RED HOOK — 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, at 316 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 an event and 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, like comedians and bands 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.