CM>>>I would like to start this interview with an exceptional question. In the last years I met several people from Brazil and I remarked that most of them never complain, have a bad mood or are unfriendly to others. But don't get me wrong I don't talk about this stereotype pictures for tourist brochures like carnival or the endless beaches.
I just asked myself, keeping in mind that at some places in Brazil the "sun never shines", that there is a connection between the culture of Brazilian music and the laid-back mood of its citizens?
Drumagick>>> I believe there's a connection between our life style and Brazilian music. We do complain and a lot but maybe for a foreign person our claims could sound different because most of Brazilian people always complains with good sense of humour, our claims are followed by laughs many times, it's very common in the whole country. But in these places that "the sun never shines" people still having a good sense of humour without any reason for it in our and your point of view but they still laughing of their life disaster. That people makes me think we're blessed for could work with music here and live from it's job, it's not easy at all, we do a very hard work here but it still nothing compared to their life.
Brazil is a very musical country, we've got Samba, Axe, Forro, Baiao, Frevo, Bossa Nova, Brazilian D&B (smiling), Carioca Funk, and many other music styles and Sao Paulo is like the musical centre of all of these styles, it's not the most important place for all of them but here you can go to places to listen all of these styles during the week and even in the streets during the day depending of where you go you can listen to them too. Our city absorbs all music from everywhere and gives it back thru the people behaviour so you can find all types of people here. I believe its music power helps the Brazilian to keep the happiness in mind and forget the problems and people uses it as one of the weapons against the social problems here.
CM>>>When I heard your artist name after the release of " Cidade de Deus" I asked myself how it came to this artist's name. Is it an addition of the words DRUMS and MAGIC or what's behind this name?
Drumagick>>> Actually it's just an addition of the words but it's a special one because we spent long time about thinking and choosing names before to decide. The name translates until now one of the most important steps in our job, which is the drum. We build all the drums we use, element-by-element, not just using loops ready to go and stuffs like that. For us it's really important for the whole song structure.
CM>>>Jr, I've heard some rumours about that your interest in Djing and electronic music is a result of a skateboard accident when you were 12 year old. What's behind this story?
Drumagick>>>Yes, that's the basic story. Before I was 12 I used to play a lot everyday in my neighbourhood and skating was one of my preferred sports that I practiced for almost 3 years in that time. One day I crashed my head against a car coming in my direction and because that I had to spend about 5 months recovering myself in the hospital and my bedroom at home. The only things I could do there were to study, watch TV, and listen to some music, so I enjoyed so much the last option and stayed in my room listening hours and hours of radio stations, this situation opened my mind to the music. At this time started in Sao Paulo one dance radio called "Nova FM Record" (New Record FM in English) and I got just the beginning of that and everything was sounded so new for me that I was magic with this, the music I was listening in that radio station was so different of all other radio stations that I loved that at the first hearing and never let my dial out of that frequency until that radio station stopped to work after some years. By listening to it's shows I could discover the DJ figure in this scene and as soon as I recovered by the accident I started to buy some records (pretty shit things actually) and started to trying to make beat matching and scratches just by listening to the DJs shows in that radio and just with one turn table and one tape deck I didn't realized that I'd need a mixer for that.
Some day I heard about a DJ school ministering some DJ classes for who are interested to get in the market so I went there and because I was 13 people didn't want to permit me to get in the course but after some insisting talking I could get in. So during and after the course I've practiced DJing all my free time and after a year or something I could earn a great technique and started to play at very small parties, from friends parties to school and neighbourhood parties until I get my first gig in a club. It was fun because I was about 14 or 15 I think and the clubs were for minimum 18 years old people but I won a DJ contest offered for a small sound crew at south zone in Sao Paulo, one of the most dangerous areas in the city, they had to put me in the club to play as a winner and the leader of the crew said "you gonna play three tunes and after that you'll need to get out the club because if the police knows you are here we'll have problems" and I was thinking all these situation dope, can you imagine a teenager living the dangerous of life in a big city, there are some people that get interested on it and I was one of them (laughing), so I was more than happy to be there but, for some reason when I played my third tune the police got in the club ordered to turn the lights on and stop the sound, they were looking for someone and started to check everybody and I was with the DJ crew, fortunately they didn't got me to the station, they just dropped a huge speak discourse on me and told me to never get back there. After that I really never got back, but only there.
CM>>>What came first being a musician or being a DJ? Have you both learned an instrument during your childhood?
Drumagick >>>Actually we're not musicians because we don't play properly any traditional musical instrument. We can play keyboards in a way it sounds cool but just to our production process not to play live. When we're playing with our Live Band project we're playing loops and samples stored in our computers and assigned to our keyboard, like two DJs playing with many decks simultaneously. We're definitely DJs/Producers.
CM>>>When have you bought your first electronic instruments and studio equipment? And with which gear have you produced your first singles?
Drumagick>>>We bought a Roland W-30 Sampler witch was a brilliant instrument and our first singles to be released were produced there. Our first album was produced when we just bought a Roland Juno 106 synthesizer, a Roland TR-707 drum machine and an Akai S1000PB sampler we were so happy about the gears that we did the album (laughing). For 2 years we transitioned between hardware to software (we use Logic Audio since 1994) and we've been producing only with software for the last 5 years I think but sometimes in the last 2 years we've turned to our gears again to get some different sounds. It's great to make music with hardware synthesizers, samplers, etc but the practice to manage the presets, samples, patches, cables is no doubt easily in software and the time we save with it besides the fact we produces many tunes when we're in tour outside studio made us to decide use only software. But today I'm more about we have to balance between both sides to get the sound we want to and we're back in the hardware game with our old gears and also planning to get some new stuff. That's how it is.
CM>>>Have you taught Djing by yourselves, or did you knew some people who showed you some skills?
Drumagick>>> I went to a DJ course in 1991 as I mentioned above, Guilherme learned watching my cousin and I practicing. I my case go to the DJ school was the best thing I did to became a DJ because I could learn almost everything I know about my technique in that course and many simple things that I probably would not get outside class and it was very quickly, the course took two months and after that I just needed to practice a lot to absorb all the content.
CM>>>Guilherme, you also started Djing at the age of twelve. Was this a result of the activities of your elder brother?
Drumagick>>>Our conviviality contributed so much to start my career as dj and nowadays to my relationship with arts. It's funny! I was thinking exactly about it last week. About my musical trajectory...I got started Djing when I was 12 but nowadays I feel myself as a teen dj and producer at work. I am daring because I don't have an academic formation in music but I use to work on my own music's composition and arrangement. As dj, I feel myself like a boy, wishing to include on my set music that touch my feelings. I get excited with the fact that I am always discovering thousand of good music during my career. It's a pleasure to know that I can grow and at the same time I can get opportunities to share the work I make with my brother and friends from music, whose inspires me so much.
CM>>>But you started to produce Singles at the age of fifteen years. That's pretty young, how did you manage to find a label at this young age? Do you have support by your parents or friends or have you managed everything by yourself?
Drumagick>>> We've managed everything by ourselves. To be released by labels we just looked for the label contacts on the record covers and sent demos for many of them before get an affirmative answer. After some releases people in the scene knew us and they started to get in touch with us asking for new songs. Sometimes it's really hard to manage everything and we wish to have someone else responsible for it but, until this person doesn't appear in our life we'll still running by ourselves (smiling).
CM>>>Who infected you with the Drum and Bass virus? Where did you both get in touch with this music for the first time?
Drumagick>>>The first time I listened for something like hard core it was via that radio station I've mentioned before. I listened "On A Ragga Tip" by SL2, it was recent released actually and I got completely crazy about that kind of sound since I heard that tune. I started to look for it on record stores in Sao Paulo witch was very difficult to find but I could find some stuffs like this SL2 12", Prodigy's "Everybody In The Place" and I've got more and more interested about hardcore, moving to Jungle was kind of natural for me in 1994 and more naturally yet to Drum'n Bass in 1996 - 1997. People in Brazil are always looking for the newest things in everything from music, technology, etc.
CM>>>You both started the project Drumagick in 1996. What was the ignition to start this project?
Drumagick>>> We were doing some parties around our neighbourhood and also in a city of our parents in a beach in the south of Sao Paulo coast, in that time we've been making some tunes and tested it on the dance floor every party we played and we started to find the way to make the tunes enjoyable for the crowd. As we started to produce many styles of music in the beginning we had many project names for each style and after we discover ourselves producing many hardcore/jungle beats and after a friend of us left the projects we've decided to create a project name exclusive for these broken beats tunes and we choose Drumagick.
CM>>>What do you think isn't it different to work with his brother? I mean working with a brother isn't so distanced like working with another musician or friend. Or would you say this special connection is more useful for a creative output?
Drumagick>>> I think so, because we're totally free to tell what we think about the job for each other, we can even fight for some ideas that we'll be fine after some minutes (smiles). But what really helps in my opinion is the inter meshing that we've got working so many years together.
CM>>>Do you never discuss or have a kind of disputation?
Drumagick>>> Yes, we discuss. There are some periods that we discuss more like everyday and others that we stay cool. Now we're in a long discuss period for months… (laughing)
CM>>>How must I picture myself the production process? For example Guilherme makes the beats and Jr the lead sounds… or how does it work when you produce music?
Drumagick>>> Normally there's no rule between us to make the tunes. But whoever starts the track normally starts with the drums. Sometimes Guilherme starts the track and I put some basslines and melody samples later for example and after that he comes with a new piano theme for it. Guilherme is great and has a huge patience to programming beats and melodies instruments and I normally do the arrange process very well, like when he starts a loop I'm already seen the whole track ready in my mind and it helps him a lot when he stops in this part of the process and he normally do the balance of the volumes in the mix as I like to get prepare the tracks for the mix process and also I like to make the details of the mixes like automation and busses for example. But it can change a lot for each song we make.
CM>>>Besides producing music together you also DJ together. Unfortunately I never saw you Djing. So how do you usually DJ when you do a set together? Back to back or you both play a separate set or do you play together using four turntables?
Drumagick>>> The last tour we did in Europe we did back to back sets. Now we are going back to our 4 decks set-up. Guilherme and I play with 2 turntables each at the same time. It's all improvised so sometimes we can get great mixes and other times we're not so lucky but for us its really exciting act on the stage. We've got also the "Live Band" project witch is my brother and I playing samplers and synthesizers together with a band with a drummer, a percussionist, a bass player and sometimes some vocal participations. In this project we plays live the Drumagick compositions, tunes from our albums, singles and remixes we've done for other artists as well.
CM>>>How do you communicate with each other during a set - or do you know each other so well that you don't need any communication?
Drumagick>>> Normally during the sets we don't need verbal communication, sometimes we discuss about change the way the mix is going on in the middle of the set and we always discuss how the mix is gonna be after we take a look and feel the crowd right before go to the stage.
CM>>>Ever happened that you both have the same favourite record and one of you used in his set before the other had the chance to use it?
Drumagick>>> Yes, it happens sometimes and normally it's ok, next time I try to play it before him and vice versa (laughing).
CM>>>Back to your music. It seems to me that you are strongly influenced by Jazz music? Have you listened to this music when you were young…or from where comes this special influence?
Drumagick>>>You're right, we're influenced a lot by Jazz. When I used to buy lot of records to play I got noticed that many of the tunes we liked were made from samples of older records and we started to research finding out witch sample was the base of one song and another, of course we got many Jazz stuff because that, in that time I thought Jazz like a music style for my father and grandfather but the fact of it has been so used by artists that I appreciated at that moment made me get interested about and also we got deeper in this research. All of it was before I start to produce properly and it influenced us a lot.
CM>>>On stage you perform together with a 5-piece live band. From where do you know these musicians? Do the musicians change or is it a band with permanent members?
Drumagick>>> It's the "Live Band" project, the musicians are James Müller on the percussions, Jose Nigro on Bass and Kuki Stolarski on drums, they all are permanent and excellent musicians, we could not find better guys to translate our music to the instruments as they do. A friend that is DJ and Producer too, Ramilson Maia, introduced me to Jose Nigro in 2002 when Nigro started to play on Ramilson's live act. After a while he left Ramilson's band and started a big band witch the propose was to playing live cover of electronic classics, he called me to participate on it and I accepted right away, for me was an opportunity to develop a new language of composing and playing live, we already tried to bring musicians to the stage when we released our first album via Trama Music, it was a good project at that time and we could show a good performance to the crowd, but this experience with Nigro, and all the guys from his band called "Vitrola Stereophonica" (…witch means stereo turntable) was a different level, we took 3 years developing a new language based on communication between the DJ and the musicians, we could learn a lot with each other and we still experimenting. For the near future we're planning to record live on studio an ep with the band to release on Beatmasters Recordings, hope we can do it.
CM>>>It doesn't makes sense to list all your highly acclaimed releases, but is it right to say that "Easyboom" was your big breakthrough? And do you remember the feelings you had when "Easyboom" became No. 3 at the BBC Radio?
Drumagick>>> Yes, it's right to say that. We felt incredible happiness when we heard the show and we took a while to really understand its sense. We still are working hard to hit there again.
CM>>>Can you tell me something more about your company/project Beatmasters... It's a record label, a DJ and production technique school and a studio.. Have I forgot something? How many people are involved in this project/company? And have you founded Beatmasters?
Drumagick>>> The Beatmasters company was founded in 2005 by Guilherme, a friend of us called Anibal Messa and me, it's propose was to develop a variety of musical activities and we started with the DJ/Production School witch still running until now, we also opened a publicity movies audio company the Beatmasters Audio Innovations, a music/DJ equipment web store the Beatshop and the label Beatmasters Recordigs.
The school was in fact started by Guilherme, Ramilson Maia and me in January of 2000, it was called Hangar 15, in 2002 Ramilson left the school to get focused in his project called "Kaleidoscope" witch got the top in the hit parades in the hole country and he could travel around the world too. When Ramilson left we changed the name of the school to "DrumLab" and in 2005 when we got together with Anibal we changed the name again for Beatmasters. The school formed until now over than 1500 DJs and around 500 producers, there are many people involved in the electronic scene in Brazil that learned at our school, many known DJs at the moment did our classes in the past and also are teaching classes at other schools around, we can consider this project well done.
The label is in it's 3rd release right now and we're preparing the release of our album by BMR as well, it's more a medium/long date project and we're ready to fill it of good content for the future, we also have programmed two digital eps to be out in this year and a Dj-mixed Cd by Drumagick for 2009 witch will be the first time that we'll do it and we're really looking forward. Also we've got some great D&B DJs working with us for the next 12" by BMR and you'll have good surprises very soon.
The phonographic market as we all know is under hard pressure and nobody's know how it's gonna be in the future, if we'll can make money enough to survive in the industry and even to survive as composers. We're about to go ahead and see what the future reserves to us.
When we started all these activities I felt like I'll have less time to the music and spent more time with the business, it's a good experience but it's not a thing that I'd like to do forever. Now I feel I need a musical moment in my life so I'm changing with my partners lot of things in the company to have more time for DJing and producing as well.
CM>>>You both live and work in Brazil, but you also travelled a lot for your gigs and your career. Could you imagine moving to another country or would you say "never"?
Drumagick>>> Actually yes, I thought about to move out many times. Basically because it's really tuff to work with the kind of music we do here in Brazil, if you think strictly rationally about it you'll see there's no clear future for us in this country but it was always like that and we had to believe in this future to keep working. Sometimes good things happens so it makes me feel good to live here and also it keep my faith to live here but who knows, depending how the life goes I can move to a better place sometime. Brazil is an fantastic place to live for sure, we've got excellent food, good people and vibe, we live in peace with each other and it's a really strong spiritual country and all my family lives here, that's the reasons that makes me stay here.
CM>>>Besides all your musical activities is their time for doing other things in your spare time... like playing football or riding skateboard Jr?
Drumagick>>> Unfortunately not much, I go to the gym three times a week, normally when we get some holidays my wife and me goes to the beach that is one hour and a half by car from where we live.
CM>>>What can we expect next from Drumagick? Maybe a new album?
Drumagick>>> The new album is finally coming now and is called "Dance Box". This name translates how is the vibe about it. We tried to make a concept album including all the influences we've got since we started DJing in the 90s. It took a long time to put out and it's the most musically job we've done ever. For people who already know our sound I tell you, it's the most different job we've done as well, there's a big variety of music styles on it that we tried to make sounds unique. Also the album is fully of vocals, our two first albums were not in this way at all. We're planning two 12" vinyl samples with two tunes for promotion. The first one will be the "Dry Your Eyes" tune with participation of Ernesto on the lyrics and vocals, Gilles Peterson is playing this tune at World-Wide Radio show, DJ Hype is playing it too and it's really good to help us to promote it better. The 2nd vinyl sample will be of the track called "Ride" with participation of TC Izlam MC on the vocals, it's a dancefloor killer track, everywhere we played it people got crazy about.
We're also getting in the studio and making new music to be out as singles by other labels but I'd rather not to mention nothing specifically yet, will be surprise.
CM>>>What do you need for a perfect day in your life?
Drumagick>>> When my wife and me goes to that beach I mentioned before, in the summer time there's a part of the summer that the water is kinda warm and the sun is shining. We normally spend the weekends there when we're free doing barbecue, enjoying the beach and the life we have together, that's the perfect day for me.
Photos with permission of Drumagick
Interview Michael Mück
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