample or a drum groove. Other times it can be nature’s sound, a book or a film… Something at the right place in the right moment that touches a specific part of me.
Gushi: For me it is the warm sunlight in my room, contrasting colours in nature, a good song that inspires me, the lives of others, my own urges… Sometimes, I take the guitar and start building a melody, other times I steal (ops! I meant borrow) Raffunk’s compositions and improvise melodies or write some lyrics.
Your songs have a calming effect with sweet relaxing melodies, especially in your album ”Eyes”. Can it be a real effort to create this type of sound when life around you is stressful?
Not at all. Music comes from the inside and reflects what you are, feel or desire…
What does a day in the life of Gushi & Raffunk look like?
Although we hate routine, we usually get up in the not-so-early morning and spend time on our own, doing personal stuff, studying, reading or doing everyday life chores. Whereas in the afternoon, we meet at the studio and start working on our musical productions until starvation reminds us that we have to get some fuel.
You do a lot of live performances; at what type of events or venues do you usually get asked to perform?
Well, the situation may vary from one venue to another but we love performing live in every single one. Big, small, comfy or not, the circumstances of the event don’t spoil our enthusiasm. We pay the same attention and devotion to the show and adapt our set according to that moment’s energy.
You’re both well-travelled, and have both lived in Italy for big chunks of your life. Would you say that is where you’re now settled for good?
Wouldn’t say so. You never know where choices can take you to and it doesn’t matter where you live in order to make music. We always choose to go after our musical opportunities.
Gushi, from a young age you were influenced by traditional Argentine folk music. What about you Raffunk? What were your musical influences as a youngster?
My first ever discovery was Neil Young, from whom I learnt to strum my first guitar chords. Then, The Beatles came who were followed by the fingerpicking ambassadors (Bruce Cockburn, Jorma Kaukonen) and of course, Blues also entered my life. I can’t leave out my Jazz era (John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins) that led into the first electronic bands. David Sylvian was definitely someone who made me change direction towards intimate and rarefied atmospheres.
Your careers seem to have been steadily growing. Were there any milestones during your life journey in getting to where you are now?
Certainly! The fact that Pete Tong, Carl Cox, Roger Sanchez and Tiësto have chosen some of our tracks (‘To Be Or Not To Be’ & ‘Be Mine’) for their compilations is a huge start! Then, Julian Lennon has crowned ‘End Of The Day’ Track of the Week in his section at Below Zero Beats. Also, ‘Travel’, ‘End of the Day’ & ‘Sound Of You’ were included in important compilations such as ‘Bar Lounge Classics’ (Sony BMG Germany), ‘Global Grooves 4 – Porsche Design’ (winner of the World Luxury Award 2012) and… to be continued!
The genres of music that you work with have been recognized as electro-acoustic, chillout lounge, trip-hop, deep house, etc. They are all beautiful genres that interlink with one another. Have you ever considered creating music from a completely different genre?
Actually, we also compose music for documentaries which doesn’t mean anything about the genre… but sometimes our compositions do get another character, somewhere between acoustic and orchestral, as if they were dressed in other colours and fabrics.
You two are a well known duo. Do you ever see yourselves veering off into solo careers? If not, what does the future hold?
Our project GUSHI & RAFFUNK is a beautiful work, something we care about and put all our expectations, energy and strength into. However, this does not refrain us from separate collaborations or parallel projects with other artists, musicians and styles. We’re rather open to it.
If you could stand on a platform, and have the whole world’s attention, just for a minute. What would you say? What would be your message?
Since it would be quite impossible to hug them all, we’d say “Love to love… discover the love inside you and embrace it strongly”.
Released Albums and EPs
Deep House Flavours (Dy Mo Music 2013)
Reflection (White Island Recordings 2012)
Sound of You – The Remixes (LGM 2012)
Travel EP (LGM 2011)
Eyes (LGM 2011)
Here are Gushi & Raffunk’s Sunday Sessions
1. Gushi & Raffunk – Travel
“Travel” is definitely our favourite. It speaks about universal love, pure love that needs nothing but to be. As the fragment reads “…looking through your eyes I can feel everything…” We even wrote a little haiku poem in love’s honour! Hope you enjoy it 🙂
Travel out of love
Falling through the spaces
Embrace life and welcome changes
Travel in the essence of true love
Taste it, feel it, be it
Then, let it go…
2. Gushi & Raffunk – End Of The Day
Sometimes, at the end of the day, we find ourselves looking back into the past. Longing for home, a relationship, anything that makes us set off to a nostalgic yet magical trip through our experiences. It’s about immersing ourselves into the flow of memories, old treasures and new sensations.
3. Gushi & Raffunk – Sound of You
‘Sound of You’ represents our inner sound. It is that private space getting lovingly nourished with feelings and perfumes of life. SOY (title abbreviation which in Spanish means ‘I am’) is the intimate point where everything is brought into life. Our essence…