His main gig these days may be playing live with Criolo, a rapper and singer who is huge on the Brazilian scene and beyond, but Bruno Buarque is a man of many strings on his bow. In addition to his long-standing dub/reggae project, he collaborates with many different composers and producers in the studio and on stage, and his home studio, where his Joué has fully found its place, is a meeting point for the entire Sao Paolo music community.
I heard about it on the Internet, because I’m always keeping up with music tech news. I remember being instantly really interested but didn’t go any further. And then I was on tour with Criolo, and one day, we were in Bordeaux playing at the Climax festival, I bumped into the guys from Joué backstage and we started talking, I tried it out, and I was instantly hooked.
Pretty much, yes. I have a studio here in Sao Paolo. I mostly use my Joué for production purposes, either with Logic Pro or with my MPC drum machine. I immediately found that it worked really well with the MPC, which is a piece of gear that I use a lot. I’m a hardware guy: I’m not a big fan of laptops onstage, and I use my MPC as a standalone instrument. So I started programming some MIDI stuff on the MPC with the Joué, and it works really well. Stuff like track mutes, auxiliary sends… That’s where I’ve been really exploring the possibilities of the Joué so far. I have it at my studio, always plugged in, ready to quickly lay down ideas whenever a composer comes by.
What I enjoy most is its modularity. It’s so practical and functional. It’s responsive, quick and super light, so you can take it anywhere with you, but it’s also really powerful. People could think it’s more like a sophisticated toy, but not at all. It works great, it has amazingly low latency… It just worked for me instantly, you know? Also, my mother was a design journalist, so I’ve always been very sensitive to the combination of form and function, and the Joué is a beautiful object in that respect.
Versatility, definitely. The MPC only has its 16 drum pads. If I want to program a keyboard part, I have to plug in a keyboard, if I want to do track muting, I have to plug in a controller. But with the Joué, with one simple piece of gear, I can do it all. And I’m still getting to know it because its possibilities go really deep. I’m still trying to figure out multi-channel MIDI applications, for example. And also, historically I’m a drummer and a percussionist, so the story of my life has been about carrying around big, heavy, cumbersome instruments. I’m gradually learning to reduce my load while still keeping the big sound and all the possibilities I have in my head. The Joué comes in the picture very nicely here because it’s small, light and portable. I can do with it the equivalent of what I can do with six or seven different pieces of gear. I can stick in my carry-on and have a very powerful setup with me all the time.
Yes, it was easy because I immediately started doing with it what I already did before, for example when I used a MIDI keyboard. The Joué found its place perfectly into my setup and my music habits. That being said, I still think that I have to go deeper. I’m actually going to take advantage of some time off to take a little trip with my Joué and explore its possibilities a little deeper, such as aftertouch, multi-channel MIDI, etc. It’s funny because everyone who comes to my studio is amazed by it. Not only because it’s really fast, but also because it has a look that attracts people. I have a lot of gear in my studio, but people always spot the Joué and ask “what’s this?”, because they’ve never seen anything like it. I’m looking forward to putting together a workshop or something to present it to the Brazilian music community, because there is a lot of interest, and there are a lot of good producers here who are always curious to find out about new equipment.
Interview by Patrick Haour