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It’s a Man’s, Man’s, Man’s World
June 21, 2007, 5:17 pm
Filed under: Baile Funk, Interview

If you haven’t been living under a stone the last couple of years then the chances are that your ears have been exposed to the sound of Brazil’s Carioca Funk (aka Baile Funk) , that from its origins in the favelas of Rio it has spread to a global audience and been championed by the likes of Diplo and MIA.

Probably responsible more than any other for the global popularity of baile funk is German journalist, DJ and record label owner Daniel Haaksman who has been instrumental in bringing over to Europe and publicising the real Brazilian MCs, DJs and producers behind the music. In 2004 he formed Man Recordings and brought the likes of Edu-K and DJ Marlboro to a worldwide audience as well as forging links between South American and European artists. With our record boxes permanently clogged up with records from Man we decided it was time we caught up with Daniel to find out what’s going on in his world.

Hi Daniel, you’ve been pushing the carioca funk sound for quite a while now, how did you first get into the music and how did Man Recordings start up?

In 2003, a friend of mine was studying in Sao Paulo and he visited Rio a few times. When he returned to Germany in autumn 2003 he gave me a few CDs he bought on a street market in Rio. I ahdn’t heard about baile funk before as it was unavailable in Europe at that time. The first time I heard it my jaw dropped. Funk sounded so unbelievably fresh, the MC’ing and especially the way the Rio producers were working with samples was really unique, the music had this incredible energy.

When I heard it for the first time I immediately had to dance. When I started to play it in my DJ sets, I noticed people were totally getting into it, asking about the language used, the origin of the music. As a DJ I was really bored by techno, electro and house music at that time (I´m even more bored by it today), so funk was like a kick in the ass. Soon I decided to fly to Rio and check out the scene myself, I wanted more funk and it was impossible to get it in Europe. While in Rio, I fell in love with the sound and decided to compile music for a CD. That´s how my 1st compilation “Rio Baile Funk Favela Booty Beats” came into shape.

Man Recordings started in autumn 2004 – it was shortly after I left my old label Essay Recordings where had I released two volumes of “Rio Baile Funk Favela Booty Beats”. I was fed up with the company and my partners as they really didn’t support me with the funk project and though the compilation grew in terms of sales and press feedback, I didnt feel good with Essay so I split and started Man Recordings. I felt the urge to release more baile funk and to introduce artists and faces of baile funk and give the music a platform for exchange. And this is what Man Recordings has basically grown up to.

How did you initially hook up with the likes of Edu-K, DJ Marlboro and DJ Sandrinho?

From my first baile funk compilation, Coca Cola Germany licensed Edu K´s “Popozuda Rock n´Roll” for an advertisement spot. The song became a club hit here in Germany so I got in contact with Edu and asked him if he would be interested in releasing a full album in the style of “Popozuda Rock n´Roll” and that´s how our collaboration started. Ever since, I released an album by Edu and four 12″s with various remixes by Diplo, Sinden, Solid Groove/Switch and Bonde Do Role.

I met Marlboro a few times in Rio and in Europe too, I invited him to play at my club night “Berlin Baile Funk Sessions” which I ran in 2004-2006, but I didnt really collaborate with him, except that I licensed the track “Habibi”, which he originally released on his label Link Records. Marlboro is very famous in Brazil and powerful too – he runs a label, has a daily radio show in Rio, he is the commercial most succesfull artist/impressario of baile funk, owning about half of all the funk tracks that are out, but I dont like his business practise nor the artistic profile of his label, so our cooperation really didnt continue.

DJ Sandrinho I met in Rio through a mutual friend. I saw him DJing in Rio and was really impressed. The way he spins, the way he works the MPC is pretty outstanding, plus he is a very kind guy and really great to work with. He also is very open minded musically, his mixes and productions are not only confined to the usual Tamborzao beat (the main beat-loop in Baile Funk), but he also uses 60’s Brazilian beats, or Baltimore club beats, he puts in tango or reggae stuff and mixes it all up in his MPC. His former manager Adriana Pittigliani gave me two CDs with his productions and I was blown away. So he was the 1st choice for me to start the Baile Funk Masters series – he is really one of the top producers.

You’ve also launched other imprints, Funk Mundial and Baile Funk Masters, what’s the purpose of the different labels?

Well actually it´s not two more imprints, it´s two series that are released on Man. The basic idea is to give the baile funk vinyl releases more a kind of frame in which they are viewed, to give them a concept. It´s important to make a distinction between the releases. The first Man Rec vinyls were the Edu-K artist releases, they were the single releases from tracks that would be released on his album. Baile Funk Masters is a series with various artists. It´s a series in which the original Rio producers/DJs release their own compositions.

It was important for me to show to Non-Brazilian audiences who are the people behind the MCs, the guys who actually make the music the MCs are singing over and that these producers release music which is very fresh and unique (and basically impossible to get outside of Rio). If it would just be a regular Man Recordings cover with a DJ name it wouldnt have made much sense. On the baile funk CD compilations that circulate these days outside of Brazil you read many names, but you cant really identify who did what and who is really running things.

With a 12″ release in Baile Funk Masters, each producer has a sonic card that presents their sound to the world. Thanks to his Baile Funk Masters release, DJ Sandrinho has just finished a European tour coz his name was around, people knew about him. The same is for Sany Pitbull, who will do a tour through the US backed by the Baile Funk Masters series.

Funk Mundial was started as another series. It´s a platform in which Brazilian MCs collaborate with Eurpean and American producers. I always thought that funk is a pretty static musical genre. There is a pretty limited set of samples that are used. They are very creatively used and squeezed out in any thinkable rhythmical pattern, yet there´s not much innovation taking place.

Though it´s fresh and hot for Europeans it´s quite a conservative music that changed very slowly over the years. So the idea with Funk Mundial was: Start a series where beatmakers from Europe and the US provide the bases over which Brazilian MCs sing – and mix up both worlds.

And then both Baile Funk Masters and Funk Mundial will eventually lead to two CD compilation releases, in which some of the already released tracks, added by unreleased stuff will be put out. Having the 12″es as prior releases, it will help the CD sales as the name of the series is introduced.

What’s the reaction of the Brazilian MCs been like to the Funk Mundial releases?

The guys who participated really enjoyed it. It was new to them to sing over other beats but mostly they were excited to work with Non Brazilian producers. And it´s great for them and helps their artistic profile in Brazil to have a release out in Europe – on vinyl!

When you were last out in Brazil, how was the scene over there reacting to it’s recent global exposure?

I go to Brazil about twice a year. I went in February to record with MCs for the Funk Mundial series. About the global exposure: basically 99% of the funkeiros don´t know that funk is now getting played around the world. In Brazil, there´s a few articles, some internet feedback on the globalisation of funk, but for the average funk artist and DJ who lives in a favela, this foreign interest has absolutely no meaning.

First, because he wouldnt know about it as reports on the international sucess of funk wont be covered in the media channels they consume. Internet access for example is still a privilige in a country like Brazil, and as only the rich speak English in Brazil, the internet is of limited use anyway. Second, the attention for funk in Europe or the US has no economic repercussions for the funkeiros. So far, not even a dozen Rio artists had the chance to travel Europe or the US in the last five years. The few who did, i.e. Marlboro, Mr.Catra + DJ Edgar, DJ Sandrinho, DJ Sany Pitbull, MC Xana, Tati Quebra Barraco, Menhor Do Chapa, Deize Tigrona, MC Serginho are the only ones who made a little bit of money and experience playing abroad.

But considering the fact that there are an estimated 30.000 MCs and about 10.000 DJs in Rio, the foreign experience for the funk scene is far far away. For the common funkeiro it´s so much more important to play their five to ten shows a week in Rio and to make their name in the city than to play in New York or London. The funk economy is a cash+carry system, you only earn money as a funk artist when you perform in the city limits of Rio. Even if you release CDs, it´s very unlikely you get any royalties from CD sales. So playing abroad is mostly a luxury and reserved only for the top of the top players in funk, who can afford staying away from Rio for a month or so. There´s fierce competition in the Rio scene, so it´s almost impossible to leave it. It´s hard to understand for Europeans where for artist travelling and international exposure is equalled with success and money.

Where are the best funk parties outside of Brazil? Is there a big crowd for the music in Berlin?

Well the scene outside of Brazil is still in it´s infancy. I would say from my work as a DJ playing mostly baile funk these days the best places at the moment are Paris, Amsterdam and Vienna. There´s followers in many European cities, but it´s not like that there´s one city where funk is having a huge following. I used to run the Berlin Baile Funk Session for two years where I invited Marlboro, Sandrinho, Sany Pitbull, DJ Edgar + Mr.Catra and Diplo – but it really didnt work too well.

Berlin is a techno and electro city, people want hard and straight music, baile funk is too complex, too rhythmical challenging for the Berlin clubber. And at the moment, Minimal Techno is the biggest sound in Berlin clubs. Baile Funk is the opposite of Minimal Techno – it´s maximal music!

What’s next for Man Recordings and the baile scene in general?

I have two more Funk Mundial releases in the pipeline, #4 by Seiji and Makossa + Megablast, and #5 by Scottie B from Baltimore and Diplo, later in the year the Funk Mundial CD compilation will be released. There will be an EP by Deize Tigrona, the MC queen of baile funk, plus an EP by MC Gringo, a German MC who is the only Non-Brazilian MC performing in the favelas of Rio. Edu K will release another EP. And then there´s more releases by Stereotyp feat. Joyce Muniz, the Viennese-Brazilian duo, who have produced some amazing science-fiction tropical-funk stuff. Spring 2008 there´ll be two more Baile Funk Masters and the CD release, an EP by Mr.Catra, etc. etc., so there´s plenty to be released.

About the baile scene: I´m really happy to see how funk is growing internationally, that I´m able to release this exciting music and that people still are buying records. I´m sure that there soon will be regional adapations of baile funk. I was recently in Bucharest, Romania, and went by accident to a party where a gypsy MC was doing his take on baile funk – singing in Romany. It was amazing. I also think that there will be French and German baile funk interpretations soon. There´s already a Japanese baile funk star, Tigarah. The music is very easy to make and it is very energetic – what more does it take for a local adaptation?

And finally any other music scenes we should be keeping our eyes on? Kuduru seems to be getting a lot of mentions at the moment and i’ve always felt Kwaito could go global with the right push.

Yeah, there´s a plenty of exciting music around. Kuduro certainly has found many fans now, it´s like the West African baile funk! Kwaito has been around for a while now and I totally love the groove, yet I think it still is very hard to get the good tracks, plus it really doesnt use many popular samples, so for many DJs in Europe playing Kwaito, there´s a lack of bridging tracks, i.e. tracks with which you can introduce the sound within a DJ set. That´s the great thing about funk: There are so many samples used people know out of other contexts, it is very easy to relate to funk and to integrate it in all kinds of DJ sets.

In general, there´s still plenty of musical styles that are yet undiscovered. Basically, all over the world you have exciting regional adaptations of globally circulating music styles, they only need to get picked up: Chicago Juke, Manaus Tecno Brega, Colombian Cumbia, Bangkok Happy Hardcore…. the list could go on forever.

Check www.manrecordings.com for the latest news plus DJ Mixes from Daniel Haaksman or alternativley befriend them on myspace at www.myspace.com/manrecordings

Funk Mundial # 3 produced by our favourite Milan duo Crookers is out now, buy it!

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50 cent ft. justin- she wants it remix hierro baile funk edition.mp3

http://www.zshare.net/audio/3281794fa74368/

Comment by hierro

[…] Be sure to check the new Man Recorder blog and read the interview Daniel did with my boy Power over at h0t sauce […]

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