All Hail The Dark Prince Of Funeral Funk

Mixing straightforward funk and industrial rock is not an easy task, but it's one Ben Sargatan has undertaken. Bootsy-meets-Trent? Only if you insist on putting a label on it. Just be sure to throw Stephen King into the mix. What makes it harder is that Sargatan does it all himself.

His project, called Verdilak, features Sargatan on bass, vocals and guitar over a drum machine. The former singer of Latshaw digs deep into music's past and present to create his horror-movie-soundtrack style sound. "With the funk, its (Parliament) Funkadelic and anything involving Bootsy Collins," he said of his influences. Sargatan also listed the Doors, hip-hop, Howlin' Wolf and Tom Waits as inspirations. "I like that real whiskey voice like Howlin' Wolf and Tom Waits have," he said. "Skinny Puppy is definitely a big influence on me as far as the electronic stuff."

His influences don't stop at his six-hundred compact discs. He also draws from the literature and horror novels he reads. "I read all kinds of stuff. I read Shakespeare. I read a lot of horror, Clive Barker and Anne Rice," he said. He also draws from writer Thomas Ligotti.

Sargatan keeps a sturdy bass line with horrific sound samples over his scratchy vocals. His music is innovative and against the grain in an age of mainstream-driven songwriting. Though he creates his music on his own from scratch, he uses different influences on each instrument to make his music sound like a full band is there. "I try to give each instrument it's own flavor, so it doesn't sound like one person," he said. "I have different influences for each instrument."

Sargatan became interested in electronic music by accident. He began using a drum machine to make music on his own and the rest is history. "It started by accident and it just went from there," he said. Eventually, he was drawn to the ability to embellish songs with samples. "It's an extra opportunity for creativity," he said. "Even with live drums, there will always be an electronic aspect of it, when there's a lot of samples to go on."

Right now, Sargatan, who resides in Asbury, uses the Internet to promote his music. He mails out free CDs to those who request it and plans to make a full-length disc when enough material is finished. "If I have to, I'll put it out myself," he said. He then plans to put a band together and tour in its support.

Josh Davidson

Josh Davidson has written music feature articles for Jersey Style and served as the Jersey Shore rock columnist for Steppin' Out Magazine. Other music writing credits include Aquarian Weekly, Jersey Beat, Backstreets and He has written free-lance for the Asbury Park Press' Community Sports section and has written featured articles for its news section, as well as covering campus news and sports weekly for the Signal, the College of New Jersey's (formerly Trenton State College) student newspaper. He has worked as a staff writer for The Independent, and his work for Greater Media Newspapers has also been published in the News Transcript. He is a former beat reporter for the Ocean County Observer who presently is a news writer for Symbolic Systems Inc. supporting the US Army's Knowledge Center. His music writing covers a vast range of topics, from the current cover band craze, highs and lows of the original scene, to the early days of the Jersey Shore rock scene in Asbury Park. He is also a musician, having written hundreds of songs as a singer/songwriter, and playing them out as a solo/acoustic artist. He has also played with cover bands, including It Doesn't Matter, and several original bands, including as the guitarist for the solo project of singer/songwriter Dave Eric. He continues to work on solo material and is presently the guitar player for Jersey Breeze.