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DEBORA SCHWAMMLEIN: “THE COLLECTIVES ARE A WAY OF STRENGTHENING EACH OTHER”





Rafaela Piccin

Debora Schwammlein is a music producer, a DJ and researcher. Her skills include spreadsheets, budgeting and planning, and she has a talent for aggregating ideas and collectives projects. This financial and administrative producer kickstarts the series #BehindTheSIM, which tells the story of the professionals involved at Sao Paulo Music Week.

At first, the relationship with Debora was a mere flirt. She found out about the event in 2016 through social media, and she was impressed by the program. In July 2018, she found out about an opening to work at Inker (the producer behind the event), and the match from heaven took place. Nowdays, she is responsible for the production of SIM Transforma, in addition to her admin tasks in the office. Sim Transforma is an initiative in partnership with the Culture Factories organizing activities in order foster culture and music production in the suburbs of Sao Paulo, connecting producers and artists from the border districts of the city with the stakeholders from the music industry.

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“Because I’m from the suburbs, I identify with a language and the needs of a young person who wants something different in life. A lot of people need guidance, because their possess talent and intelligence”, she tells. It’s very important for her to produce a project with the suburbs, and to contribute towards the development of culture in such areas. Debora notes that the activities generate an important exchange between the market professionals, not just by taking content to artists of the suburbs, but also by bringing brand new experience to the guests. “I think that this exchange is instrumental so that the distribution of music across the country is fair and square, because these people can disseminate culture and help artists in a way more effective than the government, for instance.

She was born and raised in Pirituba, a Northern district of Sao Paulo, and the Racionais MC had a huge influence on her work. Later, in her career as a producer, she confesses that one of the most remarkable moments of her career was producing the concert of the Projeto Coisa Fina, during the Festival Órbita. The act counts DJ KL amongst its members. The music world connects.

In 2011, she was a regular at Pressure Drop gig at the Centro Cultural Popular Consolação (CCPC). That’s where she first connecting reggae vinyl DJing every Tuesday. She volunteered to write the releases for the weekly program, and that’s how she became selected. “I started working with music and getting involved with the Centro Cultural for event productions, organizing the space and also helping to curate. That’s where I found what I wanted as a professional: to work organizing events”, she remembers.

She holds a technical diploma in Events at ETEC Santa Ifigenia, and she has also been a member of the Solano Producoes team, where she was the production assistant of the Pernambuco singer Otto. “That’s when I started collecting vinyls, and I was invited to play in a party on Osasco. At this party, a collective then called Ferro na Boneca (in a tribute to the Novos Baianos) was born, and so I began to specialize in music research and DJing. Later, Other collectives appeared: Mulheril, Festa Pitangueira and those in which Deboratakes part up to the present days, such as Festa Domingaz (monthly residence at Fatiado Discos, with the DJs Gabi Pensanuvem and Cecília Nunes); the collective Cesta (monthly party Erva Doce Produções, with DJ Gabi Pensanuvem, Cecilia Nunes and Ivisson Cardoso a.k.a. DJ MeuCaroVinho); and Festival Órbita (of which she’s a co-founder, alongside Gabi Pensanuvem, and which has been taking place for five years at Casa das Caldeiras, in a total of 13 editions).

In her vision, some of the biggest challenges of the profession are connected to the continuity of projects, to the structures that each and everyone needs in order to become sustainable -  particularly indie artists grappling to make ends meet. “It has to do with resistance and resilience”, she comments, while also highlighting the significance of the collective: “Eles strengthen and build themselves up, moving on with their projects”. 

When the topic is strength, music also takes a leading role in her life. Debora’s connection with music is so intense because it is - literally - umbilical. Her pregnant mother attended the rehearsals at the samba school where her father was a drummer, unwittingly generating a link between her unborn daughter and the rhythms and the low sounds. At home, she was in touch with her mother’s psychedelic rock, with jazz, the instrumental tunes of her grandparents, country music, Raul Seixas (through her uncles), while attributing street culture, reggae and electronic music to her brother. She says - based on her own life experience - that the most gratifying thing about working in the area is to acquire knowledge and to have the opportunity to maintain the affective memory and the sensibility.

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