Our recent show, “Party and Dissent: World Cup Brazil 2014” started off with a track called “Rumba” by GodWonder. As Georges told you on the program, this is the sound of baile funk in 2014. But what he didn’t tell you is that, while “Rumba” might be one of the best baile funk tracks of the year, it actually doesn’t come from Brazil. GodWonder is a young Dominican-born producer who now lives in Amsterdam. He’s on the cutting edge of experimentation with several genres, including rasterinha, the new style that we featured in “Party and Dissent.” That program’s producer, Jesse Brent, reached out to GodWonder to hear the rest of his story. GodWonder also sent us an exclusive preview of his new track, “A Divina,” which you can check out below the interview.
Jesse Brent: Tell me about growing up in the Dominican Republic. What kind of music were you listening to growing up?
GodWonder: Growing up in the Dominican Republic was real tough and fun at the same time. I enjoyed being there with my family and homies a lot. We Dominicans like bachata a lot–also salsa and merengue. These genres were the main sounds over there at that time, along with reggaeton.
Where does the name GodWonder come from?
When I was a little, I had two crazy accidents. I was always very sick. I remember my aunt taking care of me and crying all the time because she couldn’t help me. After all this happened to me and I was still alive, walking around, I started believing more in God and wonders. So from there, I picked the name.
You started producing at a young age. What were the songs like that you were making back then?
When I first found FL [music production software formerly known as FruityLoops], I was blown away! I saw all these buttons and sounds. I began regularly touching them and learning; and then after a while, I created boom bap rap beat instrumentals for the local rappers and artists from the neighborhood.
Why did you decide to move to Amsterdam?
My mom actually lived here already, so one day she was over there, and she asked us if we wanted to come out here. We said, “Yeah, sure. Why not?!”
It’s interesting to me that Munchi, another Netherlands-based producer of Dominican descent, is also making rasterinha. Are you friends with him?
Claro. Munchi and I, we’ve been talking about some sounds that I have to finish, and we’ve been putting some shit together. I can only say…keep your eyes open, and stay tuned!
How did you learn about rasterinha?
Everything started with this guy, MC Duduzinho–after playing his music and getting drunk hearing it… especially “To Pro Crime.” That song had me loco! The way that they put everything together seemed fucking awesome to me. So I started following some artists and looking for more info about this genre. After some time, I decided to try something similar, but different, and there I was… making some rasterinha.
How did you get in contact with Funk Na Caixa?
When I made my first rasterinha track called “Toma Rasterinha,” I decided to look for somebody over in Brazil who was interested in the same genre to put my music out. So that’s when I met Renato from Funk Na Caixa. He really liked it, so one day he told me he was putting something together, Rasterinha Vol.2 EP, and then I sent him “Ela Vai Sentando,” [alternate title of “Rumba”], one of the Brazilian sounds that I have made.
What is the style that you call dembohouse?
Dembohouse is a style that I brought from DR! I’ve never released or put something out in that style. I don’t think I will until the tracks are really ready. All I can tell you is that I am working so hard on this… Seriously, I sleep less because of it. I want this to be as perfect as possible. My unreleased EP, The Sound of GodWonder has five dembohouse tracks, as well as some other experimental sounds.
What projects are you working on now? Are you going to continue making rasterinha tracks?
There is a lot going on right now. I’m working on some projects and also finishing an EP! I have a lot more rasterinha yet to come. I’m just taking my time to understand everything correctly.
What other current artists are you a fan of?
Below, check out an exclusive Afropop preview of GodWonder’s track, “A Divina.” Like “Rumba,” the song begins with jazzy horns, but rather than building up to an exuberant finish, it drifts into a lovely slow tempo groove that we wouldn’t mind listening to on the beach. Watch out for more of GodWonder’s rasterinha experimentation and the unveiling of his new dembohouse style!