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"Channeling Mind, Body and Spirit": DJ BODAI'S Earthy and Ethereal Sound

"Channeling Mind, Body and Spirit": DJ BODAI'S Earthy and Ethereal Sound

Gisele Bruno, who goes by the musical name BODAI is a DJ, Producer, Vocalist and Label Manager who specializes in a sonically diverse methodology approach to music. Her sound is sweepingly melodic, reminiscent of deep house vibes with earthy and sensual tones. 

Bodai began mixing in 2013, drawing on her classical music background and melding the harmonious with the hypnotic beats of house. She has performed at several different venues across the globe, including but not limited to places like Argentina, Australia, New York, Buenos Aires and many others. 

In addition to hosting the weekly “NATURAL” show on ​FRISKY​ Radio, she also ​runs the record labels AMITABHA and Auditen Music​ along with her partner, Dynacom.

BODAI’S ethereal and panoramic tones draw visions of tranquil hazes and whirling sunsets. BODAI’S mindful and aware approach, keenly inspired by the natural world, is apparent in her music. Bodai caught up with me to talk about inspiration, collaboration and the process of creation.

While making and curating your sets, what is the energy you aim to exude for your audiences?

My sets tend to echo the energy of the specific day I am working on them. My approach is quite intuitive; I focus on transposing the flow of the day into the set. Similar to my days, they start slow and build up to high energy and activity. I like my sets to have a common theme, and I make sure there is always a voice to dispel loneliness and create a feeling of connection to nature. 

You said that when you create music, you want to emulate your day; What does a normal day look like for you? 

My breakfast is the most important part of my day. It’s beautiful because my partner and I drink and eat together–we sit with our cats and share out intentions for the day. It’s nice to connect with a person before I get to work. 

Then I work on the music labels and do organizational work. I am super active, but I’ve realized through my boyfriend and partner that I need to take time to sit down for at least three minutes and not be so hyperactive. So I try to use my high energy to be productive. When I get tired, I stop and rest. Sometimes that can be half the day or just an hour. 

Now, I have been practicing yoga, and I have been identifying my dosha, which has allowed me to feel calmer. I like to set an intention to understand my emotions, activities like yoga or gardening on the balcony help me achieve this. If I don’t do yoga, I at least need to do my breathing practice or sit in the sun, especially now since we are still in quarantine. 

What is your ideal setting for your audience to experience your work?

Natural settings go very well with my music. I also love when my friends listen to my music. I have a degree in hotel management and tourism, and since my friends have that additional context, it adds another layer to the listening experience. That sector of my audience knew my work before and they have seen me grow. They also give me great feedback on my work. 

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Image: AMITABHA

When you are working on your music, is the inspiration for both your craft and content? 

It’s very connected with nature and natural beings; I follow my senses a lot which is a process I am continually trying to perfect. I am very connected with yoga. I just recently obtained my certification during lockdown. 

Yoga is about the mind, body and spirit, channeling these into my work is integral for me, and so is staying in tune with myself. For my label, AMITABHA, all the work from the music to the covers are made by me, so there is a cohesive feeling and experience to every facet of my work.

What is your advice on staying self-aware? 

It is a challenge– I am always trying to grow as an individual. In terms of label management, we want to ensure the quality of the music is there, but we also want to stay true to our values and message and create a safe and inclusive space. When I doubt myself, I always think, as long as I am putting out the right energy, like-minded people will be attracted. 

You play many different roles, whether you are acquiring artists for your label or making music–how does collaboration come into play? 

I think collaboration is extremely important. If I do everything alone, I catch myself being too detail-oriented and I kind of get lost in a hole. That’s where my peers come into play; they tell me when it’s time to stop and move on, otherwise, I would just never release work. Collaboration helps me see the real picture- not just the vision in my head. 

As a music maker, I am focussed on the evolution and progression of my work. Sometimes, my collaborators have to point out that it’s time to release something, that growth has taken place, that further evolution will take place in the next one. I’m grateful that my partner pushes me out of my perfectionist mindset, otherwise I would never release anything.  

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Image: AMITABHA

How does what you have already made and put out teach you about yourself?

A lot of things–I realized I thought I was a very confident person and I used to try to project that confidence in teams or jobs. But then I realized that it wasn’t real, it came from a need to protect myself.

Art is sensitive like that, it acts as a mirror for the true self, without facades or projections.My work made me realize my strength wasn’t rooted in the right place, that I needed to find a more sustainable and pure way to channel that energy.

I still struggle to operate as a female artist. When I worked with my partner, who is a man, I found myself afraid of working alone again. Many amazing things happened that forced me to realize the nature of my subconscious interactions with the world. I realized I needed to require my brain to be more genuinely confident in being myself. 

What has your personal journey of creation been like?

I’ve been working on evolving the sound a lot, but the essential ideas have always been the same. Jumping from making music as a hobby into a full-time job has been an intense commitment. Saying it was a hobby was more of a shield. As a working artist, one has to operate naked in a sense. 

Is there an overarching narrative you want your audiences to glean from your music?

Diligence is a central theme in one of my tracks. I wanted the bass to translate a sense of strength, which is different from what I normally do. It is about hard work and not giving up and ensuring that you will get to your destination with time. 

My latest release, called “Delicate” is about this amazing day I had where it was overcast and almost rainy. I was talking to a friend who was having a mentally grey day. I was listening to music that was in the same harmony, and I wrote down the lines. It’s about being delicate with ourselves on low, imperfect days.

In another piece called “Say It”, the line “What do you want to say? Say it” repeats over and over. I used amplifiers in the vocals to really emphasize the message. In the fight for equality, people want to speak out, and I wanted to encourage the conversation that is essential to the furthering of these actions. Dialogue is important to change–I wanted to encourage people who may not understand the message of equal rights to talk about their confusion. I wanted to dispel fears surrounding speaking out–we all have a voice, and we should use it for the betterment of the world. 

The track I am currently working on doesn’t have a name yet, but it is about collaborating on being present with someone. My intention is to say that you need someone to help you through your journey, a partnership to make you understand what makes you strong. That sharing makes us happy.