Summery sounds from a Sao Paulo digger.
Millos Kaiser is a Brazilian DJ who seeks out obscurities and repurposes them as dance floor heat. Many of these tunes are found in his home city, São Paulo, where he lives with "20 stores less than five minutes" from his house in Praça da República. (He also runs a music bar, Caracol, with some friends in this part of the city.) Kaiser peppers his sets with his own edits, some of which were included on his standout 2018 compilation for Soundway Records, Onda De Amor (Synthesized Brazilian Hits That Never Were). The music on this compilation captures the essence of Kaiser's DJ style, which he describes as "usually synthetic sounds, sometimes tropical, sometimes a bit darker, poppy, deep too maybe, not too polished, probably from the '80s or '90s."
Kaiser, who until January 2019 was one half of the DJ and production duo Selvagem alongside Augusto Olivani, calls RA.690 a personal greatest-hits selection, packed with "personal edits and unreleased stuff" from Brazil and beyond.
What have you been up to recently?
I've been DJing on the weekends in São Paulo and other cities in Brazil, with occasional trips to play abroad. I'm also doing the programming of Caracol, a music bar I opened last September with three good friends. I book like eight to ten DJs a week over there and write the texts to promote every night on our Instagram. Besides that, I'm doing pretty much the same I've been doing since I quit journalism five years ago: digging for records whenever and wherever I can, trying to make music in the studio, spending time with my girlfriend/friends/family...
How and where was the mix recorded?
The mix was done at home, in Praça da República, São Paulo hardcore downtown, late May, one day before I went to Europe for a one-month tour. I have a simple home studio with two turntables, an E&S DJR 200 mixer, computer, monitors, some gear and my records. I have a good part of my collection digitalized, especially the DJ stuff, and I've decided to include a lot of personal edits and unreleased stuff in the mix, so it was recorded using just two borrowed CDJs and edited later on the computer.
Can you tell us about the idea behind the mix?
It's sort of a "Millos Kaiser Greatest Hits" since it's full of tracks I've been playing a lot in the last few years plus some recent favorites. I have a very personal relationship with these records as most of them were found in the field, looking for good and unknown music near my house (there's like 20 stores less than five minutes from where I live) or somewhere else. It's mostly Brazilian music, simply because I live in Brazil and that's where I dig most of the time. Of course I also steal a lot of tracks from other DJs, do some YouTube digging and receive wonderful tips from digger friends all the time. But in the end the tracks I play the most are the ones I found myself in the real world, just because I feel more connected to them.
In the tracklist there are also edits and remixes from talented local friends (Carrot Green and Omoloko) plus an unreleased track from Donald's House, these Australian guys that have been producing heater after heater. My sets vary depending on the party, time and place and I always go through different styles in one night, but I like to believe everything I play follows a certain aesthetic (hard to put in words, but usually synthetic sounds, sometimes tropical, sometimes a bit darker, poppy, deep too maybe, not too polished, probably from the '80s or '90s) regardless which genre is it. It's the kind of sound that speaks the most to me, brings me a good feeling of nostalgia, probably because I was born in '86 and my father was blasting New Order, Madonna and Oingo Boingo on the stereo all the time. My idea was to do a portrait of how a DJ set from me could sound in 2019, in a small cool party where I could play whatever I wanted.
Where are the best places to party in São Paulo right now?
There aren't many big clubs in São Paulo at the moment, parties have moved mainly to warehouses in former industrial areas of town, holding up to 3000 people sometimes. Labels like ODD, Mamba Negra, Gop Tun, Carlos Capslock and Selvagem (which I was one of the founders and residents, together with Trepanado, but left last January) do amazing events with proper soundsystem, lights and guests. Plus the crowd here is usually super nice and responsive, open ears. Recently there are also smaller/medium places that are very low-profile and super fun, like Bunker, The Cube 380, ZIG Club and Coffeeshop Club. I love playing in these kind of places. Not to mention a certain Caracol, that has been going pretty well, where you can eat and drink plus do a little dance to the sound of good DJs and a pair of Klipshorns ; )
You shone some light on little known Brazilian electronic music for Soundway last year. Tell us about how you went about putting that compilation together.
Me and Augusto started digging for danceable Brazilian music not long after we started the Selvagem project. First, it was the disco/boogie thing, a bit already covered by foreigner diggers/collectors and local hip-hop DJs back then. Then I got a bit addicted to the digging thing, bought a portable turntable and started to literally listening to everything that was Brazilian, made in the '80s or '90s and never seen before by me. 99 percent of it was bad, but I ended up finding lots of other good boogie, but also reggae, R&B, rap... even house music. They were all one dollar records five or six years ago, but still hard to find because not even the sellers would care for them. The idea of a compilation naturally appeared and I started to go after the artists of my favorite tracks, remembering my journalism years.
In the meantime, Nick The Record e-introduced me to Miles Cleret from Soundway, who kindly agreed to release the project. It took me like one year and a half to find all of them and license the whole thing, after lots of phone calls, emails and some travelling. But it was totally worth it. The moment I met these people was by far the best part of doing Onda de Amor. Showing to Marcos Benedito, AKA Billy Jaguar from Grupo Controle Digital (one of the bands included in the comp), a video of Antal playing his track more than 30 years after it was made at a festival in Croatia with people going mad is priceless. I mean, the record had barely any impact when it was released and now there was a Dutch DJ playing it for 2000 people in Croatia, on the other side of the world. Marcos had tears in his eyes and a big smile.
What are you up to next?
I'm heading for a one-month tour again in October, playing in the United States and in Europe. There's an edits EP coming out on Legalize Lambada not long after that I hope and I'm slowly working on a new compilation for Soundway too, that could be Onda De Amor 2 or something else. I've also curated the reissue of a cassette recorded by Mumia, an ambient-synth-punk project from the '80s, to be done by Lugar Alto, a super cool new label from São Paulo. Finally, me and my partner are also about to move to a new apartment, which should require some time and energy. It's still close to the record stores though.