Photo Credit: Valeria Galizzi
If I were given only one word to describe João Pires, better known as Ka§par in the music world, it would be profound. He is deeply passionate about music, something that comes across in more than just the words he has to say about it. He expresses his love for music in the way he mixes and what he produces as well, combining his savant-like obsession with sonic beauty with a keen ability to read a crowd and understand his listener.
I was fortunate enough to come across some of Ka§par’s work years ago and continued to follow his contributions to the music world through the present, being sure to share it with you, but also with my own motives: to find out what made the man behind the music tick. It’s truly an honor to know that my guess about his character, at least in the sense that he is introspective and connected to music at an indescribable depth, was right. He devotes serious time and energy to making music, yet has no qualms about raising up the talents of others–fellow DJs and peers– as well as his many sources of inspiration and musical greats.
With great pleasure, I invite you to come along to find out What’s Good? with quite easily one of the most talented DJs in Portugal, Ka§par:
What is the first piece of music you purchased with your own money? and what is your first musical memory?
My first record (bought with m own money), as far as I can remember, must have been one of the following: Black Sheep’s “Strobelight Honey,” A Tribe Called Quest’s “Can I Kick It,” or Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince’s “Summertime”—maybe all of the above at once. I think I was 8 or 9. Before that, I remember long drives in my parents’ car on our way to Algarve (for our usual vacation), and one particular mixtape that my dad recorded (that featured Kraftwerk, Giorgio Moroder, Carly Simon, The Temptations, Simon & Garfunkel) was the resident 90 minutes that soundtracked the journey. Also, the original score for American Graffiti was an early classic for me as well—especially Booker T & the MG’s “Green Onions,” which is still one of my all time favorites.
What about your childhood or adolescence do you think influenced you to pursue music as a career? In particular, what attracted you to electronic music (especially house) as your choice genre?
Well, I spent most of my childhood hooked on music. I got a guitar for my eleventh birthday, but I had to give it up after a while, the keyboards came easier to be (Casio portasound series hurray!). I learned to play music and compose before anything else… but I never took lessons. I had my own writing method for when I was a kid and all that!
Then came hip hop and electro (classic electro) a bit after. I was doing all the breaking and pop lockin’ in school… I guess I was probably the first b-boy in my home town. But one day I caught a snippet of a house radio show in the early 90’s (probably 93) called “Dancefloor” by DJ Vibe. I was star struck. He became my biggest hero. His mixing and [track] choices were off the hook. That was the first time I heard real underground house. A lot made sense that night… the repetition, the rhythm, the hypnosis, the sensuality, the introspection. Of course I was never exclusively committed to house. I’m a music lover, and my record collection is over eight thousand and counting, so imagine how boring my life would be if I had eight thousand house records! I’m into all types of music, although house and its derivatives come easier to me.
What type of music do you listen to in your free time, and who are some of your favorite DJs/producers/singers, etc?
I like to take some time every week to listen to a lot of real old music… jazz, and jazz funk (Hancock, Duke or Scott-Heron), old kraut rock and German electronics (Can, Schultze, Goetsching, Baumann, Kraftwerk), dub (Bill Laswell, Mad Professor, Perry), Brazillian music, hip hop, urban music, I.D.M., but it’s not fair to over-categorize. I buy a lot of music every month. Not all of it is dancefloor-oriented. I think I’m quite savvy on modern music, but I’m also very picky and suspicious about it, as my experience tells me that hyped-up music tends to be forgotten easily, leaving you with a useless piece of vinyl.