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Burgers, Beats & Records: Why You Must Visit Collect In Lisbon

Deep down into our primitive brains, we’re still hunters-gatherers. And this may translate into the need to hunt for the best places from where we can gather those records that satifsfy us. Well, we went all the way to Lisbon, Portugal, to check this unique spot that satisfies both the physiological hunger as well as the spiritual one. Collect is a burger place, record shop, record label and radio that pictures the ultra diverse electronic underground from Lisbon. Jumping from downtempo to that mellow minimal house we all love, Lisbon has it all. And so does Collect.

We sat down with Joao, the owner, and Telma, in-house DJ and Collect’s digital communication specialist, and talked about what Lisbon means in terms of electronic music, what’s cooking (literally) under Collect’s roof and many other nice things. We found many common values we share, even if we are a few thousand miles apart. And above all, we share the same pasion for the grooves etched on vinyl records. A super nice read! Be sure to follow Collect on instagram, facebook, youtube and show some support for the Collect record label on bandcamp

What came first: the passion for burgers or the hunger for good records? Give us a small bite of Collect’s history: who is behind the record shop and how did you come up with the idea of opening one?

Records came first! Me and Mariana (n.r. Mariana Barosa) have been in the music scene for more than 20 years: buying, collecting and playing records since the 90’s. That kicked-off a long journey further on the music industry. From radio shows, other record stores, artist bookings, events and record labels. Pretty much anything involved with electronic music. My brother Bernardo loves music ever since he was a kid. He had also been working in restaurant/bar management for over a decade (even had his own bar called Cabaret in Faro, south of Portugal). 

The 3 of us had the desire to create a new project, while doing what we love most. We are very close friends since forever, and we were always discussing ideas for new things to come for the past couple of years. We decided to all join our efforts and do what we know best, all in one place. So Collect was born: burgers, drinks, radio and record shop, in July 2019. 

The record shop was always part of the concept. Maybe because I was involved in a record shop before, Carpet & Snares, which I co-founded and left some years ago to pursue other projects in music. But I’ve always loved the experience.

Records shops are very important to any city’s music scene. You contribute with what the local Djs play around the clubs and bars, but also for collectors digging endeavors. 

Also, a lot happens creatively and organically inside a record store, when artists meet up and exchange ideas, music and thoughts about the scene. 

How does Lisbon’s house & techno underground look like from Collect?

Lisbon has a lot of amazing producers and Djs. I’ve been around for over 20 years and I feel that now, thanks to our place and the online radio, I’m acknowledging way more talent than before. And that’s because of all the artists that hang around and about.

In a music perspective, we feel very happy and lucky with this project. For so long, I didn’t feel such energy and motivation. Now I feel like a young kid, full on and ready to get going!

We’ve been watching your streams quite frequently for the past few months, and we were impressed by the number of excellent selectors who took over Collect’s decks on a daily basis and also by the variety of good electronic music they come with. Is this a reflection of the city’s electronic underground?

Yes, we know a lot of great artists and now that we opened Collect we meet great, new talent every day. It’s been amazing!

As a live radio show, we are open to anyone who takes music selection seriously. We have various DJ sets from Jazz and Hip-Hop, to Drum n’ Bass, Trip-Hop, Disco, Soul, Funk and Ambient, House, Electro and Techno. Because bars and clubs are now closed (in the current pandemic situation), selectors are listening and searching for music differently. They’re more focused, they have a bit more time to spend, and when they prepare sets they want to explore different angles and experiment around. You don’t feel the slight pressure you get when on the DJ booth or dance floor. Also, there’s a lot of old school DJs that have been spending so much time at home because of Covid, that they can go through their old collections and re-discover a lot of gems!

A lot of DJs and producers relocated to Portugal, especially Lisbon. What’s so attractive about Lisbon, from this point of view?

There’s a growing community spirit. Small, independent places where kick-starting DJs and producers can showcase their skills and productions. It’s easy to meet up, gather and exchange stuff. There’s a bubbling scene in the electronic music field.

We all learn with and from each other. And for the youngsters it’s great to be in this environment. Lisbon also has awesome record stores for diggers: Amor Records, Carpet & Snares, Flur, Peekaboo, Groovie Records, Sound Club… the list goes on.

You have a large collection of second hand records in your shop. How many do you have at this moment and who does the selection?

We have roughly 2000 second-hand records at the shop. We are always searching for new collections, and we keep a lot of records on a warehouse ready to be moved to the shop weekly. I do all the selection at the moment. 

Are there any criteria you follow when selecting records that are available in the shop?

We are mainly a second-hand shop specialized in House and Techno, Electro, Ambient, Downtempo, Drum n’ Bass, Trip-Hop and Breaks. Besides that, we buy new records, mostly old-school reissues, represses and future classics. We have a Discogs profile, but we don’t put everything there. Always like to have some records exclusively in-store for visitors. 

Can you make a quick profile of a usual Collect customer?

Someone that most of the time knows what he’s looking for or simply wants to search for old records of a certain genre that we have. Normally he can’t spend money, but he does anyway (laughs). We sell a lot to DJs but also collectors. 

Any Romanian releases in your record crates?

We have a crate where you can find a lot of A:rpia:r, Yojik ConCon, Understand, Amphia, Zimbru and other great Romanian labels. 

Collect is also a digital record label. How do you choose the music you release? Is it only about local producers?

Collect music is a label that reflects everything we do and the diversity within the shop and the radio. We are open to all kinds of music. If it’s good, it’s good! Our first two releases (past one and  upcoming) are both from locals. However, we want to extend to internationals in future ones too. The first one, released in October last year, was from Narciso: an instrumental 4-track EP around Jazz and Indie Pop (you can check it here). The second release will be from Datahunter (Pedro Andrade), a 5-track EP, electronic oriented, that takes inspirations from the world of Aphex Twin. This one is almost out!

Any plans for vinyl releases?

All the Collect Music records that came out on the digital platforms will also have a limited 7” vinyl release. We also have 2 vinyl only releases scheduled for the next couple of months. One is from Slope (old school project from Daniel Paul and Hans Schlaf aka Dj Honesty). We will reissue old tracks from them. The second release is a V.A. EP with 90’s tracks from Kumquat Kids (Old project of Julian Phethean and Steve O ́Sullivan), Synchrojack and Freddy Fresh. Very exciting!

Let’s say I am a tourist in a non-pandemic Lisbon, looking to enjoy a full weekend there, but not on the usual tourist guide tour. Give us a few tips (a club for a proper after-party, a place to with a traditional Portuguese breakfast to eat on a Sunday morning after a sleepless night on the dancefloor, a terrace where we can enjoy some nice music and a good glass of wine etc.)

You can start your late-afternoon at Collect, with a live DJ Set on our radio streaming, with some great cocktails, bio wines or simply a very good local beer. Then grab dinner at Vicente restaurant just next to us. After that, you must have a drink at Lounge (one of the oldest bars in town, with excellent music every day – concerts, Djs and live-acts). 

Around 1am you go straight to 5A – the best micro-club in Lisbon with an amazing sound system and the best curation you can get if you look for a House and Techno night. Then you can go to Ministerium or Lux if you want to extend the night until 7am.

Finally, you go home for a quick nap and then take your car or an Uber to Praia Grande and enjoy an amazing meal at Bar do Fundo. Just over the beach, with the best view you can ask for. 

This would be an amazing weekend experience for sure!

The star burger from your food menu…

You can’t go wrong with a classic: the Crispy Bacon. It has it all: cheddar cheese, caramelized onions, bacon, lettuce and a nice runny fried egg. What else?

We do also offer plenty of vegetarian and vegan options!

Why do you think people keep coming back to your shop?

Because we are an extremely versatile space, with a comfortable and friendly environment. People can come over and enjoy music, drinks, food, buy and listen to records, get together with friends, dates, family. Even work or meet in the early afternoon when the place is quiet!

Regarding the music selection, we’re very focused in what we do and try our best to keep the record selection as good and fresh as it can get! 

Anything nice cooking for 2021 at Collect?

The world is going through very difficult times and Portugal is no different. We are doing our best to keep our brand alive and to bring the best music to people’s lives. Either with the live radio streams, the records online at Discogs and releasing more music and good online contents.

We’re not making any long-terms plans though. As things are still very much uncertain, we are surely living in the present and slowly build-up as we go!