Madison, WI: As a group of University of Wisconsin-Madison music students who banded together in 1996, Phat Phunktion have built a loyal following of listeners throughout the United States and around the world. Combining the polish of Top 40 with the smooth feeling of 60’s soul and the raw groove of 70’s funk, Phat Phunktion is a nine-piece tour-de-force that are one of the most revered live acts of the past 20 years. In their hometown of Madison, they have been known to attract crowds of 5,000 people and regularly sell out wherever they perform.
In 2003, Rolling Stone singled out Phat Phunktion as a “band on the rise.” During the same year, they won a Wisconsin Area Music Industry Award, or WAMI, for “Best R&B Band.” In May 2003, a panel of Billboard Magazine judges selected the band as one of six acts to perform at the DiscMakers’ Independent Music World Series, Midwest regional final, where they funked up the Elbo Room in Chicago. Of the six finalists, Phat Phunktion and Chicago’s Orbert Davis took top honors. The band has appeared numerous times at the Madison Blues Festival, Milwaukee’s Summerfest, and the House of Blues in Chicago, with a myriad television and radio appearances to their credit, including “The Jenny Jones Show” and Michael Feldman’s “Whad’ya Know?”
In 2004, Ben and Leo Sidran’s Nardis/Liquid 8 label released their third CD, You and Me. Since then, You and Me has generated substantial interest at home and abroad. In America, 10,000 CDs have been sold to a devoted fan base via word-of-mouth and Internet sales. In Japan, large sales spurred a re-release of the disc on the Japanese label, Groovetime Records. In Europe, the record was played on radio stations throughout Italy and Spain. In 2004, JazzTimes reviewed You and Me, exclaiming, “Phat Phunktion has a horn-driven sound that draws inspiration from ‘70s funk, and on ‘You and Me,' the band’s first release on a national label, producers Tim Whalen and Al Falaschi demonstrate a talent for crafting strong, danceable tracks…. Musically, the album is first rate.” In 2005, You and Me received the Madison Area Music Award (MAMA), for “R&B Album of the Year.”