Henrique Oliveira, AKA HNQO – house DJ, producer and head of the Playperview label – comes from the Brazilian city of Curitiba. Watching a tourist commercial on YouTube, the main impression I come away with is that the people of Curitiba are very proud of their public transport system, so I ask Oliveira for a better idea of what kind of city it is.
“Curitiba is a city for about three million people,” he explains. “It’s not that big, not that small, but it has its own life, its own characteristics of the city. Like very good public transport. It’s kind of renowned all over Brazil.” This must be how foreigners feel when Melbournites talk about the trams.
As far as music goes, Oliveira says that in Brazil – especially southern Brazil – house music is huge at the moment, with places like Warung Beach Club, which calls itself ‘the South American Temple of Electronic Music’, acting as hubs for a thriving scene. But right now Oliveira’s not in Brazil. He’s in Switzerland, taking four days off before heading to Berlin, the next stop on a touring schedule that will bring him to Australia in June. Although he’s seen plenty of the rest of the world, this will be his first time in Australia.
Friends who’ve been here before have given him the lowdown on what to expect. “They tell me some good things about it, especially the beautiful landscapes, beaches and also some nice parties going on there,” he says. “Like of course Sydney, Melbourne, they’re pretty worldwide famous so I’ve seen some photos and I know a little bit.”
That’s not been his only source of information about our country, though. “I’m expecting a warm crowd because on my Facebook page I receive a lot of messages from people in Australia saying they are waiting for me there,” he says. “They’re looking forward, excited to see me playing, so I think it’s going to be nice.”
Oliveira does a lot of keeping in touch with his fans through Facebook, where the unusually kind-spirited comments are equally split between Portuguese, English and the international language of smiley faces and hearts.
“People who like my music sometimes ask questions and I have the potential to answer right away to them; it’s kind of a nice relationship with all the people who like my music. I like to keep that, it’s nice. I love Facebook.”
When Oliveira was a teenager, before house music exerted its pull on him, he was into hip hop and was even a b-boy in a local breakdance crew, which he joined after they put on a demonstration at his school. “They were the best crew in town,” he says, “and I started practising with them and dancing together. I think three years [later] I had to quit it because I started working. I also did college – it became more heavy, more and more tasks, I had to quit it and then suddenly I found myself amongst the music, going to clubs and starting to throw my small parties in the city with some friends. Nothing extra special but just for fun, with local DJs.”
His own music is built around a nugget of the hip hop he used to listen to as a kid – he name-checks Kool Herc, Afrika Bambaataa, A Tribe Called Quest, Jungle Brothers, Grandmaster Flash and Jurassic 5, both in the vocal samples he chooses and the breaks.
“I like percussion, I like drum grooves, so yeah, definitely the hip hop rhythms inspire me. Sometimes it sounds more hip hop-ish I would say, sometimes not, but I’m definitely always listening to hip hop and just chilling. Or jazz, some blues also. Definitely the percussion – drums inspire me.”
BY JODY MACGREGOR
HNQO plays Terminal Projekt at Vivid Terminal Bar, Overseas Passenger Terminal on Sunday June 9