We are meeting Jorge Caiado in his record shop in Chiado, Carpet and Snares Records, to talk about his musical background, electronic music in Lisbon and the launching party of EAST HOUSE. Caiado is pleasant to be around, answering all of my questions with a smile. As soon as we start talking about music, you understand how he keeps all his projects going. It’s all about passion. The record shop Carpet and Snares is not the only thing that he’s working on – besides being a world known House Music producer and DJ, he’s also A&R and label manager of the Portuguese music label Groovement.
Born in Brasil, Caiado moved to Portugal when he was 7 years old. Growing up in Povoa de Varzim, a beach town 30 minutes from Porto, music and records were always a big part of his life, but it wasn’t until he started going out as a teenager that he came in contact with house music. ”In the beginning I was all about Soulful and American house. I started buying and collecting records, and soon taught myself how to mix. My first turntables were two ”Reloop 2000s”, they were the cheapest ones on the market. It was the only way I could buy two of them and learn how to mix. I still have one of them in my living room, but now it’s just used to listen to records…”
”That search for feelings becomes an obsession”
Today, Caiado has a degree in Sound Engineering and a lot more equipment. His most productive periods making music these days are when he is traveling, isolated on a train or on a plane, and not busy working with the shop, label, parties or festivals. He is normally working by himself, but now collaborating with more musicians. When making music and looking for new music, to play or for inspiration, it’s all about the feeling. ”I’m always looking for a feeling. You have different kinds of feelings, of course, but when you put the needle on the record and it just hits you directly, that strong feeling… That’s why I’m completely insane about music – because of those moments when I listen to music that just get me in a specific mood. Then I need to grab the record right away because I want to listen to that record over and over again. That search for feelings becomes an obsession.”
This year, portuguese music label Groovement celebrates 13 years and Caiado is excited about the future. Founded in 2002 by Rui Torrinha, a DJ, music collector and former radio host from the north of Portugal. The project started with some parties and it became a label in 2004. Caiado joined in 2008, as an artist at first. ”After some time, me and Rui became really good friends and I started working as A&R and Label Manager for the Label. Basically, now it’s me and Rui running the label and it’s been great, with more than 30 releases in 13 years and a lot of new projects coming out soon. It has already gone through several phases, for a while we were only releasing Portuguese artists. Recently we decided to open up the spectrum… Now, for example, we are working with a lot of Japanese artists.”
”Another level of influence”
As our chat turns to influences, one guy stands out from the rest. Caiado met the house music legend from Chicago Chez Damier in Porto in 2010 after receiving a mail from the legendary french style producer’s agent. Knowing that Caiado was hosting some parties in Porto, he asked if Caiado knew clubs where Damier could play while on tour. As Caiado had played frequently at club Trintaeum, he reached out to them.
”We booked him. At the time I already had been living in Lisbon for a couple of months and the gig was in December. I went back to Porto to play and we instantly connected. We became good friends and I released my first record on Balance. Chez had already been a big influence, and when I had the chance to meet him and to work with him it got to another level. Spending time and talking to him on a daily basis just put him in a different position from all the other references that I ever had.”
”Now everything’s changing”
Caiado is considered one of Portugal’s top DJs and he frequently plays at the biggest clubs and festivals. ”I can play disco, funk or Berghain style techno for a whole night if I feel that the vibe in the room is requesting that. I always try to take risks. I know that I have to entertain people, that’s rule number one. Number two is that if you want to become someone special for them you have to take risks and make something special. Sometimes those risks go down well, other times they don’t work.
Something that I’ve tried to achieve since starting out is to show people here that you can actually dance while listening to good house music. True House is my main thing but it never had a great reputation in Portugal since it was always connected to commercial music. It’s a slow process where you have to give them something that they like and at the same time try to show them something that they don’t know that they like yet and try to find a balance between the two. Slowly people will begin following you more and more because they trust you.”
Electronic music hit Portugal in the beginning of the 90s, with two sides developing – one more and techno oriented side while the other focused on more soulful house. The soulful side soon took a more commercial turn, and a middle way never fully developed. Now that’s changing. As the rest of the world is getting more aware of Portugal, the scene is opening up. ”Since there are so many people in town every weekend, you get a bigger crowd for each party so it’s becoming easier to develop the scene. We are still in the beginning. A lot of new producers and labels are coming up and now you can take some risks. Artists are really into coming to Lisbon because they want to show us their work.”
When I ask Caiado what he thinks would be good for the scene he has a lot of ideas, but he still thinks that everything is going in the right direction. ”People should go out in a more free way, they should have more fun and think less about what’s happening around them. Music and nightlife was always a way for people to escape their daily lives. We have an expression in Portuguese which is called “ver e ser visto” which means “to see and be seen” and I think that Portugal is still a little bit too attached to that philosophy. If people would just go out, close their eyes and let themselves go it would be a big progress for the scene.”
”EAST HOUSE is definitely a missing piece. A club which is little bit smaller, and located a different part of the city, where not much happened before. I think Lisbon needs one or two smaller clubs with good conditions where you can experiment a bit more without having to think only about filling the place.”
This leads us to the upcoming party on New Year’s, where Caiado will play along Phil Weeks and the | ela | residents.
”I’m super excited! It’s New Years’ Eve, in itself a big thing, and then the launch party of a new club in town on top of that – it’s gonna be massive! The guys told me that they tested the sound and that it’s amazing. Phil Weeks is a legend from Paris, and a great DJ so… I can’t wait!”
by REBECKA HOPE