Photo: Press (Violet)
There’s some DJs who famously don’t like sleep and there’s others who make it look as if they cannot possibly even have time to think about. Violet is part of the latter category, running the naive label and its digital-only naivity offshoot while also co-running and hosting shows at Rádio Quântica at Lisbon’s Planeta Manas, which she is also involved in. When not taking care of all that or programming her monthly Rinse FM shows, she’s playing gigs locally or internationally solo or as part of the mina collective and producing music, too—most recently the Heartbreak Hardcore EP for naive. Her contribution to our Groove podcast offers the perfect soundtrack if you now feel like jumping out of bed and getting some things done.
You lived in London for a while when you were already active as a producer and DJ, but then returned to Portugal and became quite active within the local scene, filling very different roles. What motivated you?
Living in London gave me quite a bit of perspective, in a way because of all its vibrancy and palpable community building. It made me see myself as not just a maker of music but also as a part of a wider circle of people back home who were interested in pushing music that wasn’t being programmed or played on the radio. Being part of that landscape means a lot to me, and I think a sense of belonging is very beneficial for artists, as our work can be atomising if we don’t pay attention.
One of the projects you helped to launch after your return was Rádio Quântica, which is still going strong. How do you keep the project running? Usually, it’s hard to only break even with community radios.
The first years it ran on a lot of enthusiasm and love, and with time we started applying for public funding as the hard to swallow reality became apparent: culture, especially when the projects have no business model by default—radio is more of a public service—cannot survive under the current paradigm unless it’s supported by public institutions, given that we’ve been actively avoiding private corporate funding.
Then there’s the label naive, of course. How would you describe the philosophy behind it?
I would say naive comes from a DIY and love ethics. It’s about music that makes you feel enticed or at least intrigued, and it’s about friendship—I think I call each and every artist on the label a friend to—and the importance of uplifting those around you with whatever means you have, however small or big.
naive has rather striking visual aesthetics. Who is responsible for that and what are you trying to convey on that level?
The amazing person behind it is designer, DJ and producer Shcuro aka João Ervedosa, who also runs a label I feel like I should recommend here: Paraíso. I think a sense of innocence and experimentalism are the driving energies in the naive imagery. That can translate into styles spanning from childlike to sci-fi or historic—many of them also incorporate input from the artist whose music is bering released.
naive has a sublabel called naivity, a digital-only imprint focussed on less dancefloor-oriented material. What’s important to you on a musical level there?
I tend to look for weird and enticing sound design, melodies that speak of bliss or longing, broken or inventive drum patterns, and lush, deep basses and/or pads. I’m also lucky to stumble upon these amazing artists who are also friends and are making music that has such originality and emotional pull.
One of the most recent releases on naive was your own Heartbreak Hardcore EP. While the title seems to wear its, well, heart on the sleeve, the press release also connects the topic of romantic grief to the socio-economic context around it. Can you elaborate on how this dimension tied into the general concept of the release, and how it relates to the actual music?
Although admittedly auto-biographical, the most important message of that record is that yes, the status quo is heartbreaking right now—but in face of that we should resist, strengthen our cores. I was trying to convey more of a communal heartbreak that we can heal together rather than an individualistic approach, suggesting the title could be an umbrella genre for musicians who share the struggle of a heartbreak in whatever form.
Besides all of your other work, you are also involved in the mina event series and collective in Lisbon and strive to create a safe environment for especially queer people. What’s important to you on a musical level, how do you go about programming the line-ups for mina?
This year we have been collaborating with other collectives who promote inclusive raves around the world – like Berlin’s Room 4 Resistance and Lecken, Anti-Mass (Uganda), Seafood (China), and Endurance (Denmark). We connect with them not only in the ethos, but on a musical level too. We’re fans of their work and are very interested in hosting different approaches to dance music.
What was the idea behind your mix for our Groove podcast?
In this mix, I wanted to sort of capture the rawness of a DJ set at a rave or a club that is geared more towards techno. But since I can’t ever seem to stand still genre-wise, a bit of house and even 80s Welsh rock made it in. Listening back to it, it’s funny to realise I was getting more and more in the groove—no pun intended!—as time went on, just like I normally feel at a show.
Last but not least: what are your plans for the future?
Keeping music near me, be it via making it, playing it, releasing it, or playing it on the radio. I’ve been hearing people talk about different kinds of love languages these days, I think music is mine. And I was put on this earth to give love.
Stream: Violet – Groove Podcast 387
01. Jamal Moss – The Nu Glance Sound
02. UrbnMowgli – Imaterial Desires
03. SUPERABUDANCE – Pitchy D’Lish
04. Devilfish – Strawberry Fields
05. DJ Boss – Atmolam
06. Ade Fenton – Perverter B
07. Mark Broom – Loop132
08. Steve Rachmad – And That’s The 2
09. Zisko – State Of Madness
10. Remco Beekwilder – Declaration Of Penetration
11. Alexandre Laeddis – Storm
12. Chris Liebing – Analogon E.P. B1 (Steve Rachmad Mix)
13. CJ Bolland – Timber
14. Sven Väth – Omen A.M. (Claude Young rmx)
15. Rosati – Get Up
16. Head Front Panel – Structure
17. Scalameriya – Slobodna
18. Aphex Twin – Start As You Mean To Go On
19. Xades – Qlu (Kate Miller Remix)
20. Young Marble Giants – Brand New Life