Markus Schneider is considered one of today’s most important and respected European music journalists. He worked as a TV-journalist in the 90′s, translates and writes about music and pop culture since the mid-eighties for magazines and daily papers in Germany and Switzerland, theses days predominantly for Berliner Zeitung and Frankfurter Rundschau, Tages-Anzeiger Zürich, and Rolling Stone.
In this interview, conducted by BRMusicExchange’s PR Dirk Schade, Schneider talked about Brazilian music and its projection throughout Europe.
How interesting is music from Brazil for the music journalists and German radio stations?
Generally speaking, with the digital evolution in full effect, I don’t really think geography matters all that much any more. In a more specific way it’s still always difficult to find a way around the traditional dominance of Anglo-American and native pop music in Germany.
So from a professional POV there has to be some kind of unique selling point (besides the music) to catch the interest of the media – as it happened for example with Arto Lindsay or the baile-craze in clubs some years ago when DJs/ producers like Diplo or Will.I.Am were charting Brazilian sounds on the mainstream map.
What can musicians from Brazil do to catch the interest of the German media?
I think it helps dramatically to have a local amplifier/distributor who is able to raise some interest. Journalists’ computers are flooded with new music daily so they tend to file and filter. A generic label like „Brazilian Pop“ will more likely be filed under „Let’s see if I’ll find time for this“ than „great Brazilian Pop on highly estimated Indielabel X“ or word-of-mouth promoting like „don’t miss the Brazilian support of cool US-Band X or DJ Y“. There are also festivals like the ones in Berlin’s HKW, that present global pop off the dominant routes to a broader minded audience than the average pop or world music folk. Of course… see 3
How important are digital media for promoting artists in Germany/Europe? Should people also use the traditional elements like CD‘s or print advertising?
Amplifying by social media like Facebook or a Youtube buzz seems to be helpful. Not for me, though. Professionally, I still trust in the traditional channels. But of course buzz works as an attention-filter. As far as CD and print are concerned – I think it depends. Editorial offices are being spammed with Cds and paper. So again, it’s important to fall into some kind of attention filter, a reliable label, promoter a.s.o
How would you recommend Brazilian artists or agents get started in Germany?
Find someone who knows about German pop business and is connected, record distributors, bookers, and the likes. Then, as in every country, travel – the German word is „ox-tour“, meaning you open for better known bands and maybe find attention. Contact specialised promoters, bookers, journalists and distributors who will know the networking channels, radio or tv stations (net or landbased), editorial boards of papers and magazines. (Bribe them to come to Brazil Seriously speaking, this is of course how national music boards work: Invite a group of relevant people to get to know the local scene and they will likely be more readily triggered to listen to music from the respective country.). Know your genre (and the competences of your local contact), a Samba band needs – needless to say – different handling, location, programmes and background than, let’s say, experimental baile funk or doom metal.
When you think of Brazilian music, what artists come to mind?
A whole lot of Bossa-people from the 60s of course, Jobim, Gil, Veloso. I got a bit interested after first listening to stuff like Getz/ Gilberto, Charlie Byrd et al as a jazzloving kid. Soul Jazz compilations of Tropicalia and post-Tropicalia; Daniel Haaksman’s Baile funk compilations. Diplo’s global disco; N-1; Babe, Terror (saw them at a HKW Festival); Arto Lindsays productions.
Do you have any musical favourites from Brazil?
I still like the old singer/songwriter Bossamusic quite a bit. I am, for reason layed out before, I guess, quiete uninformed about current affairs. A good example of how rather randomly music from beyond my regular paths finds its way to me is Juana Molina’s „Son“ I had it in my year end top five of 2006 because I liked her new take on traditional Bossa Nova (I thought she was Brazilian) after following a recommendation on Simon Reynolds’ blog – good example of the randomness of attention-triggers.