Use the hashtag #Lisbon on Instagram and you will find beautiful architecture, lovely weather, pastel-coloured buildings and a number of tourist hotspots.
People who visit Lisbon tend to imagine the city as a bohemian utopia of low rents, perfect weather and creativity. That’s only half true. Since the boom of creativity, prices have increased as lazy click-bait travel websites label the city as “the next Berlin” (with a warmer climate) or “Europe’s hot new art capital”.
In a brand new series on Portugal’s electronic music scene, Trommel is set to highlight the people behind the boom; starting with Assemble Music’s Joao Maria.
Joao is what you call a triple threat. He runs a number of labels, promotes a number of different events and DJs. As the owner of Assemble Records, he’s also the label manager for Ministerium Records; the label behind the club where he is a resident DJ and books the clubs programming. Add in a rigorous touring schedule as an artist and a record store, Maria is also one of the masterminds behind Lisboa Electronica; a festival and conference that puts the focus on a key part of our industry – record labels.
While Lisbon is being tipped as an emerging Party Destinations, Joao believes Portugal as a county is more than just an emerging destination. “It’s already there. This year we have Lisboa Electronica, Lisbon Jardim Sonoro, Boom, BPM Festival, Forte, Neopop, Waking Life and more. Besides the festivals, we have promoters hosting parties every weekend with international DJs and clubs like Ministerium, Lux, Indústria and Gare promoting amazing lineups.”
“Without record labels, artists couldn’t express their own art and creativity, record shops wouldn’t exist and DJ’s wouldn’t play.”
Joao Maria – In:Session
Before Joao runs down the key parts of his career and his city, lock into the latest Trommel: InSession mix from the man himself; recorded live at Club Ministerium at the latest Assemble showcase alongside Perlon’s Margaret Dygas.
“Ministerium has been my second home since the beginning. I met Francisco and Filipe when they were planning to open the club. I had already been managing artist bookings for big festivals and clubs in Portugal for a decade, so it made sense to all of us to join forces and start a new electronic underground music club in Lisbon.
I have been working as the club’s booker and resident DJ for five years and I can say it was the best decision that I have made in my professional life. We have an amazing team and in the last couple of years, we have created two very special festivals in Lisbon – Lisboa Electronica: Music Culture and Lisbon Jardim Sonoro. Our bookings are the company we have created to run all these projects.”
Record Store: Carpet & Snares
“I started Carpet & Snares some years ago with Ze Salvador and later our friend Jorge Caiado. At the time, I felt it was the right thing to do even with the vinyl industry being super slow. I had such a good time in the shop and I feel it was really important for the scene and still is.
Around a year ago, I had to make the decision of stepping out and leaving Jorge and Zé to it so I could be 100% focused on my personal DJ gigs, the club, Lisboa Electronica, Assemble Music and Ministerium records – it’s a lot of work.”
Festival: Lisboa Electronica
“Lisboa Electronica has quite a unique approach, it puts the focus on record labels. We believe that record labels are a key factor in the music industry. Without them, the artists couldn’t express their own art and creativity; record shops wouldn’t exist and DJs wouldn’t play.
Running two labels and doing showcases around the globe, I always thought it would be amazing to have local and international label showcases in one event; inviting new talent and established artists to share their music and professional experiences.
We have twenty-nine label showcases represented by sixty-six artists in total. Besides this, we have a partnership with Red Bull Music Academy for a series of lectures and workshops that will happen on the 4th and 5th of April with Serge (Clone Records), Mike Grinser (Manmade Mastering), Rui Vargas (Lux Fragil) and Carlos Maria Trindade (Madredeus and Heróis do Mar). It will certainly be very special.”
We want to involve with more labels and more artists during every edition and make the culture side (lectures and workshops) stronger every year, with subjects that contribute to a healthy growth of the electronic music industry.”
Joao Maria plays alongside Raresh at Assemble Music Showcase at Lisboa Electronica, April 6th at LX Factory.