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Portuguese DJ Paulo Rodrigues, known as DJ SLOT, began his career in 1997 at the age of 22. He vividly recalls his debut, describing it as a night filled with excitement and nervousness. In this interview, DJ SLOT shares his memories of that memorable first performance. “You have no idea how nervous I was.”
“My first gig took place in early 1997, in a city near Porto, Portugal, at a venue called Fábrica Bar, if I remember correctly. It was a small club not known for techno music or any particular genre. I didn’t have high expectations. The venue wasn’t large, and the bar quickly filled up, especially when my friends arrived. It turned out to be an amazing night!”
“At that time, I was 22 years old. I was super excited and, well, nervous…? Of course, I was nervous! I still get nervous sometimes, but you have no idea how nervous I was for that first gig. Especially because even before I had performed in front of an audience, I had several friends, other artists, and ravers pushing and supporting me. Many of them I knew personally, so I assumed that my debut would be closely watched. It felt like a significant challenge. I definitely didn’t want to disappoint the crowd.”
Dream Work Agency
“Fortunately, I received a lot of support from my friends, even after that first performance. However, the most significant encouragement undoubtedly came from one of my friends who said, ‘Believe in yourself and let it flow.’ A few months later, that same friend became my booking agent at Dream Work Agency in Portugal, a role he held for several years. So, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Nelson Branco, who always believed in me and my work.”
“I never had a mentor, but I was strongly influenced by other artists. I’m self-taught. Also, during my first public performances, I had a considerable entourage with me, especially as I got to know more people in the rave scene. So, I never lacked support.”
“My family was not a big fan of techno. The genre represented a completely unfamiliar world to them. They never really understood the DJ scene. None of my family members were present at my debut. It took them a few years to realize how important that first time was for me.”
“Before my debut, I had prepared my set at home. However, after playing the first three or four records, the crowd became quite lively, which gave me more confidence behind the decks. It was evident that the selection I had prepared in advance wasn’t suitable for that moment. Since my bags always contained my favorite vinyl and the latest tracks of the week, it wasn’t difficult to follow the crowd’s natural vibe. I learned right away to adapt my song choices to every situation.”
“I loved performing in a real club, in front of a real audience. Contrary to expectations, the venue quickly filled up. So, when I started, the dance floor was already pretty crowded, making my job easier. Nevertheless, I was still quite nervous. Fortunately, a healthy dose of adrenaline quickly kicked in, allowing me to focus and let the set flow smoothly. In the end, the club was packed, and I gave the audience exactly what they wanted and enjoyed. It was an amazing party! Everything went great, and afterward, I was overjoyed. That night confirmed to me that continuing to DJ would be my path.”
“The audience at Fábrica Bar was special; it was a mix of people unexpectedly joined by ravers from the north of Portugal. Most of the attendees were genuine music lovers. I felt the energy around me and knew that everyone was enjoying themselves. The crowd was simply amazing.”
“I don’t feel like I made major mistakes that first time. Of course, there were some rough patches. And I still have them sometimes. But as far as I can remember, I managed to smooth everything out right away. Ultimately, during every set, something unexpected happens that you couldn’t have predicted.”
“With that first performance, it all began. Over time, I started getting more bookings, not only in Portugal but also abroad. I grew as an artist, and my name became more recognized. A memorable moment in my career was undoubtedly my nomination for the Portuguese Dance Awards from the Portuguese magazine ‘Dance Club’ in the category of ‘National New Talent Techno DJ.’ The nomination came as a surprise, but winning the award was truly unexpected, especially considering the professional level of the other finalists.”
“That first night at Fábrica Bar, as well as all the gigs afterward, taught me the importance of loving what you do and believing in it. When you do, you pass that magic on to others, and everything flows organically. As an artist, I strive to continue evolving and reaching further than where I am today.”
This interview with DJ SLOT was originally published in November 2017 on DJMag.nl.
Who is DJ SLOT?
DJ SLOT (Paulo Rodrigues) was born in Coimbra in 1974, and is undoubtedly an unavoidable name of the Portuguese techno movement. DJ SLOT began his career in the art of DJing in 1995, heavily influenced by electronic music of the time, starting initially by Djing small and private parties, like the vast majority of DJs of that time, and in that short time DJ SLOT acquired a passion for techno that that will never die no more.
From the parties of friends, to the main stage of the best clubs and national events, DJ SLOT has long been divided between the records and his other passion architecture, but still always enjoying the contrast between scholarly and artistic pleasures.
His sets are characterized by energetic and hi octane style with a multifaceted and eclectic variation of techno. He has a commitment to diversity by exploring any particular style of techno. Strong, progressive and groovy beats are the hallmark of the DJ SLOT style, when combined with his technical skill it creates a steady increase in intensity, pace and energy that infect the audience leading them through a mesmerizing trip and giving no break to people on the dancefloor.
During DJ SLOT’s long connection to the agency Dreamwork marked a permanent presence on the national circuit of the highest level playing in the most emblematic clubs like Pacha, Rocks, Locomia, Via Invicta, etc.., Also to playing in some clubs in Spain: Octopus, Joy Eslava, Cocoon, Yasta and Metropolis. DJ SLOT had the pleasure of acting alongside top international artists and DJs. e.g. Richie Hawtin aka Plastikman, Jeff Mills, The Advent, Carl Cox, Laurent Garnier, Dave Clarke, Masters at Work, Kenny Hawkes, Eric Morillo, Stacy Pullen among many others.
In this area, DJ SLOT’s dedication is ceaseless, with his debut “Mantis EP” released by Naked Lunch Records, owned by the well-known Portuguese A.Paul, followed by “Interzone EP”, their second release, this time by Mastertraxx Records, owned by the renowned British techno producer Mike Humphries. DJ SLOT’s experience in the work of DJing and production, has led to the creation of his own label, Platinum Records.