Rael Feliciano - São Paulo, Brazil - Life Story pt. 2 (Global Lives Project, 2006)
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No, it is Rael, let me take a sip of water here Rael, what about work, just... how old were you when you started working and what was your first job? Man, I think at ten years old I worked at the market, my first job, selling lemons I was so unlucky, I went only once I put my lemon stand up, I started selling and before the market ended... it goes from seven until two At ten in the morning I had sold it all, you see? Then the guy said no, you´ll work with me next thursday, this and that, this and that...I´ll give you more money I said great. The next day I got pneumonia. I said damn, I was out Then I worked with my father, as mason´s helper It´s just that I... bro, I always hated it because the people my father used to work for, sort of looked down on us, you see? They sort of, sort of lacked in hospitality it was like... we were just servants, you get it? I said no, I don´t want this for my self. My dad kept saying, no, learn it, this and that. To me and my brother, and we were like, no, no... Today my brother is into building houses and he regrets not having learned Then I worked as an office boy. After that I worked in a company that worked with aerography We painted karting helmets, Harley Davidson, Formula one helmets... It was sort of conceptual, but I was registered, worked as a production assistant. I would leave the helmets ready to be painted It was the place where I worked at the longest. The guy even said, cut your hair, and I said no, wait until I´m off the trial period Then that was over and I ended up not cutting it, I argued with them and then I was let go The guy gave me the wrong money, I took off and never got in touch with them again Then I worked as an office boy here at Heitor Penteado. I worked eight months and that was when I got sick I had TB Oh my bosses man... I never got on They all wanted you to get a haircut Yep! But I always...stalled and sometimes I would win. And then we would become friends and that was it... Then I was a freelancer, in some media companies In transport firms... Nowadays I am a civil servant. I work in the administration of public areas, in inspection... RAPPA It is me against myself... all day long At the council? That is it! The job makes me fight myself every day, every day. Not every day but... the majority of days I remove banners Those propaganda banners But then I have days where I have to pick up hawkers on the street, who don´t have a license Sometimes he has been on that spot for twenty years and there is a shop there which sells Tshirts and he sells shoes. Then the Tshirt shop goes bankrupt and just his badluck, they set up a shoe shop right across the road The one which pays more tax is the shop, so we have to take the hawker away, and it is the biggest shock The guy is in total shock and you say to him "There is nothing I can do...". That is how it goes, your success depends on someone else's tragedy Wild capitalism Rael how did you end up in that job with the council? Bro, I went through this phase in my life...this music thing, you could only pay your bills, you see? I would pay bills, phone, water, anything. I would do whatever...then my house, it is not well built. It is a mess (Phone rings) Then I see my mother, who is 65 and my father 63, and I say you have to give them some dignity and it is my turn now bro I have to do something. I thought I needed to find a job but I can't stop being who I am, you understand? What the majority of companies want you to do... Then in January I went to the Centre for Job Support something that is put together by the unions, there I found out there was an opportunity to work in the Council but it was something different to what I am doing now man, it was to clean manholes...to prevent flooding I said "Ah darn it! I'm going to do it, I need the money, I have to...have to do something" Then I went and I said no... The lady said "Ah don't you want to do a course?". "No, I just found out there is a gap to clean sewers, and that is what I want" "Ah but you're young, you have to do it" and I said "No, I need the money now and that is it" Then I filled in the form and she said they would call me in...ten days. Months went by. I thought, darn it's over... Suddenly the phone rang and I was called. It was for support agent, which is what I am doing now. Administration of public areas, which is RAPPA Then I was sort of suspicious. I said no, I'm not going. I'm not going But then I thought about the deal where you have to go into the jungle to get yours and I said...I surrendered. I was gone, gone Nowadays I got used to it. You become colder isn't it? Every day you become colder to that sort of thing Because that hawker also knows that, because of the power of the... government, they know they are in the wrong It's not that they are in the wrong, the government makes them be wrong isn't it? They are trying to survive. You end up getting used to the idea and so do they Then you go by and say "Ah, don't stay there..." Then the hawker moves and you say "Oh, don't stay there" and he still is The second time you have to do something, because it's all based on complaints You are around and your boss says "Hey you have to pick someone up at Alameda Santos, there is a hawker there and he doesn't have a license. Go pick him up" Sometimes it's the hawker himself, who has a license and complains about the one next to him, who doesn't. So you can see it is war. It is wild capitalism It is a jungle and you have to do your bit. I saw that I had to take money home and it had to be that way I said "That is it". I don't like it, I don't like what I do, but that is the way it is... I guess a lot of people don't like what they do either What was your first impression when you got there? What is the first thing you thought about when you had to go... I'm going to hide! It is a totally different job and because I'm sort of a popular guy... in the rap world... then I wanted to hide isn't it You wear a Tshirt, tie or cover up my dreads. I cover up, put some sunglasses on that have nothing to do with me, and I go for it Because it is sort of like bro, I didn't do that for myself you see? I am a guy who wants to be in peace to make my music, my own thing I saw that this thing where things were missing at home was taking away my flow. I saw my mother upset with these things I said bro, I'm going to do this not for me, for anyone. I'll do it for my mother. For my mother... so I can also contribute at home bro Because I can't just be waiting for my music to bring me something I saw that I had to... had to be a lion. Wake up early, with determination and go into the jungle to get mine because there are people at home who are in need I saw that, no matter which one I am... lion or gazelle, I had to do it Society does that bro, isn't it? This capitalist system we have... does that, you see? That is why several people are involved in crime Several people have potential for a lot more and are working as cleaners, because there are no opportunities, no room No space, society is out of space So that is it, each of us do what we can. What matters is being alive. It is to conquer, I don't know...So it goes And how is your day to day? What is the hardest thing on the job? Bro, nowadays I have it easy Because I don't want to put down any public office job, but civil servants don't do anything man They don't do anything. I am out once or twice a day. The rest of the day I, who didn't even play dominoes, today I play dominoes I play dominoes there, you see. There are times when...because it is a job where you get sort of thirsty, the only movement is getting in and out of the van and because I had that problem with the lungs and I sing, I have to breathe properly, so I jogg round the block... I have time for all that, but there are times when you aren't doing anything, and you get so lazy, you see? There are days when I leave, I have to rehearse or I have to tape something, as I am doing today And so it goes, my life is a race man I get several problems because of that race of having two jobs. The music and civil servant Having time for the family, to date, to do other things. It is a race. You always leave someone complaining Not eveyone is going to understand, only you. It is a mad race What is the job as a musician like? It gives me the most satisfaction, but it is the most stressful, because it is you for yourself And you go on to acquire results... it is step by step Sometimes for you to take one step, it can take a year, you see? It is step by step. To record our CD, it took us three years First we started producing the instrumentals, then writing over them and then we went into the studio. The studio was the hardest, a guy who sings with us and who worked, at first he started paying for it and we paid what we could... ten, twenty reais. We kept paying, but at the end we owed 5000 reais in the end... We had paid two and owed three Then one of my friends who is in jail and in crime, helped us, with the traffic money He said "No, you are going for it and so on". I didn't ask for anything! He showed up and said "Hey here is five grand for you". He gave us five thousand... We paid what we owed from the recording. The rest we did the pressing right? Ours isn't industrial pressing, it is a copy. It is an independent CD and so on But it is something that works well. We performed...we performed in Rio and the people there sang our music, stopped us on the street and I said... bro I didn't know this existed... but it is the internet that magnifies it, isn't it bro? We have our songs on the internet and such, our website and so on It is the immediate result. A lot happened, but it was the VMB that did it We would make our videos, listen to D2 at home and we put the video together This thing of going for it, was always something we did. We made the CD with only our own music and took it to the producer, to find out how much it would be to put a video clip together But until then we had no money. We just wanted to know how much it would be Then the crazy guy who was responsible for watching our clip, liked our music... and kept it Then Carnaval went by. He was coming back from Rio with his crazy friend, Serginho who was in Big Brother. Serginho Big Brother And they really liked it, both of them did. Then, they started to come up with several ideas and involving us in lots of places, singing at private homes... in places that had nothing to do with rap Kind of rich guy places which played afrocuban music. We went to a journalist's private apartment and that is when it all started to get publicised So we picked up on that and recorded the first video, which is a video in a sequence plan. Very simple no big cinema shots. It is a clip from our comunity, with all of us going up the slum, one meeting up with the other. We are five MCs one meeting the other and we all meet at the top of the hill. Which gives you an image of the whole slum We turned it in and didn't even... I said "Let's go and show our faces" It was close to the VMB and I met someone...tuesday we went to perform at this rich guys place, with the afrocuban music and I met the video's director And I said "What do you think man?" VMB and so on? I said please don't talk like stupid, don't fool me. I was working at this media company and my phone rang And my girlfriend said "So, you are in the rap category" I said Geez...like total disbelief...Bro, how crazy That was something that changed our lives. It was the Ops! of our career, you understand? It was what made the biggest mark and gave us more respect in the whole country, in the rap music scene Because rap has several styles, there is gangsta rap which talks about crime, it's heavy. And the underground, which talks about several things We are neither. We don't label ourselves gangsta or underground. We think about the music as a whole So we speak about... the people who I believe exist. When we write, we don't imagine we are in a room like this one We imagine ourselves in the universe and we talk about things Then we started to get accepted. The two audiences who are...not that they are rivals Gangsta is music which is played on the radio. There is a radio called 105 FM which plays rap and mainly that kind of rap, gangsta Talks about crime, I killed, I robbed, I am into trafficking and in the end I am dead. That is what the music is all about And it doesn't reach other audiences, you see? It reaches the people of the slums the most, who look up to the dealer, who also listens to that type of music And our rap is sort of different, so we thought we wouldn't be accepted by those two publics but we got accepted by both, you got it? And for us it is being really nice We haven't reached our goals yet, but we know it is going to work out you see? So no one has given up yet Aside from fulfilling ourselves and our soul, we know it is going to take us to a better place I think I am going to be able to survive on music and I will leave the job at the council. I'll put aside some things that bother me How...? Because of the money... When did you start the band? Man... it is complicated. This band I have today... Tw... one was my friend from fourth grade, another one I met at school One I only also met at school, he was present at the presentations of maracatú I did and he also had other music projects I'll give you the names. I'm Rael, then there is Dodiman, he was a rapper singing on his own There is Massao, who is my friend from fourth grade and there is Paulo M.Sário, he had a band called Via Sacra but until then he hadn't even started and he saw me playing maracatú He started to put his own project together and then we were playing maracatú together, except Dodiman And there is Apolo, who also had another project and I knew him from the skating times So we got together the four of us without Apolo. Then there was a day when we were out partying and the guys didn't even want me to call Apolo I was drunk, so I went and called him. I said no, no, you will sing and we started singing together and formed a band called Can And there was another guy. There was another group, KND, and I sang in both There was this guy, who called me to sing and liked my style, of clothing and all, because then I didn't even rap I didn't like even write my own lyrics as such Then that crazy called me and one taught the other one something. He had this gangsta vibe and I had the vibe of... music in general So we kept on learning things. We formed Can-KND and we got the whole group together and were Can-KND But the fact there were different personalities. That crazy from KND, Pedro Suzero Onze who sings solo today. And there were Negro C and DJ Kiko DJ Kiko is with us until now, but the other two both followed their own solo careers, the two of them. And we formed Pentágono in 2000 That, that career type Can-Knd went up until 99. In 2000 we formed Pentágono and that is on until this day Which is... Rael da Rima, Apolo, Dodiman, Massao and M. Sário and DJ Kiko And your arrangements are original or do you sing other people's? Original... the productions... we have put together... Some of these friends today... who have played, some of the musics we have called in people to play Who was one of these friends who played drums. At the time... well, we gave the CD the name "Microfonicamente dizendo" (microphonically speaking) Yesterday I said to the guys, if we look at it, the name of the CD could be "Cooperation", you see? Because we put these people from school together again and used something of each others art One made the CD cover because he went over to the design side, another played vibraphone, the one who played the drums and whose brothers are also musicians and they play in orchestras, in the army band. I have called one other who played guitar, also from school And putting all that together..."There is this song, can you play the guitar? Darn bro now we have to build our site, who is going to do it?" Some guys who sing with us are also into design. Hey, we have to make the cover... so we call the crazy guy from design We kept asking them and we have put everything together so we put a CD together in the end. Thank God we managed to put everyone together. We saw how important childhood friendship is It didn't go away, you see? Each one has his own life, but can still get together to do something I heard someone say you sing english very well in english... Ah I don't sing well in english, I think. I sing a few english songs, I sing what I hear, you see? Sometimes I don't understand what anyone is saying, I'll listen to it being said and that is it. You see? And I sing... Listen and sing... But by ear... Sometimes I have to ask The thing is music is something which touches you and you loosen up to it You will give it a way in and it will start to enter, and you will find it easier to make it, to listen To understand it, the instruments... what is each one's job, what it means, you see? The lyrics... But now I would like to stop to go to the bathroom Ah bro, it is a language that only us, only we can make, you see? The language of Pentágono making this sound. No, there are these two sides. We picked it up like that... we don't limit ourselves To say "We make rap". No, we make music We have our way of rapping. We mix several things, I don´t know... MPB... I like many things... I only sing rap, you see? But I like MPB, foró, reggae, you see? I like several things. What touches my heart, I accept and like. I don't have rules. The rule is no rules And Rael, I understand you have a trip planned to go to Africa. How did that happen? Yes, but there is a stand off at the moment. I don´t know if we blew it... It is like this...There is the Festival of Hip Hop in Gabon and we were part of a Hip Hop company A Hip Hop site which is the biggest in Latin America, called "Bocada Forte" And it acted as Hip Hop agency too, they would book you in for shows and so on And through the site, we had good propagation. Even if nowadays we have our own and we don´t use them anymore There is a correspondent of the site who works in an ONG in Barcelona. Then they were going to call... they called I think MV Bill to go If I´m not mistaken it was MV Bill. But then MV Bill released the "Falcão, meninos do tráfico" (Hawk, children of trafficking) and he was too booked up Then they were interested in us. Called us to go there So what did we do? We said darn, we will go but we have never left the country We aren´t very aware of what to do. The guy asked "How many people are there?". We said "Seven people" And he said "Great, that is how many we can take" He said "No, it takes a while...". For us it´s like, no darn, Africa... because I think it is a very grounded country, you see? I think it has more to do with us than, for example, going to Japan or the US, you see? We were like, man... it is the best trip... I think this crazy is trying to keep some of the money, you see? Because it is twelve thousand reais for the ticket, for each of us, there and back Twelve thousand? Yes, there and back. So what did we do? We got together with the director from our clips and one of his assistants And the total was eight people. Then what did we think? We thought we would make a documentary, you see? A documenatry about five, five young men from the suburbs who had never travelled more than 400 Kms and showing it all, from the departure at the airport, until our arrival and vice versa, you see? And we were also going to make a clip. We were going to make a specific song for it. Not we were, we are, because it isn´t confirmed yet I think we have until monday to get our reply But then the guy started to sort of stall... he said, no, it is like this... there is a problem here... I don´t have all the tickets, I have the accomodation Then the director, he knows some people in the marketing department I think of Air France... some airline... And one of his friends travels the whole world for free. So he presented the project to this friend. And we are waiting to find out the answer But until then, before the guy said he wasn´t going to come through, everything was set. It was when I spoke to David even Then this happened and he is looking into getting the tickets with this company, as if it was some tax scheme... We would get the tickets and when the country tries to charge tax from the company, it would be deducted through the scheme So we are waiting for this answer but if it happened, for us it would be a huge achievement, travelling outside the country Showing our faces somewhere else... seeing other places and putting all that material together, for us to show more things We also tought about making some social projects in our community and this video is one of the things we could be presenting...
Duration: 22 minutes and 22 seconds
Language: Portuguese (Brazil)
Posted by: globallives.brazil on Feb 14, 2012
Rael Feliciano - São Paulo, Brazil - Life Story pt. 2 (Global Lives Project, 2006)
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