In her home of Curitiba in the south of Brazil DJ Bárbara Boeing runs her Alter Disco parties, a not-for-proft event series set up with four of her best friends to share the music they love with fellow music lovers.
It's this sentiment that continues to inspire Bárbara as a DJ. The important connections made with people around the world through music, be that online, in a shop, or on the dancefloor. Her busy gig schedule has taken her to a wealth of far-flung places and spaces across the globe over the last few years, including a Boiler Room debut at Nuits Sonore and a spot on Dekmantel Selectors' line up in 2019.
Ahead of her next European tour she takes control of this week's Monday Is OK mix, which is inspired by a visit to Xama Festival at the end of the year and the feelings of happiness and energy this brought with it. Slow in pace, the mix flows effortlessly from rap, reggae and zouk to Latin freestyle, soul and Axé and is guaranteed to banish any Monday blues...
Please introduce yourself... Who are you, where are you, what are you?
Hey, my name is Bárbara, I am from Curitiba (south of Brazil). I have been DJing for 14 years and I am also a civil engineer during the week. I am part of a Brazilian collective called Alter Disco which I co-founded with four of my best friends eight years ago and we throw non-profitable parties in different venues for people who enjoy good music.
Tell us about the Monday mixtape you’ve put together for us.
I just came back from Bahia, north east of Brazil where I spent my NYE at a Festival called Xama. There is a rumor that this specific city I was at (Algodões - Península de Maraú) is one of the most energetic places around the world. I can say I definitely felt it and used it as an inspiration for the recording of this DJ set.
This is a low speed (completely under 100 BPM) podcast based on a truly mellow and happy vibe reflecting all of those good moments I had around my friends at the end of 2019. You can expect Brazilian tracks from different genres (Latin freestyle, Soul, Rap, Axé), some good Reggae and Zouk to lighten up the moment and two or three Downtempo tracks to boost the magic around us. In the end, there is also a special synth pop Egyptian cover I was able to include followed by a Brazilian edit from De Sena, one of my best friends and partners at our collective Alter Disco.
If it were to be drawn what would it look like?
A beautiful island with a truly blue sea surrounded by untouched vegetation.
If it were a food what would it be?
Like a Moqueca – traditional food from North east of Brazil made of sea food, Dendê oil and “farofa” on the side all filled with bananas.
What would be the ideal setting to listen to the mix?
At this beautiful island I mentioned in my drawing.
What should we be wearing?
Only bathing suits for sure!
Where was it recorded?
In my living room.
Are you on the same wavelength as the boomtown rats or do you actually like Mondays?
I work every day during the week and play almost all weekends, so I do not have time to rest properly. This means my Mondays can be exhausting sometimes. But I cannot lie, sometimes I do like it because this is the day I start planning my whole week and put everything in its own place so I can achieve - or at least try to achieve - what I want to.
Who got you hooked on electronic music?
I think Phil Mill, one of my best friends and partners at Alter Disco, was the person who really put me in contact with good electronic music. I used to watch him play on turntables and I remember thinking this was something amazing that I wanted to look into and know more about it. After I learned how to mix, we used to train a lot on our breaks from the engineering university and we made some really interesting mixes at the time. This developed into exciting b2bs we currently play in Brazil performing on a different format, as an Alter Disco’s showcase.
Who would you say are your biggest influences and what are you hoping to achieve with your music?
About my influences, I believe I would have to divide this question into two parts. I would start it with my favorite category which is the digging phase. To be able to search for music from all around the world and meet people (online or in person) who are really into music (even though sometimes they are not DJs) is something unique. In this area, my biggest influences are Maybe Tonight, Fachinetti, HOP, Bayete and Trujillo.
The second area would be the mixing part added to the energy each DJ delivers to the dance floor. I feel really connected to people who do enjoy the music they are playing, bringing joy to that special moment they are performing. Some good examples of it are Carista, Omoloko and Renato Cohen. My main hope as a DJ is to be able to play in different parts of the world, go to places that I would probably never visit if I was not a DJ, play the music I love and make people dance even though we have completely different backgrounds.
What were your original aspirations as a musician and how do you think you're shaping up?
I do not consider myself as a musician since I am not a producer. I feel I am just a good selector that enjoys organising and putting together music from other people. I would say Grizzly Bear, Sufjan Stevens, Portishead and Julianna Barwick are artists who make timeless music. I will probably still listen to them when I'm an old lady.
What was the first electronic record you heard and how did it make you feel?
My step father had a small collection of vinyl in my house. I remember one of the first that caught my attention was a vinyl from Melissa Etheridge, a rock singer from Kansas. At the time I only had a turntable and a cassette tape player in my house. So, listening to it at a turntable was just natural to me…
How does your brain work when making music? How does it work when you aren’t?
I have been working a lot the past few years on this double life, as a DJ and as an engineer. This means I always have a to do list to finish, a meeting to attend to or a place to travel to. When I am playing in my house or at a gig it feels like all of those chores finally disappeared from my head at that precise moment, so I can just relax and seize the moment. I feel I could get absolutely stressed if music was not part of my routine.
What were the first and last records you bought?
The first: A vinyl from my favorite band: Sunset Rubdown - Random Spirit Lover
The last: I just bought a Latin Freestyle from Latino - Marcas de Amor and also Cara Gente Brasileira that includes a Netinho production called Amazônia (my favorite).
What are you obsessed with at the moment?
I have a new acquired taste for coffee. I cannot believe it took me so much time to start liking it!
If you could travel in time...where in time would you go? Why?
I would come back to the year of 1998 so I could be able to meet friends and play soccer and basketball. I’d listen to tons of music and know the lyrics by heart. I’d have no worries about what I would achieve in life and I’d be totally relaxed and chilled about my next steps.
Some self help questions for a Monday...
Am I excited to dive into the challenges that I have lined up for the week?
Yep! Good to go.
Am I looking forward to engaging with the people I am meeting or working with?
Yep, I am always up for engaging and working on new stuff with new people that brings me new points of view.
Am I going to my dream job?
I am twice blessed, because I am in love with my two jobs.
Am I being compensated fairly for the value I bring to my job?
Do I feel energised, rested, and confident?
I am really energised and confident at most times, but never rested. I am always in need of some vacation time!
If you were trapped on a desert island with one other person, who would you choose? How long would it be before you eat them?
I would choose to go with my girlfriend but I am afraid she would eat me first, she is stronger than me! Hahaha…
Your doctor says you need more exercise....what do you take up for exercise?
Last year I enrolled on exercises that involve the weight of my body and some meditation to make me feel better and less anxious.
What's your answer to everything?
“I’m on it”
Anything else we need to discuss?
Nope! All good.
Follow Bárbara Boeing.