The Brazilian Girls know how to throw a party. Coming out of New York’s underground jazz scene, they’re a band that gets the people grooving with their eclectic repertoire of jazzy, funky dance music. Their first album, Brazilian Girls, came out on Verve Records in February and the band’s live performances are electrifying and theatrical.
Italian born singer Sabina Sciubba sings seductively in five languages. The out-of-this-world atmospherics are courtesy of Argentinean keyboardist Didi Gutman and drummer Aaron Johnston. Bassist Jesse Murphy rounds out the group. Recently I spoke with Murphy about their upcoming visit:
MTW: Have you ever been to Hawai’i before? How do you picture Maui?
MURPHY: I picture nothing but saltwater to wash all the crap off of us because it’s going to be a long road. It’ll be great; I can’t wait to be there. I think we even have five or six days to hang out.
What’s the wildest thing that ever happened at a Brazilian Girls’ show?
That’s a good one. Definitely when people take off their clothes and it gets hot and crazy. We get to this hyped-up place where there’s no turning back. The whole dance music thing makes for wild shows.
So how often does that happen?
Anytime we play a small, sweaty club. So I imagine people will take off their clothes in Maui.
And how. I’ve noticed that many of the blurbs about Brazilian Girls use the words “sexy, sultry, and seductive.” How do you seduce listeners?
It’s a combination of the low end and not being able to see Sabina’s eyes. Her concealed eyes create a lot of mystery. Visually, she brings a lot of mystery to the stage. Then Didi takes you on a journey around the world with his playing, creating tension and building the mystery. You don’t know exactly what you’re getting and it forces you to listen in a different way.
What inspires you?
All the great New York musicians make us feel inspired. It’s the upside of living in this sweaty shithole. That’s why I couldn’t live in Maui. This community makes you want to create with other people. It’s a very collaborative community. We all know each other and play together and we get to hear each other play and inspire one another.
How do you perform night after night?
Calisthenics, jumping jacks and lots of drugs. No, no, no! Music feeds itself and we get energy from one another and the crowd. There are only four of us and when a thousand people walk with you, you realize you aren’t in control. Dancing dictates how the music sounds. This band adjusts to the energy of the crowd. I guess all bands do—people are receptive and responsive.
Dancing definitely controls the gig. And with Sabina singing in five languages the mystery grows and you feel transported. It can be hard enough to understand song lyrics in English, but mix in Italian, German, Spanish and French and you can feel somewhere else all together. Where we play in New York, at Nu Blue, you can hear 10 different languages on any given night. There’s people from Turkey, Japan and all over Europe.
We’ve been working on some new stuff that isn’t on the record. So on Maui, we’ll play some more electro mash-up faster stuff, too.
Please describe the similarities between “Pussy” and “Marijuana” [from their self-titled album].
Hmmm. They both exist on Maui! Well, there is a common feeling. Kind of like a five note chord that resonates well together.
We’ve been well received so far and people go to the gig and then they get it. Our music has an abstract element, but people understand the humor in songs like “Pussy” and “Lazy Lover.” We like to keep the humor alive so people don’t think about what they usually think about. Or maybe with pussy and marijuana, people are thinking about what they usually think about.
That’s great. Have you played in Brazil?
No, not yet. We plan to remix songs from the Verve vault, though, and release an album with the proceeds benefiting a Brazilian charity. We’re trying to get together a tour of Brazil and Argentina around November.
Who are the sexiest girls in the world?
Sabina Sciubba, of course! Well, they’re all sexy. I’ve been traveling all around the world and I realize they’re all the same. You can’t change them. You just have to recognize what’s sexy. MTW