"Portuguese are dilettante in nature"GALA DROP and new musical developments in Lisbon


In lieu of their appearance at ACUD MACHT NEU on Sunday we asked GALA DROP a few questions about Lisbon, their music and they even compiled a lil youtube playlist with five go to tracks to start a DJ-Set with! Gala Drop are Afonso Simões, Jerry Nelson and Jerrald James. Besides the Band they are running Filho Único, a booking agency operating with an unique set of ethics, civic principles & goals. Artists such as DJ NIGGAFOX, DJ MARFOX or even ARIEL PINK are on their roster. GALA DROP is almost a hub, channeling all kinds of cultural endeavours into a delightfully laid-back sound.

Who’s GALA DROP and where did everything start?

Afonso Simões: Gala Drop started around Galeria Ze dos Bois in Lisbon in 2003 with Nelson and Tiago as kind of a exploratory drony duo kneeling down a lot of pedals and effects. I was invited in 2005 to play at an art exhibit of our friend Pedro Barateiro and ended up joining the band permanently. Around this time the band was a trio of drums, percussion/guitar and synths. I think we kept this formation and have been evolving a lot since then, but we have been true to our origins for sure.  There is a big love for all things rhythmic (dub, african music, house, techno, kraut rock), a certain psychedelic feel even if we don’t chase it actively and a laid backedness that comes from living where we live.

You are pretty involved in the scene in Portugal, what’s hot there right now? Principe Disco comes to mind. Can you give us some more cool artists? What’s the next big thing besides Gala Drop?

Afonso Simões: For me personally there is a lot of incredible things going on, but it’s all quite separate / isolated – aside from Principe – which is more cohesive aesthetically. Portuguese are dilettante in nature; and there is a generation of 20 something young guys/girls that do amazing music under the umbrella of a label called Cafetra. It ranges from psych/garage (Pega Monstro), noise/punk (Putas Bebadas), electronic beats/weirdness (Iguanas, Kridinhux, Rabu Mazda, Go Suck a fuck). There is some weird super unique electronica  here such as Tropa Macaca, Ondness, Yong Yong. There is one solo guitar player called Norberto Lobo who crosses the tradtition of portuguese music, with bossa nova, fingerpicking / Rural blues with bossa nova, and avant-garde innovations such as Jim O’ Rourke. There are great free-jazz/improvised musicians such as Gabriel Ferrandini, Pedro Sousa, Rodrigo Amado, Miguel Mira, Manuel Mota, etc,etc.

You are DJ-ing in ACUD MACHT NEU on sunday, a place with quite some history: It was a squat in the 90s and is now located in a super gentrified area in Berlin as a kind of last resort for the arts. Are there similar developments in Lisbon?

Jerry Nelson: Lisbon has changed a lot in the last 10-15 years. When I started working as promoter in 2003, you almost didn’t have options where to play music or at least a place where bands that were trying out new ideas could play. But after two years of great persistence and an intense agenda at the Galeria Zé dos Bois I have a clear picture of the change in the city. Gala Drop is an example of that. We have a bigger sense of community now and feel more connected with the city and the country, which I believe is great. At this point there are more options. You can still find great shows happening at Zé dos Bois, but you can also go to Music Box, Casa Independente, Lounge Bar or look for local for independent promoters schedules that host shows on different new locations

Here are 5 Tracks Gala Drop have used to start DJ Sets with before, to get you in the mood for sunday:

tracks selected by Jerrald James
Interview: Michael Aniser