Through her record label, party and radio station, Inês Coutinho has emerged as a crucial voice in Lisbon's club scene.
In recent years, Lisbon has also experienced a San Francisco-like transformation into a startup hub. A deluge of foreign investment, a hike in tourist-focused real estate development and the arrival of the Web Summit conference have had a noticeable effect on the city. But with rising property prices and an average wage that's not following suit, it's not clear that the spoils are being made available to the average citizen. Nonetheless, it was these exact conditions that made Coutinho want to move back to the city after a three-year stint in London.
Since she moved back in 2016, her musical career has swelled, thanks in large part to the success of her record label, Naive. Launched in 2017 with her own Togetherness EP, it's put out records by an impressive cast of mostly women artists: Lisbon's BLEID, a newcomer called Almaty, Octo Octa and Eris Drew. Alongside Rodrigues (AKA Photonz), she's also contributed to Lisbon's newfound vibrancy with the internet radio station Rádio Quântica and a collectively run queer party called mina.
Coutinho and Rodrigues moved to the UK in 2013 because they were frustrated with life in Portugal. The economy had crumbled under prime minister Pedro Passos Coelho, who cut state spending and increased austerity measures in an attempt to lift the country out of a crisis.
"Lisbon was not what it is today," Coutinho told me as we sat by the inflatable pool on her back patio. "No one was talking about Lisbon. There was no money. It was like a mentality of scarcity all the time. I was working extra time without being paid for it. I was doing a full-time job that I really couldn't stand anymore." She worked for five years writing technical copy about boilers and heating systems for an advertising agency. She disliked the work and pay, but like many in Lisbon at the time, felt stuck in the role because it wasn't likely that another would come along. "Fucking boilers. I know so much about boilers because of it."