The Funk Division, once known as The Soul Garden is a soul jazz and funk
group formed by Mark Duffus (Blak Prophetz)
in 2005 in Walsall near Birmingham in the United Kingdom. They were a studio
production band that rehearsed in Mark's custom built recording studio on a
weekly basis with session musicians and friends. They were involved in remix
projects for established recording artists like Joyce Sims, Justin Timberlake,
Preeya Kalidas, Warren Stacey and more.
Mark represents the Funk and Soul
sides of the band where as Derek (DK) King later joined to represents the House
& Garage mixed versions of the songs that he produced. The two have since worked
together as a key outfit with different session singers and musicians whilst
still providing not just their own material but also remix/productions for many
other well known recording artists including Fonda Rae, Glen Goldsmith and more.
Fiona Paulwell-Thindel later joined the band as their lead vocalists.
of the first known release as the Funk Division came out in 2015 with a retro
type song and music video entitled Want You written and produced by Mark Duffus
which was a clear combination of Jazz Swing & Funk. Ed Potten, Music Journalist
from The Times,The Sunday Times newspaper described it as "A Soulful,
organ-driven funk with a twinkle in its eye". The song achieved a review from
Chris Wells, editor of Echoes_(magazine) who described it as "uncluttered,
attidinous, energetic funk. DeRobert fans ought to love it".
A similar review came from Camilla Cassidy of The Edge Magazine who was also
very impressed with the power of the delivery of the same song. In her review
she said that "The song starts somewhat 60s, with strong and slick female vocals
with power that echoes the song’s statements of independence and
self-affirmation. Choruses build to deliver a rich sounding take on modern jazz;
power and bluesy instrumentation are layered with quick lyrics to give a smooth,
The next song to follow was an uptempo dance hit
entitled Tell Me Something which contain two individual mixes by the duo. On
18th April 2016 a review by Soul, Jazz & Funk Magazine described the song as
"hugely insistent, picking up plays in the more discerning soul clubs". An
additional review by Andrew Gee of USA's Impact Global Magazine described the
track as one that "Takes you back to the future of black music".
third release from the duo entitled Right On written and produced by Mark Duffus
which contained a photography cover image provided by one of New York's most
respected Hip Hop photographers Joe Conzo. It also included a cool House/Garage
mix by Derek (DK) King.
Not so soon after came very soulful release
entitled If You Were Mine which included a disco mix and house mix. The dance
and disco mixes was produced by Mark whereas the House/Garage mix versions were
produced by Derek (DK) King. When Bill B, Editorial of Soul, Jazz & Funk
magazine discovered the song he favoured the Soul mix saying "It's a steady,
tight modern soul groove with convincing vocals; it's very insistent too ... bit
of an earworm". A similar liking to the song's House version came from Adam
Giddens, Editor of IHouseU magazine.