Peace Gil! Thank you for giving us your willingness to answer some questions. Indeed, we got to know you thanks to your project together with the British producer Giallo Point, “Subversivo” (released in early January), but we were pleasantly impressed. It is good news that this underground rap movement is becoming more and more global, also involving the Brazilian scene.
GIL DALTRO: “Hi Fam, what’s up! I really appreciate the interest in our work and the invitation for this interview”.
Can you tell us about your story and the city in Brazil you come from?
GIL DALTRO: “I’m just a working class guy from Salvador, living in Florianópolis, who has been breathing music 24/7 since my existence. I’ve been into hardcore punk and rap music since a young age and was a teenager dividing time in between political books, skateboard and bands.
My interest in politics led me to social movements so I was engaged in some protests and political and working class organizations for the last 13 years or so while making music.
About Salvador, it is a magical city. I’m here right now while answering this interview. It’s the blackest city in the world outside the African continent, home of creative people that can show a great sense of humor even in the hardest conditions. It was the first capital city of Brazil, home of the samba and of many resistance movements along our history. It is the Brazilian avantgard for many things, especially when we talk about culture.
There are many problems, though. The biggest one is the violence. It is one of the most militarized cities I’ve seen where the police shoot first to ask later. The drug war kills a lot as well, on both sides.
But we try to make our best out of the crazy life we live here. And don’t be scared by it, it’s a must visit for everyone. Home of beautiful beaches, wonderful food and music on every corner. There is no other place like it”.
How and why did you approach Hip-Hop? And when did you decide to write your own rhymes?
GIL DALTRO: “I can remember listening to rap music since a very young age and enjoying it a lot. It was mainly what came from the U.S. and played in Brazilian radio like: Fugees, Puff Daddy, and a Brazilian MC called Gabriel O Pensador.
I was also really into rock and classical music as well, amongst others. Around 8 or 9, when I had the age to start doing my own research I started founding stuff like the Beastie Boys, Cypress Hill, DMX, Busta Rhymes, while also listening to punk rock and hardcore punk. Along with that there where some bands in Brazil mixing rap and hardcore such as Planet Hemp, Pavilhão 9, Charlie Brown Jr which I really liked.
But in 1998 there was a Brazilian rap group who changed my whole relationship with rap music and hip hop which was Racionais MCs. I got their “Sobrevivendo no Inferno” for birthday and that totally changed everything for me. The lyrics and the beats really talked to me. But at that time, I approached Rap Music as a listener.
My first band at 2001 was a punk rock band, and later a hardcore band in 2005 which ended in 2009. I have been writing lyrics since the late 90’s as a kid. It was mainly punk rock but I wrote some rap music as well. Around 2003 or 2004 I also started to make some instrumentals but in a really amateur way and later stopped. After leaving Ocarina (my hardcore band)
I went on a musical project hiatus and was on full militant mode with students and working class movements while planning on my next project to be something related to rap which I always wanted to do but never gave a real shot. So around 2011, 2012 I started messing up with some production softwares and making some beats for myself in a way to give some flow rate to my need of making music while starting to write my first lyrics for a rap project which I never put out (and probably never will). While engaged in social movements, I felt the need to start writing my own material to talk about my views of things. A couple of years later I became a part of Maus Elementos releasing my first rap song and making my first rap shows”.
How is the Brazilian scene? Is there a solid movement related to underground rap? Who are the prominent members now?
GIL DALTRO: “Brazil has a powerful scene with many talented MCs. It’s a huge country with more than 200 million people and many issues to be solved and spoken. For the last 5 years the trap scene has been dominant and reached mainstream but underground is resistance and keeps producing in high level.
Right now, specially with the pandemics it’s not like it’s possible to tour and underground here didn’t reach the vinyl producing level cause shit can be expensive here for producers and consumers. But I’m really into what’s happening in Salvador right now. I think my homie Galf AC will take things to a next level.
Ravi Lobo and his group Nova Era is also really dope. Marco Gabriel is doing some awesome stuff. Romer Attack is coming hard. Gotta watch out for what producers Jumar Paralelo, Barba Negra and Isac no Beat are doing as well.
Qual è stato il tuo percorso nella scena hip-hop brasiliana? Quali sono i tuoi progetti più importanti prima di questo “Subversivo”?
GIL DALTRO: “Basically, some releases like Racionais MCs, MV Bill, Sabotage, Xis. These were some of the artists that drew my attention to the hip hop scene. Later, listening to Dead Prez and Non Phixion, I started to want to do my own stuff. And then I met brazilian group Gíria Vermelha and became friends with one of it’s members Hertz (former Clã Nordestino). He was basically the guy I looked upon when starting to do my own shit. I later engaged on some militant hip-hop initiatives which Hertz was involved more than 20 years ago at the time.
As for my material, I put my personal project on stand by to join Maus Elementos we released the album “Eles Não Vão Perdoar“. Along with that there is also a solo album called “Narrando a Era da Psicose” and the VAPOR series which I made with my homie Galf AC and has 4 volumes heading to the fifth this semester. I also made 6 beats for the american TV show Texas Metal”.
How was your connection with the British batmaker Giallo Point and your “Subversivo” born? What is the concept of the album and the title?
GIL DALTRO: “Basically Galf sent him a message and he was really receptive after seeing what we were messing with and basically in that weekend we had beats to start writing our own EPs. Giallo is a fantastic guy who shortly became a friend and an inspirational producer, so I’m really humbled to get the chance to put SUBVERSIVO out with him.
The concept of SUBVERSIVO was made in the process. As I wrote the record, it felt more and more like a subversive call, especially considering the Brazilian protofascist government we have at the moment. So when I listened to the pre-mix fully for the first time, I baptized it. Along with that I felt like putting some cuts from an interview of brazilian revolutionary Marighella. I think rap music can be about a lot of things, but especially in a political moment like we are living right now, we can’t just talk about parties, sex and booze like nothing else is happening”.
Are you having good feedback for the album? Even at home?
GIL DALTRO: “Yes bro, this has been really dope. Many different people have been talking to me about it. The biggest newspaper in the state and one of the biggest in the country made an article about it, and dudes from other states have reached out. Along with that, other countries have been listening to it a lot. My music played in Indonesia for the first time, that’s crazy for me to imagine. Italy has been showing mad love playing it on repeat on spotify. Berlin in Germany as well. Some producers and MCs have also reached out to show some love”.
Are you already working on something else? And who would you like to work with?
GIL DALTRO: “I’ve got a bunch of projects for this year which will be soon released. VAPOR Vol. 5 is already recorded and being mixed and mastered by Tiago Simoes for release. I’ll soon release an album produced fully by me. There is also an EP with Isac and Romer Attack, one with Jumar Paralelo and Tiago Negão and a participation in a Barba Negra Project.
I’ll also be releasing some singles and there is a project with a foreign MC but I’ll be talking about it later, we are still adjusting some stuff.
Per quanto riguarda le persone con cui mi piacerebbe lavorare, è stato un lungo sogno realizzare qualcosa con M1 e stic.man dei Dead Prez e anche con Ill Bill.
As for who I would like to work with, it has been a long time dream to make something with M1 and stic.man of Dead Prez and also with Ill Bill. I’m really into what Rome Streetz is doing right so I think it would be dope to make something together. As for beatmakers, I’d like to work with Giallo on more projects, and make something with Farma, Futurewave and Nicholas Craven someday. Dj Premier and Necro are on my dreamteam beatmakers whom I’d like to work with”.
How is the current situation in Brazil? From the outside, it seems that between covid and authoritarian politics it is not a good time for Brazil. Can you tell us your point of view? And how is the situation in your city and region?
GIL DALTRO: “Things here are really hard at the moment. Many of the ones who died of COVID, died because the government resisted to recognize there was a pandemic going on and take action about it. It was genocide politics. Bolsonaro represents the worst of what some Brazilians can be and unfortunately, the left movement wasn’t engaged in taking more energetic measures to face the protofascist president. But hopefully things are getting better this year and we will be ripping him off of presidency. In Salvador, my hometown, things are now kinda of controlled but some restrictions are coming back because H3N2 has been now spreading. But the deaths have decreased and are happening mostly amongst those who didn’t take the vaccine. Can’t wait for things to get better and start hitting the road with some music”.
Thank you again, Gil!
GIL DALTRO: “Thanks for reaching out and making it possible for people to know more about my work. Peace to Italy and to all ThrowUp Mag readers”.