Local Noise: Brothers Of Brazil

You might be wondering why a band called Brothers Of Brazil, who obviously hail from South America, are being featured in a column called Local Noise. Well, the group has been making a splash in the local area, and been hitting so many area venues that this area has become a second home for them. They’ve already hit the prestigious Record Collector venue in Bordentown, NJ, Bowery Electric, the Knitting Factory and Pianos in New York, and have shows coming up at Maxwell’s in Hoboken and the Brighton Bar in Long Branch.

The group is actually a duo, comprised of Supla and Joäo, who have managed to combine elements of traditional music from their Brazilian homeland with rock and funk to create a unique sound that’s won over audiences all over the world, and even enabled them to be invited onto the Warped Tour.

Below, I asked Joäo about how they got their start and how they managed to create such a buzz in our area, as well as in many of the places they’ve performed.

How did you get your start as a performing duo?

We had solo careers before joining the band together. Supla had a pop/rock band in Brazil called Tokyo that was pretty big, on Epic Records, before he went to do his successful solo career and a metal punk rock band called Psycho 69 during the time he’s lived in New York City. He has also performed in movies and even became an action figure in Brazil. You can ask anyone on the streets in Brazil and they will know who Supla is.

Even though I have grown up listening to the rock music my older brother was playing all the time, I turned my interests towards Brazilian traditional music such as bossa nova and samba. I put out three CDs of my own compositions and gained some heavyweight fans in the Brazilian music industry.

About four years ago, by coincidence, we were both in London at the same time and we decided to put on a show together. The response was so positive, and we enjoyed doing it so much, that we both decided to put aside our own projects and focus on this joint venture. Bernard Rhodes, the guy who used to manage the Clash, came to the show and said there was good potential. Six months from that, we were invited to have our own national TV show in Brazil called Programa Brothers, which was on air for almost three years.

Where have you played?

We’ve played everything from the Warped Tour in 2011, and festivals like Rock In Rio, to small regional tours with The Aggrolites in the Southwestern U.S., New Orleans, LA, Tampa-St. Petersburg, in Florida, to Festival Terra in São Paulo, to the BBC Studio One. We made it to The Greek in L.A., and the Sunset Sessions. We did over 170 shows in 2011 alone!

How would you describe the music that you do?

From the heart! Brazilian music sensibility with a rock and roll attitude. We used to describe it as “punkanova.” Now we have an EP coming out called, On My Way, on the Side One Dummy label that we feel is an evolution of the music that we’re calling “Brasileiro rock and rolla!”

Who does the writing, and how does the writing process work for you?

We both do it. We write all the time and we have some crazy friends. For instance, we just wrote a song with the band we toured with, The Aggrolites, and it’s called “Never Quit!” That song came after a show in New Orleans and a guy came up to me and he said, “You guys are great! Never fucking quit!” True story, we loved this comment on our music so much, we incorporated it into a song my brother was working on with The Aggrolites.

Who are your musical influences?

Tom Jobim, Sid Vicious, Chico Buarque, The Beatles, Joao Gilberto, the Rolling Stones, Baden Powell, Bowie, Nina Simone, Ray Charles, and whatever sounds interesting with personality.

Are there any particular songs that are favorites of fans or yourself?

“Samba Around The Clock,” the new one, “On My Way,” and “Viva Liberty.” “Samba Around The Clock” used to be a traditional samba song that I had all in Portuguese, talking about all the possibilities that the samba has, and then Supla came and put a twist on it to get what we call the “punkanova” style.
“On My Way” is a brand new song that we wrote on the road, and I guess it talks about that plus some nostalgic memories. “Viva Liberty” came out after Supla visited his friend Bob Gruen at his house, and saw this giant picture with John Lennon in front of the Statue Of Liberty doing peace and love with his fingers. He couldn’t help to think “viva liberty!”

You often base songs on some of your funny experiences. What were some of them?

We were in Paris to play a show, and we would ask for information, and they would go like this: “désolé.” We found out that means, “Sorry, I cannot help you.” So we ended up writing the song “I Love The French.” And when we were doing shows in London, we wanted to shoot something for our TV show in Brazil, so we decided to go to Amy Winehouse’s house and serenade her with a bossa nova song. She wasn’t there, but the paparazzi were, so we went to talk to them. They were really rude and didn’t want to talk at all. We thought, “These guys are here bothering her all the time, and now they act like that!” So they deserved a song too.

You can catch Brothers Of Brazil at Maxwell’s in Hoboken on Wednesday, March 7, and at the Brighton Bar in Long Branch on Friday, March 9. For more information, go to brothersofbrazil.uol.com.