The Sound Waves festival began yearly starting in 2005 and growing since then. In recent years it has become exponentially larger and is known as the only festival in Portugal with the heart of techno and the essence of underground. The experience this year, however, is to be even better by utilizing the multiple stages to give an even more immersive and incredible vibe.
Given its multiple time nominations for best “medium-sized festival” it will combine the naturally energetic coast of Esmoriz and the incredible music of over 30 artists. Including Portugal’s own Miss Sheila and Carlos Manaça, who were available to be interviewed. They told Climax about their careers and experiences .
As a DJ who has been in the industry for so many years and evolved with it, how does it feel to be back performing at clubs and festivals after the two years?
I started as a professional DJ way back in 1986. The only job I had besides being a DJ was at a vinyl record shop during the 90’s, so you can imagine what it feels like being 2 years without being able to do what I love the most.
Because of that but also because I’ve been playing on Sound Waves since its very beginning, I’m really excited to be back to one of the best Techno Festivals in Portugal, on July 2nd in Esmoriz, near Oporto.
Having performed in countries like Japan and the USA, how does the Portugal crowd compare to others and do you have a favorite place to perform?
Portugal crowd is amazing, really into music, whatever the genre is. Also, the tourists that visit us and go to our dance music events get into our “party spirit” and always have a great time. It must be the weather, friendliness of the people and the quality of our events, or everything combined.
Outside of Portugal, luckily I also get amazing crowds, especially in Japan (they are really up for it!) but also in the U.S., Spain, Switzerland, Brazil, Croatia, etc.
Was there a particular moment or DJ that you can recall that verified for you that it was possible to perform and do what you love as a career?
Things were pretty different in 1986, and back then I never thought I would be where I am today, 36 years later. My other passion was Architecture, which I quitted on my second University year, in 1994. It was probably then, when I had to decide what to do (it was becoming impossible to deliver my school work on time because of my DJ and record shop work) that I had to decide what I should do.
It was at that moment that I thought I could live from doing what I love the most: DJing.
Having started your career while vinyl was still quite popular do you feel that modern DJs have the same skills and connection with
skills and connection with the music in the present day that they did when you first started?
When I started, vinyl was the only way we could play music and make people dance at the club. Yes, some DJ’s used reel-to-reel tape machines back then (especially in the U.S.) but they were so expensive that one a few lucky ones were able to do it.
I think our relationship with music these days is different not because of the medium that most of us use now (digital) being different from the physical contact we have when using vinyl, but because the amount of music that is released today, compared with what it was released back then. We have thousands of tracks released every day (just on Beatport, the main online shop) and it’s really hard and time consuming to find good music today.
I have thousands of vinyl 12” s in my studio that I use for sampling, recording, etc. but I can’t imagine myself getting back on the road carrying my two 120 vinyl flight cases every weekend as I did, back in the days!
Regarding skills, the digital DJ has more options to use on his performance, so he really has to know his software / hardware to be able to be creative with all the technology available, therefore has to be more skilled.
I know that some people are still in that old discussion about “vinyl DJ” vs. “digital DJ”, that some say that the “vinyl DJ” is the real one because they don’t rely on software to beat-match their mixes. But beat-match is just one of the things a DJ does, there’s a lot more to DJing besides that, so in my opinion it’s a pointless discussion.
Is there any particular show that you felt had your best work and energy put into it that you look at as a benchmark for what you want to emulate each show, and is there anything you are specifically excited about for the Sound Waves festival?
I try to do my best on every show, be it in a club or a one off event like Sound Waves. I’ve been lucky enough to be at several big events where I felt “on the top of the world” because thousands were dancing in front of me and really into my music. That’s an indescribable feeling!
I remember playing at “Rock In Rio Lisbon” in 2016, having thousands dancing in front of me, totally into my set at 11pm. That was really one of the best feelings I had, for sure.
Luckily I also felt that feeling in almost all Sound Waves editions where I played. I’ve been told by the promoter that I’m the DJ who played on more Festival editions, so I must be doing something right!
Having just a few years between starting to seriously DJ and being nominated for best newcomer do you have a part of your skill set that you can accredit your rather fast success to?
I would credit my success mainly to the music and of course at the time there were very few female DJ’s especially in the vinil era which of course helped a lot to get noticed.
You currently manage your own label and radio show. Would you say that you enjoy your current lifestyle and job more than when you were focused on more DJing, and is it exciting when you get to perform at live shows and festivals such as Sound Waves?
My main focus is always djing! It’s what I absolutely love to do and it’s always exciting and fun to play at festivals such as Sound Waves because we get to play for massive crowds.
Having entered this field in the late 90s and early 2000s did it feel like you had a disadvantage being a female DJ or do you believe it may have helped spark more interest and let you stand out?
It definitely helped spark some interest but on the other hand, for years I had to work twice as hard as any man to gain the respect of the industry. At the time it was hard to conceive that a woman could actually be good at what she did other than just having a pair of….
When you began did you feel an equal draw to the energy and the way music made people feel or was your fascination more on the technical side of creating and mixing music?
Before I began djing I would go clubbing and dance until the sunrise. I was an electronic music lover so by the time I began to DJ I was completely fascinated by the art of mixing all the music that I had already fallen in love with. I must admit though, I’m very perfectionist on the technical side.
When you prepare for a large festival such as Sound Waves is there something you try to keep consistent in your sets that feels comfortable or do you always try to have a unique set?
After 22 years of DJing I know what the crowd wants and needs depending on the time and space of the event so I do believe that there is a certain consistency but even then I still try to keep it unique.
The insight from these artists on their music and careers combined with the new changes and talent at Sound Waves promises the festival to live up to its hype.