Everyone who sees Afonso play, free, light and unrestricted, can’t quite grasp him wearing his suit and tie behind a desk working as a lawyer from 9 to 5, but O/B holds the paradigm of that party we go to unwind from the daily monotony: “I work a lot inside an office, but I get home, put a record on and cook — and that gives me utter pleasure. To spin records is to put all those pleasurable moments together and share them with others”. Since he was a kid, he’s been familiar with his father’s 60s and 70s psychedelic rock record collection, and Afonso was already playing in college and going through a range of different range of genres, from rock to post punk, from French touch to house and 90s garage, making his current way into “more organic” roads. He comes across Joaquim precisely on those roads, in a party at Anjos70 where the idea for Ouro Bravo first comes to be, from name to concept that had to be “Portuguese, rare, wild, raw, not as polish, uncompromised, simple”. And the value of that gold, what they emphasize more about O/B, is the energy people give back to who shows them those gems — something that’s part of Joaquim’s life.
Joaquim Quadros became well-known to the public when he became a radio host for Vodafone.fm, a breath of fresh air in the Portuguese radio scene with more alternative sounds. When he started, he was only 21, so he spent a decade following music up closely, something he always wanted to do since early: “Music has always been present in my life thanks to my mother, who’d take me to live performances, mainly Fado. Later I got madly hooked on skate culture, and I remember recording film scores and listening to them with the sound of the skates behind. Then I began realizing there was a bond between skate and the music, rock, hip hop, punk, I listening to. I studied journalism because I wanted to research and promote music, and I knew that’s where I had to be”, which was confirmed by his venture into the newspaper ‘Milhões de Notas’ for the Milhões de Festa festival, and Ginga Beat, which he does with Red Bull Music Academy.
With Puro Fun, Joaquim was already fond of that idea of spending matinées listening to music with your friends, but with bands instead. The switch to DJing came not only from the desire to promote music, but also as an option semi imposed by the markets: “Puro Fun was an awful headache… Bands have three distinct circuits: festivals, independent promotors and concert halls. Festivals are more profitable and the one leaving with nothing is the promotor, because he can’t pay the artists as much as the festivals. There’s no competition there, and at the same time the concert hall has to profit from this at all times. Because festivals hold the economic power of the brands associated with them, they’ve inflated the price of bands that don’t even have a record out yet but has been deemed popular and hyped by the Internet. It’s a legitimate cause, but it cuts off independent promotors”. And as a band promotor (or artists like Luís Severo), he says “it’s easier to make someone pay 10€ for a DJ than 6€ for a band. And the band’s more expensive. It just wasn’t viable”.
And O/B’s idea is to book DJs that bring along some of those artists as well, who’re willing to show us new things from cultures they come in contact with. Like Tomás Station, for example, a Colombian-born living in Brooklyn, who’ll come to Village Happy Hours curated by O/B, “because he’s a collector of thousands of influences, from South America’s Latin music to the more Anglo-Saxon sounds”. They want to entice “music collectors who are more selectors than club DJs per se, who share more organic sounds, less obvious, less heard, different, non-committal sounds from clubs, away from the darkness of the night”. Joaquim believes the “idea of exploring the afternoon it’s because it’s more representative of Lisbon. The light… Lisbon’s prettier during the day. I don’t think it’s a city that should be lived at night as it is now”. Something Afonso agrees with, but hits back: “it’s culturally common to dance at night until the sun goes up, but habits are changing”.
O/B’s genesis lies in the day: he started precisely during a matinée at Anjos70 following an invitation by Afonso himself, Marie Lopes and Catarina Querido, and it was thought-out for that space, becoming the starting point for this freedom of being able to test what it was later reproduced through those unexplored gold mines, like Terraço do Capitólio, Hub Creativo do Beato, Palácio Sinel de Cordes, and other warehouses in Beato and Marvila, and now Village Underground: “we’ve known Mariana and Gustavo for many years and we know it’s not easy to drag people here, but we’re very thankful of this makeover, a cultural 2.0 of what’s been happening so far and which we want to be part of”. Perhaps because of those specific traits, O/B has been growing as well thanks to immigrants and expats living or passing through Lisbon, who love to find out about new spots, though “Anjos70 was always our home and the defining stamp of our identity. Anjos have a particular audience, pretty different and open. They reflect Lisbon and its multiculturality.