Wednesday, Mar 24 2004 | 12:19

Sao Paulo, the second biggest metropolis in the world, doesn’t have the picturesque charm of Rio De Janeiro. This bustling megalopolis is nonetheless the cultural heart of Brazil, at the forefront of every new movement, and is the centre of Brazil’s thriving dance music scene.

This is where DJ Marky, real name Marco Silva, and Xerxes De Oliveira also know as XRS come from. They grew up to the sounds of Brazilian traditional music, Jazz and Funk, before the Acid House explosion captured their teenage imagination. Their mutual love for the fast rhythms of hardcore brought them together in a record shop where Marky worked and they quickly became fixtures on the emerging local drum and bass scene, one as an outgoing and vivacious DJ, the other as a quiet but affable and talented engineer and producer.

Marky’s status as a DJ grew rapidly, thanks to his extraordinary mixing skills and the sheer energy of his sets. Soon, he was playing regularly to more than 5,000 people at clubs in the ˜peripheria’ of the city. His reputation spread nationwide, with residencies in Sao Paulo and Rio, regular radio shows and even his own slot on MTV Brazil. He won DJ Of The Year three times in four years, becoming a household name.

XRS built his own studio, and started producing, quickly moving from house to the faster rhythms of hardcore before experimenting with drum and bass, some of his tracks being championed by local DJs Patife and Marky. In 1995 he created his own label, Innerground Recordings and released music under his XRS Land moniker. In 1998, another of his projects “ Friendtronix “ was signed to Sony, with the resulting album getting critical acclaim. His solo album, “Sarau“, came out in 1999 on Sambaloco.

Marky’s fame was about to go global. Bryan Gee “ V Recordings boss, Movement resident, and credited for giving Roni Size his first break “ came to Sao Paulo. What he saw and heard blew his mind and Marky was duly offered a ticket back to the UK, and a DJ slot at the next Movement night. On a scene known to be closely-knit, his rise was meteoric. He landed a Movement residency, was profiled in magazines like The Face and Mixmag, and starting travelling the world.

Some of the Sao Paulo produced drum and bass he brought didn’t’ escape Bryan Gee’s ear, and in 2001 he picked up 4 tracks to compile “The Brazil EP” for V. It included production work by another Sao Paulo-based wonderkid, Patife, alongside a Marky remix and an original track by XRS. The phenomenal underground impact of the EP prompted The Guardian to compare Sao Paulo’s drum and bass to Brazilian football!

Shortly after, Movement released “The Brazilian Job“. This compilation of drum and bass tracks that rocked the club was mixed by Marky. Hailed by the critics and present in all the ˜albums of the year’ polls, it confirmed him as one of the prime ambassadors of the drum and bass scene worldwide.

Encouraged by the wide critical acclaim received for the “Brazil EP”, Marky and XRS decided to team up in the studio. It was during one of their numerous sessions that the traack “LK” was born. Built around a beautiful guitar sample and vocal borrowed from Jorge Ben, “LK” is a perfect fusion between the rich Brazilian musical legacy and the urban sound of a 21st century megalopolis.
Released in the UK in July 2002 on V, a small independent label, it went into the National Charts at 17, stayed in the top 40 for 3 weeks, went on to sell 100,000 copies worldwide.

Marky and XRS have spent the last 18 months on the road and in the studio. XRS has taken up Djing, while Marky has familiarised himself with the secrets of music engineering. They have taken time to record plenty of tracks, some of them released as 12″ on reputable UK labels, some destined to go on their debut album. They enrolled Cleveland Watkiss, London-based vocalist, with an impressive CV including collaborations with Talvin Sing and Stevie Wonder, and invited Philly’s soul sensation Vikter Duplaix to lay vocals on some of the tracks. One of the most influential musicians in Brazil, one time Tropicalista and now minister of culture, is definitely their most famous and significant collaborator. Sharing the bill with XRS in Northern Brazil in December 2002, Gilberto Gil offered to collaborate with him, turning up in the studio with a lyric sheet and his guitar to help them create the sumptuous, sun-drenched “Dia De Sol”, that will be present as well on Gil’s forthcoming album next year.

The full length debut “In Rotation” will be released on the Innerground label, 29.03.2004. More than an accomplished drum and bass album, this release reflects on the very unique and successful way Marky and XRS, brought together and propelled into a worldwide limelight by their love of dance music, have managed to keep a strong cultural identity that refers to Brazil’s rich and timeless musical heritage.

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