DJ Jorgin by Rodrigo Ortega

On 19 January 2017, at the high of the Deu onda ‘bitonality’ controversy, the journalist Rodrigo Ortega interviewed the music producer Jorge Ferreira in the DJ’s home studio in the Ponte Rasa district of São Paulo. Their meeting resulted in two videos for the Globo web portal. In the first one, posted on 26 January, DJ Jorgin tells his story.

On 19 January 2017, at the high of the Deu onda ‘bitonality’ controversy, the journalist Rodrigo Ortega interviewed the music producer Jorge Ferreira in the DJ’s home studio in the Ponte Rasa district of São Paulo. Their meeting resulted in two videos for the Globo web portal. In the first one, posted on 26 January, which I have transcribed[1] and translated with Ortega’s kind permission, DJ Jorgin tells his story.

DJ Jorgin — My mother worked as a cleaning lady in a household, as a domestic servant, and I could see that whenever she went for work she would come back aching, tired, complaining. That annoyed me. I had been seeing that since I was a boy and I’d say: ‘Mother, one day I shall at least try’—if I don’t manage to give her a better job, or perhaps not even work anymore, as I do. And it happened as time went by. It was all quite slow but it happened. From the moment I said: ‘You don’t need to do this any longer, just help me . . . , answer the phone, take good care of my appointment book, and you’re going to work with me. You’ll have your salary, a much better one than as a cleaning lady. And let’s go for it, mother: you’ve always been with me, you’ve helped me so far.’ . . .

The funk stuff came up at the time because of the cybercafé,[2] when cybercafés started. I was always playing games in the cybercafé. I’d stay forever. My father worked as a labourer in the construction industry and after quite a while, at the very end of the year,[3] he managed to find a construction site where he earned a fair amount of money. He went to a shop and bought a computer to try to get me out of the cybercafé. He said: ‘Let’s see whether he now calms down and stays home a little.’ Because I’d get back from school and already leave for the cybercafé. . . . Then it became a pastime at home: when I wasn’t doing anything, I’d fiddle with the computer, looking for things. It got to a point when I started to find out things about music, by curiosity. Watching one or another Internet video, I discovered something about it. I was already into funk.[4] . . . I shoved the computer among lots of tools, construction-work tools, so as not to disturb them in the bedroom because it made a lot of noise. At 10:00 p.m. my father would already be pestering me: ‘I want to sleep, I want to sleep!’ He: ‘Stay with your computer in this closet.’ And there was a lot of useless stuff in there, a whole lot of tools around. . . .

Rodrigo Ortega — And have you taken any classes, music production, music classes?

DJ Jorgin — No, nothing. I did it all by myself really, digging it out, by curiosity. . . . I had seen some DVDs that were available at the time, by Furacão 2000.[5] Down there, in Rio, they were strong, the MCs, and here in São Paulo there were few of them. Some were already singing in the neighbourhood, presenting themselves in quite modest venues. They’d bring in the crowd, people from the hood who’d come to support them. It wasn’t the audience that funk has today. . . . I’m very shy too. I didn’t have the same flair as the boys for getting onstage and interacting with the audience. I was rather cut out for this. . . . The first one was Lukinhas. He studied sort of in the same school as I did. He was already singing. People talked about, commented on him. And I was still learning. I had managed to find some software, to grab something from the Internet. I said: ‘I’m doing some stuff, I’m producing, just beginning; if you have any CD with an a cappella of your music, bring it in and I’ll see what I can do.’ And he, a bit chesty at the time: ‘Fine, I’ll pick up a CD I’ve recorded in the studio and I’ll take it to you.’ I said: ‘Fine.’ I did his first little track.[6] He automatically brought with him another MC,[7] and yet another one from the hood. . . . As things evolved, others appeared. . . .

I do everything here on my own actually. Few times have I been able to visit one studio or another. I managed to get some things from one or two. I saw how things worked, how they did certain things, and I picked them up as references, gradually bringing them on board. Often I’d grasp just the raw procedure, superficially. I’d watch the guy do it, get the name of the software and, back home, search for and try to download it. Many times it was proprietary software. I had to find a way to crack it in order to run it. . . . There was some opposition from my father but little by little he’s come to understand it. When I succeeded he began to notice I wasn’t just playing around, I was earning money. He began to accept it. . . .

Already many times have people said that funk was a fad, a thing of the moment, like other styles before, and that it would soon pass away. But what happens is that, as each year turns, funk renews itself. It’s always renewing itself, as much the beats as the groove as the lyrics. Something new is always turning up that eventually gains exposure one more time. . . . I’m going to study now. I’ll start. I’ll take up some classes to learn a bit of theory, which is what I need most. . . . We can’t get stuck. Often something works out. For instance: G15’s piece, Deu onda, has worked out. But I cannot stick to it and seek to produce everything in this style, with this groove. Each piece has its own way, and we need to try always to come out with a novelty, something different, a different idea.[8]

[1] Ellipses indicate video cuts. We have chosen a naturalized transcription for the reasons given by Mary Bucholtz in ‘The Politics of Transcription’, Journal of Pragmatics, 32 (2000), 1439-65.

[2] On the symbolic space of cyber cafés the time, see Ronaldo Lemos and Paula Martini, ‘LAN Houses: A New Wave of Digital Inclusion in Brazil’, Publius Project (Cambridge, Mass., 16 Sep. 2009), (accessed 4 Jul. 2018).

[3] Probably in 2008.

[4] The earliest of DJ Jorgin’s productions available on YouTube is that of a romantic pop-samba: Grupo Muleke Paquera and DJ Jorgin, Só com você (YouTube, 23 Sep. 2009), (accessed 4 Jul. 2018).

[5] The main Brazilian sound system; on sound systems, see Hasse Huss, ‘Sound System’, in John Shepherd, David Horn, Dave Laing, Paul Oliver, and Peter Wicke (eds.), Continuum Encyclopedia of Popular Music of the World, 12 vols., v. 2, Performance and Production (London and New York, 2003), 263–5.

[6] MC Lukinhas, MC Jean, and DJ Jorgin, É a Oakley que nóis tem (YouTube, 4 Jan. 2010), (accessed 4 Jul. 2018).

[7] Probably, MC Jean, who sings with MC Lukinhas in É a Oakley que nóis tem.

[8] Rodrigo Ortega, ‘Conheça o DJ Jorgin’, G1 (São Paulo, 26 Jan. 2017), (accessed 4 Jul. 2018).


FOTO: Rio Funk Parade 2011, Av. Rio Branco, Centro, Rio de Janeiro. © Vincent Rosenblatt.