In the last two years, São Paulo, Brazil-based producer and DJ Badsista (born Rafaela Andrade) has taken the world by storm. Her signature take on sets mixed from breakneck house, ‘90s trance, hard techno, and Funk carioca has sent her to stages across Latin America, Europe, and Africa. She’s brought the same fearless energy to her own music, which blends everything hard, furious, and fast.
A champion of Brazil’s queer electronic underground, Badsista collaborates with a host of gay, lesbian, and transgender artists, directing projects and cross-pollinating with producers like Jup do Bairro and Linn da Quebrada. She also co-founded and helms Bandida Coletiva, an all-female organization that hosts DJ and production workshops for a growing network of Brazilian women.
Badsista’s patch for Massive X – the demo for which is a full-length track that forms part of the soundtrack to a forthcoming movie by Ugandan label Nyege Nyege Tapes – brings her fervor for glitchy pop and club to the fore. An off-kilter slow burner, the track unfurls slowly before breaking, halfway through, into a stuttering salvo of clips, zaps, and dub-inflected glitches. Get your hands on the preset below, then read on to find out how she made it.
Your music traverses techno, trance, club, and Brazilian funk. Have you consciously mixed these genres together, or has this been a natural outgrowth of your various tastes?
I think I’m just a result of my time. I listen to what’s playing here in the streets, and I try to put this in my universe and give it to you so you can hear what I’m thinking about. My sound is the crash between the natural and the cultural: the natural is what’s inside of – my creativity or my thoughts or whatever – and the cultural is what’s outside. I think the music is the first thing to reflect what’s going on in a city and with its people. In Detroit, they had techno, and here in Brazil, we have baile funk.
What is your production workflow like, and what are your go-to tools?
I don’t have any hardware. I only work with Ableton Live. Right now I’m working so much with Native Instruments’ stuff. I have Massive X, which I used to make the preset, as well as the normal Massive. Before that, I was working a lot with samples because I didn’t have many good plugins to work with. But right now I’m in paradise. Komplete is perfect.
Badsisata’s patch, Fuego Synth, makes use of MASSIVE X’s Performer section to create motion via an insert oscillator.
When did you start using MASSIVE X? Do you have any tricks or favorite parts of the software?
The first time Massive X and I “met each other” was really confusing, because I was used to working with Massive, which is simpler than Massive X. It’s less visual. Fewer colors. More robotic, a little older.
Massive X is really cute. It has a lot of buttons, a lot of things to do. The colors are really cute. Everything is really cute! The sounds are really good, too. You can do lead synths, you can do a really tough bass if you want it. You have a whole choice of noises and aesthetics to put in your sounds.
Can you explain how you made the patch for us?
So I created the synth from zero using two oscillators: Glitter and Bipolar PWM, with LFOs and modulations acting on them. I also processed it with overdrive, delay, and reverb to enhance the sound. They also have noises simulating little stones merged with waterfalls. It gets really creative if you dive deep into Massive X. You can modulate so many things in Massive X that it sounds like a whole sequencer. It sounds like I have two or three tracks going on. But it’s just one synth. There are these macros that I turned on and turned off and made the sound more wet and more dry. That was really nice to do, to see how the synth was transforming. I was just pressing the Record button and modulating every button inside Massive X.
When I was making this patch sound, I was also working on a soundtrack for a short movie for Nyege Nyege Tapes. This patch opens the short movie. I thought it was a nice chance to experiment with a new synth from scratch.
Do you usually go into a production knowing exactly what you want to do, or do you jam and see what happens?
Sometimes I have some ideas. I can be washing dishes, and then I’ll have an idea and go to the computer and start this idea. But I like jamming with myself. Sometimes I just open Ableton and Massive X or Reaktor, and I start to work from there. It happens both ways, I think. But I really love to jam.
Is there anything you’re working on now or plans for the future post-lockdown?
Yes. I’m working on my album now. I want to release it at the beginning of 2021. I’m mostly working with other Brazilian artists on it. I’m singing and also playing guitar, playing bass. I used these lyrics from Lari BXD – she’s a lesbian and she talks about being with another girl. But she talks, like, gangster. Like if 50 Cent was on acid. This is the kind of vibe that I’m going for.
Words: Chloe Lula