So Extra: Bonde do Role Extended Interview

August 17, 2007

It is long-established policy here at The FADER that you got to come back on snark, so when we read the back-handed compliments about our ‘purty pitchers’ and quote-deficient writing in this Idolator review of our life’s work, we were already raising up on fools. But then we read this about Eddie STATS Houghton’s Bonde do Role cover piece…

However, Houghton doesn't seem to have elicited much participation, interview-wise, from BdR themselves. He presents two fragments from conversations with the evidently easily distracted band. He also notes that Marina Vello flashes her bra onstage--but does not every Brazilian female between the ages of 15 and 35 do the same? So, while there's color aplenty in the piece, there's little evidence that substantial conversation between interviewer and cover subject took place. Lots of artsy pictures of the band horsing around, though!

…and we knew they had us right where we wanted them. OK maybe not but anyway it makes a good excuse to release the transcriptual beast, and post the full interview online so you the peoples can judge for yourself. So here it is: the family jewels, 4000-odd words of anti-snarking device, minus long asides on Shakira, Diplo’s obsession with Paraguay, ex-boy/girlfriends & family stuff which you wouldn’t be interested in anyway and our personal defense of Marina’s honor (We'll leave that in her mom’s capable hands). Eat your heart out, rock critics.

How did you meet?

Marina: They were roommates because they were both DJs in Curitiba.

Gorky: Actually I used to hate Pedro in the beginning before I met him, because…

Pedro: Because I had all the good records.

G: Because he had the pick-ups and a good mixer and good records but he just wouldn’t mix the records at all! And I was like "Fuck that guy! Why doesn’t he like practice… to play like a DJ?"

P: The thing is I knew how to, I just didn’t want to …he actually asked me like “Why don’t you do that?” and I was like I don’t know I just want to party, I don’t want to be paying attention.

M: And then he fell in love with Pedro…

What was the scene in Curitiba like?

M: There would be nothing happening.

P: But those balls.

Funk balls?

G: No. I don’t know what you call them, you know those balls like in Western movies?


A: Yeah those!

So what was the motivation for DJing?

P: Cause at least for me I used to think these people don’t go out cause there’s nothing happening, then I realized it wasn’t the lack of things happening it was the lack of people to support whatever was happening.

M: Always complaining that nothing’s happening but they only go places they can go for free like: my friend is doing something so I don’t have to pay. It’s like such a small mentality because if you pay, next week it would get better. You guys used to do this party that was house-full, like 300 people…I used to work as waitress in this party.

P: No we never had that many people!

M: Yeah! I know because I worked there!

P: Maybe over the whole night, on our best night. Not 300 people at like, the same time.

So how did you become roomies?

P: I was doing an internship at a studio to learn software, I wanted to move in with someone who made beats…

G: The thing is when we started doing music it was nothing like we make today nothing, nothing. Since we both like electro rock we tried to make the same music that we used to DJ, it was like this crappy electro-rock band…

P: It wasn’t that bad

G: It wasn’t that bad, it was just five years late…

P: Back then it wasn’t five years late.

M: It was only two years late…

P: It wasn’t bad but there was nothing special about it, it was just regular stuff.

So were you playing different, non-regular stuff as DJs?

P: He was.

G: Baile funk. I started mixing electro rock with like bootlegs and stuff because…to this day 2Many DJs is my favorite…

M: 2 Many DJs changed Gorky’s life…changed everything!

G: With the whole culture of doing bootlegs and mash ups like back in 2002 the main thing is getting really well known songs and then mix it up with something unusual so: what can I use that’s completely unusual? Baile funk! I was raised in Rio, lived in Rio almost my entire life…I moved to Rio at 6 months old and lived there til I was 7, then from age 15 to 21. I started doing bootlegs cause the bpms for Baile funk are similar to electro’s: 127, 130 bpms. So I said, no let’s make some stuff. The first one is on my myspace, I did a bootleg remix of Tira Camisa, that’s the first track I used the tamborzao. (Before) I wouldn’t dare play (Baile funk) but around 2004 I started playing like I did yesterday (At Vegas in Sao Paulo). In Curitiba, half the people loved it like “yeah!” but half the people just walked straight out like “I fuckin hate you!”

M: I was one who loved it.

G: No she was one of those people who was really mad when I played that!

M: No….yeah, yeah, yeah! No, but I was the girl who used to go to parties that Gorky used to DJ, its true.

(Gorky blushing)

G: So which story do you want to tell the Diplo one or the other one? This is like the parallel story: I’ve been doing this DJ thing to baille tracks and around February or March 2005, Diplo came for the first time and did a secret show at Milo’s Garage, like a really small place. And the next day all people could say was “Oh Diplo was so good! He was mixing Baile funk with Daft Punk” and I was like “Fuck him, I’ve been doing this for two years and just because some guy from America comes here and does this secret gig…” I was really jealous, like “Fuck everyone! I’ve been doing this, why can’t I get recognized for doing this before?” I got so mad and at the same time I was already roommates with Pedro so we just got a bunch of Daft Punk samples and got a tambarzao loop and I was like ok let me do a track mixing baile funk with Daft Punk. Pedro was like “So can you help me out with this (other project)?" and I was like "No, if you record vocals for this track for me, I’ll help you out with the thing you want to do, so he got to back to me…"

P: I was like yeah I’ll do the lyrics but if its gonna have my voice in it, it’s gonna have your voice as well. Gorky’s voice is so beautiful.

M: The best voice since Kenny G…wait, he doesn’t sing! Best voice since Prince!

P: The track, it’s about a Brazilian guy who go to France and rip off Daft Punk so it was like people going to Brazil and ripping off Baile funk, it was us going to France and rip Daft Punk an make a punk song…"Melo do Roboroque."

G: Just a joke…I was like I’m not gonna sing on this track (speaking for Pedro) “Ah, me neither” so we thought maybe we should ask someone to sing.

P: Thank god we did that, because I listened to the Roboroque version a couple days ago and it was so bad, I’m really happy we got someone else to sing.

M: Oh, I’m just “someone else,” that’s it?

P: Our voices were so bad, I can’t actually believe how my voice was that high, I don’t think I can do that anymore, I got hormones.

M: I was not really into electronic music but…

P: We recorded her a CD with all the music for our electro project and we still had room on the CD so we put that (Roboroque) song on the CD and when she came back, like three months later…

M: I broke my nose! And it was one month later! The same night we were introduced: “Hi, this is my friend Pedro” I was like “we know each other, we went to the same high school”--I still remember the prefect of my school telling me “Finally, I’m getting rid of all the rotten apples in the school!”

P: He was talking about me and her.

M: We had the reputation as the bad-ass kids. So the fight: when I’m arguing I can say really mean things and get really close to them and I said something to this girl in front of everyone in the middle of the party but then the music stopped and I just shouted to her: “I know that you make an abortion and you make your boyfriend pay but you are not pregnant of your boyfriend!” I knew this gossip and I just said that to her and she was like “so come here” and I thought she was about to say something in my ear…

P: Right!

M: Cause I’m a little bit drunk and she had this big ring on her hand and she was like pow! That was the second time I broke my nose, (the first time) the Doctor said its never going to be the same again, so be really careful. It was like a Tarantino movie you know, lots of blood was going out of me, terrible…! I used to work at this club as a waitress sometimes and still when I was cleaning at the end of the night I could see like stains of my blood, ‘til nowadays I see it. And that’s it: one month before doing anything. I listened to the track, it was nice but like they said it was nothing special, but the Baile funk track with Daft Punk was fuckin amazing! My Mom was like: “I don’t know you anymore. You’re a riot grrl, you’re supposed to be a feminist! How can you talk about sex and girls being fucked if you are a feminist?” The first rehearsal we got drunk and did another funk song, the one with the Darkness sample.

P: Gorky played in another city and the guys went crazy so he gave them the CD and was like “This is my new band” and got booked for doing this anniversary party on a yacht in Florianopolis…

(extended argument about the chronology of their first gig)

P: Anyway, we freaked out. The power drums from rock are really easy to resample and fit really well with baille funk so we went to this place near our house called Role do Lunches where they play this really bad 80s station all day, classic rock, listening, saying what we’re gonna sample. We went home, download everything, record in ten days or so then we went to the beach for this 700 people yacht party…! We put it on myspace and (DJ Fredi) Chernobyl really liked it, offered to re-record the songs and he sent mixtapes all over to everyone, everyone, everyone. Next thing we knew our friends were telling us that Diplo is back in Brazil and he’s playing our song but he didn’t know what it was…

M: Then we called Fredi because his last gig was supposed to be in Port Allegre which is Fredi’s city and we were like “Fredi can you give him this CD please? Cause he’s playing our track but its good for him to have other tracks like that….”

G: Of course we want Diplo playing our songs.

M: Fredi was s’posed to take care of Diplo in Port Allegre so they started chatting and Diplo’s first question was like “Who are these guys who sample Alice In Chains?” and he’s like the CD’s in my hand so… y’know? One week later Diplo’s writing us on myspace like "Yo I have this new label, you guys want to join?" and it was like whaaat?

M: We didn’t have another gig after that one, our second gig was the day we met Diplo at Milo’s. It was so bad, this show, but it was really funny. Really, really funny.

Did you tell Diplo that you hated him?

G: We waited to sign to Domino! No, we waited a few months, then like, “So… did you know we started the band because we used to hate you?” But he was a really good DJ, I was a big fan of the Fabric CD…

M: It was just because Gorky was jealous.

So you hated Pedro and then formed a band with him, then you hated Diplo and signed to his label. Who do you hate now?

G: I don’t know who else to hate.

M: We don’t hate anyone, we love everyone.

G: Yeah, that’s the problem. Domino was a joke between us like: “If we get really famous….” I did a mixtape that sampled Franz Ferdinand and next thing, there you go: Domino. The other (coincidence) with Domino is after we started to get interviews they always compared us to the Arctic Monkeys because of the internet, the myspace thing….saying that were like the Brazilian Arctic Monkeys because were the biggest Brazilian band on myspace. There’s also CSS,but we toured before CSS, got a deal before CSS.

P: The thing is we had no record because we had so many samples, it was a nightmare to put out. We were signed to Domino/Mad Decent but we had no record, meanwhile CSS was getting huge and we were still doing our record.

M: So then Diplo says “I have this tour in Europe in May…” and we’re like "Sure we’d love to!" This is not something that happens to bands in Brazil, so we’re thinking “Sure, he thinks we’re gonna pay for our own tickets.”

P: It was really strange. My mom turned to me and said “Are you sure this guy don’t want you to fly drugs to Europe or something? You have this band for like 6 months and he wants to tour?” There was something wrong about that. Then we did the Rolling Stone issue so we started to believe it but meanwhile to our relatives he’s just this foreign guy who wants to sell us into slavery, actually.

M: My mom got really mad: “You’re quitting university? This is not a band, you just like say bullshit on these lyrics! I’m not going to support you!” I’m like “Ok mom, but I’m going, I am 20 so you can’t do anything to me.

P: We had four shows in Brazil and then we did eleven in Europe.

G: I gotta say that for Troca Brahma (show at Gloria in Sao Paolo), this is the first time we rehearse ever.

M: The only time we rehearse is when we invite our friends and show to them, so funny! We weren’t worried about rehearsing music we were rehearsing dancing…the costumes we went to buy.

G: Yeah we spent like 30 Reais on clothes, Pedro was wearing like an Indian…

Like with feathers and shit?

G: No like a native Brazilian, with flip-flops. In Brazil, Indians are usually naked so when they show them on TV, they just give them some track shorts and some flipflops, that’s what we call dressing like an Indian. Marina was house-cleaner, I was kind of a mafia thing. I had a president mask for one track but I was a poor pimp kinda guy, anything related to poorness.

M: We wanted to do something really, really stigmatized.

P: Milo’s is for cool kids, the “Oh, I know what’s cool” kids.

So if that show was a disaster what was your favorite show?

P: The American tour: yay! We’re gonna have a tour bus! For me it was the best tour of my life so far. Amazing; across America, we had a bus! Got drunk every night…

M: (On that tour) I broke my arm in a stage dive at Pitchfork festival. Every year I broke some stuff, I hope I don’t break something this year…in Montreal Lawrence from Domino saw us and liked the show, every gig there was someone from Domino.

G: I just thought of who I hate: I hate Madonna. I hate Brian Wilson.

M: Look at the video of me breaking my arm! This guy tried to pick me up from (the floor) by my arm…!

P: At the moment I saw she had dislocated it, you could see the bone. Look at the x-ray…

G: Then she sold the x-rays on e-bay.

P: The singer from CSS sang her songs after that, they knew all the songs.

G: So after that we were recording the record but Diplo and us held the LP back.

P: We would always say: “It’s alright…but I wouldn’t pay for it.” Marina do Bairro was too rock, too heavy. We tried to do a queefing song but Diplo said “No, this is stupid. Nobody’s gonna dance to a song where people are saying ‘I’m queefing for jerky beef.’

M: It was ssssooo good, the song.

G: It was ssssooo bad.

P: It was terrible, but we knew it. But we told Diplo we think this is a tune that is amazing and he got so mad; he got really mad with that.

P: Us and Diplo is more like…we’re a younger brother to him.

M: The joke is I always block him on iChat. We talk everyday and when he starts bothering me I just block him and he’s like “You’re blocking me! I know you’re there!”

P: He’s been telling us we have to wear uniforms since we signed to Mad Decent then we did at Skol Beats (the other night). Whenever Diplo see these pics I can totally see like a tear coming out of his eye…

G: Marina and Pedro are almost like my brother and sister nowadays we live everyday with each other.

M: We can hate each other, but for like five minutes. If I hear somebody saying bullshit about Gorky or Pedro I get really mad with those people. I can hate them but no one else can, like I hate my mom when I was a teenager but if someone say any bullshit about my mother, its fighting words.

Q: So what was Diplo being a big brother about? He thought the stuff you were doing was too much rock?

P: Yeah, he was right about it.

Do you want to do more rock stuff?

P: I don’t really know what we want to do. We used to have an electro project I had three or four different projects, Gorky had three or four, he used to have a bossa nova band.

M: Pedro was in a hardcore band, then hard techno, Gorky was in a bossa nova band, then an Oasis cover band. I used to have punk rock bands, I was a riot grrrl then I got really mad at it. I was like this is bullshit, I stopped playing guitar, I don’t want to do this anymore! Ohmigod I have to relearn how to play…no, I want to have a band where I only sing, so I can drink and smoke on stage. That was my thought: I don’t want to hold guitars, I don’t want to carry equipment; this is so like, boring.

G: Our equipment is like two CDs.

P: It’s great when people freak out, like “Where the fuck are you? You guys have to load in!” We get there and we’re like “Alright here’s our two CDs. Enjoy.” They tell us to be there two hours in advance for loading equipment and our tour manager’s like, "They don’t have any equipment!"

(About this time Marina gets Diplo on video chat and the conversation stops while the three make fun of his brand new baldy haircut and he makes “whatever’ faces in return.)

So is your musical direction tied to what’s going on in baile funk?

G: Baile funk's been the same for 6 or 7 years now, especially after the "Tamberzao" loop came out. Even the samples; "Tamberzao" was the first big change after 15 years, before the "Tamberzao" loop is was all about ripping off Volt Mix and Miami bass stuff and um… after that, all the songs are completely the same and all use the Rocky sample. They all do the same thing, if we’re gonna do something with baile we try to do something that hasn’t been done before. All our influences together, to make something more fresh every time.

P: We’re all about having fun. For instance we have a kazoo part here it has nothing to do with baile funk, we have some axe (like the deodorant!) from Bahia on “Tieta”... Axe is a samba beat, real happy carnival music from Northeastern Bahia. They have their own short guitar, Bahian guitar, so we emulate that sound with a regular guitar. That’s like the classic one, there are 20 different tracks with the same chords, we can name five right now and they were all hits.

P: We use baile funk a lot because it’s a huge influence for us but we’ve done it before with the samples, we wanted to see how good we could do it without sampling, y’know, still trying to keep people the same way we did before.

G: Recognizable samples, “Oh it’s the Europe sample, they did something to that.” We were trying to get the same thing; “ I think I knew that, who do you guys sample?” Whenever someone asks me, I feel like I did a good job because there’s no sampling here, but we wanted people to feel like there was. The things we recorded, we would cut them and sample the things we recorded, like guitar or whatever.

P: By the way, Sony if you want to sponsor us, I use a Sony Vaio. We wanted to do some Iron Maiden thing on “Danca do Zumbi” so Fredi Chernobyl played that and we chopped it up. Gorky knows how to play some guitar, sometime we had done the melody on our computer with synths and everything and needed someone to replay it.

G: “Divina Gosa” is produced by Radioclit, that kuduro, which means “hard ass” in Angolan Portuguese. “Quero Ti Amar” is funk melody, what you guys call freestyle.

What are some of your other musical influences?

P: I like really old school samba, not modern but old stuff, like Bezerra Desilva, he’s all about weed, he’s like 90 years old and cheating on his wife. Totally hard core, its amazing. Daft Punk, Jason Forrest, the way we chop stuff…2Many DJs for the way Gorky spins….

G: Brian Wilson is my biggest idol, but it’s impossible to recreate his sound. Timbaland has the same creative way of doing things. Old samba like Batacinha, Paulinho de Viola– those are my personal influences, not necessarily influnces on Bonde.

P: That’s not old school samba (brief argument on what constitutes “old school’ samba follows).

M: My favorite band is Hole, riot grrrl stuff…

So how do you go about writing a song?

P: Someone tells us something we think is really nice or funny, we do a song about that. Specifically “Tieta” is from something Gorky told me…

G: Especially here in Brazil, straight guys prefer to have gay sex than no sex, the chorus is: “It’s worth way more, two asses than one pussy.”

P: Having sex is more important than being straight.

G: Usually when you pick up straight guys it’s like “Yeah I like to fuck blabla bla… but I’m not gay!” That happens a lot in Brazil.

P: Especially within the gay community ‘cause there’s prejudice about being gay so even though they like anal sex, they would say they don’t.

G: Like our tour manager says: "There’s no bottoms in Brazil, there’s only liberal tops."

P: Like on a really hot day he’d like to be sitting on a couch with no pants on and have two girls just blowing on his balls, so we write a song about that. “Tieta” is a book that became a soap opera about this woman who will have sex with anyone….she’s from the northeast and she comes to Sao Paulo, and when she comes back she’s really rich and owns a whorehouse in the end. We sampled the soap opera for the track. We see sex in everything…like “sausages for breakfast.” Our lyrics throw people off because the way we do it, we have bad taste. We say like “I ate your chocolate.” “Blow on my balls” became a slang…release the chicken, the female chicken (Salto O Frango) means “come out of the closet” but when we say it with an “o” --then it’s nonsense, related to: have fun, forget about everything, get loose, get crazy.

G: It’s something my mom would say, like “letting your hair down.”

P: The song is very ironic, we’re saying “We’re so good, and so hot…”

G: …Release the chicken and come with us.

Posted: August 17, 2007
So Extra: Bonde do Role Extended Interview