Music has always been a global phenomenon, and here in the US, we love our imports. From rock music crossing the pond in the 60s to the expansion of Latin music in the 2010s, Americans have always loved music from all corners of the globe. Dance music is no exception. While we probably envision Brazilian music as what’s played at Carnival, Brazil has a thriving dance music scene. They are also rapidly exporting some impressive producers and DJs. One of them is Lukas Ruiz, otherwise known as Vintage Culture.
Vintage Culture has been making records for the better part of the decade, but it’s only been in the past few years he’s become better known to a more international audience. He’s put out a number of releases on Spinnin’ and Musical Freedom. He also has a Billboard Dance #1 with his 2018 “In the Dark.” Now in 2020, he’s put out two massive tracks with some of dance music’s titans. “Coffee” with Tiësto, and “Party On My Own” with his countryman, Alok.
We got the chance to talk with Lukas about his career, his recent tracks, what he’s been doing during quarantine, and holding it down for Brazilian dance music. Here’s what he had to say.
Hey Lukas, thanks for taking the time to talk to us. For those of us here in the States, tell us a little bit about yourself? How did you originally get into music and how did you climb the charts in Brazil?
“Thanks for having me, it’s a pleasure to answer the questions. I became interested in music production in 2008, at home, on a computer that wasn’t even conducive to that. I learned by myself and by absorbing all the content available on the internet, trying out some skills. Back then, I felt that the local scene needed something different than what was going on, so I pushed myself towards it, trying to mix a bit of each style into something genuine. I believe it turned into the soul of Vintage Culture to this day.”
You’ve been pretty busy putting out a bunch of hit singles. First, tell me about “Coffee”? How did you get in touch with Tiësto and how did the track come together?
“2020 is an atypical year for all of us due to COVID-19. But we must try the best in every situation, I had more time to sit down and focus on producing. Therefore, I am currently releasing more songs than in any other period. In regards to my relationship with Tiësto, at first, I released My Girl on his label, Musical Freedom, in 2019. Afterward, we started talking about doing something together in the near future. So that day it came to life! It was the perfect opportunity, words can’t express how happy and grateful I am. I loved the song. Working with Tiësto is an honor and a lifetime experience…Thank you, Tijs.”
I know you also just put out a single with Alok, “Party On My Own.” I know you two are essentially the top two DJs from Brazil. What’s it like working with Alok and how do you guys hold it down for Brazilian dance music?
“Alok is my friend, we go way back. Working on “Party On My Own” was smooth and fun! We are so happy about the final result, releasing two versions of the song. The first one was released in August as the Original Mix. Then, the VIP MIX dropped in September, sounding a little bit heavier and more dancefloor-oriented. Alok and I are both donating our royalties from “Party On My Own” to NGOs (nonprofits) in Brazil.
I think hard work and dedication are the keys. Alok used his presence as an artist to take dance music to lots of people in Brazil, a true milestone on the popularization of electronic music across our home country. Also, my own festival, So Track Boa Festival, rapidly took the Brazilian product to a stadium-level-production, selling out all events, up to 25,000 people each. So I think it is a joint effort, not just myself or just Alok, but everyone. All the DJs and the people in the business, taking part in this amazing industry contributing to the culture and to the overall success.”
2020 has been one of the strangest years ever. What have you been doing with all of your extra time at home? What do you miss most about touring and shows?
“It was positive taking the time to organize everything, to plan new stuff that sometimes I don’t have all the time to look at them closely while touring. It feels great to rest and be able to arrange as many studio hours as I want. I have more than 100 songs ready and a release schedule that makes me anxious every day. What I miss the most is the exchange of affection with the fans. The people who are there at my gigs, sending me good energy and happiness while I play. I love you all.”
I noticed that your Tomorrowland Friendship Mix was the most played, congratulations! How does it feel to have more streams than artists like Martin Garrix, Armin van Buuren, Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike?
“I don’t get attached to that, I am very happy, but these are just numbers. There are still many miles down the road. The DJs you mentioned are legends and they give life to electronic music on a global level. I have nothing but respect and admiration for them. What I want the most is to be able to keep touring, producing, and making people happy with my music. That’s success.”
Obviously, you’re a huge artist in your native Brazil; what’s it like when you travel to the States or Europe, where, maybe the audience isn’t as familiar with your music?
“At first, it was difficult. The international crowd didn’t understand my set and I felt obliged to play some songs that I wasn’t playing in Brazil. But last year it was different, I did the same Brazilian set in the United States and in Europe. The crowd understood it, enjoyed it, and then, those who didn’t know Vintage Culture became interested. Unfortunately, COVID-19 has canceled the world, I was confirmed at Coachella, EDC Vegas, Lollapalooza Chicago, Tomorrowland, Creamfields, Ushuaia Ibiza, Pacha Ibiza, Parookaville…. But hopefully, in 2021 life will be back. All the DJs in the world can’t wait to be on the road again, working and making people happy.”
I also heard you had a COVID-19 relief fund. Tell me how you came up with the idea to give back and what’s COVID been like in Brazil?
“Yes, we raised $100,000. It was an initiative to homeless people, the ones without basic sanitation structure, who would suffer the most during the pandemic. The money also went to NGOs. It was called “Só Track Doa” which in Portuguese derives from my festival, ‘Só Track Boa Festival’”
Thanks Lukas, any other words for the fans?
“I’d like to thank everyone that accompanies me on this journey. I miss you all! Can’t wait to be back to you, playing for hours and hours at all parties. I can promise a lot of new music, surprises… looking forward to delivering everything out of my body and soul to you guys.”
Make sure to check out the VIP Mix of Alok & Vintage Culture’s “Party On My Own” featuring FAULHABER out now on Spinnin’/Controversia. Get your live fix with Vintage Culture’s latest live stream from beautiful São Paulo.