Tomorrow night marks the first night of Moneytown, a monthly at U Street’s Dahlak run by DJ Nitekrawler that promises “James Brown, Countless Independent Funk & Soul Monsters, The entire Saadia catalogue, the DC scene from 1968-1976, Women, RAW FUNK.” Nitekrawler’s bringing in a guest DJ each month, and first up is Dante Carfagna, a Chicago-based crazy-obsessive collector of vintage funk, and best buds with DJ Shadow. Peter Margasak, music critic at our sister paper the Chicago Reader, profiled Carfagna back in 2005:
The record shop became a second school for Carfagna. He says that at a certain point he was bringing home 150 records every week, and even at cost the purchases outweighed his income. “Eventually I had to find a way to liquidate stuff so I could make some extra bread,” he says. “We’d get collectors that would come through, and I made sure that they’d come to my house afterward to see what I had.” He started placing classified ads offering cash for records in the black newspapers: “I’d keep the good shit and sell the rest to the shop,” he says. He began tracking down local funk and soul entrepreneurs, doing detective work to locate people who’d released specific records he was after. He started out with Kansas City labels, but before long he was taking short trips to places like Omaha and Oklahoma City. He began conducting interviews with the performers and label owners for his own edification.
Word of Carfagna’s efforts eventually reached Josh Davis, one of the country’s best-known collectors of rare funk. Davis elevated sample-based music making to an art form with the classic 1996 DJ Shadow album Endtroducing. A Bay Area collector named Chris Veltri suggested that he might be able to exchange some info with Carfagna, and in early 1998 he gave him a call. “At this time the funk 45 thing was still underground, especially in the States,” Davis says. “Pretty much nobody was [collecting] it, so when someone would tell me that someone my age or younger was into the stuff I took notice because we were few and far between. We hit it off immediately—I probably mentioned a bunch of stuff he didn’t know, and I’m sure he mentioned a bunch of stuff I didn’t know.”