On a skate trip to Vista, California, with her fellow Brazilian skateboarding teammates, Dora Varella takes the time away from rip apart the California Training Facility bowl to talk about music. We pick her brain on a few of her favorite artists, what gets the session fired up with the crew, learn a bit about Brazilian Funk, and get a custom ten-track curated playlist.

What would you say is your favorite type of music?
I would say rap and Brazilian Funk.

Luiz [Francisco] had mentioned Brazilain Funk to me when I interview him. Can you explain what type of music it is?
It’s not like rap, but it’s a little bit like a trap song, and they say many bad words (laughs). It comes from the culture like the suburb of Brazil like from Favela.

So it came from the surrounding areas of major cities?
Yeah, I don’t know how to explain it. It’s really famous in Brazil. Everyone likes playing it, but it came from the Favelas, but now everybody is listening to it.

Who are some of the Brazilian rap artists that you listen to?
There’s L7nnon, and BIN. He’s kind of like rap and trap. Those two are the ones that I like the most.

How big of a role does music play in your day-to-day life?
I listen to music all day. Like I wake up, I play a song and in the car on the way to the skatepark, but I don’t skate with music and headphones because I can’t listen to the wheels or the sound of grinds. But if you don’t skate with music, like at the spot you’re skating, it’s not the same thing. So I like to listen to music, but when everybody’s listening to the same song.

So out at the skatepark with everybody, you all listen to music on a speaker and not with headphones?
Yeah, and because I like to talk to people like we’re all skating, chating, having fun, making jokes. Also, I want to listen to the noise that the skateboard makes on the coping.

What music is usually playing when the whole crew is skating together?
It really depends, but we’re listening to rock most of the time because it gets us all really hyped to land our tricks. So, if the session is fired up we’re listening to rock music, but it’s like a chill session, then we’ll listen to rap.

Dora Varella Music Playlist
Photo Credit: Dangaard

Does that go for the same for when you’re competing? No headphones in either?
No, not at all. Before the contest, when I’m like in the physical therapy area, I put on headphones to get focused. I think of my line and get prepared and not distracted. So I use headphones at this moment, but I take them off when I get to the skatepark.

What are you listening to that gets you focused and mentally ready?
It depends on the music that I like at that time. So usually pop or rap, but not rock because I want to be chill and calm at that moment.

Who would you be listening to right now if you were at Dew Tour?
I would probably be listening to BIN.

Who plays as the DJ when you’re in the car with the crew going to a skatepark?
We have the Brazilian Federation here, so we all travel in a van together all the time. We take turns playing the music. We’re changing all the time, so we don’t listen to the same thing. So if Luiz [Francisco] plays the music it’s obviously going be funk music, if it’s Murilo [Peres] then it’s going be more like I don’t know maybe jazz or something chill and if it’s Leticia [Gonçalves] and I, it’s going to be more like Brazilian rap.

Any skate video parts that the music inspired you?
When I was growing up, I didn’t have that many girls who skated with me. So I used to search a lot for girls, and I always watched Lizzie [Armanto], Nora [Vasconcellos], Mimi [Knoop], Allysha [Le] all those girls rip. So I’ve always watched those videos and also Karen Jones. Do you know her? She’s a professional skateboarder from Brazil and was like the only women professional there for a bit.

Dora Varella Music Playlist
Photo Credit: Dangaard

No, sorry, I’m not familiar with her. Can you explain to me who she is?
She’s doesn’t skateboard a lot anymore. She’s has a kid and a family now. But she used to be like, the biggest skateboarder in Brazil. So I watched her videos along with Nora and everybody else here in California. The level of skating is so different from Brazil like oh my god, these girls rip.

Now it’s the opposite. A ton of Brazilian women skateboarders have emerged and taken over the skate scene.
Yeah, we got inspired. I always put on the TV while I’m doing other stuff. Like, I always put on random videos from Thrasher and always be watching it. I’ll play like Clay [Kriner], CJ [Collins], or anybody. I’ll always watch all those videos.

If you had a video part ready to drop and could pick any song you wanted to use for free, what would you choose?
That’s hard. I don’t know, but for a video part, it’s going to be more like rock but not super hard more like more chill.

Last question, are you a fan of karaoke?
Not really (laughs). I’m too shy to do karaoke.

If you were to do it, what song would you sing?
Probably a pop song, something easy to sing. Like, imagine singing a rap song from Eminem? That would be hard (laughs).

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