Wagner Moura

Wagner Maura's standout role on the Netflix series Narcos, playing notorious drug lord Pablo Escobar, has made the Brazilian actor the talk of Hollywood. He returns to his roots for his Guest DJ set, playing some Brazilian favorites alongside moody tracks from The Cure and Radiohead.

Photo credit: Rachel Reynolds.

Roberto Carlos - Detalhes
Cure - Pictures of You
Legião Urbana - Tempo Perdido
Radiohead - Karma Police
Caetano Veloso - Desde Que o Samba é Samba

CD: Hi I’m Chris Douridas and I’m here with Wagner Maura. His standout role on the Netflix series Narcos, playing notorious drug lord Pablo Escobar has made the Brazilian actor the talk of Hollywood and beyond. Today we’ll be playing excerpts of songs he’s selected that have inspired him over the years, as part of KCRW’s Guest DJ Project. Wagner, welcome.

WM: Thank you Chris. Thank you so much.

CD: What did you bring in for us today?

WM: Let start with Roberto Carlos. Roberto Carlos is a very, very well-known artist in Brazil, but not only in Brazil. He became very famous because he started to sing in Spanish as well, so he is very well known in Mexico, and Argentina, and South America.

And he plays boleros, you know very, very romantic songs. Something that the intellectual world in Brazil kind of despises, and this is the kind of thing I kind of hate because it’s so prejudiced, musical prejudice, that I always thought it was silly.

So I chose Roberto Carlos because my mom used to listen to him a lot at home. And my band, when I grew up and I’ve been playing with this band for 25 years, my band has a lot of influence of his songs and my band is a mix of Roberto Carlos with the British rock of the ‘80s, because they both have the same kind of melancholy.

CD: So a lot of people may not know that you’re a musician.

WM: I’m not.

CD: Come on…

WM: I’m an actor who can play the guitar.

CD: So I need your help in how to say this song title.

WM: “Detalhes.” Detalhes means details. And it’s a guy saying to his former girlfriend, he’s telling her “you’re not gonna forget me because the details of our lives that are unforgettable.” Very romantic.

*Song: Detalhes - Roberto Carlos*

CD: That is “Detalhes”, from Roberto Carlos. What’s next?

WM: I chose “Pictures of You,” by The Cure. This is, was my favorite band…

CD: Great Brazilian band. (both laugh)

WM: …when I was a teenager. And I think that “Disintegration” is totally the best, one of the best albums. All the melancholic things that shaped what The Cure is, came back with full force with “Disintegration.” And we were like okay, so THIS is The Cure. That’s why I love this band. The big introductions, you know, the layers with many guitars and keyboards…I just love it. And when I was, I don’t know, 15, 16, this was the soundtrack of my soul.

CD: “Pictures of You” from The Cure. It’s from Wagner Maura’s Guest DJ project here at KCRW.

*Song: Pictures of You - The Cure*

CD: I’m Chris Douridas, with Wagner Maura. What do you have up next here?

WM: If you look at this selection that I did, all of the songs are like from the end of the ‘80s til the end of the ‘90s.

The Smiths probably had a bigger influence on me than The Beatles. I mean Morrissey is one of the greatest artists of all time in my opinion.

There’s this Brazilian band called Legiao Urbana and when you listen to the song that I’ve chosen, you’re gonna see The Smiths had a big influence on them. When you are a teenager or a young guy and you think that those lyrics were made for your soul. The lead singer and the leader of the band, Renato Russo, he was a great poet. Probably one of the best poets in the Brazilian music scene, and Renato died in the end of the ‘90s.

CD: The lead singer?

WM: The lead singer. He died of AIDS. And the band was formed by him, a guitar player called Dado Villa-Lobos and a drummer called Marcelo Bonfa. So the guys decided not to play anymore because Renato was the soul of the band. And in 2012, they decided to do another concert, to play again. And, crazily enough, they chose me to play with them. It was like you were in the middle of a concert and then someone goes and says “Listen, our lead singer, he didn’t show up. Can you just sing this? Do you know these songs? Can you come up here and sing them?” I felt like that. So it was totally one of the most emotional and important things that I have ever done, is being on stage with my idols.

CD: The band is Legiao Urbana and the track is “Tempo Perdido,” here at KCRW.

*Song: Tempo Perdido- Legiao Urbana*

CD: So what do we have next?

WM: “OK Computer” I think is one of the best albums ever. OK Computer was something that really was like, “What is this?” You know? It was the experimental things, the layers, all the layers and the abstract lyrics and also the melancholy of the songs. It was an album that was released I think in ’97, probably ’98–

CD: That sounds right, ’98, yeah.

WM: And I wasn’t a teenager anymore. It was a time when you needed a rock band that you can relate to as an adult. The Smiths were not around anymore, you know, I needed a new idol. I chose “Karma Police,” it’s like I need an abstract police to get rid of you know, boring things, stupid things of my life, you know. It’s just an amazing album.

CD: “Karma Police” from Radiohead, the album OK Computer.

*Song: Karma Police - Radiohead*

CD: That is Radiohead from 1997’s OK Computer, “Karma Police.” We got one more here for you.

WM: I wanted to have more Brazilian music. Brazilian music is really rich, especially Samba. I wanted to have some Sambas in my playlist because I love Samba, I love Cartola, I love Gilberto Gil, you know, I love Joao Gilberto, Bossa Nova, Dorival Caymmi, they’re all masters of the Brazilian music.

But I wanted to have a samba so I chose “Desde Que o Samba é Samba. Samba is a music expression that was born in Bahia, in Salvador, Bahia where I come from. Of course, it’s a kind of music that has a big influence of the African beats. Bahia is the most African state in Brazil. And this is a samba composed by Caetano Veloso, who is, let me just say, my favorite artist in the world.

Caetano is a model for me you know, in very different ways: as an artist, as a political activist, as a human being, and he’s not exactly a sambista, he’s not exactly a guy who composes sambas. But he did this samba that is so beautiful, it’s called “Desde que o samba é samba.”

*Song: Desde Que o Samba é Samba - Caetano Veloso*

CD: That is the great Caetano Veloso, along with Gilberto Gil, and the track which translates to “Since Samba is Samba.” It comes from the Guest DJ Project put together by Wagner Maura, who is our guest. Thank you so much for joining us.

WM: Thank you Chris, it was great to see you again.

CD: Yes, great to see you. For a complete track listing and to find these songs online go to KCRW.com/guestdjproject and subscribe to the podcast through iTunes.