The Mix 011: DJ Anderson do Paraíso - Music - Mixmag

The Mix 011: DJ Anderson do Paraíso

The funk mineiro sound DJ Anderson do Paraíso helped pioneer has brought global attention to Belo Horizonte's music scene. The Brazilian pioneer shares a bare bones mix of the style and speaks to Nathan Evans about witchcraft, drill influence and Ronaldinho getting in on the action

  • Words: Nathan Evans | Photos: Jose Dutra
  • 1 May 2024

An urban legend is etched into the bailes of Belo Horizonte, known as the Capeta do Vilarinho. It’s actually an old wives’ tale that became a successful marketing stunt for the long-standing Baile de Vilarinho event, but it goes like this: One night during the Baile de Vilarinho, a man who no-one seemed to know appeared, wearing a hat. He was a master of all the dance styles and an incredible seducer, and spent hours that night cavorting with a girl who had been enchanted by him. Until suddenly, his hat fell off, revealing horns on his head. As he fled the baile, people swore that they heard the clip-clop of goat hooves.

DJ Anderson Do Paraíso’s music imagines a reality where this story is true. One of the primary architects of the funk mineiro sound that has come to be the sound of Belo Horizonte funk, it’s defined by its bare-bones, weightless take on the style. Blackened with the possibility of the occult, Anderson creates Brazilian funk that makes you feel like you’re dancing with the devil himself.

Belo Horizonte is a slower-paced and less tourist-driven city situated over 270 miles inland from Rio’s Atlantic coastline. As his name implies, DJ Anderson Do Paraíso hails from the neighbourhood of Padre Paraíso (translation: “Father Paradise”), which sits on the Eastern hillside of the city at the foot of the summits stretching into Baleia State Park . Compared to the established music industries in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, Belo Horizonte lies on the periferias of the funk scene according to fellow BH producer VHOOR. “Rio is a tourist capital and São Paulo is the most developed and industrialised city in Brazil, maybe in Latin America,” he explains. “They have more access to technology and equipment than somewhere like Belo Horizonte or other smaller cities throughout Brazil.” This is true of Anderson, who started producing not on a DAW, but on the Sony Vegas video editing software.

Despite this, Belo Horizonte’s funk scene has reached phenomenal success, spawning megahits like MC L Da Vinte and MC Gury’s ‘Parado no Bailão’, which has earned well over 400 million YouTube views. Anderson’s own track ‘PATY TREM BARBIE’ went viral on TikTok last year, inspiring a dance challenge in his home nation with over 60,000 videos using the song. All of this introduced a style of funk where sub-bass was slow and drawn out in a way that seems to stop time, with reverb-soaked percussion and, at times, a vibrato singing style that could charm a snake. The success of funk mineiro has even inspired former Brazil midfielder Ronaldinho to start his own funk mineiro troupe.

Since 2015, Anderson has been at the heart of this rise, when he started to drape funk mineiro in the gothic aesthetic that defines the genre today. It calls to mind Wiley’s old ‘Devil Mixes’ which removed drums altogether to let the bass breathe and take over. Within a year, he became prominent enough to make a living off of his music, allowing him to dominate SoundCloud with a flurry of songs deployed at a rate that could draw beads of sweat from Vybz Kartel’s brow. This proficiency gave him such a deep understanding of funk mineiro that he knew where it could bend and break to his whim, and he would exercise an idea in multiple ways to wring it of all its potential. This creative strategy led to one of his biggest hits, the high-drama ‘BOTAÇÃO DO VAPO VAPO’, which you can pick out for its cuttingly dull, dog whistle-pitched triangle sound. But look back chronologically at the tracks he dropped in the days preceding and you’ll find his previous six tracks also toyed with this same sound.

Now, his music is being received on an international scale thanks to ‘Queridão’, a compilation album of his best recent singles released via Nyege Nyege Tapes. It demonstrates how he plunges funk into a grave atmosphere so thick that the beat becomes secondary. Purring MC vocals and classical instrumentation are some of his favoured tools of choice to take funk to the observable edge of dance music, almost crossing into chamber music that absorbingly oscillates between sensuality and terror.

Our interview takes place over BH’s carnival season, considered one of the best in Brazil and, ordinarily, where he would be. However, this year, he’s taken a backseat to focus on studying more music production, but can spare some time to talk about his impact on Brazilian music, the international influences in his sound and the years-long push to bring the funk mineiro to nightclubs.

The bailes in Belo Horizonte are linked to folklore such as Capeta do Vilarinho and Loira do Bonfim. Do you think about them when you're making music?

I just think about how much fun people will have listening to my music. Most of the time I’m focusing on bailes and parties.

Do you believe in witchcraft?

I believe in it, but I have no involvement.

What meaning does Padre Paraíso have to you so that it's enough to have it in your name?

When I started, many DJs would use their first name and add the name of their neighbourhood or favela as their second name. I did the same, especially since I started producing music just for fun and never imagined it would grow into something so big that it turned into my profession.

It's gratifying to carry the name of the place where I grew up with me. Paraíso has always been a very peaceful neighbourhood. It used to be quite bustling due to street events like music festivals and Festa Junina, but nowadays, those events no longer take place there.

In Rio's favelas, children used to play games where they hung kites in their houses and tried to capture each other's kites. What games did you play as children in Belo Horizonte?

In my day, it was flying kites, football in the street, stealing the flag, hide and seek, various games. Nowadays, I don't see that many children on the street because of the internet.

Read this next: Get to know DJ Ramon Sucesso, the viral sensation shaking up Brazil's baile funk scene

You have been using the tag 'Queridão' or 'Kirido' since 2016. Where did it come from?

There was a guy, Lucio, who lived on my street who called everyone "meu querido" [roughly translating to "my dear"]. From that moment on I started to use this on my music, and from that, eventually my alias would become "queridão" [augmentative of "querido"].

Is DJ Gordinho a notable character in your career?

A lot, mainly by his style, that made me want to learn to produce. Eternal DJ Gordinho da Lazer Digital [the phrase "eternal” is usually used in funk when talking about someone who has died].

Delano [who produced MC L Da Vinte and MC Gury’s 'Parado no Bailão'] is also a big influence in starting the Belo Horizonte sound. What was the impact of his music when he appeared?

Huge, because his style of music is different from the rhythms we already heard. The lighter rhythm allows you to dance, and it draws a lot of attention. It was a new trend that was very successful and won over many people.

Because of Delano's innovation here in Belo Horizonte, I also wanted to do something more local, but doing it in the style and way I like. Making music with lower tone instruments, people enjoyed it and I enjoyed it even more.

Read this next: Perifa No Toque is a baile funk haven for people on the fringe of São Paulo

You're incredibly prolific, releasing countless songs in 2016 and 2017 in particular. How do you start making your tracks, what usually gets implemented first, and how long does it typically take you to make a track from start to finish?

It varies a lot, but before I listened to some acapellas to produce. From then on, I would start making the beat (bass, kick and percussion), after that I would look for some points (violin, flute or something like that). But I tell you, with simple things you can make a lot of good music.

You've worked with so many MCs over the years. How do you bring guests into your world? Do you give them a theme to start with?

Some I call, others call me, and so on. It varies a lot, because some already have the lyrics ready, I go and put the beat together. 80% of the time it's like this, I let the MC create the theme on their own.

You seem to like a UK rapper called Tion Wayne, and on 'Eu Vou Almoçar’, you add some bass wipes that sound inspired by drill music. Do you follow the UK rap and club music scene? If so, are there any other artists you like?

I started listening to the eternal Pop Smoke, and from then on I discovered Tion Wayne and Dusty Locane. If I let it, I can listen to their drill all day long. I love it.

Your music has a lot of metallic sounds. What draws you to it and what other real-world sounds have you recorded and used in your music?

Metals and Agogô (an instrument used mainly in samba) match a lot with the style of music I like to make. That's why most of the time I'm using those types of sound - I've even used bed squeaking sounds.

I also listen to a lot of orchestras to gather more references, that helps. I don't know how to explain [my love for classical instrumentation], but it's something that catches my attention, because of the sound. I can make it lower or higher, which sounds very good to my ears.

There seems to be a lot of influence from the Middle East and the Far East in 'Aula de Putaria', in the sound of the violins and flute. Where did this come from, are you a fan of this type of music?

I've always been a fan of this rhythm, sometimes I hear solo violins and flutes out of nowhere, just when I’m thinking.

What attracted you to the Timpani drum as an instrument?

It's meant to give that suspense to those who listen to my songs, you know? When it comes, you can know that a heavy beat is coming.

'Se Faz De Santinha' starts with a string playing the traditional song ‘Amazing Grace’. Is there any meaning to this song in Brazil?

To tell you the truth, I don't even try to know the translation of the songs, I focus more on the instrument and if I like it, I'll bring it to mine.

Funk tracks, including yours, usually last around two minutes. Is it difficult to mix with such short tracks? How do you mix them in a live set?

Anyone who knows how to mix can mix any song. However, I will speak for myself, I only include a part, so if the person wants to hear it again, they play the song again. Once you know the song, it's easy, just a few seconds before it ends, I'll come with another one on top.

Read this next: 10 crucial tracks telling the history of São Paulo's Baile funk scene

How difficult was it to bring the funk mineiro sound to nightclubs when the sound was in its infancy?

There was a lot of prejudice that unfortunately is common with new sounds in the genre. The fact that the genre was predominantly followed by the common people from the favelas, the perception of funk is different, especially among more privileged societies. But we always fought against it and things worked out.

What do you think about Ronaldinho representing both Belo Horizonte funk and forming his own crowd? Did you meet him?

I haven't had that opportunity yet, but he's great at everything he does. And that helps Minas Gerais funk a lot. Not just funk here, but funk in general.

Where are you on the cover of 'Queridão'? Why did you choose there? What impressed you about the building?

This is the front of the Igreja Nossa Senhora da Boa Viagem, which is close to the city centre of Belo Horizonte. That day we were going out around the city, to record some things and take photos.

Where do you see your influence on funk mineiro? How does it feel to be the king of your own style?

In several places, other than DJs, they tell me that they use my style of music as a reference. It's a gratifying feeling, I often have no answer but it's part of it, I'm happy about it. Even more so because it influences a lot of people.

‘Queridão’ is out now via Nyege Nyege Tapes, buy it here

Nathan Evans is a freelance music journalist, follow him on Twitter

DJ Anderson do Paraíso - Me Amarro Num Bandido
DJ Anderson do Paraíso - Cara de Princesa, Corpo de Safada
DJ Anderson do Paraíso - Buceta Monstrona
DJ Anderson do Paraíso - Então Toma Porradão
DJ Anderson do Paraíso - Eu Vou Mandar Meu Último Wee Wee Criminoso
DJ AG O Gringo & DJ Anderson do Paraíso - Chama Suas Colegas pra Brincar
DJ Anderson do Paraíso - Vem Me Dar Um Vapo Vapo, Bota ou Não Bota
DJ Anderson do Paraíso - Antigas X Novas
Vhoor & D.A.N.V - Assovio
DJ Anderson do Paraíso - Hoje é Dia de Surubinha
DJ Anderson do Paraíso - Chegando em BH
MC Fahah & DJ Anderson do Paraíso - Desestressa Vai
DJ WS da Igrejinha - Mega Putaria Assombrada
DJ Mack & DJ Anderson do Paraíso - Swingando com Todo Prazer
DJ Anderson do Paraíso - Vão pra Barraca
DJ Anderson do Paraíso - Não Serve pra Namorar
DJ Anderson do Paraíso - Rola o Trepa Trepa
DJ Anderson do Paraíso - Senta Pro Coroa
MC Paulin do G, DJ Anderson do Paraíso & DJ Vitin do PC - Soberano Chefe
DJ Vitin do PC & DJ Anderson do Paraíso - Rádio Terraquea 001
DJ Anderson do Paraíso - Submundo do Agogô do Mau
DJ Anderson do Paraíso - Submundo do Agogô do Mau 2
DJ Hugo CS & DJ WS da Igrejinha - Chama o Coveiro
DJ Anderson do Paraíso - Se Essa Rola Fosse Minha
MC Magrella & DJ Anderson do Paraíso - Paty Trem Barbie
DJ DG do RB & DJ Anderson do Paraíso - Sadomasoquista
MC GW & DJ Anderson do Paraíso - Eu Vou Almoçar
DJ Anderson do Paraíso - Nada me Estressa
MC VC & DJ Anderson do Paraíso - Medley Nostálgico pra BH
DJ Renner & DJ Anderson do Paraíso - Eu Vou Comer Tudo
DJ Lucas do Taquaril - Só Cavucada do Jeito que Ela Gosta
DJ Anderson do Paraíso - Ela Gosta que Bota, Ela Quer que Atravessa
DJ Anderson do Paraíso - Empurramento na Cuca Malvada

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