News Podcast

Ep. #95: São Paulo Underground

São Paulo Underground is a cultural and stylistic collision between electronica, tropicalia, avant garde jazz, and punk, featuring Chicago Underground Duo’s Rob Mazurek on cornet, harmonium and various effects, and São Paulo’s Guilherme Granado on keyboards, synths, sampler and vocals, and Mauricio Takara on percussion, cavaquinho and electronics. All three men were in town last September for the 2013 Guelph Jazz Festival and we had a chat at a restaurant in Guelph called Ox, where we pondered their latest and fourth album, Beija Flors Velho E Sujo. Wavelength Toronto presents Chicago Underground Duo at the Garrison on Thursday May 1 so it seemed like the right time to dig into the interview archives and present this spirited conversation in which São Paulo Underground and I discuss vocal harmonies on “G-Ball’s Fantasia,” why the band keeps returning to Guelph for the Guelph Jazz Festival, G-Ball’s cheeseburger odyssey and Canadian generosity, their new band and the ol’ dirty hummingbird, Ol’ Dirty Bastard, Sun Ra, and The Wizard of Oz, making an album with Greg “the Shark” Norman at Electrical Audio in Chicago, why SPU get along so well and the wisdom of Pharoah Sanders, G-Ball’s birthday, the band’s 10th anniversary, how São Paulo Underground came together and its connection to the Chicago Underground Duo, the experimental and punk music scenes in São Paulo, the tremendous impact Fugazi had on musicians in Brazil after they played a show there, Mauricio’s collaborations with Fugazi’s Joe Lally and Sonic Youth’s Lee Ranaldo, Kenny from Wellington Brewery offers SPU an SPA, the story of Rob Mazurek, where the Exploding Star Orchestra came from, learning from elder musicians, why Chicago’s music history is out of hand and how the culture there impacted Rob’s wild aesthetic, Chicago bands like Tortoise, Sea and Cake, U.S. Maple, the For Carnation, Gastr del Sol, and the Smashing Pumpkins, bringing the ruckus, Rob’s involvement within numerous musical styles, how punk and jazz make sense together and galvanize people, punk rock free samba yoga, what’s coming up next for São Paulo Underground and Chicago Underground Duo and Rob’s love life, mental preparation before working with legends, beautiful vocal harmonies, the song “Ol’ Dirty Hummingbird” and a nice fade out.


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Steve Albini makes a delicious cup of kopi luwak


Steve Albini discusses the history and merits of Kopi Luwak (a.k.a. weasel coffee), one of the world’s most prized coffee beans, before brewing up a delicious cup for his guest from Canada, me, Vish Khanna.

Video by Colin Medley and Vish Khanna
Shot in the client kitchen at Electrical Audio, Chicago, IL, U.S.A. on April 29, 2013

Thanks to Steve Albini, Bob Weston, Fucked Up, palm civet cats, and all Electrical staff.


Watch: Fucked Up recording new LP at Electrical Audio

A couple of weeks ago, Colin Medley and I went to Chicago’s Electrical Audio recording facility to watch our friends in Fucked Up begin recording their new album with engineer Bill Skibbe. Coco Butter and I filmed and interviewed the band and here, courtesy of AUX, is a glimpse of what they got up to. And a sneak peek at some new songs in progress too…