The Brazil Live Project: An Interview with Samuel J

The Brasil Live Project is a musical collaboration with a mighty mission: to unify society and promote social integration of all people in Brazil. Conceived by Cornish born musician Samuel J, it brings together a wide array of Brazilian songwriters including Gabriel Pensador, Tato (Falamansa), Dani Black, Fenandinho Beat Box and Olodum. Samuel J is in California preparing to record in Los Angeles and we had a chance to talk to him about the Brazil Live Project and the inspiration behind his music.


 Escama: How long have you been living in Brazil and what attracted you there?

SJ: I have been involved with Brazil since I was 19. I fell in love with the vibrancy of the nature and the people, particularly admiring the courageous "alegria"cheerfulness of the less fortunate. I discovered a strong connection with the "alma brasiliero" and my music. The great friendships I made and love of tropical lifestyle the fruits, the clear ocean waves, the endless possibilities of exploration in the sun kissed lands all pulled me back to Brazil every winter I'm Europe Oh and Acai gods greatest fruit gift ! Probably the most important reason !! Haha

Escama: You have the opportunity to work with many talented Brazilian musicians. Is there a reason you wanted to mix music with social responsibility in a country with so much diversity?

SJ: Brazil is a fountain of talent and some of the greatest of them don't ever get a chance or opportunity to be recognized by a greater population. The very reason that I sacrificed so much and dedicated so much time in Brazil was for a dream to create a project that would stage the colour and voice of pure talents both those with a mass national following and those hidden in the depths of culture. My own music is based on the belief that their is great goodness in this world which we can use to help amend and bring balance, it exists in all of us and music is one if it's most powerful channels. The path in Brazil led me to work with some of the greats and thankfully now the hard work has been done we are in the best position to benefit the social projects interwoven with what I do.

Escama: What would you like to accomplish with the Brazil Live Project?

SJ: From the music comes everything. I wish to create something that is solid from the inside out not just the impression. Foremost I want to create great music with pure and unconditional intentions, music of a high compositional quality, that touches people and sparks something positive in people. I don't strive to be unique because all music should be unique if music comes from the heart, then it will be unique, as all hearts are individual.
I want the project to draw attention to the talented people of the Brazilian nation, to spread a conscious message that everyone relates too. Working with children is essential to that as they are the generation who will have to implement the ideals of this time. I am doing this already through music and film.
I want to put a Brazilian based band on the world map, and give an opportunity to the projects musicians who are all of Brazilian descent to have the opportunity to play in the world festival scene ! I would like to bring my music to the Brazilian population.

Escama: Which musicians inspired you when you were growing up?

SJ: So many !! Mostly my sister and my friends. I am greatly inspired by what I see and feel from places and the many admirable people I meet ! That is the base of my music it doesn't come from hearing other music. My sister - My sister lives the philosophy be the change you want to see in the world. She is my biggest single inspiration to my music.

Escama: If you have one thing that that you want to communicate to your fans and to people who have never even heard you before, what would it be?

SJ: Firstly music is best off shared ! And I believe in the unifying power of music ! I have my greatest works to be released later this year, and in the mean time would like to give an opportunity to feel the music, you can download allot of it on soundcloud. Then connect to video sites and my digital diary aka Facebook from there. I also love hearing feedback !

Escama: Are you on tour in the US now?

SJ: Yes, I have been for the last 2 months now I am focusing on recording my next album in California and doing a few shows.

Escama: Where will you be going in the weeks and months to come?

SJ: Onwards and upwards I hope ! I will be bicoastal between Cali and New York and I am currently sourcing the musicians for the new album which I will be recording in and around LA. There is so much new material being released over the next few weeks from all the work in Brazil so so looking forward to sharing that and seeing the happiness manifest from all those involved and out to the world !

X May Music Light The Way x

The Brasil Live Project's Official Trailer


Samuel J - Colorful Vibration

California Teen Makes Prom Dress From Soda Tabs

There was a very nice article in today's LA Times about Brie Fainblit, a Palmdale teenager who put her creativity to work to make a prom dress out of pop tops. It's a very sweet story, Brie doesn't have much in the way of money but she has a vision and creativity and this is what matters.

Escama Studio's bags also come from an environment where money is scarce but creativity is abundant. It's from this type of scarcity that brings forth creativity. We hope that Brie's dress is a smash hit at the prom this weekend. And Brie -- if you're out there -- we just wanted to let you know that we've referred a Canadian named Al over to you -- he wants a gig bag for his bass guitar and we hope that he finds you. Send us an message, we'd love to hear from you. Who knows.....maybe we could collaborate!   :-)

Read the LA Times article here.



It's Spring. You Can Throw It Out Now.

It's the First of Spring so it's officially okay to start cleaning your house. I'm not a clean freak but I do love to throw stuff out. For me it's way better than buying things. So in honor of Spring, today I threw away two laptops. They'd been sitting collecting dust for TWO YEARS but I never got around to it because I figured it was going to be complicated. "It's electronics, you can't just throw them into the trash, you have to dispose of them". Today seemed like a fitting day, so I Googled 'recycle electronics SF' and found a place that was on the way to work. It was not complicated at all and I should have trashed these suckers a long time ago. Let me make the process painless for you too: If you're in the SF Bay Area there are a lot of places that will recycle old electronics. I went to Green Citizen on Howard and 2nd Street but literally 5 minutes after I dumped the laptops I passed a guy piling tons of old electronics into the back of a truck for another company called Computer Recycling Center. The SF Department of the Environment has other links as well. To find a location nationwide click here

Stop kidding yourself. You're not going to sell it on eBay or Craigslist. This is junk so throw it out. 

Recycling the laptop is free and they'll wipe the hard drive as standard procedure. If you want to get medieval on it, this guy will smash your hard drive for $20 and give you a certificate to prove it!

San Francisco's Counter Culture Lives On

Escama Studio's office is tucked away on a little side street in San Francisco's South of Market district. The area has changed a bit over the past ten years and these days it's easier to find a $5.00 Dixie Cup sized cup of coffee than it is to find a hypodermic needle on the ground. That's a step in the right direction some might say.

Escama Studio in San Francisco

The news from San Francisco in this season, Spring 2014 is about evictions, displacement, and how the character of the Mission has been forever changed by the influx of techies. I am too uncool to have ever staked a claim to the Mission so I'll leave that discussion alone. But for those who are reading San Francisco's last rites do not dispair: the soul of San Francisco lives our downstairs neighbors.

Ah our downstairs neighbors..... they're nice, not noisy, they keep to themselves, we say hello and chat sometimes. Just a run-of-the-mill warehouse full of burners which in itself is not extraordinary. And yet they've always struck me as a bit of an enigma..... there's a steady parade of people coming back and forth between their two warehouses from one side of the street to the other. Doors knocking, people coming in and out -- and like a skit in a Marx Brothers movie -- it's  never the same people.  'That's some strange shit' I thought to myself and left it at that.

Only now, four years later, have I finally found out what their deal is. Ironically, I had to read about them in the New York Times . Called 'Langton Labs', they are an 'intentional community' that draws about 20 lodgers per night in their two warehouses. The visitors have been accepted through an application process -- that explains the constant parade of new faces and why the people know exactly where they're going. It's $10,000 a month to rent the two warehouses and if split among 20 monthly lodgers (or 600 short term lodgers), that comes up to some very cheap accommodations. But to say that Langton Labs is a solution to high rents in San Francisco or a cheap place for a traveler to crash and eat instant noodles is missing the point. It's a community that pulls like minded people in from all over the region/country/world. They share space, food, music, parties and they're bouncing ideas off of one another. It's a chaotic environment where nobody does the dishes but it's a great creative space for new technology --  need a high throughput 3D microscope? need to place bulk food orders online? These are just two that I've read about but who knows what else they're working on. 

At the end of 2014 this building will be blown up to make way for high rise condos. Escama Studio's office will have to move and Langton Labs will have to find another warehouse. No doubt, losing a couple warehouses won't put an end to Langton Labs. It'll become Howard Labs or Folsom Labs or 3rd Street Labs. And the Langton Labs intentional community itself? It's bound to evolve and morph into different forms just like everything else in the City.