The flourishing scene in Lisbon has been a topic of discussion for the last few years. With a variety of spotlight features on the best places to go clubbing, we hit up local legend Photonz for his selection of the city’s finest artists. Real name Marco Rodrigues, the producer and DJ has been putting out music for over a decade now on labels such as Don’t Be Afraid, Crème Organisation, his own imprint One Eyed Jack’s, Ursa Reef and most recently Dark Entries with the ‘Etheric Body Music’ EP that has had an incredible buzz around it, being one of the most ID’ed tracks from Violet’s debut Boiler Room session. Not only is he known for his bold, acid-tinged and electro-infused productions, Photonz also co-runs the radio station Radio Quantica alongside Violet and is a resident at the monthly queer party Mina. He has played an integral role in the boom of Libson’s music scene and for this Insight piece, Photonz’ spotlights the emerging artists you need to check out.
“I really wanted to focus on new blood for this list, so I had to leave out a lot of my usual favourites like Violet, José Acid, Odete, Bleid, Nídia, etc – artists that either continue to slay locally or got international attention already. This is a list of people that I believe will make a lot of noise in the future.” – Photonz
António Queiroz is a really young DJ and producer from Lisbon that I kept hearing about in our circle of friends, and when I finally saw him play at Rádio Quântica I was really inspired and kept asking him for IDs the whole time. His sets are futuristic sonic assaults made up of a lot of different stuff like freaky batida tunes, super detailed electro, cyborg bass beats, etc. His tracks and live act are also incredible.
Kit Ket are a series of parties put together by Kétia – a very talented DJ and fellow mina crew that took the whole concept of queer raves and gave it her own spin with more ethereal, dream-like sonics played at unusual, evocative venues. Kétia’s progress as a DJ has been incredible and only paralleled by her talent for putting together some of the dopest, wildest events in the city.
Çirca is a party and collective of DJs and producers that use extreme rave sonics, leftfied beats and a clear, radically queer communication as a medium for trans-affirmation and defiance of cisdom oppression. Stasya, Yizhaq, Shade and Odete are some of the people behind it and much like mina and Kit Ket, they bring a much needed politically-charged, trans-feminist stance to a Lisbon clubbing scene that has generally been starved of it.
Brave is a club night run by DJ Taxila, a British ex-pat in Lisbon that has been bringing diverse and leftfield line-ups to legendary experimental music venue Galeria Zé Dos Bois (ZDB) for a while, championing musics and artists that stand outside of the usual, predominantly male, white and normative house/techno line-ups.
Viegas is one of the resident at mina and one of the sickest new DJs in the city. His contagious off-the-wall energy, endless party bangers and a killer dancefloor intuition have been really setting him apart as one of the most reliable party-starters in the underground. Everything goes from dark, gothy synth beats to bumpy chicago ghetto trax.
Castle is an angolan DJ that’s been living and spinning in Lisbon since the early 1990s. A true deck alchemist whose commitment to the less-categorisable edges of soulful house music and broken beat kept him on the margins of the city’s first house music explosion. An outlier to trends and always true to his craft, DJ Castle sounds more relevant in 2018 than most house DJs in the city.
Varela has been a bit of a Lisbon legend and now one of the city’s most beloved new DJs too. I really think he was born to do this. His vision of music is pretty unique and exudes a quasi-holistic vibe that channels american dance philosophers like Levan, Mancuso or Ron Trent. A lowkey shaman and a deep, classy uplifter in the dj booth.
Raw Forest makes serene, entrancing ambient music with a very blissful yet honest/raw edge. Her live act at a recent mina party outside in the morning was one of the nicest things I’ve heard recently and a reminder of the power of a great ambient set played at the right place and the right time in a rave context.
Luar Domatrix is half of celebrated experimental duo Yong Yong and a fierce producer and DJ of weird electronics, deconstructed rave beats, hacker breaks and freaky ambient. His recent release on Naive’s bandcamp-only sublabel Naivety is brilliant.
I’ve met Fabio through Radio Quantica sessions and mina parties and he’s legit one of the nicest humans. Recently I’ve found out he’s also one of the most promising new, unsigned producers in the city and each new track that surfaces on his soundcloud is a bit of an event in our group of friends. Violet played some of his music on her Boiler Room and the new stuff I heard from him is impressive af. He’s a well kept Lisbon secret.
‘Etheric Body Music’ by Photonz is out now on Dark Entries – buy here.