“I guess I started to produce kinda out of a necessity”, says Evandro Fióti, one of Brazil’s upcoming names in the rap/hip-hop (behind-the) scene, known for bringing a strong business sense to a market proud of its struggles and DIY solutions.
Still in his late teen years at the time, Evandro began to produce older brother Emicida’s shows and albums in 2009, when he found himself in the middle the “new” family business. Today he is considered by many, one of the key elements linked to his sibling’s success. “A few years ago the rap scene didn’t have this organization, there was no method, nobody behind most of the artists. As most of the rappers come from the suburbs, or poorer areas of the city, many of them produced themselves. And as everyone knows it is impossible to do everything by yourself. I started of to fill in this space, the need of someone executing these management and more administrative functions”, he explains.
And only a few years after embarking on this journey, Evandro and brother Emicida have been touring all over Brazil and around the world. If that wasn’t enough, they also created a successful label called Laboratorio Fantasma , where they share their experience and knowledge acquired up until now with other artists.
In this interview, the producer talked about the Brazilian hip-hop and rap scene, his difficulties as a producer working internationally and, of course, shared some thoughts on those he considers highlights of this new – but powerful – rhythm that has been gaining strength in our country, still so embedded in the samba and bossa nova culture reminiscent from past decades.
How is the Brazilian rap and hip-hop market today?
I believe that rap, hip-hop, a movement that has been in Brazil for around 30 years now, is something relatively new here, if compared to other genres. A lot of things are still being discovered, and what is happening now will, no doubt, serve as reference for what is yet to come, for the new generations. I guess that there’s been a significant change in the Brazilian rap culture, in the way of writing it and approaching it musically. Today I can say that our rap has a good dialogue with many kinds of audiences, and is not related only to the suburbs of Sao Paulo (even though it still has a strong presence in almost all of these communities). It’s a genre that is extremely necessary for communication with the younger generations, and I can afirm that our main target is still teens and young adults with ages between 16 and 25 years old. I guess that this turning point, this renewal of the market started of with Sabotage , in the 90’s and early 2000’s. With his death, I guess that Emicida picked it up from that point and continued the process together with other names.
We talk a lot about the music exchange between artists from different countries. Is there space for this exchange in the Brazilian rap and hip-hop scene?
Yes, I guess that it’s even easier for international rap groups to play and gather audiences here in Brazil than it is the other way around. Because for us, to play in the US, for example, is a very strong experience, it is to play where the movement began, it’s like coming to Brazil and playing samba. International rappers have a strong possibility of creating audiences here, English is a universal language today, everybody speaks it.
And as a producer, what is the main difficulty when working abroad?
To make sure my artists have an expressive presence outside Brazil I have to ensure they are linked to a good international label and, when playing abroad, have a competent PR firm behind them. Nobody buys records anymore, so this is a way of making sure people listen to our music. Our biggest barrier is still, in a first level, the language, but I do recognize that in the past couple of years people have started to make a bigger effort in understanding what we say.
In terms of more direct production, I guess that the logistics of an international tour is still something hard to plan. It is difficult for someone who doesn’t know you well to invest on your music. The last times we played out of our country, we basically payed for everything, out of our pockets. And this financial matter is really difficult; to play abroad you have to pay for your own trip most of the times, or if you apply maybe you can get some help from specific governmental programs, but it’s not easy. And it seems that for the rap and hip-hop business it is even harder, as it doesn’t exactly qualify as Brazilian music, like samba and bossa nova.
Could you highlight a few names of this new Brazilian rap and hip-hop scene?
There is Rael, that we’re producing and has just released a new album.
Ataque Beliz is another group that is making their name now in Brazil, they’re from Distrito Federal
Don L has a really interesting approach
And there is Flow MC, that in my opinion, released the best mixtape of 2012