Wehbba is a Brazilian born artist who has established himself as one of the world’s techno elites.
Throughout his career, he has released on numerous different record labels including Tronic, Second State and Hotflush, but he is perhaps best known for his releases on Adam Beyer’s Drumcode.
In 2020 he released his 13-track album on Drumcode called ‘Straight Lines And Sharp Corners’ and he recently returned to the imprint with a new three-track EP called ‘Dynamo’.
Excited to learn more about his new EP plus some of his passions outside of music we decided to invite him for this interview…
Hi Wehbba, it’s great to be talking with you today, what part of the world are you currently living in, and what’s the local lockdown situation?
Hi, it’s my pleasure. I’m at home right now in Barcelona, Spain. Currently on a self-imposed lockdown in my studio, working on new music.
I’m currently drinking my morning coffee, and was told you are something of an aficionado. In your opinion, what makes the perfect cup of coffee, and are there any beans or brands that you can recommend?
I have spent a great amount of time in recent years researching and studying coffee culture, most people only care about the caffeine boost, but it can be so much more interesting once you get into the science behind it all. I think the perfect cup of coffee, as with everything regarding coffee, is very subjective to personal preference. In my case, a good filter coffee has the perfect balance between fruity, acidic and sweet, with a velvety mouth feel and finish. Generally speaking, African beans, from Ethiopia or Rwanda for example, will provide this kind of profile more easily. For espresso I’ve been in a more intense phase, taste-wise, and I’ve been favouring South American beans from Colombia or Brazil, but this really depends on each producer. Brands are hard to quote, but if you’re ever in Barcelona, some of my favourite local roasters are Three Marks, Nomad, Slow Mov, Hidden, Familia Osorio and Right Side Coffee.
Also, are there any good coffee shops or cafes that you could recommend to anyone visiting your home town?
A lot of the local roasters have their own shops, so I recommend all of the ones I’ve mentioned in the previous question, and there are some amazing cafes, some that also serves great food like Little Fern, Satan’s Coffee Corner, Federal, Oma, Syra, Casa Taos, Lulu, the list goes on!
Moving on to music, I understand your next EP ‘Dynamo’ is just out on Drumcode and I’d love to know more about the tracks plus their concept?
‘Dynamo’ came about after a long pause from being on a dancefloor, and without exchanging energy with people over music, so I felt the need to create something that would just radiate pure energy. ‘Ataraxia’ is the Stoic term for enlightenment or equanimity, which is my main focus since becoming a Vipassana practitioner a few years ago. I felt the melody was euphoric and warm at the same time, so I wanted to add some disturbing and dark elements around it that would illustrate the stuff we have to overcome to reach Ataraxia.
For me personally, it’s like the “we’re back” anthem. Strange Dreamz came about in the most random way, when I saw this meme from a kid trying to say something about a dream but getting stuck in a loop, which had a kinda funky rhythm to it, so I felt like sampling that and giving it my own spin. So, I made a kind of fun, funky track with a dreamy arpeggio that comes in in the middle of the track. It’s something that would fit my vision from the first time I saw the video from that kid.
You have worked with Drumcode in the past, and I wanted to ask how you first made contact with the label?
I had the label manager’s contact at the time, who started passing along the stuff I would send to Adam Beyer. I had only met him briefly once and didn’t have his personal contact, so thankfully [former label manager] Kier made the bridge, and Adam seemed to really like the stuff so he got in touch, and the rest is history.
Drumcode is a label that many techno producers aspire to release on, so I wanted to ask if there are any record labels you are still working towards?
I’ve never really aspired to release on any specific label. My main interest is to be part of something, to belong, to contribute. Once I have music ready, I try to see where it could fit best and take it from there. All of my label relationships up until today have been long-lasting. I try to develop my sound together with each label, and I believe that it makes me grow as an artist. I’ve been very fortunate to work with incredible labels like Drumcode, Mute, Soma, Kompakt, Hotflush, Exhale, Second State, Bedrock, Tronic, RAM Records, Systematic, Toolroom and many others, and I’m really thankful for that.
You are best known for being a techno artist, which is a genre associated with loud and aggressive music. How do you unwind when taking a break, as I’m told you are quite spiritual?
Techno can also be very chilled actually (ask Basic Channel), but despite that I listen to a lot of ambient music, I do practice meditation, although the past few months have been a bit too crazy and I’m not very organised, so I haven’t been too regular with it. I also read quite a bit and been on a biography phase. But I think the most important thing is exercising and being active, so going for my morning runs at the beach really helps to keep me focused and grounded and more present.
I understand that you like meditation and often visit silent retreats, what is it that draws you most to these things, and are there any retreats you would recommend?
I have started practising Transcendental Meditation 12 years ago, when I was dealing with anxiety issues. It completely changed my life. So, after that I started to research a lot more about techniques and eventually came across Vipassana, which is a more intense practice, and also Sudarshan Kryia, which is a breathing technique, and I’ve been shuffling all of these for the past 4 years or so. I’ve always been interested in spirituality, and in philosophy in general, but never really gelled with my catholic upbringing so I started to research other things in my late teens. The spiritual side is obviously very rewarding, but the physical benefits of these practices are incredible.
Moving back to music, do you have any gigs or anything else you would like to hype up?
I’ve been touring quite a bit with my new live show, Wehbba Live Station, which I’ve started last summer, and it’s been amazing developing it each gig, and I can definitely see how it has been helping me in the studio as well, as the live performances give me a much better idea on what to focus, how to eliminate distractions or not to dilute the main ideas. Playing live there’s no time for that, everything needs to be expressive and work well together. The summer schedule is looking pretty good, lots of festivals and clubs around Europe, and a return to the US after almost 3 years, I’m really looking forward to that!
Thanks for taking the time to chat with me, is there anything else you would like to add or give a message to fans before we finish?
Thanks to you for having me, and for you all who’ve taken the time to read this, I hope this year continues to be a step forward in getting our culture back, stay safe, love yourself, practice compassion and I hope to see you around!
Wehbba ‘Dynamo’ EP is out now on Drumcode, and can be purchased HERE