In Conversation • Pablo Santos

Pablo Santos is the son of a Paraibano father, he was born in Brasília, capital of the Federal District of Brazil, where his mother is from, and he moved to Dublin in 2014.

His encounter with music was at the age of 12 when he studied guitar at the Clube do Choro in Brasília, and then playing at the church and at weddings. At the age of 20, he stopped playing to study engineering, thinking that the life of an engineer would be more prosperous than that of a musician.

However,  engineering may have come into his life in the form of musical equipment. Pablo became a DJ and music producer, and today in Ireland he participates in several projects and partnerships at parties.

DJ Pablo Santos in Dublin.

Pablo, how did you become interested in Ireland?

At the age of 15, I saw an advertisement for an exchange in Ireland and became interested in doing that. I thought the images of the Irish countryside were beautiful and I thought it would be like that in Dublin. 

I worked at the Netherlands Embassy from the ages of 20 to 21, so the idea of ​​moving to Ireland remained with me, especially since I was already part of an international community and had friends from all over the world. I was very curious about seeing Europe and consequently meeting up with the friends I had made in Brazil.

Your encounter with music was when you were a boy, but you didn’t follow that path. Was your reunion with music then in Ireland?

My father is a musician, he used to play at the church where he was a clergyman; I also played at the church and at weddings. I studied guitar at the Clube do Choro de Brasília, but stopped playing when I was 20 when I started studying Engineering. I believed it would be a more prosperous area than music.

In 2015 in Ireland I started working at the Bernard Shaw pub and the contact with the DJs opened up my eyes to a new way of making music. In the beginning, I had an ignorant idea that being a DJ was something for a lazy musician:  just turning on the machine and letting it play, but it’s not. I became interested in becoming a DJ and with the studies and musical knowledge I already had, I tried to bring something different to it and to bring Brazilian music to Ireland.

Pablo Santos when he was 14 years old playing at a wedding in Brazil.

What are your musical influences?

I have many musical influences. In fact, I would say that I have an idol per musical genre, and sometimes more than one [haha]. But I will try to summarize some that always inspire me: Bossa Nova, MPB; Elis Regina, Jorge Ben, Siba is a contemporary of Recife. I also like Erykah Badu, Thundercat, Fela Kuti, rapper Kendrick Lamar. Through deejaying I discovered the works of DJ Tahira, Branko, and some others, I was very inspired by them.

So what would be the difference between playing guitar and DJ equipment?

For me, there was a decisive difference. With the guitar, I always had to look for a band or a friend in order to get a gig. The turntable gave me the option to be a one-man band [haha] it gets easier because basically everything “depends” just on yourself to happen. Besides, both are musical equipment and with study and dedication, you can learn either.

Pablo Santos playing guitar in the backstage of Cantata de Pascoa, Brazil, when he was 13 years old.

What were and are your projects and festivals?

“Meruteria”, was a partnership with a great friend of mine, Kixx, from Leshoto, Africa. The name came from a fusion of the names ‘merupa’ in Leshoto and ‘bateria’ in Portuguese, we simply played with the names, because undoubtedly, African and Brazilian music are historically connected by the rhythms and percussion that Africans brought to Brazil. Unfortunately, due to life situations, nowadays we haven’t been organising events but occasionally we still play together at parties.

Nowadays I also dedicate most of my time to Different Rhythm which is a partnership with Mick t-woc. T-woc, in my opinion, is one of the best DJs and disc collectors in Ireland, before he used to organize Disco é Cultura, a party that also took place at Bernard Shaw, where they only played Brazilian music, only on vinyl. Imagine, two Irishmen playing those albums by Jorge Ben, Tim Maia, Sandra de Sá!?

With the end of the Disco é Cultura at the time, we decided to make this partnership [Different Rhythm], but we don’t just focus on Brazilian music. With that, every 2 months we have our party Balanço Certo, which is only Brazilian music. Throughout the rest of the months we try to bring in a little bit of our musical research, music from all over the world; Nigeria, Cape Verde, Angola, Mexico, Colombia.

Here [in Ireland] I also had the opportunity to open the shows for  Ed Motta, Metá Metá, Marcelo D2.

Another project was the birth of Moinho last year, where we were able to realise the shows of Nando Reis, Martinho da Vila and Johnny Hooker in partnership with our friends from Bossa and YN.

Is there a possibility of Irish music influencing the music you make?

For sure. I think that’s the biggest function of music, actually. Influence and let yourself be influenced. I think it increases the possibilities of creating something new, which may be completely different from the rest. 

What to expect from a party of yours?

If you come to Balanço Certo, you can expect Brazilian music of all ages. From those recorded in the 60s to the present day. But what makes our party even better is the people who attend it. Lively parties with interesting people are the perfect combo.

But if you want to know more about my work, follow me on social media. There I ”always” update where I’m going to be playing, and at which party. Even though it is a virtual party, in these COVID days.

Listen here to Pablo’s playlists.

Pablo Santos has recently been interviewed by The Brazilian Coffee Time show in Dublin, click here to listen to the interview of July, 27th.

If you interested in music, have a look in the interview below: