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Joyce Muniz serves a seductive musical journey with her new oeuvre, ‘Zeitkapsel'

From House to Hip-Hop, Samba to Electro, meet the prodigious brazilian producer Joyce Muniz

  • Words: Rocio Flores | Photos: Katja Ruge, Markus Morianz, Jake Davis
  • 1 June 2023

Famed for her exquisite sound behind the decks and fabulous way of production, the Brazilian DJ and producer Joyce Muniz has released her music on topmost labels such as Exploited, Permanent Vacation, Get Physical, Pets Recordings and DJ HELL’s imprint Gigolo Records.

For decades now, Muniz has never stopped exploring the corners of the subtle realm of electronic music. She is also a curator of her radio show on FM4 in Austria and Rinse FM in The UK and a prodigious music selector.

Thanks to her eclectic and diverse approach to music, Muniz knows perfectly how to use this knowledge like no other, insomuch as she has recently teamed up with German producer Andreas Henneberg and Alec Tronic to showcase ‘Synth Happens’ at Nikolaisaal in Germany, this fascinating musical endeavour which consisted in unify electronic music with the classic sounds of German Film Orchestra Babelsberg.

Mixmag Brazil spoke with Joyce Muniz about ‘Zeitkapsel’, an album that plays within the boundaries of the significant moments of her artistic expedition and her attachment to her roots.

Hello Joyce, thank you for having us! We are so excited that our paths finally crossed, especially now that you released ‘Zeitkapsel,’ an album that genuinely exemplifies who you are. Congrats on that!

Thank you! I appreciate your feedback. I have to say that I have been swamped because, since I decided to launch a label to present the album, I have been doing a lot of background work; even if I have a great team, everything is on me, I have to make a lot of decisions, I have to do the podcast, and there are a lot of things going on in the background.

This year I have not written many new tracks because I am building a new studio place. It has been a hectic year for me, I also have many shows coming ahead.

It is extraordinary that you mentioned that you have decided to release your imprint after releasing in great labels like Gigolo Records or Exploited among others. What motivated you to create a label?

When I finished ‘Zeitkapsel’, I knew it was not supposed to be a classic dance album, mainly because I have all these types of genres involved. So, I knew that if I would sign it with a label, it had to be a label that fits all genres.

Most of the labels that I have been working with are specialized in dance music, and when I had a couple of tracks done, a friend convinced me to apply to this project to get support from the Austrian’s government, everything was happening during the pandemic, so I applied and got the support.

This provided me some support to produce the album and do things that could have been difficult to do or cost a lot of money.

When I finally finished the album, I spoke to my team and I sent it to some labels that I am actually involved with, most of them were interested in releasing it, but I just wanted to get their feedback and see their reactions.

So, I thanked them and told them that I wanted to release it on my label. Also, because ‘Zeitkapsel’ is entirely different from the previous one, I really took the time to write it, revealing the idea in my brain for so long.

The album tells my whole musical journey, music I used to play when I started DJing like Drum & Bass, or music that brought me into electronic music like Trip-Hop, or genres like Hip hop, Deep House, etc. I took time to make it because I dug deeper into my memories and record collection.

“When I finished ‘Zeitkapsel’, I knew it was not supposed to be a classic dance album, mainly because I have all these types of genres involved.”

True! You can sense that ‘Zeitkapsel’ is a thoughtful piece of work, something different from your first one, ‘Made in Vienna’.

Absolutely! Back in the days, I told my manager that I had all these tracks, so we decided to put things together, add a few tunes and include them into ‘Made in Vienna’. ‘Zeitkapsel’ is a project that I always wanted to do.

I put myself in a position as a producer to try new things because producing a house or a club track is way different from creating a Hip-Hop or a Drum & Bass track.

During the pandemic, I finally had time to find myself and develop my technical skills, which pushed my personality to a higher level because now I know I can create a Hip-Hop track.

Basically, ‘Zeitkapsel’ shows my interpretation of these genres that belong to my musical journey.

What would you say were the genres and musicians that helped you to define the identity of this work?

I have a different musical background. For instance, if you listen to the track ‘Imagine’ in collaboration with Roland Clark makes me go back to the underground resistance.

‘Bangalore Girl’ is a track that brings me back to my soulful, jungle, and mellow Drum & Bass sounds that I used to play when I was seventeen. One of the most impressive DJs and producers of this genre is DJ Marky, which became an essential part of this, he gave me his feedback on my first Drum & Bass track, and it was awesome. He is someone I love, and he has been crucial in my career.

I always had this idea of mixing samba with electro. I have an extensive samba background from my family in Brazil, and I remember that my granduncle used to lead a samba band in the seventies in São Paulo. Also, our family’s parties always had good percussion sessions. On the other side, I am a huge fan of electro. As a Club Flex resident, I played everything, from Hip-Hop to Electro House.

I also discovered Gigolo Records, which I became a loyal fan and nowadays DJ Hell is a super friend of mine, so as I said, I always wanted to mix electro with samba and when I was working on the beat of ‘Arrivederci Bella,’ I thought that it could be something where I could bring my vocals back.

I used to record vocals for others, but I had never done a track with my vocals because since I started to produce, I went in a different direction, and I was not able to use my vocals which for me vocals are instruments on my own beats, but this track was perfect.

So, I called a Brazilian writer friend and told him about my breakup with my ex-girlfriend, and he was making notes and came with this awesome idea, and I recorded the vocals.

‘Never Brushing the Sound’ ft. Le3 bLACK is a special track for me because I was always a huge fan of Massive Attack, Tricky, or Björk, and this reminds me of my MTV days when I was a teenager, and Trip-Hop was super present in this outlet.

This music was there and played in MTV, so the good stuff already caught me. I also have this punk, rock, metal face, I must say that through music I became a good friend of Igor Cavalera from Sepultura.

Also, being a huge admirer of British Rapper Roots Manuva gave me the idea to do something. When I was creating this track, I called my friend Josh who is a guitar player and then we had this massive guitar sound on the beat, and when it was done, I told him that I wanted to add a British Rapper, then Le3 bLACK made these amazing lyrics, also I needed to add some political vibes which are part of me and this is what the album is.

The case of ‘In Der Nacht’ with Karl Michael has a funny story. The album was completely done, and after spending six weeks in Brazil after COVID, I listened to the album again, and I said to myself: “Wow! The album has a German title, but I do not have a track in this language, how could that have happened”.

Germany and Austria have their own musical history, so I had to dig deeper to get to the styles that involved me in German music. For me, one of the best periods of this music was in the 70s and 80s with the cosmic presence of Falco and Supermax.

Then I wrote this funky track, and one day I ended up talking to my fashion designer, and I told him that I was looking for a German singer, so he said to me that he could do it, and we were jamming and recording on my phone, and the next day I was listening to it, and I sent it to my manager, and he loved it. So, I invited Karl to the studio, and we finished ‘In Der Nacht’.

For the track ‘The Rhythm of Love’, I must say I always wanted to do something with Fritz Helder. I am a massive fan of Fritz, I used to play a lot of his music on my radio shows.

One day we got in touch via some friends and I invited to come to this studio in Berlin, where we ended up jamming on the studio without knowing what was going to happen, that is why the track is short, because it was all about the moment that we had, I felt this is what it is, we didn’t need more.

Also, I have a fun story with Play Paul! I got in touch with him because a few years ago, he did a remix of my track ‘Toxic People’.

I knew that he was a very diverse artist, I knew that he could produce, play in bands and make vocals, then I heard some of his tracks with vocals that I found interesting, I liked his cheesy vibes, then I called him to create ‘How I Feel’.

He made these super beautiful sunshine lyrics and vocals that brought me back to my memories of 2010 when I started to produce my first Deep House tracks.

“‘Zeitkapsel’ is a project that I always wanted to do. I put myself in a position as a producer to try new things because producing a house or a club track is way different from creating a Hip Hop or a Drum & Bass track.”

‘In Der Nacht’, ‘Arrivederci Bella’ and ‘Bangalore Girl’ were the first tracks we appreciated before the album’s official release. What can you tell us about the reaction of the audience, was the final result something that you previously expected?

After releasing music for so long, I always put my expectations lower not to get disappointed. It was a risk to release these EPs the way they are. The first single was a trapping German, definitely it differs from most international things people expect.

The next was an electro-samba track with Brazilian vocals, also it is not an easy commercial thing. The third was an Indie-Drum & Bass track. But, in the end I am happy with it, because I am doing what I want the way that I like and most importantly, I am doing it for myself because it is something you don’t hear everywhere.

It is fascinating that most of your work has flawless lyrical content. We love what you have done with ‘Zeitkapsel’ in terms of vocals. Why do you consider it is fundamental to have diversity in the vocals that you add to your productions?

For me, vocals are instruments and I use them as they are. Every vocal brings a different vibe, energy, and tone. Having this vocalist background helps me a lot in my productions because most of the time when I am working on the beat or an idea, I already sense the vocals in my head, What could come? What Energy it will have!

Honouring the name of your album, if you had a time capsule, where did you travel and why?

It’s very simple, to the past, present, and future. If you look at the album cover, you will see this door where you can enter in my inner self.

Everybody who wants to fly with me in this time capsule is welcome to come. I called it like that because I am bringing with me all these genres that are not so common nowadays, like Trip-Hop or these old school Dub beats, and this brings you instantly to the past which is like sounds from the present.

For me is something that you can catch in the future because music is timeless. If someone had the same music experience as me, someone who also loved Tip-Hop or Drum & Bass would understand that sounds like back in the day but with fresh sounds of today.

“I always had this idea of mixing samba with electro. I have an extensive samba background from my family in Brazil, and I remember that my granduncle used to lead a samba band in the seventies in São Paulo.”

At the beginning of your journey as an artist, what was your musical vision versus now? What has it changed, and what remains?

I am also buying and trying new things. As a DJ, I must be constantly into new stuff, I am already in so much input. I feel like always goes with the flow and with the energy while I am playing as a DJ as well.

My sets are also pretty diverse, and I am always trying to be updated with myself and the things that I like to play as a DJ, but I never copy things, that does not make any sense, because if you tried to copy something else that takes a different direction.

I always go to the new, the new for myself, I also can get bored myself and that’s why my sounds are different and fresh, of course you can also recognize something that comes from me, but it is always different, every day is a new day, never is the same, my idea is to remain innovative.

Another thing that caught our attention was that your family was rooted in shamanism and samba. Could you tell us more about that lineage? How did it impact your art?

When I was a kid, I got a lot of information, but when you are a child, you really do not understand many things. The father of my father was a shaman, my family in Brazil is enormous, and there are so many different types of religions involved. This is something very present in my family, both sides Mom and Dad.

However, years later when I was an adult, I found shamanism by myself because of cancer that I had at the end of 2017 when I survived it, luckily the doctors found it on time, so I did not have to go through this chemo situation, it took some time to recover, but it was good.

Then, when that happened to me, these close friends called me to attend some sessions, and I was like, “This thing is calling me”, I knew that I had a good background because of my family.

Unfortunately, my grandfather died when I was a little girl, so I could not ask him many things about shamanism. So, I decided to go deeper, and it was a good way because I got so connected to myself, also doing this job that I am doing. If I hadn’t started this six years ago, I would have been in a different place.

Spirituality truly connected me with myself, and with the world, also helped me to be more thankful. Sometimes, you need to see and understand the things around you, and of course, if you find you balance and feed your spirit by making art will give you a certain positive energy.

I always try to go with the new, I try new gear or do collaborations. For instance, after finalizing the album, I collaboratedn with Mexican artist Theus Mago, this work will be released this summer. I feel like I am open to new things, I like to do new things.

Life is so crazy! At the beginning of this year, I received an invitation to be part of a project together with Andreas Henneberg and Alec Tronic, and it’s called ‘Synth Happens’. This was a crazy thing, for me is a milestone, I performed some of my songs live with an orchestra.

By the time I got the invitation, I was thinking of creating my own live show, but I was not getting there, then I said “ok, maybe doing this project will open my horizons, and I will be full of ideas in how to write my own live set”. And that is exactly what has been happening now. It is something that I have not done before. Fifty or sixty musicians have participated with us on the stage.

“For me, vocals are instruments and I use them as they are. Every vocal brings a different vibe, energy, and tone.”

Follow Joyce Muniz on: Instagram | Facebook | Soundcloud

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