Discussing Brazilian Music with Atom™

By 05 July, 2011

Atom™, otherwise known as Atom Heart, Señor Coconut or a thousand other aliases, is a German music producer based in Chile. He splits his time between making singular techno or dance music (normally under the moniker of Atom™) and making music with a Latin beat, something that has become one of his great successes thanks to the Señor Coconut project.

This month, as Atom™, he featured on the new Red Hot + Rio 2 album, collaborating with Toshiyuki Yasuda, Fernanda Takai and Moreno Veloso on a cover of “Aguas de Marco.” This should be no surprise as he’s been a fan of Brazilian music for a long time, an influence which shone brightly on his album 14 Footballers in Milk Chocolate (recorded under the name Midisport) as well as rearing it’s head occasionally on the Señor Coconut albums.

Here’s a little taster of his work as Atom™:

First off, when did you become interested in Brazilian music, and what were the artists that first made an impression?
I became interested in Brazilian music around 1992, right after i had (mentally) abandoned the “track-oriented” method of making music. I had spent 6 months living in Costa Rica in 1992, where i got in touch for the first time with Latin music and had realised how small my personal repertoire of musical code was. Back home in Frankfurt I started to research “Latin music” in general, which of course is a vast field to explore. Amongst many things i stumbled upon Brazilian music, which struck me as being very different from other Latin American styles. since then i have always considered Brazilian music a separate category to explore. I can’t really drop any names of specific artists that made an impression on me, since in general I am listening to music, and especially to musical genres “as a whole”.

What was it about the music that appealed to you?
I remember a moment, when I was sitting in a restaurant here in Chile and they had some bossa nova from the 60s as background music. I was totally impressed by the “relaxedness” of it; how the music was played, the groove of it, but also the words that were used and how they were sung. Until today, those are the things about Brazilian music that I like most. It’s the laid-back mood, I think, as well as emotionally, a slightly melancholic vibe that makes Brazilian music different from almost any other Latin style.

Do you think any of these have had an influence on how you personally create music?
Anything I listen to has an influence on how I personally create music.

On Red Hot + Rio 2 you do a cover of “Aguas de Marco”. Why did you decide to cover this particular song?
The first time I heard this song (the “Regina/Jobim” version of it – see video below) I was in a car, listening to a Chilean radio station. I didn’t know the song and I remember that its perfect execution, the chord progression as well as the melody, left quite an impression on me. Like always with Brazilian music of that period, everything was executed flawlessly and with such ease. Since then I always wanted to do a cover of that song, especially because the “duet” style of it, makes it a rather rare subject of this genre and therewith opens up a lot of interesting musical moments to play with.

Would you be able to name one particular album that you would recommend to someone as an introduction to Brazilian music?

Have you been to Brazil or have any plans to go?
I have been to Brazil many, many times yes. A couple of times on simple vacations, other times when working with people there and on various ocasions when playing concerts there. It’s no doubt one of my favourite places to go and my Brazilian friends are amongst the nicest people i know.

Here’s a video for “Da Da Da”, one of the last singles from Señor Coconut:

To listen to more from Atom™ go to www.myspace.com/atomtm.

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