INTERVIEW: Welcome To Supertronik Bootleg!

Today we talk to a Portuguese Brasshouse band who are bringing a different twist to some of your favourite eurodance tracks! They have recently released their new single which is a cover of Alice Deejay’s Better off Alone so it is the perfect time to catch up with the band as they have an EP release just around the corner as well.

Hello Supertronik Bootleg! Tell us all about each member of the band and who plays what instruments?

So, we are 5 people.

Micael – Our percussionist. He plays a modern set of kick drum with a lot of accessories attached to it so he’s basically a walking drum machine. He’s classically trained and besides Supertronik Bootleg plays in classical orchestras and folk bands,

Fábio – The tuba player. Fábio is a classical musician with an ear and a rhythmic feel that allow him to fit in any genre. Besides Bootleg and classic orchestral work, he’s also connected to some brass collectives of the north of our country.

Tiago – Baritone Sax. Tiago and SAM have known each other for many years, since they were colleagues in the conservatory of music in Aveiro. He’s also studying to be a conductor and is an excellent saxophone technician.

João – The trombonist. João is in charge of delivering some powerful lines on the trombone. Having studied classical and jazz music, he’s a very versatile musician with high affinity for ska, rock and soul music. Together with SAM, they started Supertronik Bootleg.

SAM – Tenor saxophonist and producer associated with the band, SAM writes the band’s arrangements with João and has produced the band’s latest single. He has studied classical and jazz music and is currently associated with some of the most influential soul and funk bands in Portugal.

Tell us three unknown facts about yourself?

1. João is actually a very talented cartoonist!

2. We actually started as only 4 people and wore all black outfits before switching to today’s look.

3. The alien dancing in the Better off Alone video is actually one of SAM’s saxophone students.

How did you get into music?

We all started by joining marching bands in our area, since they were a popular way to learn music almost for free and to make new friends and have cool experiences.

Who do you find your inspirations?

We really follow the work of other bands similar to ours like Too Many Zooz and MEUTE but we look mostly to 90’s eurodance records for inspiration.

Tell us all about your latest single Better Off Alone?

It’s a version of Alice Deejay’s track released in 1999, mixing elements from the eurodance genre with our typical brass sound and some jazz funk stuff. It’s an instrumental only track with a lot of movement to it.

Why did you decide to cover this Alice Deejay hit? 

Sam: Before we formed the band, me, João and Tiago we’re playing a street gig where we had to play for a couple hours and we were getting bored of our traditional setlist. I suggested we improvised in the moment a version of this song. It sounded so good that it sparked the idea of creating the band and recording that tune as our first single.

Tell us about how you have been making music in a Global Pandemic?

Well, we try to adapt. We recorded most of the EP in April, 2020 as the pandemic was closing in. Now it’s been mostly working from home, alone or through internet video chat. Sometimes me and João hang out for some hours just working on some arrangements, some mixing aspects or promotion stuff for the band. We still get together for occasional rehearsals but since there’s no gigs to play we’re focusing on the EP right now.

How do you decide what songs to cover?

Sam: Well, that was mostly me. I made a playlist of all the eurodance tracks that were bangers back in the day and showed it to the band. Then we all pick up 1/2 tunes at the time so me and João can make the arrangements.

What is the most challenging thing when it comes to producing a record?

I would say the most challenging thing is to get to the point where you feel you can really “trust” your idea. It takes a lot of time and experimenting but when you feel you get there, that you are creating something that excites and motivates you, well the rest is gonna be easy because you have found something that really drives you.

That and getting the kick to sound good! For real!

How do you warm up for a show?

We play a bit together, like 10, 15 minutes. It’s actually very important for the brass instruments that we do this!

Also let’s talk tour – will there be live shows coming next year?

We would really love that and there are a few dates being discussed right now but unfortunately, nothing is confirmed since we’re in the middle of a COVID-19 pandemic. We’re hoping we can get a more definitive answer as soon as this public health crisis is closer it’s to end. 

What is one of your favourite songs to perform live?

Well, Better off Alone! But also, Freed From Desire by Gala and Children by Robert Miles.

What is the toughest songs to perform live and why?

This might change if you ask another member of the band but for me, Better off Alone and Rhythm of the Night are some of our hardest arrangements because we play nonstop and since we play wind instruments it’s easy to run out of breath in a intense show like ours.

How have you been keeping creative during the Global pandemic? 

We’ve been. It’s hard sometimes to stay motivated because we are living in a crappy situation for our sector but overall we are doing great work on the EP which was mostly produced and recorded during the pandemic.

Has it lead to lots more songs?

Yes, we have 3 other songs already recorded that will be released later in 2021.

Out site also is about improv – in a music sense, what have been some of your favorite improvised melodies that you have created and been able to use in songs and why?

We have a lot of improvised content in our show. Mostly saxophone and trombone solos. Most of the saxophone solo you hear in Better Off Alone started as an improvised part. We liked those lines so much that I started playing them everytime.

What are your plans for 2021?

That would be releasing our EP “Cosmic Mixtape Vol. I”.

And finally why should people check out your music?

If you like dance music, or brass music with some bold arrangements and wild solos you should definitely check us out! Either if you dig the nostalgia of the 90’s or if you’re into the new “brasshouse” genre, I think you will enjoy what you will hear!

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