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Buraka Som Sistema: Interview + New Video

Buraka Som Sistema: Interview + New Video

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Masters of Komba spirit, “global ghetto revolutionaries” Buraka Som Sistema are just about to drop their new single “Tira o Pé” remixed by JWLS, Jay Fay, and Roby Howler, and we thought it’s perfect time to publish our interview with the quintet, and their new official video for “Tira o Pé”

Buraka Som Sistema burst into the music scene back in 2006 and till today they’re rocking the stage with some of the most intense and raw live performances in electronic music. They started out as a trio in portugal, today a five-member crew can proudly call themselves the worldwide phenomena of kuduro movement. Their latest album release Komba was met with great enthusiasm all over the world when the band took their live show on world tour. New York was one of the stops on the way and we were lucky enough to steal two members of the band from sound check and ask them everything we wanted to know about kuduro moves, Buraka’s explosive stage presence, and their plans for the future.

Interview by WF (click here to get a copy of this issue)

Can you please introduce yourself and tell us what your roles in the band are?

Kalaf: My name is Kalaf, I’m one of the MCs in the group. I also write lyrics and come up with the concepts for art and visuals.

Rui: My name is Rui, aka DJ Riot. I’m the producer and the drummer in the group. My role in the band is producing beats, making songs, and in live shows I play electronic drums.

How did you get into electronic music and kuduro in particular?

Rui: J Wow, the other producer in the band, and I have been playing in bands since high school. He was playing guitar back then, and I was playing drums. We were playing punk rock, rock… not electronic music at all. Then it was the era of hardcore raves, Chemical Brothers, jungle and drum and bass stuff… We started really getting into it and wanted to play it too. So we began working on our electronic music skills. Right around that time we met Kalaf and together started working on his album, which never came out by the way. But we did some other cool things instead, like Buraka.

When you guys are on stage, the whole place goes absolutely nuts! How do you do that?

Kalaf: Well, we have that punk attitude, even though our music doesn’t always reflect it. Our background is pretty diverse, we grew up with rock, hardcore raves, Prodigy, Chemical Brothers… So that punk rock attitude is always with us and when we go on stage we bring that energy.

“When we are on stage, it doesn’t matter to us if we have 100 people or a 1000 in front of us. We just give the same type of show. We are in the moment and give all we can give. You never know, This could be our last show.”

Also, we don’t really think too much about the future. We try to live every day as our last. More or less. Of course we plan certain things… But when we are on stage, it doesn’t matter to us if we have 100 people or 1,000 in front of us. We just give the same type of show. We are in the moment and give all we can give. You never know, this could be our last show.

It seems that dancing is a big part of your music, and live performances…

Kalaf: Right. Kuduro is actually a type of dance that gave the name to the genre of music. So it’s very attached to dancing and expressing yourself through body movement. It’s a manifestation of soul through body. Actually, If you observe closely, the kuduro movement reflects African society. For example Rwanda is quite rough and aggressive and it all ends up in their dance moves. They feel that way and they express themselves that way.

“I think it’s an African thing. It’s all about expressing yourself through your body, through dancing.”

Rui: Yes, I think it’s an African thing. It’s all about expressing yourself through your body, through dancing. The name of our Komba album refers to this ceremony or a party that people in Angola do to celebrate the passing of the loved one. Of course they are sad, because he or she died, but at the same time they’re commemorating his/her entrance to the spirit world. So they eat the deceased’s favorite food, dance to their favorite songs… Everything in their culture is about celebration of life as well as death.

Kalaf: It’s all about expressing yourself, not holding any emotions back. If you want to cry, cry. If you want to dance, dance.

What were you hungover from when you wrote that “Hangover” song?

Rui: Haha, grog. It’s this really strong alcohol, stronger than vodka. You can get poisoned if you drink too much.

Kalaf: It’s actually inspired by our lifestyle, really. There are some pretty hardcore parties in our lives. It happens more often than we’d like.

Were you in some way influenced by dubstep when you were starting to produce kuduro songs?

Rui: I see the resemblance, because kuduro is the same bpm as dubstep, and we are inspired by any style of dance music. Basically, we are inspired by bass culture. And we are also based in Portugal, very close to England, Spain, and France, where all kinds of music trends are happening. And we appreciate everything that comes from the UK, with Jamaican influence, dub, reggae, etc…

“Our shows are non-stop one hour long, so for me playng drums for a whole hour without a break is like going to the gym. I don’t know if I can do that when I’m 50.”

Kalaf: When we started the Buraka project back in 2006, we already were into kuduro, and when we figured out that the majority of it is 140bpm, we were like, “great! This is like this new stuff from England.” And we could do all kinds of mixes and edits, so we did remixes for Rusko and Skream back then.

Do you have any plans for any other projects besides Buraka? Or do you think you’re gonna stick with it for a while?

Rui: I think, we’re gonna go on for now. I’m not talking about those bands that last 25 years, which is ridiculous!

Kalaf: Well, our live shows are pretty intense. I don’t know if I can do that in my 50s.

Rui: Oh yeah, our shows are non-stop one hour long, so for me playing drums for a whole hour without a break is like going to the gym. I don’t know if I can do that when I’m 50. But maybe I can. We’ll see.

Thank you guys for your time. Really looking forward to the show.

Rui: Yeah man, you might be able to pick up some kuduro moves.

READ THIS INTERVIEW AND MORE IN BIG UP TWELVE.

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