"We want more! We want more!" – the Hungarian fans screamed after the special guest star of the night, DJ Masa (Carlos Brandão) has finished his epic performance in Budapest at the 8th edition of Shinshoku Fever, a party series specialized in J-pop and K-pop. The 23 years old, fabulously talented Brazilian DJ became famous with "Adios 2008", a special mashup song that contained the 19 biggest Korean hits of the year. Masa’s Youtube channel (mmixes) has more than 53 000 subscribers and he has been featured on Brazilian (Rede TV’s Leitura Dinâmica) as well as on Korean television (Mnet’s MUST). After playing in Singapore and Peru, he visited Hungary to present his latest, still unreleased mashup songs and to be carried away by the sheer fanatism of the Hungarian K-pop fans. Of course, we did not miss the opportunity to make an interview with this charismatic and very dedicated young gentleman.
DJ Masa & his Hungarian fans
What is the reason that you have come close to Asian pop music and culture?
Brazil has got the biggest Japanese diaspora in the world (about 1,5 million people), so Japanese culture is pretty well known in my country: we have Japanese neighbourhoods in many big cities and anime channels on the television. I was an anime-fan as a kid and then started listening to J-pop singers. That’s how I discovered BoA who is actually Korean, but had a big career in Japan with her Japanese songs. Afterwards I became familiar with her Korean career, listened to her Korean songs and through her, eventually, really got into Korean pop music.
So, first came J-pop, then K-pop and BoA was the "bridge" between the two music industries?
Exactly! That’s how I discovered SM Entertainment and the other big music agencies in Korea.
How did you career start as a DJ?
I discovered J-pop and K-pop in 2003 and created a fan page of BoA in 2004 with people all over Brazil to spread the news concerning her music. As a DJ I made my first fan-works (remixes) in 2005 and shared it on my website and on different international fan forums. I received positive feedback from the fan community, so I kept on doing it.
Nowadays you are focusing almost exclusively on K-pop. What was the reason that you changed your preference from Japanese to Korean pop music?
As my favourite artist (BoA) started to have less new Japanese releases, I pretty much lost interest in J-pop. The other reason is that the K-pop fan community was a lot more faithful and active, so they were writing comments and published my works on their blogs. Actually, they made my remixes really popular! On the other hand, my J-pop releases didn’t receive that much attention. I said to myself: "if K-pop gives me attention, then I’ll give K-pop more attention!" And let’s not forget the last reason, the copyright issues: Japanese companies are very strict on this matter, they closed down twice my Youtube account and gave me a hard time, while the Korean companies were supporting me. Korean music companies understand that I am promoting their works and only want to make K-pop more popular.
DJ Masa & the Hungarian k-pop fangirls
Which year do you consider as your breakout year?
In 2008 I decided to do only mashup-videos. I thought if I mix Asian pop music together with Western pop, then it would attract more attention. In late 2008 I stumbled upon DJ Earworm’s mega-mashup video "United States of Pop 2008" compiling the biggest American hit songs of the year. I found it awesome and started to create the Korean version of this formula. So, on December 30, 2008 I released "Adios 2008 – K-pop special mashup" on Youtube which can be considered my real breakthrough. It was featured on a lot of big k-pop websites like allkpop and received a great attention: thousands of views every day and thousands of new subscribers on my Youtube channel. It was so successful that I’m still making these Korean mega-mashups every half year.
Beside studying and working, how can you find time to make these very time-consuming mashup-videos?
At first it was only a hobby, I was a high school student, but later it became more serious and time-consuming as I had to release new mashups (like the mega-mashups half-yearly). "When are you going to release your new mashup?" – all the fans were asking me repeatedly. As a university student, it was pretty hard, I was working on my new mashups at night and sometimes between the exams... Fortunately, I already graduated, that’s why I have more time to travel and perform in foreign countries as well.
DJ Masa performing in Budapest, Hungary at the Tündérgyár club
What’s your future plan? Do you want to be a regular guy, staying in your profession and working from 9 to 5, or you rather pursue your dream as a DJ?
Good question! Right now, honestly, I don’t know (laughing). Until now, this year for me was particularly exciting, since I had the opportunity to perform abroad (in Singapore, Peru and now in Hungary). My big dream is to visit Korea and perform there and do everything the Korean K-pop fans want me to do (laughing). It’s strange, sometimes I feel if I go to Seoul right now, I won’t have any other big objectives... I’m always thinking what should I do next, because this mashup thing for me seems to be a bit worn out. Nowadays a lot of guys are doing it, but I like to be one step ahead of the other DJs. So, stay tuned and expect something unexpected!