The Art of Listening with Mary B

Mary B is a DJ, radio host and multi-disciplinary music professional based in Lisbon, Portugal. We recently sat down with her to learn about how her career in the music industry developed, and about her latest project, Collect.

Mariana is wearing a sweatshirt from our AW20 collection, photographed by our friend Francisco Narciso.

In what city, date and time were you born?

I was born in Lisbon on the 12th of May 1978 at 13:15.

Talk to us about your journey in the music industry. How did it begin?

In 1998 I started working at Indústria, where I was responsible for managing the club. This job started as a curricular internship for the course I took in Business Communication at ISCEM in Lisbon, but I ended up staying for two years working with João Mário Pinho, one of the people I most admire and with whom I had the opportunity to learn everything about running a nightclub.

During the last year of my university degree I started another internship where I joined the marketing department of Antena 3, a Radio station in Portugal, and I was later hired to join the team full-time. I left Antena 3 to lead the Marketing team at Radio Oxigénio, Radio Radar and Radio Marginal. It was a great learning experience, through which I was able to meet the best radio hosts, be close to artists, attend the biggest festivals and best music events and get to know all of the professionals who work behind the scenes in the industry. In 2003 I started my career as a DJ.

You have had many other professional projects relating to music apart from being a DJ. Tell us a bit more about them. 

A few years after I started DJing, I started working with João Maria Girão to produce the electronic stages of some of Portugal’s best festivals, such as Sudoeste and SBSR, which are organized by Música no Coração. Between 2008 and 2013 we were privileged to bring some of the best artists in the electronic scene and the most respected DJs in the world: Laurent Garnier (Live), Zip and Ricardo Villalobos, Richie Hawtin, James Murphy and many others.

At the same time, I created Plano A, which provides artists, DJs and sound, light and video equipment for corporate and private events. This has been my permanent occupation over the past 15 years, which I reconcile with my other projects.

I am also a co-founder of Assemble Music, the label created by João Maria that has a catalog of 25 vinyl-only releases and that over the past 10 years has been doing showcases in the best clubs in the world. We are residents at Quiosque Ribeira das Naus in Lisbon, where we hold monthly parties from April to September with national and international DJs and Live Acts.

I also collaborate with the team behind the Lisb-On festival and who organized Lisboa Electrónica. These are some of the most notable events that contribute to the culture of electronic music in Lisbon, together with Ministerium Club, where I was able to develop my monthly residency for two years sharing the booth with Raresh, Margareth Dygas, Dyed Soundorom alongside many national talents. 

Alongside this, I recently created Collect, together with João Maria and Bernardo Girão. It is a space in Cais do Sodré which opened in July of 2019 and has music at it’s core, and as its name indicates, brings people together, creates moments of sharing between artists, is a space to meet with friends and strangers and consists of a record shop, an online radio, a recording label and restaurant/bar.
Collect Records: mostly a second-hand record shop specializing in house, techno, electro, experimenta, jazz, hip hop, soul and funk from the 90’s and early 2000s.
Collect Radio: an online radio with livestreams through our own channel on Youtube with DJ sets, showcases and Live Acts.
Collect Music: the label under which we have already released two records, Narciso and Datahunter. 

Did you have a mentor during your career? Tell us about him / her.

Luís Montez was very important and decisive in the way I began and established myself as a professional DJ. The first time he invited me to play was at Coliseu de Lisboa to do the first part of the Nitin Sawhney concert. The room was empty when I began playing and when I finished it was completely full and the band came straight to me to thank me. In addition to having introduced me to the world of Radio, he taught me a lot about concert and festival production. 

What is your favourite memory of DJing, if you had to choose one? 

In 2016, when I opened Lisb-On on the first day of the Festival. I got emotional during two of the songs that I played... my eyes teared up with joy because I was performing in a beautiful garden in the heart of Lisbon, in the sunshine, sharing the main stage with artists that I have always admired, and knowing that behind the organization there are people that I love. This event had the most beautiful crowd I have seen in Lisbon. 

Tell us about your greatest musical influences.

The people with whom I had and have the pleasure of working with, and the radio shows that have helped me discover so much music (before the internet was around) have all influenced and still inspire me today. I can highlight “Profecia do Duque” with Ricardo Saló or “Música com Pés e Cabeça” with Rui Vargas on Antena 3, and if I had to choose two artists amongst the many that I have seen and gotten to know they would have to be Moodymann and Soul Capsul. 

What kind of music do you listen to when you are not listening to electronic music?

In the middle of the 90s I discovered electronic music and it struck me a lot stronger than any of the other music I had heard... Only then did I know that I wanted to work with music. I end up dedicating a lot of time to consuming electronic music for my professional life but also because it is what I enjoy listening to the most. I do also listen to alternative rock and I like to relive Portuguese and international classic music from the 80's and 90's. It brings me good memories :)

When you have friends visiting you from abroad where do you take them in Lisbon? Restaurants, bars, parks...

I like to get in the car and take them cruising through the seven hills to get to know the city. Memmo Alfama is a great place to have a drink in the afternoon and enjoy the view while listening to Fado. Marisqueira Azul in Terreiro do Paço to have seafood, or Rua das Flores for those who like meat. 5A to dance after dinner and Ministerium or Lux to end the night. 
I’d also take them to Sintra and spend the day at Praia Grande and have lunch at my favourite beach restaurant, Bar do Fundo. 

What’s the next trip you want to take?

Azores. I have never been there and I really want to get to know the islands.

Your favorite beach in Portugal?

Galapinhos in the Serra da Arrábida (when it isn’t high season and it is less crowded).

Give us 5 albums that you think everyone should listen to.

Smokers Delight - Nightmares on Wax 

Black Mahogani - Moodymann 

The K&D Sessions - Kruder & Dorfmeister

Scape - Jan Jelinek 

Simple Things - St. Joseph


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