DJ MARFOX, DJ NIGGA FOX and PRÍNCIPE featured on FACT

Robert Barry falou connosco, com DJ Marfox e DJ Nigga Fox, em Santa Apolónia, numa fugaz visita a Lisboa a partir do Barreiro, onde acompanhou o Out.Fest. Leiam em baixo um excerto do que ele escreveu para a FACT ou cliquem no título para aceder ao artigo completo.

Robert Barry talked to us, DJ Marfox and DJ Nigga Fox, in Santa Apolonia, during a fleeting Lisbon raid coming from Barreiro, where he was covering Out.Fest. Read an excerpt of what he wrote for FACT below or click the title for the full, expansive feature.

“THIS IS OUR GRIME”: DJ MARFOX, DJ NIGGA FOX, PRINCIPE RECORDS AND THE SOUND OF THE LISBON GHETTOS

Words By Robert Barry

As far back as he can remember, Marlon Silva always wanted to be a DJ.
As a child, growing up in the high-rise estates of Bairro da Portela on the outskirts of Lisbon, he would watch his father and older cousin set up for the neighbourhood parties. His cousin was the DJ, mixing Luso-African genres like semba and kizomba with The Beatles and whatever else would prove popular with the ever-demanding crowds of dancers. His father owned the sound system. Today, Marlon can walk around the projects and everyone knows who he is. “Hey!” the kids shout as they see him pass, “DJ Marfox!”

At 25, Marfox is already seen as an elder statesman of the burgeoning Lisbon scene. His name comes from a Nintendo game – Star Fox, a blocky 3D outer space shoot-em-up for the SNES – that he was addicted to as a teenager. By way of tribute, many of the younger producers on the scene have similar names: Karfox, Liofox, Dadifox, Nigga Fox. Marfox calls his music “free”, unbeholden to any style, be it African, European, or American. But its origins lie in the hothouse atmosphere of Lisbon’s noites africanas on the edges of the city, where West African zouk rubs up against Brazilian pagode and commercial r’n’b, and “DJs have to be very attentive to what the crowd might be into at any given moment. They’re very demanding crowds,” Marlon tells me, “they know what they’re into and they know what they expect from a club. They expect to dance.”

I met up with Marfox and his younger protégé, Rogério Brandão aka DJ Nigga Fox, at a coffee shop near the container port on the east side of Lisbon. On a block of converted warehouses by the waterfront, the cafe sits next to a record shop called Flur where José Moura and Márcio Matos work. José and Márcio make up half of the team behind Principe Discos (with Pedro Gomes and Nelson Gomes), the label that’s been releasing Marlon and Rogério’s records over the last couple of years. They’re also here, nursing cups of espresso, to translate for us.

Since the release of Principe and Marfox’s debut 12” last year, Eu Sel Quem Sou, their frenzied polyrhythmic hybrid of Angolan kuduro, batida, and kizomba with western house and techno, has been moving out of ad-hoc parties in abandoned buildings in the peripheries into the hip clubs in the city centre and beyond. Recently, Philip Sherburne, writing in Spin, called it “the waist-windingest music I’ve ever heard…like an ultra-vivid hybrid of grime and trance.” This weekend, Marfox and Nigga Fox take the stage at the Unsound Festival in Kraków. I’m here to find out how the scene came together in the first place.

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