I recently did an interview of this young mash-up artist that turned out to be a really good exemple of how technologies are changing the way music is being produced and promoted. He is 22, comes from the North East of Brazil and rules the Asian Mash-up remix scene. Leaving on his first tour to South America in early 2011, DJ Masa is living proof that the new music ecosystem is emerging and that its cultural implications are real.
You are getting close to 100,000 downloads on official.fm alone. I saw that you have 12 Million + views on your You Tube profile … This is quite significant, can you tell us a little bit of your story?
100.000 downloads already? Wow!! I hope it didn’t make your servers busy! Well, I’m a 22 years old journalist and I’m from Brazil. I’ve been following the Asian Pop scene since 2003, when I discovered J-pop and K-pop through the Internet. That time I joined a lot of forums and fan sites to keep me updated and to contribute with that community anyway that I could. I started to learn about music production software in 2005, when I released my first mashup and shared it with my online friends. The starting point of my Music Producer/DJ career was my blog, Masa Mixes, where I post my work. The “boom” came in 2008, when I started to create mashup albums using Asian music vs. World music and released my very first K-pop mega-mashup – ADIOS 2008 – which made my name known among the Asian music fans. The key is to know the community you want to reach and be participative and updated.
I feel your story is really a sign of the times.You live in Belem, North-East of Brazil and you are re-working Asian Pop while adding US and Euro mainstream elements into it. How would you describe such a cultural blend?
The most fantastic thing about the Asian Pop culture is the fandom. Fans are spread around the world and they aren’t Asians or half-blood, nor speak Japanese or Korean, just like myself. Their Pop music scene communicates with any crowd using key elements like music videos, choreographies, trendy electronic music, fashion and lots of fan service. The main issue is that the Far East is still seen as “exotic” – and most of the people in the world don’t even know that the Pop music produced there popular and generic just like the mainstream music in the Occident. What I do is more of a cultural approach using music – for both newcomer listeners and also for hardcore fans.
It seems that worldwide Pop music is getting more and more generic when it comes to melodies, gimmicks, auto-tune, etc.. Do you feel that Brazilian Pop is following the same path?
thanks to the Internet, we can discover new genres and new idols. Nowadays the mainstream Pop is still dominated by trends like Emo-core and the local Folk music is standing still just like Country music. Generic? I think so.
bq. In terms of World Music, Brazilian music is very known by its creativity and richness – and we have a growing Electronic scene that uses World Music elements to create new genres and blends. And that is something to look forward to in terms of the future of Pop music.
There is a lot of talk and hype right now around Girl Talk. People have been talking about lawsuits but nothing has happened yet; even while his previous album was even topping the iTunes charts. It looks like when you are getting too famous Major labels might think that it would a bad PR move to sue the artist. Do you have any legal concerns (or warnings)? Do you sell your music too?
I really admire Girl Talk, he’s an inspiration for every Mashup producer. No, I don’t sell my music, but this ain’t just a hobby anymore. Actually it’s very time consuming. Followers keep asking for more new works, and yet I cannot charge them for my music. Here and there someone makes a donation and that’s really appreciated.
bq. Everything published by me is under Creative Commons and I find it so amazing to watch people re-working your re-worked production. This is the way I found to keep me legally supported to keep creating and sharing. And I agree with you. Labels can’t really control the Do It Yourself wave, they can’t sue every producer. Because all media can be easily shared and transformed, the whole appropriation issue cannot be stopped anymore. I believe Japanese and Korean labels know about my works, and as I told you before, they also know a lot about fan reactions.
I’ve lost 3 YouTube accounts in the past, but right now my channel is also a way to promote their artists to the world crowd. Sometime my videos or mp3s are removed by their request – and in terms of marketing they’re the ones earning with my promotional works. But we never know, I can get my account suspended again and I lose all of my subscribers and views at anytime.