Fresh off of the heels of the new dope EP, “Dona Sandra“, which features Brazilian-New Yorker baile funk artist Zuzuka Poderosa, Irish producer Orquesta took some time to answer a few questions for us about working with Zuzuka, his love of Latin music, and his future musical endeavors.
Radio Morillo: How did you get started in music?
Orquesta: I have been really interested in music all of my life and I started playing and writing music when I was young. I played in metal bands when I was a young teenager and
I went on to play bad acoustic folk and blues music which I was never really good at. Then a few years a go, my ex-girlfriend and I formed a band and played some shows. That was when I first started
producing. I produced one of our EPs and got more interested in producing music.
RM: What were your original influences?
OQ:My favorite musician of all time is David Byrne, all of the Talking Heads albums, and then things like Rei Momo (which is an interesting take on Latin music), Big Love: Hymnal and his work with Brian Eno, who I also love. Apart from that I couldn’t begin to name the different genres I listen to but I have influences from all over outside of Latin music. Electronic acts like Ratatat and Javelin have wicked production styles, real nice crisp, yet organic. They really experiment with nice rhythms and sounds and they can pick out beautiful melodies. Although it doesn’t influence my music making so much, a lot of my taste would have its roots in hip-hop and although not directly influencing my tracks it would at the same time be the biggest influence on all music I like. I don’t know how to put it better than that.
RM: What brought you to Latin music? What is it about Latin music that inspires you?
OQ: I guess I first heard Latin music when I was DJing on the Bass and Electro “scene” in Dublin. I would play Baltimore club mostly and bass heavy stuff like that, and I got into listening to Baile Funk. At the time I loved the harshness of the vocals and the beats being so raw and simple. It went well with Baltimore tracks on the dance floor, which was mostly what I cared about at the time. Then I stopped playing so much dance tracks and went back to hip-hop. I used to mix Golden Era shit with Dancehall. I guess I had a bit of Digital Cumbia stuff hanging around but It was when I heard Uproot Andy’s track, “Brooklyn Cumbia” that I really started exploring the Digital side of the Cumbia genre.
Then last summer I was in New York, I was at Andy and Geko’s night and out in Brooklyn at Cumba Mela, and then I was in Guatemala, and I went to some clubs there and I heard more of the real Cumbia sound. I was so amazed about the chemistry that happens when slower Latin beats are played in a club. The sound is like a celebration, but controlled in this slow rhythm that is sort of sexual. I don’t really know how to describe it with out sounding like a creep. The way people dance, more with a partner than how I was used to seeing, like fist pumping at the DJ. Like people danced really romantically and they would look into each others eyes, but then at the end of the song they would move onto another partner. It wouldn’t necessarily be about picking up someone to take home, more of a physical celebration of how the music should be listened to. I can’t really put it better than that. But, that aspect of it inspired me a lot.
RM: How did you link up with Zuzuka Poderosa?
OQ: Well, when I was in New York last summer, I was just starting to put together the Orquesta project and I was looking for people to collaborate with. I didn’t really know many people in the City at the time, so when I was in the record store Tropicalia In Furs, the dude who works there put me onto her and I heard her stuff, emailed her and it just went on. I still haven’t met her out of Skype, but her vocals fit and I’m really happy with the whole thing. I hope we can play a show next time I’m over.
RM: Do you perform or do you mainly produce?
OQ: Well, apart from DJing I haven’t put together a real live set yet, but I will probably aim to eventually once I live somewhere permanently. I am leaving Ireland next week to spend time in Berlin and then maybe Barcelona. I think by Christmas I will be living in LA. I have an internship waiting for me, and it would be a good place to work on music. Anyway, something with some percussionists and samplers and a couple of live instrumentalists would be awesome. I have it in my head and it sounds great, but I just have to bite the bullet and buy some equipment and meet some people who would be interested in doing it.
RM: Now that “Dona Sandra” is out and has received amazing responses from the public, where do you hope your music will take you?
OQ: Well, I love working with great vocalists and musicians, so hopefully I will be living in America, doing tours and collaborating. In the past year I have met a lot of people from traveling and on the internet who are a part of this latin electronic thing that is growing into something and I would love to be able to be in the same country as that and have the chance to add to it more. I don’t have huge aspirations to be a platinum selling artist or anything. It’s just great to be able to travel around and play music and meet people.
RM: Name 5 artists you’d love to work with.
OQ: Apart from the artists who I am currently collaborating with or have done in the past I guess in my wildest dreams I would love to do stuff with:
1. David Byrne
2. Los Rakas
5. Warrior Queen
RM: When can we expect an EP or an album?
OQ: I don’t know. I’m working on music all the time. I have a space themed 6 track original EP ready to go, but I haven’t showed it to anyway really. I want to add to it a bit more and then I will probably send it out to a few labels and things. I won’t get my hopes up though. Anyway, it will be out soon.