We all know that dance music is truly international. It doesn’t matter your skin color, language or upbringing, a four-on-the-floor beat unites us all! One of the most refreshing things about the dance music sphere is how personable and down to earth the vast majority of artists are. No one better exemplifies this than Brazilian producer/DJ/ duo (and brothers) Cat Dealers. Hailing from Rio de Janeiro, brothers Lugui and Pedro have been on a meteoric rise over the past couple of years.
They first broke out on the scene in 2016 with the quirky, but addictive track “Your Body.” These guys are an inspiration for fans, as they were self-described “Super Fans” themselves, before they decided to get to work behind their laptops and start making some tunes. Fast forward a few years later, and Cat Dealers are now one of the premiere acts in Brazil, and they’ve been taking the show international too.
2020 was poised to be Cat Dealers biggest year yet, but, you know what happened, the Covid-19 pandemic changed everyone’s plans and shut everything down. Not to be deterred, Lugui and Pedro have been putting out a steady stream of releases and have been regulars on live streams as well. We got the chance to sit down and have nice chat with boys about their career accomplishments, how they stayed sane this year, and their new chapter with Armada.
Hey Lugui and Pedro, thanks for chatting with us! As we near the end of 2020, reflect on the year and what are you proud of accomplishing?
P: “I think this year we didn’t accomplish a lot of stuff. But, we were happy with the year because we had free time that we haven’t had since, like, five years ago. So, that was good, staying with the family and girlfriends.”
L: “I think the achievements, they were more personal achievements.”
P: “Yeah, personal achievements, not career. Of course, we still did a lot of good stuff as well, we were working on a lot of new tracks. We have almost a full album of stuff that we did in quarantine.”
L: “Yeah, we have almost all the new singles scheduled for the next year. And we have almost an album done, and we have done a lot of different stuff for the project, some of it we didn’t use at all, because we haven’t had any shows. But we’re doing a whole new show, the visuals, the lighting, for when shows come back.”
P: “Yeah, so they’re almost done, all the stuff, I don’t know that it’s an achievement yet, but it will be.”
L: “We signed with Armada as well, so that’s something that’s really cool for us. We signed with Armada, and we did a whole lot of live streams during the year to keep the fans into what we’re doing.”
P: “I think we evolved too, our personal music tastes, since we’ve been at home, we’ve got time to explore new sounds.”
L: “Also, we participated in a lot of huge online festivals. We did EDC, TomorrowLand, a lot of other festivals that we did some live streams. We did a special one for Arca here in Brazil, it was super big with a lot of production. So, we’ve tried to stay really active during this time because if you relax…I know the phrase in Portuguese, but not in English”
P: “If you’re not seen, you’re not remembered”
L: “So, yeah, staying active, otherwise people will just forget who you are.”
You guys just put out your most recent single “Save Me Now” on Armada. Tell us how you came up with the single and what does your new partnership with Armada mean?
P: “The single, we actually had this vocal for a long, long time, I think for almost two years now. We were working on it for a long time, but we weren’t happy with how the track was going. We tried a lot of different stuff and we ended up like two years later with the track we have now. We’re really good friends with Guz, he’s a producer here in Brazil, the collaborator. We were stuck with the vocal and we sent him some ideas.”
L: “Yeah, we were planning a collab with him for a long time so we got this vocal and, at the time, we didn’t know what to do exactly with the vocal. So, we sent it to him and he did some ideas, but ,this was like two years ago. So, the track, these vocals have been in like four different styles. We really like the vocal so we didn’t want to release something that wasn’t perfect for us, so we waited.”
I know you guys were about to start touring when Covid hit. Were you guys on the road, where were you when you were told, yeah, you can’t tour or perform?
P: “We were actually on vacation.”
L: “We had Carnival here in Brazil. We have two times of the year that are the biggest rush, that’s New Years and Carnival, because you have almost a full week of two or three shows a day, so it’s insane. So we finished our shows for Carnival.”
P: “Coronavirus was already a thing, people were talking about it, but it was still in China. So right after the tour we got on the plane to Europe. He went to France to go skiing and I went to Iceland. So that’s where we were when everything started to fall apart. Iceland is super small, so there’s no one there, they had completely normal lives, but we were reading the news like what is going on? The next part of my trip was in Paris, and I went there and everything was starting to lockdown. So, there in Paris, I started to freak, like, oh fuck, I can’t get out. And Lugui was in Prague, and that’s when we found out and we came back to Brazil. Like two days after my flight all the flights to Europe got cancelled. We had one last show in Brazil the weekend we came back, that was it.”
What have you guys been doing to keep busy during quarantine? Any hobbies or binge watching?
P: “There was a long time where we couldn’t do anything, so just staying at home and meeting some friends. I’m starting to go to the beach, not in the crowded parts, but we have lots of beaches here. I try to go far away where there’s almost no one. And playing video games, of course, because, gamers, we’re prepared for quarantine.”
L: “We’ve actually done a lot with the time, because looking at the good part of what happened. We’d been touring for like four years, non-stop, and it was really great to have time to relax.”
P: “Yeah, just staying at home with friends on weekends, that’s super crazy.”
L: “So, we played a lot of video games, we stayed with the family, had some road trips.”
P: “A lot of barbecues with friends…But, we’re doing our part, we stay at home, we almost don’t leave. We don’t have parties in Brazil, but people are still going out, illegal parties. But we’re not going out, Especially because we know that our industry was the first one to stop and will probably be the last one to come back.”
I know you guys did a virtual set for Insomniac. What goes into taping one of those sets, how do you guys get in the mood to play for nobody?
P: “In the beginning of quarantine it was super hard playing for cameras. But, I think we got used to it, because there were so many live streams we had to get used to it.”
L: “I think the quarantine taught me how to dance to some things that people aren’t dancing too. Because it will happen, the DJs don’t like to show that much, but there are a lot of shows you do where people aren’t vibing at all. But, when you’re playing for those crowds sometimes you’re just like, ugh, I just want to finish this. So, now I’ve learned how to enjoy it by myself. If other people aren’t enjoying it, that’s sad, but it happens. In the beginning we were doing a lot of stuff in our studio. But, here, there’s not a vibe at all, just a closed space we did a lot of recording here. So, we started to try different places to record. And when you’re in a different place with different people and everyone is giving their best, you have a vibe, even though no one’s dancing.”
P: “You have a working vibe!”
L: “So you want to deliver something really nice to everyone watching at home. The EDC one we recorded in Tulum.”
P: “We have a friend living there, he moved back in June, we had tickets, so we went.”
L: “We recorded a video on his rooftop.”
P: “Yeah, he’s actually a professional videographer, so it was a match.”
What can fans expect in 2021 and any other words?
L: “We have a lot of new music, you can expect one release per month right now, at least. We have so much music done right, I’m really sure we’re going to do one per month, probably even more. Because we have a lot of remixes we’re always doing, so we have a lot of club music in the making right now. So it will be a year full of releases, way different than it was the last two years. As for our new live show, we’re planning a really really special live stream for the beginning of the next year. I can’t say a lot about it, because.”
P: “It’s still in the process.”
L: “But it will be special, at the same level or better than one we did for Arca. Our next song will be released on January 22.”
P: “And of course, continue with the plans of this year. We had a super cool tour in North America that was supposed to happen in June. It’s going to happen next year so we’re super looking forward to it. Not only in North America, we have a European tour as well. TomorrowLand, the tour that was supposed to happen will happen next year. A lot of stuff in Europe as well, so we’re super, super excited about it. Because this year, I think, was supposed to be our biggest international year. Now it will be next year.”
L: “I’m actually really happy, because this year we had a huge touring schedule, but we were super busy, and we would not have had the time to focus on the music like we have this year. So the next year I hope that we’ll be able to do all the tours and we’ll have a lot of new songs to play on those tours and have a whole year full of new music.”
P: “In Brazil, we have an expression, when a door closes, a window opens.”
Check out the latest from Cat Dealers & Guz Zanotto “Save Me Now” featuring Moore, out now on Armada. Relive their epic EDC Orlando live stream from beautiful Rio de Janeiro as well.