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One of the original pioneers of baile funk, DJ Amazing Clay's career spanned over 30 years. As one of the founders of Equipe Curtisom Rio, one of the earliest baile funk soundsystems, Clay had a constant and influential presence within baile funk music as it evolved, diversified and became more and more popular. During his prolific career he would DJ at at least five parties a week including the Boqueirão party next to Rio's Santos Dumont airport where he was a resident DJ for more than ten years. He is the creator of the "montagem bonanza“, which introduced the bonanza theme in the baile funk scene. He produced music for Mr Catra, Deize Tigrona, MC Gus, MC Dido, Bonde da Oskley and MC Gringo.
DJ Amazing Clay passed away on 26th February 2011, having lost his long battle with cancer. We're honoured to present this mixtape, mixed by The Bumps, in tribute to the life of a man who was a friend, who inspired many and who gave beautiful baile funk music to all.
Here MC Gringo, a director of Club Popozuda, has written his own tribute recalling some of the stories that made him and Clay such good friends:
"DJ Amazing Clay was the first person who accepted me into the funk scene. We were introduced to each other by by first MC partner in Rio de Janeiro, MC Binho from Rocinha. It was in the Urugaina market in the centre of Rio, where Clay waited every Friday at 5pm for people who wanted to talk with him about baile funk music. In some ways he was one of the least typical cariocas I've ever met: his English was good, he never arrived late to appointments and - I don't know why - but he never charged me any money for his work. He saw me as a partner and a friend and, also not like a typical carioca, he trusted me and my ideas.
That Friday we met was to become an important day for the international baile funk scene as we went on to create great things together including three tracks for my EP released on Man Recordings. Later I told Daniel Haaksman that Clay was the right person to produce music and invite MCs to record their vocals for Man Recordings. There was so many of us in Clay's studio that I can't remember all of them… Natalie Brunner from the Austrian radio station FM4 visited and for two years we produced special programmes for radio stations in Europe. Or my fiends DJ Comrade and Kokos Kokos from XÃO Productions in New York City. Together we created the first international baile funk radio show. Other people to have visited Clay's studio include Diplo, DJ Tuko, Copyflex and many more. I met all the important MCs in Clay's studio too: Mr Catra, MC Galo, Menor do Chapa, MC Gus, MC Dandão and more. I think that Clay and I were in some way the first real international baile funk connection.
Clay's career as a producer was very difficult, partly because the baile funk scene in Rio is monopolised by a few people. Even so, for us it wasn't just about making music and selling it and the business side was not the main priority. I remember how Clay's dream was to leave Rio at least once in his life and go on a plane to Europe. I'm so happy that this happened for him. Recently I saw a picture of Clay in a big jacket in the streets of Warsaw and felt like crying - not of sorrow but joy because Clay achieved some of his goals despite his hard life.
Clay was always open minded with people and I always felt he was the best DJ to represent baile funk music and culture. He was like no nobody else in baile funk. Perhaps it's a cliché but Clay was too good for the funk scene, too "pure". He could stand my voice for more than three hours in the studio, he was so patient. I only ever heard him say "fuck" just once; when a nervous MC spilled Coca-Cola over his mixer. It was the only time I ever saw him angry.
Oh my God, Clay was too cool sometimes! I once saw him in the DJ booth with a beer in one hand and a cigarette in the other while mixing live. At one point, when it was still early and the crowd was quite small, he was doing all this while watching a film on a small TV that he had brought with him! And you won't believe it but when I said hello to him he shook my hand and started small talk with me without stopping any of his other activities.
I have a lot of memories of Clay, great moments that play like short films in my head. We had happy times together, for example our appearance on the Jô Soares show on TV (he is like the Brazilian David Letterman) in November 2007. And of course there were also sad times or shall we say "interesting" times. After 2007/2008 when we released the EP on Man Recordings and went on tours there came a time with much less income. However, we didn't want to give up and still dreamt of being able to make a living from our music.
One day I had some good ideas for songs and Clay said I should come to the studio. Both of us had no money - I had only 5 Reais and Clay had about 10 Reais. So I travelled by bicycle from Pereira da Silva to Maracanã, a long way and on a day with heat reaching 40 degrees, and Clay came by bus. We recorded for more than three intense hours and spent our last money together at the restaurant in front of the Maracanã Stadium, admiring the view. For me it was always inspiring to get off the bus in front of the Maracanã and see from one of the windows of the studio the biggest football stadium in the world. As big as our dreams!"
Descanse em paz o nosso irmão!
01. A Bebezinha Quer Beijar - DJ Amazing Clay feat. Mulher Bebe e MC Maiquinho
02. Aquecimento do Verão (Montagem) - DJ Amazing Clay
03. Puxa O Trem (DJ Amazing Clay Mix) - Bonde da Oskley
04. Senta na Piro Ga - DJ Amazing Clay feat. Mulher Bebe
05. Geral Quer Mexer - DJ Amazing Clay feat. Patrão e Tiano
06. Super Jones - DJ Amazing Clay
07. Bim Bom (DJ Amazing Clay Funk Remix) - João Gilberto
08. Berimbau - MC Gringo feat. DJ Amazing Clay
09. Atuais Ela E Uma Nutte - DJ Amazing Clay feat. MC Gringo e Mister Catra
10. Aquecimento do Samba (Montagem) - DJ Amazing Clay
11. Dança do Kuduro (DJ Amazing Clay Mix) - Leandrinho CTI
12. Tô Com Saudade de Pegar Minha Ex (DJ Amazing Clay Mix) - MC Maiquinho
13. Chopin In Da Party (Etude In C Minor) - DJ Amazing Clay
14. Cajueiro, Faz Quem Quer, Vaz Lobo (Montagem) (1996) - DJ Amazing Clay
15. Pela Última Vez (Montagem) - DJ Amazing Clay
16. Favelinha (São Conrado) (Montagem) (1996) - DJ Amazing Clay
17. I've Gotta Be Tough (1994) - DJ Amazing Clay
18. Sambura (DJ Amazing Clay Baile Funk Remix) - Luis Bonfa & Maria Toledo
XÃO Productions in NYC, who worked closely with DJ Amazing Clay, have put together an album of some of his music that you can buy from Amazon ($9) or iTunes ($10). All proceeds go directly to DJ Amazing Clay's immediate family in Rio to help towards the large medical bills accrued during Clay's illness.
Mixed by The Bumps. Photo for album art courtesy of Vincent Rosenblatt (Agencia Olhares).
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