Portugal may not be the first place you automatically think of for promising techno productions, yet this quaint old country is home to some of the most forward thinking artists to grace the techno community.
With a multitude of diverse productions which span the whole techno spectrum, (receiving support from all the major players), Portugal is home to well respected artists The Advent and Industryalizer and yet the name which has been causing the biggest uproar in modern years is without a doubt A Paul.
A Paul, (Paulo Pereira), has been diligently working away in the techno scene and has a career that spans three decades, which is a proud accomplishment for the 39 year old. With a discography of approximately 100 productions that boasts releases on Planet Rhythm, Kombination Research, Impact Mechanics and Yin Yang to name but a few, Paulo has been striving to place Portugal firmly on the map.
Paulo is less optimistic than we are about the scene in his homeland.
‘It’s strange… we had an amazing scene in the 90’s but lately it disappoints me. There is no room for the techno that I grew to love. We only have parties with schranz or minimal. I hope this changes and techno becomes strong again,’ he tells us.
Paulo had his DJing breakthrough at a warehouse party in Portugal in 1988, in an illegal rave where there were no monitors. He admits, ‘There were some bad mixes for sure!’
A foray into production soon followed and Paulo started producing on a Commodore Amiga, taking influence from the funk and electronica that he was exposed to during his teens.
‘It was a time of great discovery although I never released anything from that era. I waited until 1994 to release my first record. It was made using a modest studio set-up of a Roland JW50, a Boss DR-606, and, of course with techno, a Roland TR-909,’ says Paulo.
That production was the well received 'Juice' on Question of Time Records. It was licensed to UMM/Media in Italy, Yeti in Belgium and the legendary techno imprint Bush in the UK.
After a brief venture with many studio set-ups including Logic Audio and Pro Tools, Paulo has settled using Ableton. Instead of choosing conventional monitors he advises producers to use a loud bass and small PA system.
‘I like to feel the vibe that I have when I play live.’
For upcoming producers he recommends being innovative making the music you believe in, rather than making what is popular just to further your career.
'It’s not original advice. Just explore in-depth your true self, and don’t make what everyone else is making just because it’s easier to elevate your career.’
‘Give it some time, practice a lot, and start promoting your work to labels suit your sound. If you’re good then doors will open up, and obviously you’ll be encouraged to improve and grow.’
Diversity is a key factor in his productions. Paulo also produces under different guises such as Loudon Kleer, for more experimental rhythms and sounds, as well as LK and Beat Therapy and the notorious Luther Miek for his tech-house laden material.
Following on from his humble beginnings in the production world, setting up a label seemed a logical step for Paulo. His Naked Lunch imprint has seen a label which sports over 100 releases, many subdivisions and championed by leading names such as Carl Cox, D.A.V.E The Drummer and even crossing boundaries with the likes of John O' Callaghan and other trance names on the label.
‘To start with, the name was picked from a crazy book that was shown to me by a friend. It also represents the concept of the label, ‘Naked’ because it’s a very open-minded label without a strong style, and ‘Lunch’ because music, techno in particular, feeds our souls.’
‘I release many different styles on Naked Lunch and what I usually look for is fresh sounds and grooves. Can be soft or hard, slow or fast, pounding or quiet, but always with a strong dance floor appeal,’ Paulo tells us.
Not just concentrating on the digital side of things, Naked Lunch have also produced some vinyl releases with no signs of stopping any time soon.
‘I need to support all the artists that still love vinyl or are simply not ready to take a step into the digital world. Vinyl will still be around…you can count on that,’ says Paulo.
When asked if there are any artists he would like to be involved with the label, he says: ‘Many, many people, and with time I will try to get all of them on board! There are amazing producers out there, both established and new talents. Techno is alive and kicking.’
Paulo has travelled extensively around the globe, amassing DJ sets at the likes of Awakenings Festival, Concept, Hydraulix, Bad Robot and many more.
‘I love the UK Crowd, it's a great crowd and people know what they are listening to. I feel musical culture. Recently Holland has been very good to me – great events and a great response from the audience.’
For a man that spends so much time in the week in his studio, travelling to gigs and running labels with a frenetic release schedule, the question remains: what does Paulo do to relax?
‘Many things, from football, to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, swimming, reading books, surfing the web and watching films as well.’
For further information on A Paul/Naked Lunch please visit: www.apaul.com.
Words by: Louk