Interviews

Vintage Culture Aims for Original Music and Dance Harmony for His Return to Club Space

Vintage Culture returns to the Club Space terrace.
Vintage Culture returns to the Club Space terrace. Photo courtesy of the artist
One can assume there is an age-old clubbing adage: You're back in a jiffy once you play in the Magic City. The motto is certainly accurate for Brazilian DJ-producer Vintage Culture (AKA Lukas Ruiz), who returns to Club Space on Friday, August 6, just a month after his debut on the terrace.

"I'm thrilled to be back in the States after being away for over a year," Vintage Culture tells New Times via email. "Connecting with this great audience felt like reuniting with friends."

With nearly a decade on the scene, Ruiz has earned accolades in Brazil and abroad with his subterranean house sounds and transfixing DJ sets.

Vintage Culture totals over 1.2 billion combined streams across platforms, with his remix of Maverick Sabre's "Slow Down," featuring Jorja Smith, hitting platinum three times over in Brazil. The secret to the producer's soaring streaming numbers is a production value that is inherently languid with enough drive to get the listener moving and grooving.

But what truly sets Ruiz's production apart is his extensive use of sugarcoated vocals that sweetens up the beat.

"I've always been interested in real songs and the message they contain," Ruiz explains. "Some of my biggest influences are outside the world of dance music. So, integrating true traditional songs/music arrangements with electronic music is the perfect blend for me."

Ruiz, who takes the collaborative effort to heart, has worked with some of the biggest names in popular and underground electronic music. "Coffee (Give Me Something)," Vintage Culture's decadent track with Tiësto, surges through the headphones with sprinkles of trance and gushing emotions. Conversely, his remix of the Martinez Brothers and Louie Vega track "Let It Go" is shelf-stable for any dance floor at any time.

"I'd like to think that whether I'm remixing a song for the underground or for the mainstream — both genres will sound like Vintage Culture when it's finished."

As amiable as Vintage Culture’s production may sound, it would be incorrect to think his DJ sets are all tiptoeing through tulips.

"I'm preparing a special set for Space," he says. "I've been working on all new original songs, plus some special remixes. I'm going to debut these new tracks for the great audience in Miami."

Tattooed and daring, the 28-year-old soared through the soundscapes during his debut at the Eleventh Street compound back in June. Ruiz cemented the seven-hour set with eerie techno tracks from Cirez D with bouncy tech-house and his own remix of Darude's "Sandstorm," a trance anthem that never fails to get partygoers swinging from the rafters.
Spearheading his own event series, Só Track Boa, the party is set to expand to the U.S. and Europe in the coming months.

"I'm working on some of the best songs of my life," Ruiz says. "Some will collaborate with other major international artists — both vocalists and producers — and solo tracks. I'm also thinking seriously about an album in 2022. I don't want to give away any surprises, but we'll have some very special announcements soon."

Só Track Boa will hit the U.S. with a showing in Brooklyn on August 15.

Without live shows during the pandemic, Ruiz, like most DJs, took to YouTube streaming to entertain the masses safely. Last year, in collaboration with Beck's Brewery, Ruiz played on an elevated, circular booth overlooking the São Paulo skyline. However, while the skylines and lilac sunset are memorable, Ruiz would have gladly traded it for an opportunity to reconnect in person with the crowd.

"Nothing can replace being together in the dance music community with my peers and fans."

Though there is a push to go back to some semblance of normalcy — particularly in the U.S. — it is easy to forget COVID still looms over much of the rest of the world, a reality Ruiz knows too well. He helped raise $100,000 for a COVID-19 relief project in Brazil, a country struggling to curb infections. Proceeds went toward nongovernmental organizations and provided the country's homeless population with personal hygiene items.

"Brazil was hit hard by COVID-19. My team came together and raised funds to provide the basics for people in need during this difficult time. We supplied water, food, masks and did our best to make a difference."

Ruiz has also pledged all the profits from his track with fellow Brazilian artist Alok, "Party On My Own," to Brazilian charities.

As the delicate ecosystem of club culture in pandemic times continues to repair, Ruiz is also taking it day by day, hour by hour, with a marathon Club Space set on the horizon.

"I've never been more inspired," says Ruiz, looking back on the eight years since he dropped his first track, “What U Want.” "I'm so happy with the warm welcome I've received from the USA and North America in general on this tour. I'd also like to thank the people of Miami for such a gracious welcome."


Vintage Culture. With Meca, Danyelino, and Ms. Mada. 11 p.m. Friday, August 6, at Club Space, 34 NE 11th St., Miami; 786-357-6456; clubspace.com. Tickets cost $50 to $100 via eventbrite.com.
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Grant Albert is a writer born and raised in Miami. He likes basset hounds, techno, and rock climbing — in that order.
Contact: Grant Albert