Brazilian producer Labirinto sophomore album Entheogens came out a few weeks ago and with an upcoming visit to South Africa for Alien Safari Sprung 2017, we decided to have a chat with Pedrao about his music career, spanning almost the last two decades.
Hi Pedrão. How are things going? For those that don’t know you, tell us a little bit about how you got started in music. What inspired you to explore a music career? Can you tell us about the name, Labirinto?
Labirinto: Hi Psymedia, thank you so much for the opportunity! It all started for me in the beginning of 2000 when I was supporting Dj Swarup in his dream of making a festival called Universo Paralello. I was introduced to music, he was living for a while in Europe and came back with a full case of new music. At first I didn’t like it. There was too much noise and no vocals, but we started going to a lot of parties together and he insisted on me to listen to it inside the car, at home, and suddenly one day trying to dance at a party, it all made sense and I fell in love with the music, the people that were dancing with me and also the unusual places the parties took place.
Day by day I changed all the music that I used to listen to. As I talked to friends and others Djs I found myself an electronic music lover! Back in those days I already had friends with Dj equipment at home so I got all my CDs together and tried practicing every day in my free time. I didnt take long, I was mixing OK and felt comfortable with the equipment. This was back in 2002 and the trance scene was growing fast in Brazil, so I thought it was time to quit my regular job and give it a try in the music career as DJ. This was probably the best decision I made in my life. As a DJ I had the chance to travel all over my country, perform at the main parties and festivals, and even play overseas when I was invited twice to play at Boom Festival.
In 2009 I was diagnosed with labyrinthitis. For a couple of months I had all symptoms coming really strong and it was pretty hard! At that time I wanted so bad to have my own project because I was involved with music production for a couple of years already and I felt myself inside of a labyrinth. Then I came up with the idea of naming the project Labirinto.
Your new album entitled Entheogens was released for free on Mosaico Records. Why did you decide to go the free release route? Do you think it’s beneficial? Can you tell me more about the album?
Labirinto: The album Entheogens came after I attended to many rituals of Ayahuasca in my country. It felt really good to look inside myself and realize I had a chance to be a better person, a better father (as I have three beautiful kids), and also a chance to improve the music I was making in the studio. For many years I was trying the same ideas, same samples, and now I had something going on in my life that I felt like sharing with everyone. So I had the idea of free release and the support of Mosaico Records. I told them the whole idea and we decided to make it a normal release in Beatport, Spotify, iTunes, but with the free download option. I must admit that it felt great to wake up and not worrying on how good was the selling on Beatport, and yet it was number 8 in the top releases. I was amazed! I still don’t know if this idea had any benefit or not, only time will tell, but I am so happy with the feedback and even more to spread the music all over, with my message of how important Entheogens can be.
How do you feel your productions and techniques have changed since early on in your career? How does your new album Entheogens compare to the first, Frequencies (2005)?
Labirinto: I think I am in constant evolution, not only as a human being but in music production as well. The best of me is still to come, but I am always trying my best, as I did in the Frequencies Album. I hear it now and there is not much I would like to chance to make it better. I think now I will practice and study more and I hope that in a couple of years I will listen to Entheogens album with the same thoughts of listening to the Frequencies album, knowing that I can do better everytime.
I believe it took about a year to put the album together. How do you approach the creative process in the studio? Do you usually have an idea for a track in mind, or wait until you get in there and start playing around? How long does it generally take until you consider a track finished?
Labirinto: In the Entheogens album most of the tracks I had the full idea before I started working, I sat down in my chair with the full idea, but not always could finish it as it came. The creative process sometimes can be really tricky, and one new sound made can chance the whole track out of nowhere. But usually I start with a loop of kick bass and percussion and play around with different sounds in the midi controller, some other times I start with a voice sample for a theme and try to work around it. But for real? There is no rules when I get in the studio, as long as I feel good spending my time there.
When I have a full idea of a track, I like to play at least part of it and see how the crowd reacts, How it sounds in a bigger system also feels great before trying to finish it. Sometimes this process of finishing a track can take a couple of weeks, sometimes a couple of months and sometimes that are some tracks that I never get the chance to finish. Depending on how I feel when I play the track, its way easier to start a new one than trying to work on something I didn’t like for some reason.
You’ve also released under the alias The Big Bang alongside Ital. How does this side project differ? Are you still actively performing and writing as The Big Bang?
Labirinto: Working with good friends is always a pleasure. Dani Ital is a great friend and I love working with him. As both of us have stable solo careers, not always there is enough time for The Big Bang. We now have 4 new tracks on the way, most of our work is online, we share files and work at our own studio. For sure we will still perform when it is possible and also to managing the both of us in the same party is a nice way of putting us together. I really hope we can do this for a long time.
You’re actively performing around Brazil. What’s the Brazilian scene like at the moment? I believe you were involved with Universo Paralello at some point?
Labirinto: Nowadays, Brazil may have the best moment of its scene after a while. So now, we have a lot of new and young people going to parties and getting to know more of our style. We have a huge commercial parties being well organized, and a lot of new promoters that keep the true spirit of the magic keep going strong.
Most parties and festivals in Brazil had a culture that foreigners artists have more value, better fees and are have a better treatment coming from the promoters. This was hard for us as Brazilian artists. Nowadays I see it differently. I see the crowd excited to listen and watch us play, I see a better opportunity of make a living out of music and I believe that the music made in Brazil has its true value in our own country.
For over 10 years I worked in the production of Universe Paralello, doing anything possible to help Swarup and all the crew. Its still a great part of me, but a couple of years ago I felt the need of having more time for my family, and invest more on my solo career. It was an amazing experience to work in such a big festival, I really learned so much from many great professionals and now I use everything I learned there, to make my own parties in my city, at least 2 times a year. It feels great to do my best to satisfy the people from my home town, and work in the production as well. I really like it!
This will be your first time in South Africa. What have you heard about the scene and why are you excited to play at Alien Safari Sprung 2017?
Labirinto: I first heard about the South African psytrance scene in 2002-2003, when I met Colin from Alien Safari, when he was in Brazil. I have been curious to visit South Africa since then. He probably doesn’t remember this, but he gave me a CD that really touched me in many ways. It was from a young new artist from South Africa called Protoculture, I felt inlove with his music right away and I wondered how lucky people from his country was to have such a good artist around. Since this day I was always checking all possible artists from South Africa. Got to know Hydrophonic, later the Commercial Hippies, Rinkadink was from there. And then Nano Records came and influenced me a lot in my career since the beginning. I decided that I wanted to make music from living after hearing Headroom for the first time, Welcome to the Future was the track of my life, changed my whole DJ set at that time and inspired me to start studying music production. I know it’s my first time in South Africa, but I have been somehow inspired by what was going on there in the scene for many years. Getting the chance to play at Alien Safari Sprung its like a dream coming true.
Are there any up-and-coming DJs and producers that have caught your attention recently?
Labirinto: There is this guy called Magik making amazing tunes, Eclipse Echoes is also worth a listen. And Earthspace one of my favorites, he is so young and talented! I love this guy and his work very much.
What would you say the highlights of your career are so far? And what’s still on your bucket list?
Labirinto: I am really proud of myself that I have played in Boom Festival twice and in Universo Paralello at 2007 and 2015. These two were the biggest highlights for me. Full moon Festival in Germany in 2006 playing after Hallucinogen, was also a big moment. Just hope to keep on playing in many new places as possible and maybe one day get a chance to play in Ozora Festival. Who knows?!
Any upcoming releases you want to mention?
Labirinto: Just started working on a new EP for Expo Rec, soon a new killer track with Spinal Fusion will be released and I need to finish the new The Big Bang tracks for a new EP later this year.
Thanks for the interview, see you at Alien Safari Sprung 2017! Anything to add before we finish off?
Labirinto: I would like to thank you for the opportunity to share a little bit more about myself and my music, and I hope this edition of Alien Safari Sprung will be the next highlight of my career. See you soon, lots of love from Brazil!