“I am really into deep house, disco and house music in general, but I feel techno is finally starting to earn back a lot of its credibility, whilst at the same time going downhill on many levels. It remains cursed by the huge numbers of immature artists making it, I would say.”
Quitting Sao Paulo for Sydney some years ago, Brazilian electro type Wehbba also dropped out of a thriving career as a dentist in favour of teaching English and scuba diving. Discovering dance music in Australia he returned to Brazil to DJ and in 2004 released his debit album Revoltin’, establishing himself immediately as one of Brazil’s ones to watch.
Six years on he’s just returned to Brazil again after a three year stint living in Brno in the Czech Republic and recently released another album, the appropriately titled "Full Circle’ on Christian Smith’s acclaimed tech-house label Tronic.
With the album receiving extensive A list DJ support (Joris Voorn, Stephan Bodzin, Nick Warren and Fergie amongst others) and a slew of tracks and remixes coming out (including a joint reworking of Laurent Garnier's 1997 single "Flashback") he’s unsurprisingly cheerful about his prospects for the new year . . .
Skrufff (Jonty Skrufff): What kind of year are you expecting in 2011: how optimistic/ pessimistic do you feel?
Wehbba: “I expect 2011 to be the ‘harvest’ year. 2010 was really intense and I had to go through many changes, had to make a lot of important decisions and had many big projects under my responsibility, so I hope 2011 will consolidate all my efforts. I am very optimistic about it.”
Skrufff: How much of your time and energy is taken up by web 2.0 stuff now, how about on myspace (compared to 12 months ago: is it doomed: could Facebook follow suit?
Wehbba: “I spend pretty much all day on social networks at some level, either tweeting news about my career or tips about places I am visiting, or sharing new releases and new songs on Facebook and/ or Soundcloud. I think they are good tools for exposing every artist’s hard work which wasn't so easy before. Myspace is a long shot from becoming useable once again, since it became haunted by spammers and with its messy profile pages, etc. I fear Facebook is heading in the same direction.”
Skrufff: How important is it in 2011 for DJs/ artists to have an online ‘persona’: eg on Twitter?
Wehbba: “It's essential, these social networking sites have become the first information source for most people so you might as well get yourself a profile in all those pages to show what you've been up to (work-wise). The whole "big brother" concept of telling everyone what you think and what you do all the time on a personal level is a little bit stupid and shallow. Nobody would normally shout to the world about how good the dinner they are cooking is or how loud the person next to their table on the restaurant is, if it wasn't through a "thought-amp" like those tools. It just seems unnatural to me.”
Skrufff: How concerned are you about potential economic difficulties in 2011; what impact do you anticipate for club culture?
Wehbba: “I am more curious than concerned, I hope that the events of 2009 and 2010 taught consumers worldwide a few lessons, and that people will start becoming more conservative with their expenses. The impact I anticipate is less music sales, which means more marketing campaigns from labels and brands behind anything related to selling music (e.g online shops), so probably more efforts from artists for touring harder, which has been a tendency over the past couple of years. A lot of the ones who can't handle it are dropping out, so it has been reflecting on music, things seem to be less terrible than from between 2006-2009.”
Skrufff: Students rioted in England, Greece, and Italy in 2010: how much do you believe the world is entering a new era of protest/ politicisation: how much (if at all) do you feel more radicalised/ concerned/ threatened?
Wehbba: “I think that every decade piles up a lot of crap and if you look back most decades ended with terrible crises and public demonstrations. It's healthy and needed to ground politicians and such, but hopefully it will wear off once things get better. I am a little bit shocked that people in my home country Brazil have more money that people in formerly way richer European countries.”
Skrufff: How could that impact on club culture? Music?
Wehbba: “People are thirsty for fun, they want to get off when they go out, music is happier and more uplifting than two or three years ago, and I love it.”
Skrufff: What changes do you anticipate in clubs in terms of CDJs/ turntables/ etc: when was the last time you played vinyl?
Wehbba: “My last time was four years ago, just before I moved to Europe. I had to leave all my records behind as it was a big weight to carry with me. I really miss it and now that I've moved back to Brazil I intend on starting playing with vinyl again. I think the whole CDJ2000 with flashdrives thing is a serious revolution for globetrotting DJs. The thought of travelling with no more than a flash-drive and a pair of headphones is a dream come true for many. It's just a whole new concept, you can't really compare it to how it was travelling with 30kg of plastic and beat-matching in the booth, it's almost like a different profession nowadays, it's more about music. I don't see a bright future for turntables unfortunately, kinda obvious though.”
Skrufff: How many records do you now own (and where do you store them?)
Wehbba: “I own about 800 only, stored at my parent's place in Sao Paulo. I will never get rid of those ones in fact I plan on expanding the collection as much as possible.”
Skrufff: How much money do you typically spend on music each week? How does that compare with the peak of how much you spent weekly on vinyl in the past?
Wehbba: “I spend around US$200 per week on music and that hasn’t changed much from the amount I used to spend on vinyl. I’m maybe even spending more than I used to though the difference these days is that I get a lot more music for the money, but the tracks ‘last’ (survive in the set) far less than during the vinyl days.”
Skrufff: What are you key musical goals for 2011?
Wehbba: “I plan to work on more original music as opposed to remixes and I’ll be continuing to try and stand out from the dime-a-dozen tech house artists out there right now, by making more musical and organic stuff, with a lot of soul, but still keeping that "clubby" essence.”
Jonty Skrufff: http://listn.to/JontySkrufff