Photo Credits: Fernando Sigma
Brazil always has presented a very strong and plural dance scene, with space for different types of sounds. Especially when we talk about the state of São Paulo, the biggest metropolis of the country, which harbors a rich cultural diversity, we come across many artists looking for their places in the sun, among them Gustavo Freitas, or just Guss.
His talent was created on the dance floor and curated at the DJ booths of many parties that have built the electronic panorama of the southeast of São Paulo, from the most embryonary moments. He is the creator of projects such as Ressonancia, Feira, and Leeds, which helped to recompose the night landscape of the city, as a DJ he has played at D-EDGE, Laroc, Green Valley, Sirena, and other important venues. Today he has been showing his creativity soul through music production.
We had a conversation with Guss to talk about his promoting efforts, latest musical projects, and new release ‘Zombale’ out via Warungs Recordings.
Electronic Groove: Hi, Guss, we hope you are doing well. Your name is known by São Paulo’s dance scene, but it is new for many out there. Tell us a bit about you and the initiatives you are involved in?
Guss: Hello, thanks for the invite. I started producing electronic music events pretty early, it has been a 15-year career. During this period I went through many phases, I have founded labels, brought international brands to Brazil and matured a lot. I believe the projects I’m currently involved shows this evolution. Ressonancia is a consolidated party in São Paulo with four years of history.
During this period we had the pleasure of bringing many electronic music personalities including Derrick May, Matador, Hernan Cattaneo, Yotto, Oliver Huntemann, Magda, among others. A different project I’m involved is Feira, a daytime party that has all its themes inspired by Brazil’s street fairs.
The event also features exhibitions of arts and new brands, supporting and prioritizing local producers. We have live painting and several activities that make the event unique. The party is packed by house music, disco, afro, and whatever else we identify with, no strings attached, no labels, the important thing is the fun.
EG: Besides music, there is also space for graphic design, right? Have you always been ahead of the visual works of the parties? How does this work in practice?
Guss: I have always been passionate about graphic design and I see this as a great differential of our events. We have always been very careful with our visual identity. I was in charge of these projects and at least 80% I have created effectively, the other 20% were at times when the time was short and we had designers hired. During this quarantine, I’m developing new techniques and anticipating future creations.
EG: What are the differences that you and your team seek to create in each of the events?
Guss: Today we see many similar events in Brazil, some agencies use “formulas” copying what has worked. We believe that creating an event with identity is paramount.
We also know that it is the longest way, but for us, there is no other alternative. From the event’s conception, visual identity, through artistic curatorship, we work to make something out of the box. We link what the brand is and what it represents, with the event scenography, creating a unique and memorable experience.
“I started producing electronic music events pretty early, it has been a 15-year career”
EG: It has been 15 years acting in different fronts of the scene, what were the most remarkable moments so far? Whether as a DJ, producer, or even events that you organized?
Guss: There are moments that mark positively and negatively, both are ultimately important for us to evolve professionally and personally, but let’s talk only about the positives here.
About 10 years ago, when talking about open-air events in São Paulo, the highlight was Psytrance. I was working with a new party called Aludra and was paddling against the tide. Well, two years after the creation of the brand, against all predictions (except mine), we had a party with 6 thousand people, with several artists from house and techno. That moment I saw that I could carry out great projects, which would not be important only to me, but would make a difference in electronic music. This has always been the backbone of my actions, doing something that really makes a difference.
Another highlight of my career as an event producer was in 2018. Ressonancia was on the rise and we brought Hernan Cattaneo, it was a huge commotion among the fans and our brand was consolidated.
Talking about DJ career, I will never forget my debut at D-EDGE, it was a magical moment. Every DJ dreams of playing in that club and I could do it a few times, but the first one certainly marked me a lot, it gave me butterflies in the stomach, it felt like the end of the World Cup.
Guss at Feira
EG: We imagine that the current moment must be the most challenging so far… is your main focus right now the side as a producer? Tell us about your first released EP, ‘Tembisa’. What has inspired you?
Guss: This is a really challenging moment that no one was prepared for. As an event producer, you need to work with the possibility of big adversities, competition, weather, etc., now a pandemic? It is difficult… during this period I’m trying to keep my mind busy, planning the return of events, creating as a designer, searching a lot of music and also producing, but my main focus is on live streams right now, I’m trying to bring a little joy to everyone who likes my work.
About my debut EP, ‘Tembisa’, I’m glad by the support I have received, the songs were being played at parties and the feedback was always positive. It gave me confidence for new creations.
EG: We have seen that you were one of the selected artists to integrate the Warung Recordings VA, the label of the renowned Warung Beach Club. What could you tell us about the track and this achievement?
Guss: I think this was the best news I have received during this quarantine, when I saw my name out there I could not believe! Being vinculated to one of the biggest clubs in the world, where I have the dream of playing, it is priceless.
The song that was released is ‘Zombale 2’, it represents this moment of my career, with an afro house identity, dancing vibe, good music to enjoy at the party or to relax at home.
“I’m trying to keep my mind busy, planning the return of events, creating as a designer, searching a lot of
music and also producing”
EG: What are the main characteristics of your music? Both as a producer and in your DJ sets. What are your main references?
Guss: My music carries African percussions, it is melodic and groovy sounds. In my musical selection for DJ sets, I start from these points, but I don’t usually limit myself, if I listen to something indie or disco that I like, I try to fit it.
I try to always tell a story in my sets, but I also like dynamism. I recently have been listening to &ME, Rampa, Adam Port, Black Coffee, Pablo Fierro, to name a few.
EG: What are your goals for the second semester of the year? Have you been working on anything special?
Guss: I’m working on a future EP and the expectation is to release it later this year after the Warung Recordings’ VA. I intend to continue my Lives project, ‘In Africa’, where I will play sets at dusk (One Sunset in Africa), and at night (One Night in Africa), and projecting some events for this year, if this is possible due to the pandemic, this last part is uncertain so far. Thank you for the space!
‘Zombale 2’ is not now via Warung Recordings. Grab your copy here.