The sad news of the passing of one of electronic music’s shining stars Magazino has touched many corners of the dance music sphere. His undeniable charisma and skill was a beacon for many and not just in his native Portugal. Having spoken with the man himself on many occasions while he was fighting the rare form of leukaemia that he lost his battle to, there were certainly many stones uncovered that we thought we should tell the story of.
In order to truly tell the story of this fascinating artist, we linked up with his best friend and Bloop cohort Joao aka Cruz and where better to start this insightful conversation than right at the beginning of the long-lasting friendship. Having met each other in their home town of Setúbal in the early 2000’s Joao explains Magazino’s roots a little further, “his influence came from his brother who was into rock music and already was collecting vinyl records.” He continues, “In Spain on vacation with his family, he and his brother went to a shop and Magazino bought his first electronic vinyl records.” It was clear from speaking with Joao that this was only the beginning for Luis and it was not a matter of if, it was a matter of when he would begin DJing and residencies would soon follow.
Residencies did indeed follow shortly after Joao explains his beginnings, “He started in Setubal in a club called Clubissimo. He played as Luis DL Costa, (which was his name before Magazino) and he had a big group of followers who followed him every night. After that, he started getting gigs to play in other cities in Portugal and he was represented by a new manager from Dubdelight agency. He started exploring Europe and other countries around the world.” This will of course not come as any surprise given his love of music as Magazino is well known for playing all sorts of music. His love for many shades of house taking precedence but it was in fact late 90’s US techno that would be the bedrock for his first forays into electronic music.
At that time influence from other DJ’s both local and international would be extremely important to any developing artist and Joao explains a little about his friends’ support circle, “some Portuguese DJ’s at that time (we were in the 90’s) such as X-man, João Daniel, Model 9000…but the biggest influence was and always will be Laurent Garnier, as a DJ and as a person.” With an artist such as Laurent Garnier to take cues from it was clear that Magazino would have an ironically charismatic individual to steer him in the right direction and it wasn’t long before he began to create his own buzz. Joao explains, “He always had a smile on his face and was very easy to work with. He was loved by all who got to know him and he possessed a good energy that was recognizable to everyone.” This also extended to Joao too and he notes his importance in his own journey into the industry, “Before I met Luis my relationship with music was just for fun and when we started doing our first parties in 2003 we became very close. After that, we always worked together.” He continues, “It was him who brought me into the industry. Alone I could never have taken that step. Definitely, he was and is very important to me until now.”
As well as being influenced by huge names, Luis is also the influence behind a number of artists himself. One such name is Barcelona based and Portuguese artist Anah; hailing from the same town as Luis she recalls her earliest memories of him, “Coming both from the same town called Setubal in Portugal, I vaguely remember when I met Luis for the first time. I was only 12 years old and he used to hang around at my mother’s bar making fun of my shoes… it was back in 1994.” She continues explaning the impact he had on her at an early age, “Luis Del Costa aka Magazino was one of the first DJs that inspired me. Later, I had the chance of seeing him perform on his early DJ years for the first time on our local club in Setubal. I still remember that night in detail because i was overwhelmed by his music. Few years later he became resident DJ of this really famous afterparty in Lisbon called Paradise Garage, this was back in the late nighties, they used to play mainly Chicago house music and i remember seeing him play almost every Sunday morning.”
This influence extends the other way and as Anah explains he was always keen to support those around him, “Few years later i became a Drum and Bass DJ and one day Luis came to see me play instead, i was so surprised that he had interest on what i was doing because normally it was the other way around. We had also studied at the same school simultaneously but in different courses in Barcelona back in 2005, but it was on his latest years alive that we became closer.”
As well as artists Luis had a huge impact on somebody else very important and dear in his life – his long time best friend Madalena, which has also been his life partner for a long period. “I’ve met Magazino, at the time, Del Costa in the end of 1998. Electronic music was in the early years in Portugal, and by electronic music we met each other. Luis was very, but very shy by this time. Somehow, I was able to get to him and in a short time after we start hanging at parties, we became really good friends. We could wear those pin’s saying “BFF”!! We knew all about each other and after a few years we fell in love and changed the PIN for a Girlfriend one.” She goes on to give an account of the beginning of his career from the perfect view point, “At this moment things were starting for him. Beginning to have recognition for his work. A residency at the beginnings After-hours in Lisbon, at Garage gave him the push that the deserved. This was the year of 2001. After this, 4 or 5 years of great success, many, but many gig’s all around the world, from Siberia to Argentina, Spain, Ireland, Germany, Brasil, U.S., Russia, Ireland, England, Japan, Uff… Whatever… going to so many countries that I can’t even count. I still keep the left part of the plane tickets… At this time “On-line” check in was not even invented!”
This was clearly not an easy position for a newly formed relationship but their bond was so strong there was little to detract from it, “In the middle of this we were already in a relation. Not easy for an immature “In love “woman to learn how to deal with the intense requisition that he became having at this point. Luckily, I felt in love with my best friend and despite all the things that didn’t ended, as at this point, I desired, the thing that always was saved by both of us, was this BFF love.”
By this point, Luis was an established artist and he was already building an impressive library of vinyl. This has been very well documented both by Luis himself and other visiting artists. Joao explains how this love for vinyl grew, “He start to collect in Lisbon at the local stores like Discomundo, Question of Time, Bimotor (which the owner was a close friend, DJ Vibe).” He continues, “After that when he started acting abroad he always collect a bag with 40/50 new records of the time. The biggest memory that I have was when he travelled to London with his mother and brother and he bought almost 100 new records. At that time, we didn’t have internet so he has to call from Portugal to the vinyl store (all around Europe) to listen the new records in the market.”
Madalena continues to recount the thought process of Luis as he progressed through artistic stages, “I was by his side, when in end of 2004/2005, he decided to changed his Dj name! He decided to “kill” Del Costa, by the time connected to a specific type of music and he was tired of not being able anymore to play whatever he wanted. With so many new influences, regarding all the travels he was doing, he decided, LITERALLY, to kill the name of Del Costa and give birth to Magazino.“
As the rebirth as his very own artist continued Madalena it was clear something inside was changing and not just his name, “He was earning really good money at this moment and I remember asking him: “Are you crazy?! You don’t even want anyone to mention Magazino AKA Del Costa?” And he kept so secure of his decision! He said to me: Magazino is the chance for me to be the artist that I want to be without any label attached. And I want to play whatever I want to play at some point. I don’t want to play what the people expect me to play. I want to be myself.”
Those close to Luis all noticed that as a result of the change his body was going through he was also transforming as a human being. Anah gives her account of the situation, “As Madalena once said, he did elevate himself in all aspects. It was some kind of form of art to witness all of his process in some way even though it led him into his death. First of all because of his huge transformation of character and also the way he bravely handled himself.” Madalena noticed this change in Luis more than most and having known him much of his adult life this was a welcome change in the face of such adversity. She goes recounts a most touching story of the latter parts of his life, “Is not possible to pass by this story without passing for the cancer fight… Whenever we could see someone falling with suffering, pain, uncertain of surviving, sadness, complains, sense of void or frustration, I witnessed such a strong rebirth… wasn’t easy or automatic… it took it’s time… He suffered with the cancer pain beyond imaginable. And even so, he got so, so high, so evolved as a Human being. I was with him daily the past few months. I saw everything.”
Being such a major part of this defining part of his life Madalena was able to truly see the revolution of her best friend, “Things that i keep in my memory are moments of getting to the Hospital where he was having chemotherapy and every time we arrived, he smiled and talked to everybody, calling all the volunteers, nurses, doctors by their name. Always saying something to make them laugh, never complaining no matter how much pain he was in… his oncologist doctor told me the day he passed… “Luis was so, but so BIG, so great, so different in the way he lived the illness… he showed us all how to grow and how to smile and we will never forget that”. Until the very end, his thoughts and worries were with the ones he loved.”
Madalena gives a lingering thought of a truly special artist that will always be cherished for what he done for the Portuguese community, “One of the great achievements that he had in the Djing scene in Portugal was the fact that he was the one that made possible the connection between the first generation of DJs and the generations after him… Until he made this bond, everybody was a bit competitive and closed to be open and friendly to the colleague ahead or behind. Magazino was the true mentor to the health of companionship between professionals that embraced the same love… Electronic Music. He scored this Goal as no one.”
One of Luis’ legacies is the many events that he played at around the world but none so impactful as Bloop that he ran with Joao. Since day one the duo has been pushing a forward-thinking and heads approach to house and techno and Joao fondly remembers it like it was yesterday, “Bloop was born in 2007 as a vinyl label and started doing small parties in clubs in 2009. The real change was in 2010 when we decided to do a party in an unexpected place and in the afternoon when nothing was going on. Matine. It was a huge success and a big step for bloop that year. Since then we started looking for lost places and warehouses and do parties almost every month. This is how we surprise and conquered our audience until today.” There have been many artists that have been welcomed to the Bloop family but perhaps the most poignant of events was the last event that Luis performed at back in October. That pool party would act like a swan song for a life dedicated to music, “We already knew of Luis’ condition and that would have been, probably his last dance. It was huge, a very special and emotional event that I will never forget. That energy was insane, on that day he knew how much people were supporting him and love him. He inspired many many people.”
The inspiration that Luis gave to many was unfathomable. He fought his illness with quietly reserved strength yet always with a smile on his face and a song in his heart. Although this didn’t make the situation any easier for his loved ones it didn’t affect his and Joao’s friendship, “Seeing such a close friend fighting for his life became a part of my every day. We swapped parties for hospitals and my action was to assume that since the beginning. It was very hard for me in the first years but I always believed that everything is gonna be fine. Until the music ended and they turned off the light and until he’s gone.” The fight had not been a secret one and he made it his goal to educate people on the illness and ensure that he did not disappear from public view throughout. Joao explains Luis’ approach to his situation, “Early on he decided to take on and share every moment on his condition. He felt he could pass a message of hope for those who give up from living and the value of life. That’s what he did.” Joao goes on to explain, “Luis always enjoy communicating and sharing feelings with people. Recently he switched from music to what he was going through and inspired a lot of people. He was a real hero. He inspired so many people to value their lives and most important to don’t give up. He was a fighter.”
Luis didn’t just use social media to inform he has also written a book about his life and the sad ending of it and as well as this he leaves behind an impressive legacy of how to lead one’s life as Joao explains, “He was an inspiration to everyone and a strength of nature. I think that the message he wants to pass is that everything has a solution. Sometimes we end a relationship or we lose our job and it’s the end of the world, but the only problem is when we lose our health and it’s not up to us. The only thing we have is hope.” This strength of character was one of Luis’ most notable traits as Anah explains, “I have memories of visiting him in Lisbon while his cancer was already quite advanced and he had difficulties in going up and down the stairs or even walking and he would always make fun and laugh about it. Every time we would speak on the phone, even though he was going through this really painful process he always managed to make me smile or laugh. I will remember him dearly, especially every time i start to complaining about trivial things, because he has taught us all a great lesson on how to love life unconditionally.”
This sunny outlook would go everywhere with him and he would spread this to everybody he met, “His final concerns were only to spread love, to give his close friends the words he knew that would bring love, harmony, understanding, peace, joy… Magazino made a difference in this life for everyone that had the luck of being close to him and made me feel the most amazing, pure, truthful, unconditional and beautiful love that a person can feel for another without blood bonds. And I am so grateful for that… and also… I miss Him so very fucking much. You will always live in us my love. FOR EVER!!!”
Even after his death Luis lives on through his music and we recently presented the first full length listen of his first post humous track ‘Santos Do Bairro’. Produced alongside long time friend Tiago Marques this track will feature as part of the 25 year anniversary of Bloop Recordings.
Throughout our poignant conversation, Joao paints an extremely heart-warming picture of the artist we know as Magazino filled with laughing, crying and fond memories of a 20-year friendship in music, “Our last tour in Brazil (2019), our Bloop parties, and the many gigs we had together, those I will never forget…”
Rest in peace, rest in power, rest in beats, Magazino.