INTERVIEW Davis & Zopelar

Brazilian DJs and producers Davis and Zopelar just released their first mutual EP ‘Limba‘ on Connaisseur Recordings on which the duo takes its listeners on a journey through their musical influences and trademarks. But not only does their musical output give several reasons to dig a little deeper into their lives, it‘s the fact that both of them got a story to tell aside from their passion for genre-crossing music. So Torture the Artist spoke to Davis and Zopelar not only about topics related to music but also goes beyond the surface of the Brazilian culture and how it is perceived outside the country.


Torture the Artist: The first work of you guys was a remix for Rolldabeetz‘s tune ‘He Kills For A Prize‘ in 2016. Now your first EP , ‘Limba‘, is out on Connaisseur. Describe your first meeting and what keeps your ‘musical romance‘ going?

Zopelar: My first meeting with Davis was actually my first visit to Sao Paulo. I remember when I went out the subway station to the main avenue of this huge city he was there, and I stayed in his place for my first gig there. It was really important for me as countryside guy. We started planning and doing music together since then, and we just met before this because we were releasing on the same label, a Brazilian label called Mister Mistery, run by Rotciv. Before the ‘Kills For a Prize Remix‘ we had released ‘Aklitomo‘ as Davis & Zopelar on Get Physical but we made so many stuff, collabs in each others‘ music, unreleased music, and we also made an album as ‘The Drone Lovers‘, with the amazing multi artist from Brazil, Erica Alves.

Davis: I guess it was late 2008 when we first met. I had just released my first EP at Rotciv’s label and he said that I should meet this very talented guy called Zopelar. So, we set this meeting and Pedro appeared at my door with his look, a Brazilian version of Robert Smith (The Cure) with his unique Hermeto Pascoal’s touch. So, after that we tried so many different music, we worked with so many incredible people. It’s been a special journey.

For me the release is the ‘KEY‘ that closes your experiments.

Torture the Artist: What has been the most beneficial release to further your career?

Zopelar: I never think about that when releasing. All records were super important to comprehend certain periods of my study and ‘search‘ in music, so I always feel glad when labels find interesting stuff to release, but and don’t really think about how further it could be, it’s all about progress in the ‘search‘. I just feel grateful for all labels that sometime chooses some of my tracks, and it of course it makes you feel supported by people who also dedicate their lives to music, and that’s the best part for me of releasing I guess, to meet more freaks for music and make more of those important connections with interesting people to show your music, and receive from then on another vision of it. That’s amazing for me now that I‘m in Berlin for some weeks, to have a pizza with Rotciv and Davis, who were on the same label, Mister Mystery, that released my very first EP 10 years ago. That was so important for me, in fact, to start making those connections and made me feel good to find a first home to my early experiments. Even so important to me is to release a vinyl EP on our own label ‘In Their Feelings‘ or put a record out on a label we are fans of like Connaisseur Recordings. The importance is not to further my career or how the release will push it after that, but for me the release is the ‘KEY‘ that closes your experiments and lock it into tracks, then the label send it to whole world, so now its not just yours, but it will belong to people who will buy it, play and love to hear it. I think this is a fascinating part of releasing music.

Torture the Artist: Imagine you are cooking a three-course dinner for the one you love and each course has to be paired with one track from the EP. Name the dish for each course, and the track from the EP you‘d pair it with.

Zopelar: <laughs> I just feel tortured with this question ‘cause I’m not a good cooker, but I‘d love me and my girl to eat a pasta with sausages and red sauce for ‘Limba‘, a space cake for ‘Kapur‘ and amazing burgers and fries for ‘Metallum‘.

Davis: ‘Limba‘ is ice cream, ‘Kapur‘ is a about Hommus and ‘Metallum‘, for all my foreign friends I can say a good Brazilian barbecue.

Torture the Artist: What track perfectly sums up the Brazilian vibe and lifestyle in your opinion, and why?

Zopelar: ‘Limba‘. I don’t know exactly why but I believe those chords progression suggest maybe some hopeless feelings, I don’t know, It’s just hard for me to explain something instrumental, sometimes I think that’s why I choose to be a producer, because of this possibillity to communicate and transmit feelings without using words or descriptions.

The truth is people who are still making ‘happy‘ and ‘lush‘ music in Brazil are probably just trying to feed some part of the phonographic market.

Torture the Artist: Your productions tend to capture a melancholy, while Brazil in general is linked to positivity or lust for life. Could one say that your music is capturing the moments behind that aforementioned surface that the world outside of Brazil wants to see?

Zopelar: It’s not just the world outside, but Brazil in general used to close their eyes for all barbarities that happened and happens all the time in politics and social difference. The truth is people who are still making ‘happy‘ and ‘lush‘ music in Brazil are probably just trying to feed some part of the phonographic market, especially mass media needs or whatever like this. Or freaks, which is the one I really like and respect to have created their worlds apart from all this fucked up system. What is happening there is something really depressed, and it’s hard to wake up every day with shit news and all the 3rd world chaos around and be able to make super positive music. That’s why the club scene in São Paulo is so much into dark and also weird stuff at the moment. I believe this kind of music makes the artists and the audience a apart from all this through music, art, club scene, illegal parties and other escapism stuff. Most of new young producers, DJ and live sets I’m discovering in Brazil has this influence of dark, punk, noise and weird music around, and I find this really interesting as musician, because for me this is the best kind of stuff that represents the actual moment in Brazil, and makes me feel happy to see many kind of artists from brazil progressing in their searches into this obscure vibe into music and art in general, by the way: FORA TEMER!

Torture the Artist: Being rising DJs and producers means you both travel a lot. How do you cope with the loneliness and stress during these travels?

Zopelar: It can be hard for me sometimes but I try always to come back home soon as as I can so I don’t feel so disconnected from the studio and family times! Without those I can’t live.

Davis: I enjoy this DJ’s life a lot, for me it’s been quite OK to be alone and tired to travel sometimes. I’m that kind of person who with 30 minutes of ‘power disco nap‘ I can go further. I can sleep anywhere anytime to recharge my energy.

Torture the Artist: What item do you always have to have in your hand-luggage when going on a trip, and why?

Zopelar: Cannabis accessories.

Davis: Headphones (to not listen sounds that makes me feel crazy) and a note pad (paper, please), I need to take note of ideas, plans, places, food.

Torture the Artist: Name an artist that musically fascinates you, and why?

Zopelar: Terrence Dixon. Just can’t stop listening to his works sometimes. Even if it’s no record playing his style of music is many times in my head n imagination.

Davis: Dan Snaith. All his records and sounds always me put in a new position, open my mind and makes me feel that I need to develop my production.

Torture the Artist: What is good sampling material to you?

Zopelar: Acapellas and percussion.

Davis: Percussion.

Torture the Artist: A lot of people in Brazil feel left behind from politics. Name a track that can break up this feeling of being left behind.

Zopelar: I‘d choose Teto Preto‘s ‘Gasolina‘. It’s just not a track about break up this feeling, it’s more like: Burn everything and burn them all! I also play keyboards and synths in this band, so it might be a cool one. The video was half recoding during politic acts in the most important avenue from Sao Paulo, and has this amazing partner Loic Koutana aka. Virgo performing in the middle of the cops. The chorus ‘Gasolina Neles‘ it’s just something like ‘burn them all‘, in reference of molotov cocktails or any metaphor you can apply for this moment.

Davis: For me it‘s Erica Alves‘ ‘Beautiful‘ that gives us some hope and love.

Torture the Artist: What‘s the antiperspirant of your choice when things get stinky?

Zopelar: Keep stinking or go home! <laughs>

Davis: <laughs> Go home for sure.

Torture the Artist: Would you rather be a teenager in 1998 or 2024, and why?

Zopelar: 1998. Actually I was 10 years old in 1998, would be super nice to be 18 at this period!

Davis: In 1998. Damn I just realized that was 23 back then…

Torture the Artist: What does an unbeatable dance move to your music look like?

Zopelar: ‘Head banging‘ for sure!

Davis: ‘Closed eyes tripping‘. <smiles>

Davis’ & Zopelar‘s EP ‘Limba‘ was released July 24th on Connaisseur Recordings. Get your copy here:

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