Alibi may be a relatively new name but the men behind it certainly aren’t…
Two leading lights from Sao Paulo’s constant flow of quality drum & bass: DJ Chap and Level2 have both been denting dancehalls and releasing on labels such as V, Marky’s Innerground and Chronic throughout the decade. With their solo solider stripes reputations fully intact – and a fair few collaborations in the bag together over the years – in 2015 they launched their Alibi project.
Galvanising their combined forces into something much stronger and heavier, their productions have already appeared across the likes of Hospital, Proximity and of course Bryan Gee’s legendary V, a stable they continue to make their home.
With their last EP Trunk/No Escape still rattling in our innermost ears, we decided to catch up with these guys to discuss how they came up… And where they’re heading.
First off let’s talk about how Alibi came to be….
Fabio (DJ Chap): We’ve been friends since 2006 and met through the drum & bass nights and parties in Brazil. At this time, I had just begun making music, and it was the drum and bass that parties brought us together. Without D&B there would be no meeting.
Pedro (Level2): Yeah I started making music a year later in 2007 and our first release together was in 2011. It was a track called Sky’s The Limit, on liquid V.
Brazil has a really rich and vibrant d&b community and history. What is it about Brazil that creates such a strong nurturing environment for making drum and bass?
Fabio: Well I think that everything that goes down in Brazil drum & bass wise is DJ Marky & DJ Patife’s fault. They are always trying to push our community, giving us motivation and inspiration. They always support us and are like legends. When we see these guys supporting our music, they always say don’t stop, please continue. This gives us motivation; you know?
Now we have a great scene of producers here like L-Side, Critycal Dub, Nitri and many more. These guys are awesome and are doing an incredible job and this is wonderful. I cannot describe it. If we had more parties, it would be nice, but talking about the producer scene, its really amazing.
Trunk is a serious tune. How was working with such an established lyricist like Coppa?
Fabio: Coppa is a very nice guy and he’s very professional. When we were making Trunk we were thinking of putting an MC on it and going for something different. We asked Bryan to get in touch with Coppa and he was very keen for it. The process was super nice working with him. Also this year we are working with Fats again, DRS and Lorna King among others.
Both No Escape and Trunk are a bit darker than V’s traditional vibe and your previous work. Was this something you wanted to do for a while?
Fabio: The good thing about working with Bryan Gee is that he gives us freedom. When we started Alibi we wanted to do something different. Alibi is different to my own productions and is different for Level2’s productions as well. We want to do every kind of drum & bass, because we love it all. We are not fixated on one genre of D&B, and Alibi was born to do something different and that’s it really.
Tell me about Skyline with Command Strange’s EP. Yet another certified tune.
Fabio: Bryan said it would be nice to. We started to chat and I asked him if he had any ideas so he sent us a tune called Ahead Of Me which is to be released on the next Viva Brazil Album on V. It was something crazy, it received a lot of support! People were really enjoying it so after this we thought why not do some more. He sent me the stems for Skyline and, after we finished it to be honest, we did not expect anything. Genuinely we expected nothing huge, and then Alex said he wanted to put the track on his EP, Bryan released it and from out of nowhere it ended up at number 1 on the Beatport D&B chart!
Pedro: It’s crazy!
Awesome. You’ve stated V Recordings has become your spiritual homeland. Why is that?
Fabio: Bryan is the big daddy! He has a big heart. I don’t know how to explain it but Bryan is just such a bright shining soul and he is always happy.
Pedro: He’s always believed in our work.
Fabio: He’s always believed in Brazilian D&B ever since Marky, Patife, and XRS. He’s doing incredible things and to work with such a legend like Bryan it really means a lot to us. We feel at home. We have complete freedom to do what we want, if we want to do something different all we need to do is ask. He is always looking for the new things and he is brilliant. I really respect him and wish him all the best for him and V because he really deserves all his success.
Pedro: V is one big family.
Who else influences your sound and inspires you to move forward?
Pedro: Good Question… Calibre.
Fabio: We have very big old school influences here. It’s really rare to find any DJs mixing with CDJs, it’s all turntables and vinyl so it’s very common that you go to parties and listen to old school tunes. This is something we are trying to change because we respect the old school, but there are lots of great new things to play. Marky is great because he is always playing the old with the new. I can say for you that the most influential people for us are guys like Calibre, Marcus Intalex, dBridge, Dillinja and XRS. These guys are always present in my sets and we have so much to thank XRS for.
Does your environment affect or inspire your creative process? Do you always work in the same studio or do you work on the go?
Fabio: We have a very uncommon process. Sometimes we work at a sound design studio. Pedro works during the day and I work during the night as a freelancer. Our boss allows us complete freedom when we have free time to use the studio to make music and in most cases Pedro starts an idea there and then he sends it to me and I either finish it here or we send it back and forth. In terms of things that inspire us, I don’t know we see lots of things during the day that can inspire us you know, we can see a traffic jam, or a movie or TV series. Every single thing can inspire us.
Time for some Brazilian inspiration…
Fabio: We have one name for you… L-Side.
Pedro: He is the guy
Fabio: This guy is a machine. Such a talented man; he is one of the most talented people in Brazil at the moment. 25 years old and such a good DJ. He plays hip-hop and has an extensive record collection. Not just D&B, but funk, soul, hip-hop. If I can say any name that we are smashing, it’s L-Side. Also Urbandawn and of course…
S.P.Y is a king. Have you worked much with him?
Fabio: Well we are really good friends with his little brother Unreal. The nicest thing about S.P.Y is that he is so into music. If you sat with him for five minutes you could learn a thousand different things about music production.
He was the catalyst in getting you on board for the Future Sound of Brazil release…
Fabio: This is really special because we followed Hospital since the Future Sound of Cambridge with Logistics and Commix. We are always playing these tracks since the beginning and to be part of the Future Sound series was amazing and it came from S.P.Y. It’s also extra special to have it on vinyl too. Hospital is one of the greatest labels ever so it’s impossible to not be happy with this.
So what great things does 2017 have in store for Alibi?
Fabio: Well we are planning our next European tour and we plan to be there for the summer. We are trying to get some gigs at the moment, talking to promoters etc…I think we have one more release on V recordings, and this will be a collab with DJ Dizast from Austria. He’s such a nice guy and after this we are planning to release our very first album!
Fabio: Yes. We are very much looking forward to it! We have already chosen the music and we are now working in the studio on the mixdowns, recordings and vocalists etc. We really can’t wait because it’s our first album and the first is a real milestone and it has to be perfect.
Pedro: It’s not just another album, it’s the first.
Fabio: We’re going to have collaborations with incredibly good people so we cannot disappoint them, so be sure to keep an eye out for all this in 2017!