Q&A: Rio de Janeiro DJ/Producer Leo Justi, Plus "Heavy Baile" Mixtape

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Photo by: Fernando Schlaepfer

Meet Leo Justi: DJ, producer, and one of the biggest baile funk names to come out of Rio de Janeiro. He just recently just flew up to New York City for inspiration, and to have the chance to check out its infamous club scene. We met up at GHE20 G0TH1K a few weeks ago and got a chance to chat briefly about his experiences here in the city.

Check out his Heavy Baile (Mixtape), just released on Hypetrack, as well as some of his essential releases including an official remix of MIA’s “Bad Girls,” below.

Hi Leo, tell us about yourself!

I’m a producer and DJ from Rio de Janeiro. I worked with MIA back in 2011, when she flew me to India for a week to collaborate with her. I released my first two singles in 2012 and 2013. I’m also signed to Waxploitation, with whom I’ll be releasing new material this year. But first, I’m dropping a mixtape on Hypetrack.

How have you enjoyed your time here in NYC?

Well, I think it definitely stands out that so much Jersey, Bmore, and Philly club music is played here and that it has an audience; that doesn’t happen in Brazil. I’ve loved those sounds since 2009, but lately I’ve been a little more distant from them. Since I was staying in Brazil for long periods of time, I feel like baile funk had taken over me.

Tell us about the scene in Brazil. What are your current favorites for events, parties, DJs?

My favorite party is definitely my own (laughs)–Heavy Baile, a night we started this year and it’s going great as always. Also Wobble, who brought some important names like DJ Rashad (RIP) to Rio. I also like Manie Dansante, an electro swing and jazz party… there are a couple of really good parties going on at the moment.

My favorite DJs right now are Rodrigo S., Johnny Ice, Omulu, Uly kkkk:D, and Marginal Men. I also gotta mention Wladimir Gasper too, a live performer who plays with 2 MPCs, 3 synths plus a lot of stuff and does amazing music.

How would you describe your sound, “Heavy Baile”?

I’d describe ‘Heavy Baile as my style that mixes club music such as Bmore with Brazilian baile funk. Hard hitting, bouncing beats and some raw energy from Rio’s slums.

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