DJ Wehbba: I can't switch off from music
That would be like giving up oxygen; kind of hard to survive without it for more than a few minutesNeyka Krasteva , Sofia
The only thing I carried from my time as a dentist over to the music was my devotion to research and to acquiring knowledge. As a dentist you need to study relentlessly to be on top, so that you are able to help your patients in the best way. In music, it's very easy to conform to formulas and stick to a plan, so I'm happy I was able to experience what I did as a dentist and learned how to keep “flexing the muscle” in my brain, says the emblematic electronic music DJ from Brazil in an interview to Europost.
You gave up dentistry to devote yourself full-time to DJing and production. How did you make this decision? Were there any life lessons from this profession that you took into music?
I've had both careers running in parallel to one other, but the music was growing a lot faster and gave me a lot more fulfilment in every way, so it wasn't a hard decision to make, especially after I started touring internationally. I just wouldn't be able to keep doing a proper job as a dentist if I wanted to. I think the only thing I carried from my time as a dentist over to the music was my devotion to research and to acquiring knowledge. As a dentist you need to keep current and to study relentlessly to be on top of whatever comes your way, so that you are able to help your patients in the best way. In music, it's very easy to conform to formulas and stick to a plan, so I'm happy I was able to experience what I did in my time as a dentist and learned how to keep “flexing the muscle” in my brain.
Tell us about some of the sources of your creativity - what aspects of life in Barcelona inspire you and where do you seek this inspiration?
I walk around the city quite a lot every day and just try to take it all in. The architecture, the food, the parks, the beach, the vibe, everything in Barcelona resonates with me and keeps my creativity flowing. I spend a lot of time by myself, walking around or riding the bike, either listening to music or in silence, to get to that quiet place in my mind where the inspiration finds its way in.
What's the electronic music scene like back home in Sao Paolo where you were born?
It feels like it's been going through a metamorphosis period for the past 2-3 years, where a lot of the traditional clubs shut down, a lot of pop up party brands emerged quite successfully, and lots of new artists have been popping up from this whole movement. Also because of this, it seems like there is a lot more diversity in music styles and a lot more openness from the public towards different kinds of music.
Did moving to Barcelona change you as an artist? What kind of opportunities did it allow?
Totally, it actually allowed me to bloom into the artist I've always had inside of me that felt trapped in a scene that had extreme limitations. I felt the freedom to explore my creativity a lot more, and to dig deeper into the technical aspects of my production as a result of being more creative. Europe in general has a very consolidated electronic music scene with plenty of space for every style imaginable, and not being so involved with a local scene, as I was back in Brazil, allowed me to focus less on what's around me and more on what's inside.
How did you become associated with Adam Beyer's Drumcode imprint and what makes the label special?
It was right after I've decided to leave my secondary career as an engineer and focus on my own productions. I started gravitating to a sound that felt would be a great fit on Drumcode, and shortly after sending some demos, Adam showed interest, and we started planning the first releases; two years and six releases later, here we are! I really admire the way he manages to be eclectic, but still retain an incredibly sharp vision for what the sound of the label is, and where it should be headed. To me, besides their spotless care with the brand's image, that's what makes it special and one of the best and most complete platforms in the industry today.
Tell us about a standout career highlight so far?
It's always very difficult to answer this question, because I am so immersed in the day-to-day developments and so focused on the music that sometimes I forget to notice the accomplishments from this hard work. I've been lucky to have worked with some of the best labels and artists in the industry, people who I've admired since I've started out in the 00's, and to play at amazing venues and festivals all over, and all of that means the world to me. I couldn't point out a single event even if I wanted to!
Your wife ANNA is a highly successful techno artist as well. How do you inspire one another and what is the creative dynamic like at home? Also how do you divide studio time?
We are lucky to have each other and to be able to share our lives for the past 13 years and grow together as artists. It's nice to be able to get instant feedback from someone you trust, artistically speaking, so sometimes we bounce ideas off each other during the production process. We have very different work schedules, I prefer working at night, that's when I'm more creative, while she's more of a 9-5 person, so we don't have any issues with sharing the studio.
Is it sometimes difficult to switch off from music when you're together and be a 'normal couple'?
Not at all. We've grown into this whole thing together, so as a couple we're not defined by what we do. But I say that regarding work, obviously it's difficult to switch off from music totally, that would be like giving up oxygen; kind of hard to survive without it for more than a few minutes.
You practice regular meditation. How has this benefited your mental health and affected your overall creativity? Do you think this has benefited your musical output?
Meditation helped me get through some really hard times, kept me from a mental breakdown, and it changed my life. It took me on a path it would have taken much longer to find if I didn't start meditating nine years ago. It has been beneficial for every single aspect of my life, not only creatively or professionally speaking, I can't recommend it enough.
What can your Bulgarian fans expect from the upcoming show?
I've been dying to play in Bulgaria for such a long time, I just can't wait to play a whole lot of new music I've been working on for the past few months.
What's next for you?
More of the same, lots of travelling and music making. My next release will be on Drumcode A-Sides Vol.8 titled Mantra, so watch out for that!
With a string of chart-topping hits to his name, and international success around the world, today Wehbba is one of Brazil's most widely acclaimed and highly respected global ambassadors for techno. He was born in Sao Paolo, Brazil, and graduated in medicine, majoring in dentistry. In 2015, he made a long-awaited move to Barcelona, further establishing himself in the European techno scene. Following the move, his star only continued to rise, as he balanced studio time with gigs at clubs and festivals in Canada, USA, Croatia, Portugal, Chile, France, the UK, Argentina, Germany, Australia, and of course back home in Brazil. His debut four-track Eclipse EP on Drumcode stormed into the top 10 charts within the first few days of its release in February 2018.
On 31 August he will perform at Cacao Beach Club in the Bulgarian Black Sea resort Sunny Beach.