The ClubPlanet Interview: Rui da Silva

The ClubPlanet Interview: Rui da Silva

by DJ Ron Slomowicz
01.14.2015

Rui Da Silva is one of those rare DJs who has spanned genres and achieved legendary status in the booth. As part of the Underground Sound of Lisbon, his track "So Get Up" bubbled up from a single vinyl and conquered dancefloors around the world, almost singlehandedly putting Portugal on the dance music landscape of the X-Beat '90s.  His solo single “Touch Me” topped the pop charts in several territories and remains a club classic, enchanting listeners to this day.  Last year, Rui reunited with DJ Vibe for a special USL performance at Rock in Rio where they premiered new material.  With those new tracks and original solo material and remixes on the way, look for Rui Da Silva to be on club playlists for 2015.

RS: How are you doing today?
Rui da Silva: I am very good, thank you for having me.

RS: Thank you for being here, how is your Amsterdam Dance Event going?
Rui da Silva: It’s been brilliant actually, this is my third time- but I only came to Amsterdam Dance event right at the beginning, about 10 years ago. It was a long time ago and there was only one venue and it was very business-oriented, very driven, and people were willing to do business. I am here for the first time in a long time and it has really expanded.  I think that it is the best convention that there is in the world for electronic music. 

RS: I totally agree. One thing that I have to ask you about is the big reunion over the summer in Rio of the Underground Sound of Lisbon.
Rui da Silva: It was not in Rio, Rock in Rio was in Portugal because Rock in Rio does festivals in several locations around the world, and every two years they do it in Portugal. To celebrate their 10 year anniversary, they had Justin Timberlake and the Rolling Stones on the pop and rock side of it and invited us to close the whole festival as Underground Sound of Lisbon. We put a live show together and they gave us a good, sizable budget, and we made an outstanding show. 

RS: For those of you out there who don’t know, Underground Sound of Lisbon did the epic track of “So Get Up” that Cosmic Gate recently covered. What did you think of the Cosmic Gate version?
Rui da Silva: I think that they did a really good job in updating it for the EDM crowd and market. Nothing can beat the original in terms of the energy and emotion - which will never be surpassed - but I think that they did justice to the track.

RS: With the reunion, does that mean that there’s more Underground Sound of Lisbon music coming?
Rui da Silva: Yes, we have started working on some new material, and one of the tracks is called “Groove Jet,” which is very appropriate for people that remember Groove Jet from back in the day. It was the afterhours club in Miami where Danny Tenaglia used to do his marathon sessions.

RS: You mean the epic 24-hour party you went to during Winter Music Conference, and after that night, you were gone.
Rui da Silva:  Yes, and Deep Dish used to play out of the cloakroom in the back; we are going way back to maybe ’93. I am about to go to Portugal again next month and we are going to be doing another week of recording, so eventually some things will see the light of release. There is already some footage of the show that we did at Rock in Rio on YouTube which has an original with it, but it is not released it is just sitting there. 

RS: Will this new music come out on your label Kismet?
Rui da Silva: Most likely, but it depends, we are more focused on creating the music and trying to find a good path that we want to follow which keeps true to our roots but without being stuck in the past. That is what our focus is, and we are not in a hurry to release stuff; we are more interested in creating pieces of music that we can incorporate in our set and our live shows. Once we feel that it is time to release it, we can look into that.

RS: One of the many reasons why Underground Sound of Lisbon is so important is that you were the first Portuguese act to really make a scene in the dance music world. Did you feel like ambassadors to the world?
Rui da Silva: Yeah, and when I started there was no dance scene in Portugal, and we figured out how we could press some records at a pressing plant in Portugal and we started to give them to friends. Somehow a copy ended up with a friend of Vibe’s in New York; DJ Vibe is my partner in Underground Sound of Lisbon...  This guy went to Sound Factory and gave a copy to Junior Vasquez. That night is a legendary night; Junior listened to the track and played the record five times that night in the club. People like Terry Farley and the crew from Junior Boys' Own were there, and everyone went mental with that record. Vibe’s friend that gave him the record didn’t show back up at Sound Factory again for about 5 months and Junior was playing that record constantly. Nobody knew what the record was in those days - there was no social media or internet - but we heard some rumors. Eventually we were reading The Face magazine or an ID magazine, and we saw the record pop in on some chart from Sound Factory of the 5 biggest records. We had pressed about 500 copies and stamped them all and we sold all the records, then we repressed a few more copies and sent a few more to New York. He went back again to the club with another copy. I think that the one that Junior had was probably heavily worn out.

 

Rob Di Stefano (of Tribal America and Twisted Records) happened to be there on that night and saw the same guy again going around with the records and managed to pull him aside. I think that he got ahold of one copy, and on the copy we had a stamp on the record which was a little map of Lisbon. Rob looked at it and he didn’t even know what Portugal was and decided to call the number that was on it. It was on my birthday, and we were just coming out of some afterparty and he called the shop since there weren’t many mobiles around during those days. He asked where in the world he was calling because all he could see was a small map saying Lisbon but he couldn’t find it and it wasn’t like he could go on the Internet, he had to actually look at a globe. Eventually, we kind of explained where it was. They were getting ready to do a tour in Europe for Tribal, and Danny had the option to do a date in Italy or Portugal and I told him that he should just come to Portugal and that I would look out for him. We were doing a week at Paradise in Portugal and they had just started Musik Magazine, which is a legendary magazine from the early days. They came over and we had Jaydee performing and a lot of big celebrity DJs and Danny came and so did Kiwi Dreams. They had a fantastic time, and Rob signed the record and asked who we wanted to remix it and we said Junior since he had been such a great supporter. Rob said that he wanted us to try this DJ, Danny Tenaglia. We didn’t know him at the time and we said okay and did a swap and the rest is history. We became really good friends and we ended up remixing a single for him and he remixed “So Get Up.”  At some point we kind of changed Danny’s sound, because before that he was doing a very Cajmere kind of sound and traditional house sound from New York. After the trip to Portugal, it changed his sound and then he did “Bottom Heavy” and totally changed it to a much darker sound that we all grew to love afterwards. 

RS: In addition to being a part of Underground Sound Of Lisbon, you also had many hits as Rui da Silva, with the biggest one probably being “Touch Me.” When you made that record, did you have any idea that it would become as big as it did?
Rui da Silva: No, but that record has a very interesting story as well. That record eventually became almost like a spell on every person that would listen to it for the first time. I saw that repeated, not only back then,but I still see it repeated now to people that have never heard the record, once they listen to it they listen to it repeatedly. I was living in London and had lived there less than a year and I was starting the label and putting some records together and I didn’t really have many contacts in England. I remember talking to Red Jerry that used to run Hooj Choons, and he always told me that I should do something with vocals because the records would be better. I told him that I didn’t know any singers and and didn’t know where to find them. 

One evening I walking from Piccadilly to meet my wife, and there was this girl singing with a band and I thought she was busking but she wasn’t. She had just come out of a bar with a friend and just decided to join them and start singing. Everybody was listening, and something in the back of my mind told me that I needed to get that girl's number. Eventually I convinced my friend that was with me to get her number and she came to the studio and we had a chat. I was not very convinced at the beginning that I wanted to do something, but eventually we kind of settled and I agreed to do a session so she came in. We worked on the beat and she sang some things, but I still wasn’t sure that it was the right thing. She took it home, and the next day she brought something that she had written on a topline and we tried it and recorded it and it sounded incredible. That day I took the track home on a cassette, which I still have - because it was too expensive to put them on DATs which was what we used to use back in those days. I kept pressing play on the record, but it's a slightly different arrangement than the one that came out.  I kept listening to it, and as soon as I finished I wanted to listen to it again and again and I couldn’t stop listening to it. I remember many occasions where people have told me the same thing. I remember one time in New York finding a friend of mine stuck in some afterparty in a basement listening to the vinyl over and over, and he had been there for 2 hours listening to it. The same thing happened about 4 years ago in Ibiza with a girl who was probably in her early 20s, and she had never heard the record and she was listening to it nonstop. You can’t make these things up, these things come to you and you can spend your life looking for it and it will never come. It just happens and that is the beauty of music. We are all trying to find this magical moment and sometimes it just shows up.


RS: Have you heard the new version by Paul Oakenfold?
Rui da Silva: Yes I did, he personally sent it to me. I think that he honored the song, a lot of the versions out there don’t really pay justice to the song. I haven’t really looked forward to getting the record remixed because I think it is more about celebrating the song. I did one version which is an acoustic, Balearic version with a guitar, which I think that pays justice to the song. I think that what Paul did by doing an 85BPM ambient track and sourcing the original singer and keeping the integrity of the melody and the song was brilliant and serves the song in a different environment.

RS: As Rui da Silva, do you have new songs coming out as well?
Rui da Silva: Yes, I do have a lot of new material coming out and a new release on Nervous which is scheduled for the end of the year or beginning of next year. I also have some remixes that I did for a new band called Lisbon Kid, and I also did a release that is coming out on Perfecto that is scheduled for the beginning of the year. I also have my stuff on Kismet, which is more underground stuff, and there are a few other deals that I can’t talk about yet because we are at ADE, but I brought a lot of music and there is a lot of interest.

RS: Great. I want you to pretend like you are in the room with your 18 year-old self. What advice would you give him?
Rui da Silva: Don’t lose your focus, and if you are starting out now you are probably not hanging out too much with your friends, you are going to be spending many hours in the studio doing music.

RS: What would you like to say to all of your fans around the world?
Rui da Silva: Thanks for supporting me over all these years. Keep coming and checking my music out and check out my profile on Spotify or SoundCloud or whatever your favorite streaming place is.

Interview conducted during Amsterdam Dance Event 2014.


follow Clubplanet @  
More About Nightlife
Click here for RSS feed
Above & Beyond Announce New Album for 2018
p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; line-height: 15.0px; font: 12.0px Helvetica}p.p2 {margin:...
The ClubPlanet Interview: Sir Ivan
Sir Ivan is a musical superhero.  Dressed in a bejeweled cape; his mission is to...
Music for the Masses
A roundup of great house, electro, progressive, pop and vocal dance tracks. Wolfgang...
Music for the Masses
A roundup of great house, electro, progressive, hardstyle and vocal dance tracks. GoodLuck -...
SUNDAY FUNDAY:  True2Life ft Lady Bunny - (For You) I’ll Wait
Sunday Funday:  True2Life ft Lady Bunny - (For You) I’ll Wait - [UNIQUE2RHYTHM] The...
SUNDAY FUNDAY:  Steven Redant & Peyton - Let It Shine
SUNDAY FUNDAY:  Steven Redant & Peyton - Let It Shine - [SWISHCRAFT] “Let it Shine”...
Music for the Masses: Miami Music Edition
Special Miami edition - the best new music we heard on South Beach during Miami Music Week and...
SUNDAY FUNDAY: Afro Bros ft Ghetto Flow - 18+
SUNDAY FUNDAY:   Afro Bros ft Ghetto Flow - 18+ - [SPINNIN] People throw a lot of...
Tags

Log in here to submit a tag

CP Buzz on facebook

Music for the Masses
A roundup of great house, electro, progressive, pop and vocal dance tracks. Wolfgang...
Music for the Masses
A roundup of great house, electro, progressive, hardstyle and vocal dance tracks. GoodLuck -...
SUNDAY FUNDAY:  True2Life ft Lady Bunny - (For You) I’ll Wait
Sunday Funday:  True2Life ft Lady Bunny - (For You) I’ll Wait - [UNIQUE2RHYTHM] The...
SUNDAY FUNDAY:  Steven Redant & Peyton - Let It Shine
SUNDAY FUNDAY:  Steven Redant & Peyton - Let It Shine - [SWISHCRAFT] “Let it Shine”...
Music for the Masses: Miami Music Edition
Special Miami edition - the best new music we heard on South Beach during Miami Music Week and...
Above & Beyond Announce New Album for 2018
p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; line-height: 15.0px; font: 12.0px Helvetica}p.p2 {margin:...
The ClubPlanet Interview: Sir Ivan
Sir Ivan is a musical superhero.  Dressed in a bejeweled cape; his mission is to...
The ClubPlanet Interview: Dave Winnel
Doing interviews is a challenge for DJs.  They are often stuck in a room answering the same...
The ClubPlanet Interview: Junior J
Spinnin is the breeding ground for the next generation of DJ talent.   Martin Garrix,...
The ClubPlanet Interview: Rodg
Armin van Buuren called Rodg “one of the best producers of 2016” and when you listen to his album...