Melody and soul.
Mafalda Gil Meireles decided to move from Portugal to London at a precise moment in 2014, when Sadar Bahar played a jazz record to a room full of people at 4 AM in Corsica Studios. "That moment was very powerful," she recently told The Vinyl Factory. "That's when I decided to move here, because I felt fascinated with people dancing to jazz in clubs." Another DJ on the lineup that night was Floating Points. Three years on, Mafalda co-runs the Melodies International label with Floating Points, DJ Love On The Run and Elliot Bernard; she's also a resident of the label's much-loved party, You're A Melody. Add to this her work behind the counter at Cosmos Records—a small, well-curated secondhand shop on Hackney Road—and it's safe to say she's settled into her London niche.
Though she's forging a reputation as one of the city's key music heads, Mafalda keeps a low profile. Her behind-the-scenes graft at Melodies International has been instrumental in securing reissues for two of the most sought-after soul records of all-time—Open Soul by Tomorrow's People and Aged In Harmony's You're A Melody. These releases, essential stuff for You're A Melody fans, were more than straight reissues—they were lovingly and painstakingly crafted affairs, with new artwork and accompanying magazines (or "Melozines.")
Mafalda's RA podcast, a selection of jazz, soul and Brazilian music, taps into what makes her special: she simply plays beautiful music that means a lot to her. It is soulful and, Mafalda says, all about "peace, light, love, unity and hope."
What have you been up to recently?
I've been DJing and taking care of business at Melodies. I did some nice festivals during the summer (Southern Soul, Worldwide Festival, Sunfall, Lowlands...) and a Boiler Room last month which was good fun. I've been working on the next two releases on the label which will be out soon. And I've started taking piano lessons during the summer as well! Life's been really busy but mostly with things I love, so it's OK.
How and where was the mix recorded?
This mix was recorded at home with two Technics, a Vestax PMC-250 and a Lexicon sound card.
Can you tell us about the idea behind the mix?
I feel like we're going through a much-needed cultural and social revolution right now, the world is going crazy but amidst the evil I think people with good sense understand that being passive is not an option anymore, people are standing up for what's right.
Playing songs is one of my ways of doing the same and celebrating the values I stand for. I'm in despair for peace and I don't think it has to be a utopia. These are some of the songs that when I hear them, I can't think about evil. Songs I listen to that make me go: "How can someone do wrong to another being when music like this exists?"
So basically that's what this mix is about: peace, light, love, unity, hope. It's about extinguishing walls and bigotry and hate.
Can you shed some light on plans for You're A Melody and Melodies International in 2018?
Expect some insanely beautiful records to be out during the next months. We've been busy at the Melodies HQ, some projects take a long time to be finalised, like the Melozine. It can't be rushed, you know, it's better to take time and do what needs to be done and then having something we're all happy with and proud of.
Plans for You're a Melody... there are so many different plans... we're trying to figure out where to take the party to. For now there'll be a You're A Melody at the Somerset House Ice Rink on Dec 8th and next year we might bring the party back to the roots. We've been thinking of doing smaller, more intimate parties more often.
Where are some of your favourite places to dig for records?
I dig mostly in London. I spend hours at Cosmos, the selection and condition of the records is flawless and you can listen to everything—I've learnt so much in that shop! Cosmos is a school.
Then, I'm in North London, so I go to Eldica and started going to the Little Record Shop recently too, love it. Sometimes I also go to Honest Jon's and I dig when I'm travelling too.
What are you up to next?
I'm going to be DJing nearly every week until the end of the year, in the UK mainly (with Palms Trax in Newcastle, at MCDE's XOYO residency, Bristol in December and a few other London shows). I'm doing a party called LOFT in Groningen in December too and I'll be doing my best to keep up with Melodies. We have some beautiful records forthcoming that I can't wait to share!