“I’m quite certain that necessity is the mother of opportunity”: this is how Andrea Michaela defines Sonidera’s beginning. “It arose from a proposition by Pedro Cluny of organising a laidback party in the afternoon with electronic music and cocktails”. Back then, Diana Botelho João joined them, “a big creative help and design-wise, too” (which is now in the hands of André Fonseca Carvalho), who just like Cluny no longer belongs to the project, but the party keeps on reinventing itself with the arrival of Nuno ‘Vil’, and it has been going on regularly for the past two years. The thing is with “so many parks, rooftops and open-air spaces in Lisbon, the opportunity to having other kind of parties came to be. We’re a kind of people who loves to eat, drink and have fun”, and that includes in the daylight, too. And if this seems obvious, the electronic music, which always hand-in-hand with the “night-time”, now seems to smile back at us with a cool pair of sunglasses.
As a matter of fact, Lisbon is the second sunniest capital of Europe, being only surpassed by Valletta, in Malta, but behind many European cities when it comes to dance parties in the afternoon. Yes, there are festivals and the recent events in big open-air spaces, like Out Jazz and Brunch Electronik, among others, “but those are more for the masses and Sonidera wants to be cosier, more intimate”, Andrea Michaela says. “The matinées at Bloop, Frenzy, or Fuse, for example, were the proof we needed to show we can go out in the afternoon and have fun”, making Sonidera the answer from the smaller, more alternative circuits of promoters to the lack of opportunities and clubs as far as electronic music is concerned: “when you can’t go out at night because everything’s closing and nothing opens, what are the alternatives?”.
And if the alternatives are creating one’s own party, that’s exactly what happened with Michaela, even more so being what she always knew how to do. “When I was in high school, I was the one throwing parties or organising trips with friends. I remember taking the then unknown Dino (D’Santiago) to perform in a friend’s bar in Vilamoura for about 30 or 40 people”. It always ran through her veins, the wanting to make things happen, with half Czech, half Angolan blood: “I have the cold, methodical, organised, orthodox side, and then the other that only wants to drink until the sun goes down and be out in the street once the sun comes out”. She grew up in Algarve, emigrated to Houston, Texas, and then Kingston upon Thames, in London — and perhaps that vision of the true Portugal, which is better grasped from afar, that made her bring that cocktail of influences to Sonidera. “I studied Health, but never worked in it. My journey has to do with office and tourism, but I’ve always enjoyed music”.
Music which led her personally and professionally towards Nuno Costa, who in addition to being DJ and producer known in the scene as Vil or Driven, is also in charge of selecting Sonidera’s artists. A curatorship that brings him “great pleasure” and gave him a musical challenge as an artist, the exploration of sounds that little had to do with his alias. That’s where DJ Tabasco, the alter-ego he’s going to use at this Village Happy Hours* and that’s only been worn with Sonidera: “I explore things I listen to more at home, like dub, ska, non-reggae Jamaican things, tropic music… These days I’m in love with salsa! Sonidera helped me grow as an artist, to open my mind to other genres, to bring on certain influences on my projects, it made them fresher”. Nuno left his comfort zone for the challenge of a party, with a career that has been made of a musical growth that went through several styles: “I grew up in Almada, but it wasn’t until I went to study at António Arroio that I messed it all up”, he says, laughing. “I was in two hardcore bands, crossover and trash, then I started listening to electronic music and going to the drum parties at Kalimodjo and found dubstep. I founded Warface with Rui Louro and João Retorta, got into B Side, did a tour with the Yellow Stripe and then created Vil. In the beginning it was more UK bass and house, and then I realised the path was through techno, about 5 or 6 years ago”.
And it was back then he met Michaela, who was on the dancing crowd side. She soon started following, in Algarve, what was left of the 90s raves in Portugal. From Kadoc to Locomia, “I attended everything; I even remember Jeff Mills for 1000 escudos! And since my mom had the club’s card, I was there all the time”. And now in Lisbon, after a decade of being out, “Manaia’s Mini-Mercado opened the doors for me, and I followed the rise of Xinobi, Moullinex, Cpt. Luvlace, Bandido$, I was even at the debut of Zombies for Money…”. It was the onset of Discotexas, with parties for a restrict group of loyal clubbers, “when you still took pictures with digital cameras. There were so many of us from Algarve that they called us ‘the Algarve earthquake’”.
And from clubber to event producer was smooth sailing for Michaela, or Micas, as she’s known in the scene. She worked with Bloop, Lisboa Electrónica, Festival Forte, Ministerium, until she created her own Sonidera, with such love for music hand-in-hand with production. “When I was a bouncer for Bloop’s 8th anniversary and Underground Resistance were performing, I asked myself what I was doing there, and everyone told me to leave and just go to the dancefloor. What I felt just filled my chest and nothing could fit anymore”. And it’s that soul inexplicably filled by music, coupled with her wanting to bring friends and smiles together, that give Micas the overwhelming strength to make it happen and fill our hearts, too. With an offer as honest as listening to music under the sun and enjoy what we have in this warm country. And if we’re talking about warmth in our chests, Lisbon is closer to the tropics with Sonidera.