It’s another early morning at KEXP. I stop for coffee on the way and wait for it to hit me as I stumble into the station. It’s kind of dark here in the mornings... I guess since there are less people there are less computer screens and lamps lit up. I sit at my desk, turn on my artificial fish tank and get ready for the day. As I hit into my e-mail I can hear a sound check coming from the live studio. It sounds like someone’s having a rave in there.
In the studio the lights are dim. The interview and performance are about to start. The DJ, Cheryl Waters, takes her place at the mic. And she introduces this band from Brazil. They say “Hi” in halting English and then the edgy fuzz of a dance beats starts to pulse. The lead singer is a gorgeous, black-haired Brazilian woman, Mylene Pires. She is dressed more like a female than anyone in Seattle ever is. Her voice is not one of those fake breathy ones you often hear on electronica, it is earthy, sophisticated and no-nonsense. Her easy elegance stuns me.
The live drummer is hammering out the beats with precision…and suddenly I am awakened by a shocking fact. The drummer is ALSO THE DJ!
DJ/producer/drummer Theobaldo somehow holds down the dance beats on a full kit -- then on breaks he effects the samples and live feed with his hands, basically jumping round on a circle of electronic equipment, then back to the drums. When he uses a fader to computerize Mylene’s live voice and then bumps it up and down with the beat, my mind is officially blown.
I tried to find a vid of this phenomenon, but apparently they use an additional drummer and other live instruments for big gigs...
Though Last Time On Earth, the debut from this brilliant Brazilian band, was put out in their native country in 2006, we got it in 2008 here in the states. The in-studio live on KEXP was a show-stopper. You can hear the whole thing here.
Just another day at work... Viva la KEXP!
Join Michele Myers for Nite Life -- every Friday Night at 9pm. Fridays at midnight she does an album spotlight, playing 3 songs from an album and telling a story about it. She also produces KEXP Documentaries -- short radio features. KEXP Documentaries series include Punk Evolution, Masters of Turntablism, Portraits of Post-Punk The Heart of Soul, Music Revolutionaries and Death, Drugs and Rock n Roll.