INTERVIEW: GEMENIANO CRUZ
In my last dispatch from Sagres Surf Culture festival, artist Gemeniano Cruz shares his ocean inspired illustrations.
Photography: Ricardo Miguel Vieira|Originally published in Portuguese on VICE Portugal
Igor Domingues greets me with a warning as I reach the top of Parque Eduardo VII, a green lung in traffic jammed Lisboa: “I’m not the best guy to be photographed nor for interviews.” With a marked Oporto’s accent, a milimetrically trimmed beard and reflected Top Gun sunglasses, the spontaneity of Throes + The Shine’s drummer while facing the lens or recorders isn’t the same as when he waves drumsticks. Neither it’s comparable to the spontaneous beginnings of the rock and kuduro fusion band blending Throes and The Shine: they met in Oporto’s Festival Náice, in 2010, and established a collaboration that would consolidate in the year after Milhões de Festa festival, in Barcelos, giving birth to Rockuduro - also named after their first album.
Four years turned and Throes + The Shine enter a new phase: the maturation. The new album, Mambos de Outros Tipos, brings a wider message and a rhythmic play that spreads through the opposing influences of the band’s mates. In the end, Igor tells me, the project didn’t result in a “freakish” sound and people are now opening themselves to the fusion of styles. It’s when the chat flows fluidly, and Igor ignores the weight of the interview, that he reflects about the experimentalism hovering over their creations – and pretty much visible in their “Dombolo” single – and how the Angolan tech-tribal movement kuduro is now less marginalised among the Portuguese.
It’s half past nine of a dismal morning and I’m on my way to Oporto with two fellows. It has passed a couple of weeks since we wordily vowed on the trip, booked a hostel at the Invicta city and patiently awaited the day to hit the road. By the time we embarked, the gang was psyched: going on a trip, rolling in the northern capital, diggin’ the flea markets and cease the journey with a Mark Kozelek aka Sun Kil Moon‘s concert at Casa da Música, inserted in Optimus Clubbing fest. On our way we spin Eminem, N.W.A, Bon Iver and a miriade of musics of dysfunctional genres among them, as the everyone was eager to share everything they brought. But my mental inner-record needle is stuck since yesterday and the only thing I’m able to repeat in silence is: “Richard Ramirez died today of natural causes / These things mark time and make us pause.”
Snoop Dogg became a paradox. Dogg began by inscribing his name in the 1990s hip-hop history with pearls like Doggystyle (1993) and Tha Doggfather (1996) and ended up collaborating with Katy Perry and his nephew David Carreira [pop singer from Portugal]. If throughout the years Dogg lost his qualitative vein and unpredictability, he ended up becoming a joke with such pop-sprinkled collabs.No matter what he’d do next, there would be a huge question mark trailed to his name, which suffered many mutations: Snoop Doggy Dogg, Snoop Dogg, Snoop Lion, Snoopzilla.
Then comes 7 Days of Funk, a collaboration between Snoop Dogg and of the most hypes artists of funk’s new school: Dãm-Funk. Now this is the point when USA’s West Coast rapper shows all he’s strength e proves (even without needing it) that he has everything to be a giant in the funkadelic scene. On the other end, Dãm-Funk remains as we know him: a virtuous synth-keys’ player with cosmic sonorities, rove electronics and stale beats.
7 Days of Funk is a long funky night with the boys in a club swarmed with marijuana, honeys and telepathic flirts. The “boys in da house” alert comes with the opening “Hit Da Pavement” (“Niggaz hit the pavement, real true statement / Grind ’til they pay me, real niggaz hit the pavement”). In “Fadden Away”, Snoop Dogg reveals his uncompromised flow with an astonishing dusky key sound; in “Do My Thang” we head back to Snoop Dogg’s renowned cliche, but now under Dãm-Funk’s cosmic keys. The whole album has a consistent rhythm without mood and style swings, using the same line of sound within its tracks but never exhausting.
Dãm-Funk and Snoopzilla shoot without missing by opting for a 30 minutes productions on an album named for a week of funk. 7 Days of Funk entered directly to one of the best of 2013′s list right by the end of the year. Besides, I strongly believe that Snopp Dogg protrudes greatly at funk as his does dropping 16 bars.
Release Date: December 2013 | Label: Stones Throw
The way Shcuro showcases his music has been through some fast mutation over the last couple of years. The producer from Lisbon, Portugal, went through a road of dub rhythms with his Distant Shore EP (2012) and the Rastronaut’s Legba (2013) remix, deviated for the interior of tech-house – Ignis Fatuus (2013) and JYGB’s Sun Soaked / Money (2013) remix – and turned sharply, without any tragedies within, in 2014 with the acidic techno EP Plunge Into Darkness.
Considering his stylistics shifts, Shcuro has a consistent identity and versatility. He whom also produced an astonishing sound forA.M.O.R’s experimental LP, and keeping with Honey the project ERVADOCE. Among all his music, there’s always a grey and deeply dark touch, from either a more assertive knob or a simple presence hidden throughout the more audible tones. “Plunge Into Darkness” is Shcuro releasing the murk that always roamed his spirit, with full-rotation beats, beefy industrial sounds and screaming synths. A throughly acidic trip for a night ending in an emotional debacle. “Agremi Somnia” keeps the industrial roots, the aesthetic deepness and borrows from trance the verve of piercing synthesisers.
Plunge Into Darkness doesn’t even sin for having just 15 minutes of running time, as it seems to be an eternity, given that we jump inside an endless dark pit. The expectation is that Shcuro remains in the genre, as he seems just right for it.
Release Date: January 2014 | Label: Con+ainer