An air of sultry modernity infuses the future-forward Brazilian Girls, who vibrate with invigorating, globe-trotting electricity. Founded in 2003, the NYC-based quartet swing hard with groove music and a truly open mind, a dance floor filler that draws from a saucy array of inspirations far from club land. Compelling rhythms drive their sound but there are always long, curious fingers reaching out to snare interesting accents, beguiling complications, and fresh sounds from the natural and man-made worlds to drive their adventurous yet immediately appealing sound.
Navigating lazy lovers and uncool critics, Brazilian Girls – Sabina Sciubba (lead vocals, electronics), Jesse Murphy (bass, vocals), Didi Gutman (keyboards, computers, vocals) and Aaron Johnston (drums, percussion, vocals) – are the descendants of New Wave pioneers like The B-52s, Grace Jones and the Talking Heads and sway shoulder-to-shoulder with contemporaries like Grouplove, Reptar, Of Montreal, Rubblebucket, and Moloko. For Brazilian Girls, inspiration is everywhere.
“Music is love, harmony and a form of expression,” says Sciubba. “I’ve always felt that one can achieve a sense of communion with others, even animals and plants, through sound and music.”
While exceedingly EDM-friendly, Brazilian Girls are grounded in top-shelf musicianship that sidesteps brainy noodling in favor of something stickier and earthier. Playful synergy abounds in their swirling, pleasantly heady songs where shimmying, caressing bass and drums draw one in.
“Music is evolved around rhythm. It’s always the first thing that happens. Even most melodic ideas come out of rhythm,” says Johnston. “I love understanding this and being able to see clearly the response and shape that music takes out of rhythm.”
After a few years focusing on life outside music, the quartet returns in 2016 with renewed vigor and a vibe ideal for Electric Daisy Carnival, late night discos, and anywhere else people want to dance their way out of their constrictions. Veterans of Coachella and Bonnaroo, Brazilian Girls know how to ignite a crowd as well as spark home stereo systems like pros.
“Everyone brings such diverse material and influences – from jazz rolls and African echoes to Post Punk and Electronica — to the table, and then the Brazilian Girls juicing process begins, sometimes right before the audience’s eyes,” says Murphy about the group’s musical fluidity.
“There’s a sense of adventure and strong emotions that come up when finding something, making something happen together,” adds Gutman.
“There’s honest joy playing live with this band,” says Johnston. “Records never do the songs justice, and that goes for every song and band on the planet. They might have captured a moment and that’s fine, but the thrill of being in front of a live audience and it happening right there together is always much more powerful. It’s up to the musicians to be on their game and creative at the same time.”
After an extended stint at Verve Records in the early 2000s, Brazilian Girls are striking out on their own as they craft their fourth album and return to active touring with their unique but devilishly diverse style. With past appearances on the late night circuit including Jimmy Kimmel and David Letterman, a guest turn from Talking Head David Byrne on 2008’s New York City album, and tracks on two of the Red Hot AIDS tribute albums, Brazilian Girls enter their next chapter with a lot of happy precedent behind them.
Gutman says the band’s name possesses “a certain spirit of irreverence,” a cheeky choice for four New York City musicians, none of whom is Brazilian.
“We’ve been asked about the origins of our name all the time, in almost every interview, and by some super-pissed off real Brazilian girls,” explains Gutman. “We’ve gotten used to inventing a different explanation all the time, but there is a real answer.”
“We named the band Brazilian Girls because we started at a NYC club called Nublu on Wednesdays with a Brazilian forro band called Forro In The Dark [forro is a traditional music from the NE of brazil],” explains Johnston. “You’d hear people talking, ‘Hey, you have to come to Nublu and hear this Brazilian band, and by the way there’s lot of Brazilian girls there partying and dancing.’ It’s kind of the same concept as the Midwest band Free Beer And Chicken. You would see posters stating ‘free beer and chicken’ and people might show up thinking there was actually free beer and chicken, but then stay because the music was undeniably good!”
More simply, Sciubba says the choice was easy “because everybody loves Brazilian girls!”