PLAYY. Mix #175 – Gadutra

Originally hailing from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, transmedia artist Gadutra is a multifaceted creative whose work dances along the fringes. A DJ, cultural curator, and tattoo artist, Gadutra finds space in the counter cultures of the cities she explores. Currently based between Berlin, Lisbon and Rio de Janeiro, Gadutra’s sound research is deeply influenced by baile funk, ambient, footwork, noise and latin core. Her dance floors invite spectators for moments of contemplation, freedom but also in a sweaty and groovy environment. This passion and investment in the underground has seen Gadutra inherit the forward thinking TroubleMaker Records, a BIPOC and LGBTQIAPN+ focused label that, since 2018, has released emerging marginal artists, events and music in Portugal.


Photo: Madakya


Set the tone for us. Where does your journey with music begin?

I’ve always been very interested in curating and organizing music. I started DJing with 15yo for friend’s birthday parties in the suburbs of Rio de Janeiro. On that time I used to go by DJ Gagadutra – as a good little monster kid. It was fun and I started having some new invitations, definitely my first financial incomes came from that. In 2013 I started going to clubs and baile funks so I decided to make my first self organized event, and it was a blast! We had over one thousand people and there I understood that it was possible to make big things. From 2015 till 2018 the tattoos got priority, I moved to Portugal and started producing my own music. From 2019 I was making parties and DJing again in the nightlife scene of Lisbon. Creating spaces of joy and freedom has always been a goal that fills my existence with purpose and certainty.


Where would you say you currently are creatively? What sort of sounds or concepts are inspiring Gadutra right now?

I’ve been deeply into footwork! I produce music with an analog machine and recently I discovered the Tim & Barry’s “I’M TRYNA TELL YA” feature length footwork documentary, available on Youtube. It gives us some pictures of the Chicago’s 2014 footwork production scenario and it’s so meaningful to see producers that I admire for years making live music with similar experimental methods and equipment that I use today. I’m very into break beats, voice sampling and bass. It’s also always an honor to keep me updated about productions of Brazilian friends and artists like Podeserdesligado, Cigarra, IDLibra, Nãovenhasemrosto, Aya Ibeji, Eram, Mus40, Nora and Fortunato.


Aside from DJ’ing and curating events, you’re also a tattoo artist. How do these two mediums (music and tattooing) intersect for you?

I’m always trying to find the balance between these two. Tattooing is each time becoming more intentional. I’ve been tattooing a lot fewer people, but at the same time the meanings around the pieces-exchanges have been much deeper. It’s a one to one ritual, there is pain, physical change and intimacy involved. Playing as a DJ is more like a channel, an exercise of translating-draining my sound research into environments for dancing-healing with crowds. I love making both!


You recently moved to Berlin. Could you tell us about your experience of the city so far, and how you hope to have an impact on the city’s culture?

This year I could have base in different cities, and it was always a big goal. I feel that somehow I am shapeshifting the concept of home in order to be available to just go – and come back. Rio de Janeiro, Lisboa and Berlin were places that I could live and work, and I want to keep making that possible. I like staying in Berlin, it’s big and very vast. I already feel how the techno culture has affected my sound research, and I’m curious about that. But as a bass enthusiast, I feel excited to see how bringing more low frequencies and ghetto energy can unlock the dance floors and bodies here.


Photo: Madakya


How does the scene in Berlin differ from Lisbon, and what do you think the two could learn from each other?

There is a powerful gang in Lisbon, big and very potent artists making history there. Names like Afrontosas, Pyromanya, Quenga, Dengo Club and Noite Príncipe are strongly changing the art scenario there. But it’s very hard to feel the deep difficult of making a sustainable life and work in arts there. There is no money and a huge erasing project. The cultural investment is still going for the same white-cis-hetero boring artists, and that is very hard to deal with. Coming to Berlin is a movement to try new perspectives for my work. But when it comes to learning, both cities’ cultural body should urgently rethink concepts of anticoloniality for material and structural reparation projects. Surrendering to what is inevitable is a must.


Photo: Madakya


Tell us about TroubleMaker records. Why did you start the label, and what are your hopes for its future?

TroubleMaker was founded by Bruno Trigo (aka Phoebe) in 2018. It’s a record label that had always the intention of releasing BIPOC, LGBTQIAPN+ and immigrant artists in Portugal. I started running it from the end of 2021, some months after releasing my first album by it. It’s a big honor to keep making this work alive. Since that we had a massive NYE rave event, a Carnival edition, our first international rave in Rio de Janeiro and two showcase stream events. Our next step is releasing a new various artists album in 2024. It’s a very exciting and challenger experience to curate artists and being part of their evolution process, specially if they are friends.


Trans and BIPOC artists have played pioneering roles in dance music. How are you honouring this legacy through the work you do? 

It’s a never ending cycle that passes through me, my relationships and my work. Saying their names, keeping souls alive, telling our histories. Hiring, prioritizing, creating space. I am because we are – this is the most powerful and essencial spell I can incorporate into my artistry.


What does 2024 hold for Gadutra? Any projects you’re particularly excited about? 

I wanna keep making less but deeper work. This year was a confirmation that my work is not going to touch who it needs to. There is new pieces to be shown in Azores, São Paulo and Berlin. Asian tour maybe? Releasing new tracks for sure and I’m also very excited to publish the first EP of Rezgate, my live project with Rezmorah!