- Mon, 2009-02-16 11:17
Their debut album Black Diamond was released in 2008 to much critical acclaim. Blending their self-described title of Afro-Rave with a whole host of instruments and collaborators, including M.I.A and Kano, Portugese trio Buraka Som Sistema created a new, inspired sound by fusing the cataclysmic beats of Angolan Kuduro music with 21st century electronics.
Released on Fabric records Buraka Som Sistema - AKA Lil' John, Riot, Conductor and Kalaf - have recieved much acclaim for their work, showcasing their talents through their production work, DJ sets and wild live shows. I Like Music caught up with the band to talk about how they make their music, their influences, working with M.I.A and their favourite places to play.
"I Like Music because… it makes me feel good, it makes me dance.” Buraka Som Sistema
ILM: What's the vibe with Buraka Som Sistema Live. How did that all come together?
Buraka Som Sistema: We go way back, since high school. We'd been in different bands and different projects but we've been working together since then. Our live gigs are what we always wanted them to be. We were musicians before we were DJs. The live gig is pretty much a drummer, percussion, electronic percussion, samples, backing tracks, video, water guns...haha! It's kind of just a big party.
ILM: What do you enjoy the most about playing live?
Buraka Som Sistema: The reaction from the audience. It is always different to that of a DJ set. We try to honour the DJ way of mixing, and the club gigs in our live shows. We do sections of 15 minutes each, and we try to mix them together, like a DJ set, but with instruments.
ILM: How would you describe your sound?
Buraka Som Sistema: We've always sort of said African Rave. Or Afro-Rave.
ILM: Out of all the live shows and DJ sets you have done so far, which are the most memorable?
Buraka Som Sistema: We had this live gig in Norway, in Oslo. It was memorable, because hours before Kalaf was arrested because of some DJ issues. We tried to sort it out with a lawyer. Eventually he was able to come to the gig, and it was a very, very good gig! The people were fantastic, it was a very good gig!
ILM: What is the Buraka Som Sistema process of making music?
Buraka Som Sistema: Lots of different ways really. Most of the tracks just start with some rough mixes on our laptops. We bring our records together and just start showing each other our ideas. Then we try and develop the ideas into tracks. For the album it was a little bit different because we decided to work together, from the beginning on each tune from scratch. So we wanted unique, live vocal parts, and some video parts as well. So for the album, it was more of a conceptual thing, as opposed to the normal 12 dance tracks, which usually come straight from our laptops.
ILM: You've collaborated with a number of different artists. Which are the most memorable?
Buraka Som Sistema: We knew Neneh Cherry, we met her and it was really fun speaking with her. She loved our music, she even MC'd in a DJ set. We would like to work with her again. With the album, we just thought about some artists that we really wanted to work with and just tried to get in touch with them. When we started recording them it took two or three days to record the parts. It was very easy-going. We didn't control that much. We just gave the artists total freedom to write about what they wanted. We gave them two or three days to write the lyrics and then we recorded there. There was M.I.A of course. Most of the stuff with M.I.A was recorded in London. We worked hard.
ILM: Out of all the shows you have seen live, which are the most memorable?
Buraka Som Sistema: We saw The Prodigy. They are a big influence live. The first time we saw them live was unforgettable. Very memorable. A moment of our lives.
ILM: Out of all the places you have played, where have you enjoyed the most?
Buraka Som Sistema: Um.....For DJ sets Fabric is excellent. The soundsystem. We really like to play there. Live would have to be Lisbon.
ILM: What music are you listening to at the moment?
Buraka Som Sistema: Lykke Li. As a band we are really feeling it. Flying Lotus. Um......There are a lot of artists that we are into abroad that are very underground, you wouldn't know half of the names!