From jumping about on stage with her label mates to working on calm instrumental productions, Da Chick is discovering just who she wants to be, in her own time.
Signed to Portugal’s Discotexas label and born and raised in Lisbon, Da Chick takes her inspiration from the savviness of Parisian electronica and the funk of New York No Wave. Making music from an early age, she is self-taught and self-innovating. Reaching out at the age of eighteen to Discotexas founders Moullinex and Xinobi, they were already aware of her music and invited her to join their family. As well as her solo career, she also plays shows with them both as The Discotexas Band.
We catch up on the last night of Super Bock Super Rock just forty-five minutes south of Lisbon, where Da Chick, real name Teresa Freitas de Sousa, is still buzzing from the band’s performance at the opening party. “It was a warm up and we as a label didn’t know what to expect really, if there were people coming the day before or whatever but it was really packed and it went really good and it always feels good to play in a Portuguese festival,” she smiles.
Speaking of the label, she says their culture was born in 2007 from a love of French electro, most notably Ed Banger Records. “Ed Banger is a great reference” she nods. “Basically that kind of vibe was happening in Portugal and it was really small, even though like ten years ago the dance underground music scene in Portugal is really underground. It’s a really small crowd because we are a small country anyways.”
Since releasing her debut album Chick to Chick in 2015 de Sousa has dropped intermittent singles and EPs, most recently the slick, groove-driven “Drinks Promise Better”. She puts her patchy release schedule down to working across many projects and a desire to get things right. “I do a lot of features, mostly with Portuguese artists,” she affirms. “At the moment I basically have two albums to be released. Right now it’s about timings, basically. So I have this new album I’m working on with an American producer. It’s very secret and I do not talk about it, it’s not public or whatever. So I’m working on another new album since last year and I was supposed to release it but things are getting delayed and it doesn’t make any sense to rush it and so I’m just waiting for everybody.”
She talks about working on this other new instrumental record that’s so different from her previous material it could even live as a new project all together. A fan of artist evolution, de Sousa rejects the idea of creative stasis. “I hope it continues to be like that,” she laughs. “The thing is, I was not supposed to be a singer or an artist. I never studied music or whatever. I got into trying a couple of things and producing a couple of things and that keeps me busy. And so now I feel that’s a new step for me. And to also release some things not about lyrics and singing but still delivering some music. And that takes some time, because now I’m releasing in September/October, I’m releasing this new album produced by me 100% and I still don’t know how I played a couple of things because I don’t know what chord was that.”
When talking about how her work resonates with others, she puts it all down to a feeling. “The feeling over everything, basically.” She laughs as Janelle Monáe strikes her final notes in the background. “Most of all this new album because half of the album is instrumental, I’m not even singing, so I feel like I want people to feel something about it. And for me it’s strange because people are used to me being like, ‘what up motherfuckers’ and being on stage and kidding about, it’s about an attitude as well besides the music and I’m bringing this new thing and I want to present this super calm, not screaming and dancing and whatever. It’s electronic, hip-hop beat kind of thing so it’s very chill.”
The new album is due for release in October, but the secret record is still on pause. “And that’s the one that I wanted to release first” she says. “But it’s taking its time and I’m good with it. It’s so special and it’s so unreal still so I’m not even gonna rush it. I’m sorry I cannot reveal more.”
There’s plenty of time left for this chick to hatch.