Fünkhaüs forever: The most important basement in Storrs  


It’s a Saturday night in a crowded, sweaty basement. The heat radiating from people’s bodies is like a furnace. Rapper Ty Davis says into the microphone, “We’re leaving a legacy,” concluding the fifth and final set of the evening.  

It’s now past 1 a.m. Outside the house, the winter air is cold. Friends say their goodbyes and begin the journey back to their dorms and apartments. The artists who performed do the same. On Monday, they are back to being students at the University of Connecticut, attending classes, working on assignments and participating in extracurriculars.  

This is the Fünkhaüs, a house-turned-DIY venue operated by none other than Faisal Rajan, a 10th-semester psychology and political science major. Since its first show last November, the venue has become both a reliable destination for a memorable weekend night and an epicenter for UConn’s rapidly growing local music scene. 

Before becoming a full-fledged venue, Rajan’s basement had humble beginnings as a rehearsal space for UConn hardcore band Dashcam, fronted by vocalist Zu.  

“The beginning of last semester, Zu and I were both working at the radio station, and Zu was mentioning something about looking for a rehearsal space. I was like, ‘Hey, I have a basement I’m just not using,’ because having a house is a lot of space,” Rajan recalled. “And I was like, ‘Yeah, you guys can rehearse in the basement,’ so they did.” 

After about two months of practice, Rajan figured it was time to introduce Dashcam to the rest of the world.  

“I knew they sounded good, so I was like, ‘What if you just do what you normally do every week but at nighttime on the weekend in front of like a hundred other people?’” Rajan said. 

Joined by a myriad of other bands including U.N. Faisal Project, T!LT, Pond View and Adaleve, Dashcam’s inaugural performance took place on Nov. 5. in Rajan’s basement, at the time dubbed The House of Anan (referencing the drummer of U.N. Faisal Project, Adaleve and Dashcam) became known as Fünkhaüs shortly after. 

“It was wild, I was not expecting that many people,” Zu said. 

Rajan agreed: “I didn’t expect it to turn out as well as it did, especially since that was the first one I threw. I was like ‘Who are all these people?’ Like, all these people I have never seen before just started coming out of the woodwork.”  

Since its birth, Fünkhaüs has seen well over a dozen artists perform, the vast majority consisting of current or former UConn students. The various acts that have been hosted are incredibly diverse.  

On any given night, audience members are exposed to a colorful array of styles and genres from the UConn underground. One show alone showcased a DJ set from ItMeMisha, followed by punk outfit microplastiks, self-proclaimed hip-hop/pop/alternative collective Blurred Vision, singer/rapper Amore Patet and rapper Ty Davis with DJ Milkywaay providing support and music between sets. 

More than a venue and a reliable place to have a good time on a weekend, Fünkhaüs also serves as a hub of sorts for the Storrs underground scene. Like Dash Cam, multiple other artists have utilized Rajan’s basement as a rehearsal space to meet up, practice and hone their craft.  

More than anything though, what Fünkhaüs has done is provide music lovers from all areas at UConn with a community. As the weeks go by, regulars enjoying live music begin to recognize each other, and new friendships are forged. In addition, the concerts have given artists — who explore mediums beyond music — ample material to foster their creativity. From the collaborators designing fliers for each event, to the photographers documenting an evening’s festivities using devices ranging from professional-grade cameras to PlayStation Portables, opportunity for expression is abound.  

“Now we got photographers and people making videos, and it’s creating all this new content, which is really cool,” Rajan said. “Like when I’m on Instagram, and I see a video of my house, I do a spit-take. UConn has a lot of creative people and a lot of talent.” 

“It’s really cool seeing how everyone wants to collab,” Zu agreed. “People reaching out and being like, ‘Hey, what can we do? Can we make shirts? Can we make posters? Can we take pictures, videos?’”  

Even though Fünkhaüs is owned and operated by Rajan, planning and hosting events on such a scale week after week would not have been possible without help — from friends as well as members of UConn Entertainment Group, UConn’s very own student record label/music collective. 

“Shout out Zu. He’s the goat. He provides a lot of the equipment. And shout out Devon and Chad. They’re the ones providing a lot of the equipment as well,” Rajan mentioned. “And then there’s Aiden Paterson, who is the president of UEG. A lot of it is very collaborative, and it’s only possible due to reaching out to people and that they’re grateful enough to let me borrow or use their equipment.” 

In the months since their first live show, Fünkhaüs has inspired others in Storrs to host one-night shows in their basements and even create their own DIY venues. Two mainstays that have come into fruition and consistently host artists are Mud House (formerly known as Gunk House) and Lighthouse. Multiple venues will even occasionally host shows on the same night.  

Despite the abundance of local and student artists in the Storrs area, the institution itself makes it exceedingly difficult for official performances to take place on campus. 

“There’s a lot of red tape you gotta go through, which makes it almost impossible. It’s just not worth it,” Rajan commented. “They just make it way more difficult than it should be.” 

Aside from the fact that Rajan’s endeavors, among others, have fulfilled the desire for live music shared by students, it’s always just been something to do for fun and for the love of music. 

“I’m just doing my thing, man. I’m just one guy doing my thing,” Rajan said. “I’m throwing shows for a good time.” 

Fünkhaüs’ impact on the community and the Storrs music scene has already left a staggering legacy. From giving artists a place to perform, to inspiring others to create venues of their own, there is no understating the profound effects of Rajan’s efforts as a host. 

“I don’t think that in 10 years, people are going to remember specific lineups or days from shows,” he said. “But what they will remember is going to a house show and being like, ‘Damn, that was really fun.’” 

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