This is how it’s done…. V Recordings have signed out from their 25th anniversary year this month with a final fire-stoked LP-sized salute: Alibi’s debut album Said & Done.
Featuring the likes of Serum, T.R.A.C, DRS, Cleveland Watkiss, Fats, Riya and fellow Sao Paulo label mates L-Side, Said & Done is a deep dive into all corners of the DJ Chap and Level 2’s collaborative palette. A technicolour trip bookended by two sublime slices of hazy soul (intro track Debris and finale cut You) the album explores all shades and styles from grizzled steppers such as Scuffed to delicate soul skippers such as Make It Real by way of the relentless thrust of the DRS-fronted title track.
Just as L-Side’s album did on V in the spring earlier this year, Said & Done once again reinforces Sao Paulo’s reputation for high grade D&B that now continues well into a new generation… And that V have always been in the thick of that movement, amplifying the city’s creations across the world. Literally; DJ Chap (Fabio) now lives in Vienna while Level 2 (Pedro) is still based in Sao Paulo. But it takes more than 6000s miles to stop them from cooking up serious albums like this. Hell, they cooked enough to make two. We spoke to DJ Chap to find out more…
You’re in Austria, Pedro is in Sao Paulo. How does this all work?
We make it work! It’s cool for touring because I can cover this side of the world and Pedro can cover that side. I’m heading over to Sao Paulo soon so we’ll finally see each other and maybe do some shows together. But even when we were both in the same city we worked separately a lot. Pedro is such an easy to person to work with, he’s a cool guy, most of the time we share over the internet.
How did you end up moving to Vienna?
In 2014 DJ Patife went to Sun And Bass and he fell in love with it. He was so amazed he decided to come back. They gave him a day as a curator and he invited as many Brazilians as possible. I wasn’t working officially so I bought my ticket and thought I will give it a try. I was very lucky to meet my wife Sara there! We’ve got married since then.
Wow! The power of Sun And Bass!
I know man! Never in my life did I think this shit could happen. It’s beautiful. Sun And Bass changed my life. Everything since 2015 changed; Alibi’s going great, my life is great, we’ve got more gigs, we’ve done our album and I have the love of my life.
Lovely. So here’s a quote from Bryan G in an interview to me about you guys in early 2016… “Oh my god! The shit I’m sitting on right now is mental. Everyone will be talking about Alibi by the end of the year. They scare me with their quality. Serious ting!” Was that the album he was talking about?
Probably some works in progress. Or early versions of some tracks. But generally working with Bryan is just a blessing. He brought through some of the biggest names ever in drum & bass; Roni Size, Dillinja, Krust and of course Marky.
Are you old enough to remember that first wave of Sao Paulo talent?
Yeah we got schooled by those guys. They are our teachers, we will pass it on to the next generation. Brazil has a unique way of doing drum & bass. You can never play just one genre of drum & bass. You have to play a bit of everything, it’s all about the full genre and you have to represent that. I remember back in the day during those early 2000s. Every time Marky came back from the UK he’d come back with a bag full of new tunes none of us had ever heard. We’d wait for him to come back and play us those tunes. That first wave generation were great teachers.
I would say that’s kinda the case with V, too. Would you agree? An original teacher is still in full control.
Yeah definitely. And also Bryan has kind of a Brazilian soul. He tries to be positive all the time and that’s what we do as Brazilians. Even when things are shit we try and keep spirits up and not get bogged down in the negative shit. We stayed over his house once and the next morning at breakfast we noticed his phone doesn’t stop ringing ever. And he gives everyone his time. That’s very important. We identify with his personality.
Let’s talk about the album… I love the completeness of the title Said & Done.
Yeah we knew making an album wouldn’t be easy but DRS really helped us bring it together with that title track in such a crazy way. He came over around 2016 to play and wanted to have a studio day with all of the guys. We felt honoured.
Ah he’s told us about this. He did about 10 songs, right?
Yeah man, with us, L Side, Nitri, Andrezz and Critycal Dub. He was just happy to be there and share something with us. That meant a lot. During that session we showed him the track for Said & Done and he did a little thing but he wanted to work on it back in the UK. He sent it back a while later and at from that moment we knew that was the album main title and the direction we needed. It helped us focus, I think we were lost a bit for a while. He helped us more than he knows!
It gave you the framework or parameters for the album…
Yeah I’m grateful he could share a little bit of his experience with us. I believe everybody has something to say and share and that’s very personal to the album. Everyone involved has something to say; Sofi Mari has something to share, L Side, Serum, TRAC, Fats, Riya they all have something to say. The main idea of the album; the album is about life and everyone sharing something about their life experience.
T.R.A.C plays a lead role on the album as he appears more than once…
T.R.A.C is our partner man, we’ve worked for a long time. He’s V team. Me and Pedro are both hip hop fans and he brings that vibe to the drum & bass. Not every MC is able to do that. The first track No Light was so cool to have him and Fats on a track together. We sent it to both of them at the same time and they both came back to us. We put them together and it worked so well. Then Smash Through The City came about so nicely when I was over in London for a party and hung out with Serum and went to studio. T.R.A.C was there and jumped on it. He was writing the lyrics on the fly while we were writing the beats. It was a very dynamic way to make a tune and came together so smoothly
It took a life of its own
Yeah man plus Serum makes sick beer!
What was the hardest track to bring together?
Oh loads of tracks were. But we love them all. The most difficult thing was to choose the final tracklist. We could make two albums with the tunes we have, but we wanted to take them in the right direction and make sure it felt like a real album. We love drum & bass, we don’t care so much about genres and just want to make it all. So that’s been hard; making sure it all makes sense and we still have an identity. S.P.Y has been an inspiration on that type of way; he’s so supportive and musically he’s very inspirational. He’s also full of knowledge and helps us a lot. He’s shown us that you can more sides than one and show diversity.
Biggup S.P.Y! So you said in the last UKF interview that the album was about to be mixed down in 2017… That was over 18 months ago!
Ha, yeah man things took a different way. We wrote a bunch of new tunes and Bryan was giving us with new ideas and connecting us with new MCs and different people, so we actually shelved some tracks for a while. We’ve got a killer tune with MC Fox which didn’t come on the album, for example. So things like that change all the time. But we’ve got more stuff to follow.
Yeah I was gonna say, it sounds like you’re already packing for a new year!
Of course man. We’re having a break now that the album is finished but trust me we have some fighters to drop in 2019…