Sany Pitbull
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Sany Pitbull


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"Tamborzão ruling the nation - an interview with Sany Pitbull // 12 january 2007"

12 january 2007

Sany Pitbull is one the pioneer djs and producers dominating the Rio scene. 38 years old, he's been working with baile funk for over 20 years now and today he's one of the most respected DJs around. I've been to he's bailes really often since he does regularly the Cantagalo baile, which is close to my home. I had this interview session with him in January and here are the results.

The MPC master

"You know, I've gone to bailes since 1983 and soon from the beginning I got very exited of the whole magic of it; making people dance, loud music and all, and I though; I wanna be a DJ. At that time I went to bailes of Cashbox, Marcão and so on, and that's really where I learned about the music."

But actually it had started already before that: "My father liked parties at home and every time we had one he was like: "Serginho (Sergio is Sany's real name) go put some nice music on." So I ended up as the responsible of the records and the music equipment, because he trusted me not to mistreat them. So it's actually my father who pushed me into this career."

The first record he ever bought was Gigolo Tony's Smurf Rock. And as he didn't have much money then, he bought it together with a friend of his, DJ Pancada. "It's was a deal like: You have the B-side and I'll get the A-side." Sany tells laughing.

First Sany played at equipes like Cova and Explosão, but now he's been with Pitbull sound system for 9 years and that where the name Sany Pitbull also comes.

As DJing more and more pretty much all the Rio DJs who have the means to do it will do some remixes and their own production. Sany is known for he's creative use of samples like the White Stripes beat he did: "I love music in all it's forms and I mostly listen music inside my car while driving. But I don't listen to baile funk, I listen to jazz, rock, trance, opera, whatever. And I always find something new to mix up with funk beats." he explains. "In baile funk there's no prejudism, people who like are no purists, so why should I limit myself to the samples other people have used already? I also like the vibe and the effects of western electronic music, so I always try to search new ideas from there."

Sany is also well known for his abilities to use MPC sampler to create live beats on the pads while djing. "Seven out ten bailes in Rio have nowadays djs playing live funk; or it's electronic drum kit, or MPC, or then computer software or syntetisizer. And while playing MPC, I don't even use the sequencer, only the sampler and it's always running out of memory or pads, so I wish someone would make a simple sampler with bigger capacity to use playing baile funk live. But MPC is what really gives authenticity to baile funk; the brazilian djs rediscovered it to use it live on stage. Because baile funk is all about percussion, it's all about drums, but we also use human voice, or guitar as a percussion through this special style of using MPC. But personally I don't like computer djs, it's like machine replacing human art. I like to play with vinyl and MPC because it's art made live with our own hands. Even though your sampling somebody, your not only copying, but creating something new based on it."

Sany, like most of the DJs who work with their equipes and don't go touring around with an artist, organize one baile per evening from thursday to sunday, every week. The bailes will take place in various locations, but Cantagalo is Sany's regular where he plays every week. "I've played for 12 years already; I love playing here and always insist doing it. Cantagalo has a very special audience. Since we are 300m away from the rich Zona Sul neighbourhoods it's a mixed crowd. Of course the majority are local favela dwellers here from the community, but this baile also attracts a lot of middle class audience and foreigners who want to enjoy funk carioca."

The social role of baile funk

Inside the communities baile funk creates an independent, peer-to-peer economy. It's one of the few activities that are done by the local community and geared towards the local community; it's not something an aid organization or government offers from outside:
"Baile funk has a huge importance for the local favela community: In addition that it's a way of spending free-time; a secure party free of charge, close to home, it creates jobs. The djs, artists, the people mounting the sound system, but also the people selling drinks and food on the street, all benefit from the bailes."

Even though violent corridor bailes are over, and police don't invade and raid bailes that much anymore, the relationship with the officials isn't still the healthiest one: "The authorities have still a lot prejudism against baile funk: They say there's crime in funk, but they don't see the positive sides of it; baile funk creates happiness and positive role models for the outcast favela kids. And if the MCs are singing about the factions and all that, it's because those are the problems and day-to-day reality they are living All this shit with drug factions and wars, it's a police case; they should be able to resolve it, not funk. Baile funk is only about having fun and dancing."

Sany also sees baile funk as a possibility to solve some of the problems favelas are facing:
"Baile funk is the voice of the community. There is a lot of music inside the favelas, but funk has the most power and influence on people. And I even have an advice for the government: If you wanna make a campaign about Aids prevention, don't take as a model the novela star, but a baile funk artist. The people identify themselves more with the baile funk artists, then white pop stars."

Tamborzão ruling the nation.

"20 years ago I didn't think baile funk would become this big. At the time it was only some parties for the local community. Nowadays the internet is opening big doors for all of us. It's like you've been raised up in a house that's surrounded by a wall. And one day you're big enough to raise your head and have a peak on the other side and you see the world out there. The world to conquer and to take your music to. And I'm really happy that I'm given all these opportunities to go abroad and all. And many times out there I'm learning more then teaching and that's what's best of it. Because baile funk is only in the beginning now. I might not even be alive anymore when funk reaches the level it should, because it's an huge process. And I want these kids that are starting now to be able to look back after 20 years and see even more progress then I'm seeing now."

Baile funk sung in portuguese came out only in 1989, before that in the bailes DJs played 100% international music, mainly miami bass. "All the djs who have been in the baile funk bisnes for more then 10 years, have played in the era when we still included in the sets a lot of miami bass, like 2 Live Crew, Egyptian Lover, Trinere and Stevie B. So we have the influences from there. So first when we did funk here it was like brazilians imitating americans, but after that we added our own flavor to it."

However the success of the national brazilian style was immediate and the DJs started using more brazilian music samples and the MCs singing in a language all the audience would understand started coming up. "What rules the scene now is tamborzão (baile funk with heavy, syncopated brazilian percussion), which is completely carioca. Tamborzão is what makes people really dance here. If you put anything else on the middle of the set the come to complain immediately: "What's with you? Put on some tamborzão!" Sometimes when I play a miami bass tune the younger kids come to ask when will I begin to play baile funk! It's these younger kids who don't know the roots; they've grown with tamborzão and it's the only funk they know. And tamborzão is really the style that is our own, what were now taking abroad and what is enjoying the most success."

The move from the vinyl to the cd era became around 1997 and the adaptation was fast and complete. Sany laments the situation that in Rio no one produces vinyl anymore; all the stuff goes out on cds and is normally pirated right away. "Now that I've seen the other side of the wall, I do much production geared towards foreign public. But even though I produce quite a lot music to Europe and USA, I also can't abandon the local funk scene in Rio, so it's about 50% to the local market and 50% outside. For the stuff I do to foreign labels, I use a lot of brazilian influences and samples, for example from chorinho and bossa nova and for the music I produce for brazilian audience I try to mix up with foreign influences. To have some exchange and to teach about the great brazilian music people don't know about in Europe and vice versa about the european and american electronic music for brazilian audiences."

Hitting hard abroad

Last year Sany went for a tour in Europe that passed through Germany, France, England, Sweden and Denmark. Sany regards the experience very positive and hopes to be able to do more gigs abroad in the future. "I don't speak english, so it was quite difficult to break the language barrier, but it was really cool to notice that the public in Europe loves and respects brazilian music and I was really well received there."

Even though the scale is different in Europe, the audiences get his approval: "It's quite different to play there. Here in Brazil you play in a quadra for 3 000 or 4 000 people, once I even played for 11 000 in the quadra of Salgueiro samba school in Tijuca. In Europe the clubs are smaller, but the people are as energetic and enthusiastic as here. The best crowd reactions I got probably in Stockholm, but the parties were really cool also in Berlin and Stuttgart."

In the nearby future Sany is going for a US this year. The tour passes through many cities so don't miss he's superb MPC live gigs if you're around.


"Diplo came here with M.I.A. in 2005 and he wanted to see baile funk in a favela, so he came here to Cantagalo. In the beginning I didn't like him that much, because he came and wanted everything instantly. On every second song I played he said through his translator, that he wants that song. So I was like wait a second man, take it easy: In 1500 the portuguese came here, took all the gold and gave pieces of mirror to the indians; it's not like this anymore. But after that I talked a lot with him and saw that he's a cool person and a great dj; and I really consider that he's the ambassador of baile funk outside of Brazil. And that's really cool, because he's not brazilian; he just loves the music and the culture. After that first encounter we've done many things together; I've organized some bailes for him to play, when he comes to Rio and I've participated on the documentary he's filming about baile funk. And maybe we'll produce something for Bonde do Role also."
- Timo Santala / Finland

"Who let the dog out? // 15 february 2007"

words by Natalie Brunner

Who let the dog out?

Sany Pitbull ist seit 20 Jahren einer der wichtigsten und innovativsten Funk-Djs und Producer von Rio. Wenn er auflegt spielt er Beatloops vom MPC Sampler, die z.B. mit Samples von White Stripes oder Nirvana kombiniert werden, und von CD werden die aktuellen Hits von Funk MCs gemischt oder Gäste sind am Mike zu finden. Seine Sets sind also bis zu vier Stunden dauernde Liveacts.

Selbst zu produzieren ist eine Notwendigkeit beim Carioca Funk, erzählt Maesotro Pitbull, es gibt keine Instrumentals, die irgendwo veröffentlicht werden. Und so begannen die DJs von Rio de Janiero aufzurüsten, sich Computer und Sampler zu kaufen, um den Sound der importierten Miami Bass Platten für ihre Zwecke umzubauen.

Sany Pitbull spielt sowohl in den Clubs der Südzone von Rio, als auch bei den Bailes in den Favelas, die gratis für die Mitglieder der Gemeinde und alle Gäste sind. In den Favelas spielt er auf seinem eigenen Pitbull Soundsystem - 14 Meter lang 4,5 Meter hoch. Tommelfell malträtierende Wucht. Die Rezeption von Baile Funk in Rio selbst ist gespalten. Manche Medien weigern sich, Baile Funk als eine aus den Favelas kommende, weltweit gehörte und rezipierte Musik wahrzunehmen. Im Zuge der Berichterstattung über die blutigen Auseinandersetzungen der Comandos mit der Polizei war wieder zu lesen, dass Baile-Funk-Partys nichts anderes sind, als Verkaufveranstaltungen von Kokainhändlern.

Diffamierungen, die Sany Pitbull seit Jahren kennt:
"Die Medien bringen immer und immer wieder Funk mit negativen Dingen in Verbindung. Der Drogenhandel in den Favelas, ein Problem, das mit Funk zu tun hat? Nein. Ich kann es nur immer wieder wiederholen: Es ist ein Problem, das mit der korrupten Polizei und den Politik zu tun hat. Nimm Rocinha her, nimm irgendeine Favela der Welt her, ein Prozent der Menschen, die hier leben sind in illegale Aktivitäten verwickelt.
Unglücklicherweise glauben die Menschen, die nicht aus der Gemeinde kommen, dass es hier nur Schlechtes gibt. Hier gibt es nicht nur Verbrechen, ganz im Gegenteil, es gibt großes intellektuelles und künstlerisches Potential, exzellente klassische Musiker, exzellente Tänzer, es gibt Leute die Ballett machen. Es ist ein Medienkonstrukt."

"Bailes do coredor"

Mitte der 90er Jahre gab es die Bailes do coredor. Die Tanzfläche war in zwei Lager gespalten und irgendwann während der Nacht gab der DJ übers Mike das Signal und dann brach für fünf Minuten die Massenschlägerei aus. Bis zum Stop-Signal. Etwas, das es seit zehn Jahren nicht mehr gibt. Aber dennoch taucht es immer und immer wieder in den Medien auf, wenn von Bailes die Rede ist.

"Seit 10 Jahren gibt es keine Schlägereien mehr bei Bailes in Rio. Es gibt die Baile de Brigas nicht mehr. Aber die Medien zeigen alte Sachen. Wenn sie über Funk sprechen, zeigen sie diese Sachen und die Leute die das sehen denken sich, um Himmelswillen, Funk ist gewalttätig, es gibt Waffen, es gibt Drogen. Aber so ist es nicht, das ist wie gesagt ein Medienkonstrukt."

Das Interview und einen Mix gibt es am Freitag, 16. Februar, in La Boum de Luxe (21.30-06) zu hören. Demnächst erscheint auf Man Recordings im Rahmen der Serie Baile Funk Masters eine 12" von Sany Pitbull.
- FM4 radio Vienna / Berlin


Artist: Sany Pitbull
Title: Baile Funk Masters #2
Format: 12“ Vinyl EP
Cat.Nr. MAN 012
Release Date: April 6th, 2007
Barcode: 881390586264
Distributed by MDM & Our Distribution

With his contribution to the series, SANY PITBULL introduces a next level in Brazil´s hot music innovation. Yes, you can call this „Post Baile Funk“. SANY PITBULL pushes the boundaries of funk like few of the original Rio de Janeiro MPC percussionists ever did. The tracks on „Baile Funk Masters #2“ are vocal free, bringing SANY´s outstanding production skills to the forefront.



“ Pitbull sound is one of the premier funk carioca dj crews in Rio. Sany played a party I put together in Prazeres ....... YOU never hear carioca Djs put it down like this ……. thanks SANY and PITTI “
- mad decent worldwide radio # 8 by DIPLO - USA, 27 september 2006

- SANY PITBULL: Besides being a dj at balls all over town, Sany also manage artists, produces music, writes about funk for websites, and is frequently invited to take part in debates to discuss, what else, funk" - BPM magazine, USA, april 2006

“RIO FUNK ROCKERS: SANY PITBULL - A respected member of the scene, Pitbull´s DJ sets are huge in both underground bailes and Rio´s downtown clubs. Check to read his interesting take on the scene “
- DAZED & CONFUSED magazine, UK, march 2006