Last year, when we spoke with Jamie Jones, the Hot Creations label head had a couple names on his lips—Funky Fat and Brazil duo Digitaria. Since then, Digitaria’s Daniela Caldellas and Daniel Albinati have stepped it up considerably, releasing on Jeudi Records, Hot Waves, and Hot Creations, who issued their brand-new Shine EP. With plenty more action on the way, we checked in with the Belo Horizonte, Brazil-based Albinati as Digitaria continue to bubble up from the underground.
Can you tell us a little about your background? Where did you grow up, and where are you based now?
We were born and raised in Belo Horizonte, a city in Brazil near São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. We still live there, but we’ve been travelling a lot to the south of Brazil and to Europe.
How did you get started DJing and/or making music?
I’ve been making electronic music since the ’90s, and Daniela since the beginning of the 2000s. I think we began like everyone—first you start listening to some kind of music, then you fall in love with it, and one day you start to develop your own ideas. We’ve been involved with other projects before Digitaria. I was in other techno and house projects and Daniela had some rock and electro bands.
How would you describe the music that you make?
It’s always a bit hard to describe our own music. Our music changed a lot in the last few years, but right now I think it’s more groovy, positive, and dancefloor-oriented.
Do you DJ or play live? How would you describe your sets?
We’ve been playing live for the last eight years—travelling with tons of equipment and all that stuff—but we got a little tired of it. In the last two years, there was so much good stuff coming out on interesting new labels that we decided we should take a break from the live-only stuff and DJ a bit. Right now we do a mix of DJ sets and live; we play music we love from other producers and we also play our stuff, with live vocals, edits, and effects. It’s also very good for our music, because we can always test our new stuff on the dancefloor.
Did you have any mentors when you were starting out? Who helped you get established?
I think the first person who believed in our music was DJ Hell from Gigolo Records, back in 2006. We released our first single and album on Gigolo and we were really proud of it. I still love some of old stuff like Vitalic and Fischerspooner.
When did you first feel that you had finally discovered your own individual sound?
We spent a long, long time to find out what was the Digitaria sound. We’ve been through a lot of different kinds of music in these years, but now we are as happy as we have never been before. I really think we found out who we are, musically, and how we should work to get that sound.
Do you currently have a favorite piece of gear or software?
We still love to use old synths like the PolySix and the Poly-800. Sometimes you can get really incredible and unpredictable sounds from them. About software, I am a little in love with the UAD plug-ins these days. Some of them can really make the difference in the final mixes.
Which record do you wish you had made?
Right now I would say The Shamen’s En-Tact and Orbital 2, two of the best dance music’s albums ever made. These albums prove that “dance” and “music” can work together well. Music can be beautiful and deep, and still smash the dancefloor.
If a wrecking ball were headed for your house, which one record would you rescue before it hit?
Radiohead’s OK Computer. I think it would be a great record to listen to after that tragic and strange day.
When you’re not listening to electronic music, what do you listen to?
So much other stuff. We love rock and more experimental music, too. Things like Radiohead (are they already considered electronic music?), Manic Street Preachers, Belle and Sebastian, Philip Glass, Nirvana, Metronomy, Duran Duran, Portishead, Leonard Cohen… It’s an endless list.
When you’re not making or playing music, what’s your preferred pastime?
Listening to and trying to discover new music [laughs].