This particular party started in 2002 when Gorky was DJing at events around Rio. "I was definitely influenced by 2ManyDJs," he recalls. "Well, I say influenced, I was completely ripping them off. But one of the things I’d play to be unexpected was baile funk." Baile funk is a Brazilian, and particularly Rio-based, party funk sound. Diplo has described it as "little children screaming about drugs over a Smiths loop and a breakbeat – perfect music." Some...
This particular party started in 2002 when Gorky was DJing at events around Rio. "I was definitely influenced by 2ManyDJs," he recalls. "Well, I say influenced, I was completely ripping them off. But one of the things I’d play to be unexpected was baile funk." Baile funk is a Brazilian, and particularly Rio-based, party funk sound. Diplo has described it as "little children screaming about drugs over a Smiths loop and a breakbeat – perfect music." Sometimes people would boo, other times they’d knock drinks and tables out of their way in a thunderous stampede towards the dancefloor.
In 2004 Gorky met another DJ – Pedro – and they moved in together. Within weeks the pair had formed a dodgy electro rock duo (referred to within the band as The Electro Rock Band That Never Happened) and, when they wanted a girl to sing, they called up Marina. Pedro knew Marina as that girl from school who everyone thought was a drug addict (translation: she liked Hole, Nine Inch Nails and Sleater-Kinney). Marina remembered Pedro as "a clubber!’ He was fashion! Somewhere between hip-hop and rave." Whatever – Pedro sent her the CD, chucking on some of his and Gorky’s throwaway baile funk tracks to fill up the CD. Marina phoned back to say she got the CD and hated everything except the stupid stuff at the end. Marina came round. They drank vodka all night and Bonde Do Role was born.
A Debate Regarding Gorky’s Role In Bonde:
Gorky: "Oh, it’s a LOT of responsibility being the oldest member, they are my children. I have to show them my wisdom."
Pedro: "Your WISDOM!?"
Gorky: "I mean this! I’m the wise man! Besides that I also have the responsibility of bringing the beats to gigs."
Pedro: "You only have to bring the CD along!"
Marina: "That’s your JOB!"
Gorky: "And I sort out all the interviews! And all the problems! If I don’t do that you don’t get ANYTHING done!"
Marina: "You spend twenty hours a day messing around on the computer!"
Gorky: "I’M WORKING!"
Bonde played their first gig 200 kilometres away from home, on a boat. Marina and Pedro wanted to lipsync but Gorky wouldn’t let them, announcing that "you have to be at least a BIT serious." How did it go? "Pretty bad." But the music was taking on a life of its own. As soon as tracks were ready they’d find themselves zapped around the world over email and instant messenger, sometimes burned to CDs, sometimes played out at clubs and parties. At one such party Diplo, already obsessed with baile funk, chucked on a Bonde demo he’d been sent, and he decided to sign them, which meant that Pedro, Marina and Gorky had to start taking things seriously. Diplo’s advice as label boss: "look and behave like artists." He continues to live in hope.
A Disagreement About When The Band Got Signed
Gorky: "We had done a couple more gigs before we were signed."
Marina: "No, our second gig was the next year when we were already signed."
Gorky: "NO! We did one!"
Marina "We didn’t because…"
Gorky: "WE DID!"
Pedro: "We didn’t because some motherfucker stole the CD with the beats!"
Gorky: "Oh, Marina is right."
Before long Bonde were heading off on their first European tour. "It’s difficult to tour with a Brazilian passport," Marina says. "People think you’re an immigrant and you want to sell kebabs." Pedro’s mum, meanwhile, assumed the trio had simply been roped into an elaborate hoax by international drug smugglers and was only convinced that the band really were taking off when they made a Rolling Stone magazine "Ones To Watch" feature.
Bonde’s mums love Bonde’s music, by the way. Gorky’s does her hydro-gymnastics to …With Lasers. She likes the happy songs, or at least the ones which sound happy but are probably about something unspeakable, because most of the lyrics on …With Lasers are in an obscure Portugese sub-dialect called Pajuba, which was appropriated by the gay community, a bit like polaris in Britain. "They have different words for ass," Pedro clarifies. These lyrics pop up in "James Bonde." "Gorky really likes James Bond," Marina explains, "so I wrote a song about James Bond being gay, and turned him into James Bonde. He would be so much better being gay. The song is about how The Queen would sack him if she found out he uses false eyelashes."
Then there’s "Office Boy," Pedro’s favourite on the album, about the life of many a Brazilian teenage boy including, just a few years ago, Pedro himself. "In Brazil, as a teenager, it’s impossible to get a job other than ‘office boy,’" he explains. "It is their job to stand in a queue for three hours to pay the boss’ phone bill. They all look the same – polo shirt, jean pants, little teenage moustaches and hair dyed blonde at the front. The song’s about office boy saving his money to go to the beach, hoping he gets a crowded bus on the way so he can be rubbing against women for fun." "IT’S A SOCIAL LYRIC!" Gorky declares, and it’s certainly true that this is the nearest Bonde Do Role will get to political comment any time soon. Which, these days, is just what the doctor ordered.
Causing a rumpus across Europe with a series of high-profile support and headline slots, and dropping …With Lasers just in time for the summer party season, Bonde Do Role will be hard to ignore over the next twelve months, during which time they’re relocating from Rio to Berlin. "It’s cheaper to live in Berlin," Pedro says. "Plus the people go crazy and get naked."