Introducing Selvagem
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Introducing Selvagem

January 12

In the run up to Dekmantel Festival São Paulo 2018, we will host a series of mini-interviews with a few artists from the line-up. Next up: Brazilian diggers-duo and local favourites Selvagem.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how you guys met?
Millos: I’m Millos, 31 years old, born and raised in Niterói  (a 13 km bridge away from Rio de Janeiro). I moved to São Paulo 8 years ago to work as journalist in a lifestyle magazine I liked.

Me and Augusto met 6 years ago, through a mutual friend, also DJ. He invited us and a couple of other friends to play some tunes at his place one night. I was blown away by Augusto’s selection. First because the tracks were killers, second because he was the first guy I met in the city that had a similar taste for dance music. I guess one month later we were already playing back-to-back at parties. 3 months months later, we were doing the first Selvagem party in a square in São Paulo downtown.

Augusto: I'm Augusto, I was born 36 years ago in the countryside, which I left out of boredom to join an archeology expedition that was going through Peru to investigate a trail of mysterious perforated skulls. This led me to the discovery of a tribe that was still performing ancient rituals known in Western civilization as “trepanation” (skull drilling) and that's when I got my skull drilled, as I firmly believed in the higher state of consciousness that these rituals promised. After this life-changing experience, I moved to São Paulo and decided to implement this weird idea of drilling holes in people's heads through music, which I've been doing for the past 15 years.

You were already interested in electronic music by the age of 14 and 20. Why (and how) did you fall in love with it?
Millos: I remember enjoying electronic sounds since a kid - my dad used to rock early Madonna and New Order at the home stereo. But as a teenager I was really into punk, hardcore, so forgot and kind of rejected music made with synths and drum machines. Then at around 20 I went backpacking in Europe with a friend, went to Benicassim, a festival in Valencia and ended up finding myself spending more time at the electronic stage than at the other stages, where bands performed.  Then I came back home and started doing my dance music lessons, going out every weekend, reading about its history, buying records, trying to kind of recover the lost time.

Augusto: The electronic music aesthethics was part of the idea of pop music that was sold to me since I was a child: Michael Jackson, A-Ha, Information Society, Beverly Hills Cop and Robocop soundtracks etc. When I was 12 or so one of my friends got a video mixer which we used to perform our first blends, so that's when I got in touch with the "DJ culture" – of course we would mix different sorts of Now That's What I Call Music cheese, specially eurohouse in the vein of Masterboy, Corona, Ice MC, Gala, but also Robin S, Crystal Waters and David Morales' remix of Jamiroquai's "Space Cowboy". Not much later Daft Punk's "Homework" came out and in our obsession me and my friends discovered about house, techno and jungle, we learned about the foundations of electronic music starting with Kraftwerk (which I saw perform in their first comeback tour in 1998), the story goes a bit like this. I come from a generation that grew up with cyborgs so it kinda matches my feelings of synthetic love.

In an earlier interview you told that you were involved in the ‘block party’ scene in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. What’s the story behind this?
Millos: One of our first gigs together was at Voodoohop, a party collective championed by a german DJ called Thomash, who was living in Brazil and kind of pioneered the block party scene in São Paulo. I don’t know why, probably because we don’t have much public spaces to enjoy in São Paulo, but local producers and DJs wouldn’t think the streets as a possible venue for a party. Thomash and his friends changed that, doing block parties all over town. Soon other collectives followed the same path. One of the places Voodoohop used to do parties was this bar called Paribar, which has a terrace facing the square, letting dancers dancing all over it. One day Thomash asked if we were interested in taking the place since they were already too busy doing events in other places. We gave it a try and about 200 people came. One year later, after doing parties every month, there was 2000.

Augusto: Now there's a new wave of crews taking over the streets both in Sao Paulo and Rio, which is a good thing. It grew harder for us to keep doing it. As more people were interested, it became more difficult for us to produce a party that we would like to attend – I'm talking about enough bathrooms, bars, soundsystem. Some people keep doing it until something bad happens (say, a police raid or somebody getting stabbed), but we are not that kind of risk-takers. Those were glorious days of special evenings with amazing people and good music, but we knew that one day it would end, and before that day presented itself to us, we moved on.


As Selvagem, you’re also organizing parties in Rio de Janeiro. Why did you start hosting these parties?
Millos: As I’ve said I was born near Rio and lived there until I was 23 years old. I was already DJing and producing parties in my last four years living there so after I started doing Selvagem in São Paulo it just made sense to extend it to Rio too. Having my best friends in town, working together with us, also helped a lot to break through in Rio. They still produce our parties - now in both cities.

Augusto: It's been 3 years that we have organized parties in Rio - up until last year it was a solid monthly residency, but since the financial crisis bit hard we had to take a step back and choose wisely the parties we would promote there. I don't really recall any other crew having a successful tenure in both cities, so I'm really glad we could keep doing. Last couple of parties there were quite good, teaming up with the Dutch: Antal was our guest one time, and Tako, Jamie Tiller (Music from Memory) and Orpheu (Red Light Radio) on the other.

The Brazilian (electronic) music scene has been growing over the last couple of years. Do you recognize any change? And if so, in what way?
Millos:  It has grown everywhere and in Brazil is the same. We have more and more Brazilian artists playing outside the country. One thing that I think it has changed it that now some of them incorporate Brazilian music and sounds on their productions and DJing, adding some local flavour to their work. Combined with this fact, maybe european crowds in general are also more open-minded musically speaking now than some years ago.

Augusto: There's a new generation that relates with the current electronic music scene, being rebellious, and that's important - in the past they would relate with other kind of music (say, emo). It shows that the music that's being played and the parties can establish a relationship with them and in the near future they will start to experiment more and more. I don't think it's a trend anymore, it's rooted.

You’re known for playing a lot of Brazilian music within your sets, which obviously reflects your roots. What are the places you’d recommend to go to in Brazil when it comes to record shopping?
Millos: Rio and São Paulo have great record stores where you can find pretty much all the holy grails you want - if you have the money to afford it of course. But if you want to find a gem nobody heard before the best - and cheapest - way is to hit the thrift stores, street vendors and fairs, book stores that also sell records and just listen to every record you never heard/seen before and that looks promising for some reason. It’s tiresome but can be very rewarding sometimes.

Augusto: Also don't share your wantlist with sellers, neither show too much enthusiasm on a particular record you found, otherwise you are going to get ripped.

Last year, you already played at Dekmantel Festival São Paulo and you also made your debut at Dekmantel Festival in Amsterdam. How have these experiences been?
Millos: They were both memorable! And I was quite nervous too, specially in Amsterdam with the Boiler Room cameras. But I think it was all good in the end. Dekmantel is one of the few festivals to really invest on DJs that care for bringing different stuff to the dancefloor - the diggers, selectors or whatever you call them. So we really feel comfortable and happy not having to play several house cuts in a row or choosing more obvious tunes.

Augusto: We had an amazing time in both of them – I mean, a couple of years ago I wouldn't think we would be playing in Dekmantel, and it happened not once, but twice. It's great to see the festival coming to São Paulo, being such a good match and we taking part on it. One thing that I felt is that competition is very strong so you have to bring your A-game to the table - there's no room for punters and jokers. Also, I felt lonely without an agent in the backstage - the agents' scene on the Dekmantel backstages was so strong it felt weird being there.

What’s in the pipeline for this year? Any exciting things coming up you are looking forward to?
Millos: There will be probably another Selvagem european tour this year. We also have 5 releases on the pipeline for Selva Discos, our label that debuted last year with the reissue of Maria Rita Stumpf’s album. And I’m doing a compilation of synthetic Brazilian music from the 80s and 90s to be released hopefully in the first semester through Soundway records. Besides that I’m also looking forward to spend several hours at moldy, dirty places looking for cool records people still don’t know - one of my favorite things to do in life, so I’m quite happy.

Augusto: Selva Discos is our main concern now when it comes to music. I'm also working on a comp for Music For Dreams and a few other stuff (some edits plus original production with some friends), nothing too fancy.