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31/05/2017
31/05/2017

JOE DAVIS (FAR OUT REC): A BRAZILIAN LOVE AFFAIR!

 

Joe davis 2

Founded in the mid-90’s by DJ Joe Davis, the UK based record label has released mainly Brazilian music, from legends to newcomers, from samba soul to electronic scene. For us, Joe goes back to his own story, as a music lover, before to tell us more about his point of view about record business.

 
 
 

When did you start digging records?
Well actually since i can remember, i always had records in my hands as my eldest brother used to buy a lot of records in the 70’s and as i was growing up i had them all around me. When he kind of finished buying them, as he was collecting from about 1970 to 1980, i had taken over his collection. When i was at school he used to send me to the record shops and give me money to buy records. I seriously started digging jazz and latin records about 1984.

What LP’s did you buy at first? Do you still listen to them?
Firstly it would had been many 12’’ singles. I remember buying tracks by Mystic Merlin, Positive Force, Real Thing. When i started digging LP’s, we already had a really cool jazz dance scene in London and the UK. I think the first gig of this kind that i went to, i opened the door of the venue and Marcos Valle’s “The Crickets Sing For Anamaria” was blasting out. It was Gilles Peterson’s gig at the pub called the Belvedere Arms in Richmond, West London. I started digging those types of records and that type of music. I went to find tracks and LP’s like Jon Lucien “Mind’s Eye”, Walter Wanderley “Kee Ka Roo”, Blue Note’s and modern jazz and latin, things like Charlie Palmieri “Latin Boogaloo”. I still have most of the records and listen to them, when i have time.

Do you have a particular style or favorite period?
I really like music from 1968 (the year i was born) to about 1972. I think some incredible music was made in this period and it was before synthesizers took off in a big way.

Are you still digging, buying vinyl, visiting record shops?
Yes I always buy records everyday, many old friends selling records and i try to buy some, then i am digging where ever i go, i buy one here and one there. I am not after rare records, just great music, that’s always been the case. I find as much value in a record that i can find for £1 or one that i can find for £1000.

What was your first release on Far Out?
The first release was actually a house EP, DJ’s Jam which was like house mash-ups of disco tunes, then we done another one and a third but i was not feeling releasing just house music, so i stopped the label for a few years. I was going to Brazil to buy records a lot and i wanted to have a Brazilian label. I think our first real release at the label and in the spirit of the label was Azymuth’s first called “Carnival” and “Friends From Rio”.

azymuth dublin2


 

What could be your editorial/esthetic line?
Brazilian Music.

What could be the label’s leitmotif?
To put out quality music all be it from Brazil for now but also we work with great electronic and jazz artists so really we want to release whatever is good within these genres.

What is the Far Out LP you are prouder?
I did not think about it. I have produced many or most or at least had a strong work and hand in most. I most proud of some of the early LP’s like Azymuth’s “Carnival”, “Friends From Rio” and “Pieces Of Ipanema”. Another is The Ipanemas “Samba Is Our Gift”, but there are many others.

Did you have any references labels when you launched Far Out ?
Yes Talking Loud, Warp, Blue Note. All of these were and are great labels.

For 25 years, have you noticed an evolution of taste on Brazilian music? How?
Yes when i started, few people know about the real Brazilian music. Many people knew about Bossa Nova, MPB and the likes of Jobim, Caetano Veloso and artists that had been released outside Brazil like Airto, Azymuth, Hermeto and others, but no one really knew the underground music from Brazil, or even the records that were recorded by the same artists in Brazil before their international commercial success.
So it has become really well known now, you can access incredible knowledge about artists and many of the records i was digging and discovering for an international market have become classics and been reissued all over the world, it’s amazing. There is a more general understanding for the music of Brazil all over the world, that’s great.

Piri


 

Who are the Brazilian artists still today underrated in Europe? Over rated?
Many new artists struggle to get heard. There is amazing talents over there. I love the old music and the new. There are many bands like Meta Meta who are underrated, Nomade Orchestra, then composers and instrumentalists like Antonio Adolfo have an amazing talent. Arthur Verocai is another underrated artist and arranger, even though his unique LP has now a cult status.

You have just re-released the Piri LP… A long story before you can do it ?
Yes well it was a difficult process as i needed to find him and i did, he turned out to be an amazing person and we got on really well. I had brought the masters many years ago and we did not have the time to release them as we have been so dedicated to releasing new music. When he knew we would do it, he was really into it and we are in touch about working together in the future too.

You produced the record of Philippe Baden Powell, the son of. Is it even more difficult today to defend «new» artists?
As i have said we always try to encourage artists to do new stuff, it has a lot of potential and i love the Philippe Baden Powell record and think it has a life which we want to put out there. It is a massive difficult challenge but we do try to stick to that format. I did not produce but helped him to release it. He did not need the help from me as he is a great musician and producer himself. He is living in Paris also, amazing story he has.

Far Out has released many records by Joyce, Azymuth or Marcos Valle. Is it a particular feeling to work with such legends?
I love these artists personally musically speaking and would really hope to push them all the way. I love they all became friends over the tie and done a lot of beautiful work together. In the beginning it was tough and it took some time to realize strong relations but it has really worked out and we are all great friends and have a good working friendship.

Some of your records at Far Out are now collectible items. How does it feels for a collector like you to have produced sought-after records?
For me this is a real achievement and really strong for me. I love this.

Marcos for website about section


 

Do you always keep a box of LP’s you release at Far Out or are they some of your productions that you don’t even have archives copies?
I really don’t, i don’t even have some of them, i gave them or they sold out at the time. I am forever being asked for Global Communications remix of Azymuth, Arthur Verocai Biz on 7’’ and many more. It’s funny for me.

More generally, how is it possible now to produce new artists? A new model more «cooperative»?
It’s really tough as the CD sales have really diminished and the LP sales for a new artist is often really poor so it’s tough. The digital is not worth talking about ! Thankfully most of our artists are well established even some of the new ones like Sabrina Malheiros and Clara Moreno, Philippe Baden Powell, etc… Somehow we have managed to do ok with new artists like Nomade Orchestra but it ain’t easy.

You continue to be connected to the electronic scene. Are there any specialties in Brazilian scene?
There is always amazing artists coming from Brazil but i didn’t check for there electronic scene. The house music scene over there is a bit cheesy for me man! I am sure there are some underground artists such as Robotnik.

Nowadays, there are many LP labels who follow this model, I mean more quality even if it’s more expensive… but in same time, there are also another «new» LP market, with major companies come-back and other labels, who prefer to sell cheaper. Is it the (re)creation of two camps for the LP?
Yes i think it is. The collectors have to pay fortunes for a collectable so i think some companies have taken advantage of this and over charging for limited editions but yes you have to be competitive if you are selling music by a new artist for sure. There are 2 markets in this case.

FARO122 Cover Art


 

There are more and more reissues of old LP’s, and more and more record labels (major or indie) now release their new artists on LP, or EP. Do you think that the LP reissue market could ever reach saturation point?
No it’s mad, i can’t even keep up, even within the genres i love, like jazz, soul, funk, Brazilian, i can’t keep up with it all.

What are your other next releases ?
- Sabrina Malheiros – new LP / CD – she is the daughter of Alex from Azymuth so this is a really jazz funk inspired record, we just played some shows in Paris.
– Nomade Orchestra – their second LP and they are touring Europe – again this 10 pieces collective make an excellent funky, psychedelic hotpot of sounds, awesome live and a great festival band
– Viralata self-titled LP, a limited edition LP reissue
– Arthur Verocai – “Encore” LP – this is the tenth year anniversary of the recording and it is the first time on LP.

What is the LP you dream of issuing/reissuing?
I have done enough and am really satisfied with all the work out and what is coming, i can’t ask for more, maybe the Azimuth 7 inch…

far out logo


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