10 Questions with ... Fatboy Slim
June 10, 2014
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
1. Why did you want to make the 'Bem Brasil' album?
It started by being in Brazil. I heard that the World Cup was going to be here. I was chatting up with some Brazilian friends and we looked up what the officially theme was. We were like, right, football and music. We found that the official FIFA World Cup theme was a really bad German Euro house version of "Celebration Sweet," which is probably one of the classic Brazilian tunes, but it was murdered and I started thinking "No, I know about real Brazilian music, please don't let it be watered down for the World Cup." I had it in my head that Brazil deserves better.
2. Why did you choose to release the album through Decca?
Decca was an obvious choice because of its history with Brazilian music; the Universal Music back catalog just contained such a wealth of Brazilian music and one of the things we learned doing this album is the ownership of the songs and trying to find the songs, and find the artists. So yeah it's a befitting honor to have it on Decca
3. What draws you to Brazil and the music scene here?
I first came here about 13 years ago just to play some gigs and found out that some Brazilians dance to the same rhythms and laugh at the same jokes as me, and this kind of ongoing love affair started where I loved coming to Brazil and they seemed to like my stance on Dance music.
Obviously from a career point of view, it's a wonderful place to be popular because it's such a fun place to tour. The thing I love most about Brazil is Brazilians. There is a wealth of culture in music, and I can come back here literally every year. At the moment I am here so two or three times a year, but I always discover something new every time I come. You only scratch the surface when you come here for Carnival or New Year. Every time I come here, I take a little bit more home with me or learn one more thing that I didn't know
4. How did you meet the collaborators you're working with?
The collaborations were a glorious mix of people I know very well and have known for years, such as Greg Wilson ... he taught me how to scratch years ago. A lot of people I know and trust, who know their music and know the history of Brazilian music, come here a lot. Obviously, people who play here a lot would pick up on the real Brazil. So DJs who I know have an affinity with this country -- people like NERVO, and people who I just bumped into along the way ... Like Sight Magic, who do just really good edits. I listened to a few of their Brazilian things and thought they had to be on. I made a few friends and to bring it back up to date, a few people such as Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike; they are the new school. I would consider myself probably in the old school; it's people who I thought would treat the music with respect or had already had a genuine love of the music. There are a few people who I talked to who I won't name who said, "Oh yeah, I'll do it" ... and they came up and played me something Cuban or in Spanish, and I'm like, "That's not Brazilian" and they're like, "It's Latin music; what's the difference?" It had to be someone who's got a respect, the knowledge or a love of Brazilian music.
5. Describe Brazilian music in three words.
Brazilian music in three words -- Melodic, Rhythmic, Joyful.
6. Describe your album in three words.
Melodic, Rhythmic and hopefully, Joyful. Um ... no, the album in three words -- Respectful, Celebratory and Joyful.
7. Why should people listen to your album?
People should listen to this album because over the summer, due to the nature of the World Cup TV coverage and sponsorship, you will be subjected to some quite dreadful music and you will hear all the clichés of everything you think you know about Brazil. It is an opportunity to dig a little deeper and get into a bit more real Brazilian music -- not something sponsored by Coca-Cola. It's just an alternative soundtrack in case you get bored of hearing Pitbull and J. Lo every single commercial break.
8. Name your top three Brazilian artists or DJs.
The top-three Brazilian artists you should know, historically ... you should know Caetano Veloso, who has been right in the heart of every kind of musical revolution in Brazil and who is still going strong. Then there is Joao Brazil, who brings it back up to date, who is a mash-up prankster who takes pop music and dance music and mixes it with poly-funk, samba, and bachata; he is famous for doing 365 mash-ups, one mash-up a day, mashing up Brazilian music with dance music. So yeah, he is worth checking out. Most of his stuff isn't legally released but Google him, and then probably the best ambassador for Brazilian music at the moment is So George, who you might know he was the singer in "Life's a Classic," who sang David Barry songs in Portuguese in a Samba style. He is very much a local hero here, and records either in English or Portuguese. He is a figure head of the World Cup and last time I saw him he was representing Brazil in the Olympics. When we did the closing ceremony, there we were doing the takeover and yeah, he is very much a local hero here in Rio.
9. What is so special about Carnival?
What is so special about Carnival in Brazil? I don't think any other country does it like Brazil. It is a truly insane mix of culture, history, music and color. Just the idea of everybody takes to the streets to celebrate their heritage, but really takes to the streets quite literally. One of the things I love about convoys is it's different in every city. In Rio and Sao Paolo, they do it in the Samba drome and that's the one you see on the TV with the top costumes and there are really different ones. Then there's the block parties, the blockos, which occur randomly around the Carnival ... Salvador, which is truly a street carnival like Notting Hill Carnival, but magnified a million times ... and this year we just discovered the mud blocko, which hopefully you might be seeing some of. It's all the different strands of Brazilian culture. From the slave songs onwards, all celebrated in the streets. With a joie de vivre that no other country can do five nights running.
10. What is your association with the World Cup?
I have long running association with the World Cup because I took it upon myself in the Japan World Cup to be the semi-official DJ. I got to play gigs around the England game and kind of got adopted by the FA. We did South Africa and the Euros in Portugal, so I'm kind of a roving football ambassador in the DJ stakes. Because of my history of playing in Brazil so much, and my two-way love affair it seemed like I could be a conduit between, apart from my wife, the two great loves in my life Brazilian music and football, and Brazilians.
Can you tell us about the Samba do Mundo music video?
When we were talking about making this video, all I said was, "For God's sake, don't go out there and get every cliché that is going to be bombarded upon people during the World Cup." When you think about the Christo and people playing futbol barefoot on Cabana beach and women with big boobies at the front of the carnival doing a bunch of photos; there is so much else going on. If you're going to do it, please look a little bit below the surface, behind the scene ... get immersed in the bits of carnival culture and Brazilian dance culture that aren't the clichés you will see on the TV. And probably by the time you watch this you will be bombarded with so many montages of beaches and beach futbol, I just hope this film goes a little bit below the surface.