Music With Soul
Based in the heart of Amsterdam with a particular connection to Lisbon and a profound love for black, ethnical and funky grooves, Music With Soul is an all-encompassing musical project. It’s mainly a label. But it also has its own studio. Oh, and its own parties. Too megalomaniac? Well, we sat on giants' shoulders. Formed by a team of two restless, nonconformist and idealistic music-lovers, the idea behind the project is to record tunes at the studio, release them on the label and let them infect the dance-floors of our parties with a tingling virus of fidgety-dancing. You think this approach may be too Jamaican? Well, we also like reggae. Alex Figueira, founder of the project, is currently focused on being the artistic catalyzer, musical producer and resident DJ (in short, he takes care of the studio and the parties). Andre Nóvoa took office as the Chief Executive Officer, also responsible for the marketing division, law department and, when on free time, for playing music (he takes care of the label, basically). We met back in 2004 in Lisbon, founded a band of Revivalist Jamaican music there, changed the Portuguese music scene in a way that left no tangible evidence, immigrated to different parts of the world and, in 2011, joined forces again to make Music With Soul possible. Yes, we are still young and foolish. We still believe.
Alex Figueira is a young Portuguese-Venezuelan DJ, record collector, musician and producer. Currently based in Amsterdam, Alex has already played in bands in countries like Venezuela, Portugal and the Netherlands. In 2007, soon after moving to Amsterdam, he created Music With Soul Records due to a constant frustration on how music was being produced at that moment. Lending his ears to innumerable demos, albums and short-releases from bands that performed funk, soul, reggae, psychedelic rock and other retro-styles, it became clear to him that most of these current bands were not only not adding any spice to the old formulas, but also leaving out that edgy, raw and crude analog-sound that trademarked his favorite records from the 60s and the 70s. Feeling like action needed to be taken, Alex decided on doing the music by himself. The idea of hiring a studio just for him was never a real option, so he settled on building a studio by his own. He found a garage and, in a true DIY fashion, managed to raise the Barracão in 19 months of trials and errors. Since then, Alex began a Buddhist-wise period of (patient) experimentation in search for that old, raw and vibrant sound he could not find elsewhere.
André Nóvoa is a musician, anthropologist, record collector and occasional DJ who is currently based in Lisbon, after having lived three years in London, UK. André was one of the founders of the first revivalist ska/rocksteady band in Portugal, Contratempos, and has been the main songwriter for the first skinhead reggae Portuguese band since 2006, The Ratazanas. His passion for music outpoured into his academic-studies and, as an anthropologist, he studied the lives of musicians on tour, focusing on how mobility is an intrinsic part of a live of a musician. The study was original published in a book in Portugal and later translated into English for an academic journal (“Musicians on the move: mobilities and identities of a band on the road”, Mobilities 2012). Sharing the vision that music and mobility go hand-in-hand, André has been a wanderer himself for the past years, making appearances as a musician and DJ all over Europe. With The Ratazanas he covered nine countries of the Old Continent, also emerging in Amsterdam as Vic Ruggiero’s live-drummer and as a studio-musician in the Barracão, for instance. As a DJ, André starred in venues like the Reggae Recipe and the Hootannany, in Brixton, London. He is now focused on the Music With Soul project.