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01.02.2018 | Words by: Alex Rigby
Photography: Ariana Miliorini

On Saturday evening, Cashu, one of the key players in the Brazilian female collective Mamba Negra, will inaugurate the basement of the club with four hours of her politically charged and enticingly venomous techno.
In anticipation of her set, we spoke to Cashu, about the difficulties her collective currently faces in São Paulo with their attempts to decentralize the scene, and how underground music communities must adapt and find strength in the face of adversity if they are to survive.
Q: Can you talk a little about Mamba Negra and its vision?

A: I started Mamba four years ago with my friend Laura Diaz with the idea of creating a new artistic space for the São Paulo night scene in which we would occupy the streets and deserted places. It seemed like a way to respond against the political situation here in Brazil, and a way in which we could explore our artistic views whilst feeling a sense of community and respect. We care about parties being free spaces; they must be inclusive and comfortable for women, the LGBT community, and all races. The mission is to do things better than how we experience daily in our society. We’re taking a different and more subversive approach, and we’ve always been willing to learn from our own mistakes.  
Q: What are the main challenges you face in the underground scene of São Paulo?

A: There are quite a number of difficulties that we face. There’s been an inflation of prices at the locations here in the past two years after a boom of underground parties. That means that there’s a difficulty in finding new places that have an actual license to operate and function as suitable venues, as the clubs started organizing themselves together and asking for more red tape. In addition to this, there’s also the political crisis that has impacted us, meaning everyone is kinda broke. All of these factors mean that most of the money that we make with the electronic music parties ends up with the owners of the locations and not with the producers or artists in general.
Q: Despite the problems, do you feel as if the scene in São Paulo is growing right now?

A: The scene has grown a lot in the last few years. Lots of parties appeared, lots of people started to play and produce, and many new people started to listen to electronic music. But until the last year with the political coup, the whole country and state is in real crisis, and the parties suffer because of that too. We’ve had no new parties in the last months or so, and we have to do everything with extremely low budgets. We are dealing with really hard moments here, but these moments are very important from an artistic perspective. It is through struggle that things change and people are impelled to act in a different way. I feel that we are doing that right now, with the creation of more street parties.
Q: Do you think of your art as inherently social and political?

A: Yes, in Brazil it’s impossible to ignore these factors. My art is more a way of positioning myself in the world that I want to live in as a woman and what I can do in this world is under my purview. For example, I can deal with issues like and gender when making a line up with artists that I support, or excluding those who I don’t.
Q: How do you describe your approach to DJing?  
A: I started playing spontaneously four years ago, with the intention of telling a story through my sets. Since then I’ve changed my approach a lot as I don't like to restrain myself to only one kind of style. I feel that in my sets I fluctuate between styles a lot, and I choose to do that because these ruptures are extremely important here in Brazil, and it introduces people to new forms of music. I like creating sonorous moments and challenging the audience through them. It’s important to me not to remain obvious. I feel I can adapt well to certain party situations and times.
Q: Do you have a vision on where to go next?
A: I don't plan much, and I have lots of wishes. One of them is to start producing but I like to let things flow. I want everything to be natural.

Cashu is playing the basement during Het Weekend, on Saturday night, 23.00. Tickets are still available through Resident Advisor.
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