Gui Boratto Interview
Brazil’s Gui Boratto has quickly become one of electronic music’s most watched artists and producers. On the strength of his enormous 2007 Kompakt album ‘Chromophobia’, and its anthemic single “Beautiful Life” – Boratto’s music exploded worldwide and earned him praise and attention far beyond the narrow confines of just the dancefloor. Noted for his impeccable production, unique arrangements and soaring melodies, Boratto has developed into a busy international performer and in-demand remixer.
Now prepping his follow-up album for Kompakt, Boratto will be performing a live Ableton set at Cielo on Tuesday, October 28th. Hot on the heels of his first-ever “live band” peformance at the Skol Beats festival in Brazil, Boratto take a moment to update us on his upcoming music and what’s going on in his native country.
UMP3: Talk about the equipment you use in your live setup. What gear do you use, what does what? And how long did it take you to develop it until you were ready to play out your sets?
GUI BORATTO: I use a MacBook Pro running lots of Max/MSP screens under rewire thru Ableton Live. I also use a Lemur controller, which is a touch screen device that runs my step sequencer and lots of other controllers like levels and effects.
I also use a Monome controller. It’s a hand made controller, made by tw guys from Philly. It behaves like a step sequencer and recycle.
To setup everything takes only 10 minutes. And then, ready to party!
UMP3: You mention on your website that you recently debuted a new live set at the Skol Beats festival. How did that group come together, and why did you make the decision to add the live players?
GUI BORATTO: Well, I came from rock. I’m a musician. I always played guitar and piano. For the Skol, I took the opportunity and viability to have some fun with that. I know one of the best Brazilian drummers. He’s my old time friend. He’s name is Cuca Teixeira and he played with many artists like Maria Rita (daughter of Elis Regina), George Benson and Hermeto Pascoal. I also invited two keyboard players. One of them is a circuit-bending guy. He added so many cool elements on my music with his toys.
But it’s very difficult to have musicians at a club. There’s no structure or space to do that. I wish I could do that more often.
UMP3: Do you see that expanding to a full-on live band and live performance anytime soon?
GUI BORATTO: That’s what I want to do.
UMP3: And how did the set go over? Were you happy with it?
GUI BORATTO: Yes, a lot. I played guitar, bass and keys. I used old machines from my studio, like my TR-808 and my little SH-09.
The drums and the other keys sounded awesome and the reactions were amazing.
UMP3: “Beautiful Life” really took over the world in 2007. How did that song come together, and how did it feel to create your very own “anthem”?
GUI BORATTO: It was a little joke. After two bottles of wine with my wife, we’ve decided to put vocals on that song. I love my wife’s voice. She’s not a vocalist at all and that’s what I loved. Her really naïve voice. For my next album, I’ll have two other tracks with her on the vocals.
UMP3: So there will be a Gui Boratto album in early 2009. Can you tell us a little bit about what you have planned for it? Will we get to hear some of the new tracks at Cielo?
GUI BORATTO: I’m in the end of the process now. I’m going to deliver that to Kompakt done, in early November. It’s going to be released next February. I’m already playing new tracks and of course, I’ll play many of them at Cielo.
UMP3: Your music is really notable for the way you use melodies as opposed to just putting sounds together to make a track. Talk about your songwriting process, and where all these memorable melodies come from?
Richie Hawtin: First of all, I don’t start my music with a drum pattern or a bass line. I always think in a harmony and a melody. After that I make the arrangements and the production. I’m more concerned about the feeling, the mood, instead of the same clicks and clacks that many people do.
UMP3: Do you feel like you might be responsible for some of the recent shift in electronic music towards a more melodic sound?
Richie Hawtin: Not at all. I know lots of other “melodic” guys before me. But I agree that these “minimal” new producers are extremely boring. Can’t wait to start listening to more melodies on the clubs.
UMP3: What’s going on in Brazil these days, music-wise? How would you describe the music and clubbing scene in Sao Paolo for those who have never been?
Richie Hawtin: Not only Sao Paulo, but all the country is now part of an international club scene. Big and amazing clubs all over here, from North to South of Brazil, and parties from Monday to Monday. Of course the people are still a bit fresh, but the vibe is incredible.
UMP3: One of your other 2007 releases was called “The Rivington.” I’m sure all the New Yorkers think that was inspired by the hotel down in the Lower East Side. Is there a story there?
Richie Hawtin:Hehehe…yes of course. Last year, I was in tour in the US with my friend Michael Mayer. We spent three days in NY, after our gig at Cielo, and I got the main melody there, in my room. I put a provisory name then I decided to keep it.
UMP3: Any upcoming projects or remixes you are particularly excited about?
Richie Hawtin: Already did/released a Bomb The Bass remix, with Mark Lanegan (Queen Of The Stone Age) on the vocals. Also, I just finished a remix for the Pet Shop Boys. It’s a “cover” from the cult 70’s band The Passions The track is “I’m in Love With a German Film Star” and I’m pretty happy with the result.
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