There has long been a flow of Lisboetas out of the city, but now the tables have turned and we are seeing an influx of fresh, young talent. But forget the techies and startups, there is a whole new wave of culture arriving. We caught up with one of the musical vanguards ahead of his performance this Saturday at Damas.
Lil’QT lived in Paris for several years, but has now returned home to Lisbon and exudes the energy, charisma, and showmanship apparent on the Lisbon music scene. He is set to give a unique performance of what is described as a mix of lo-fi, synth-pop, and folk, which goes from the more traditional and moves into “electronic, pop [and] broader ’80s darkwave style.”
Lil’QT explains that he plays “for the moment.” He says that true engagement is key, and tells us, “I really love to interact with the audience. I see a lot of people that are singing, but not seeing many people that are trying to connect with the audience.” This connection creates a unique environment, and he achieves it by focusing on the emotional.
“By emotional I mean exactly what [a song] can evoke in someone who is listening to it,” he tells us, “because I realize that people react to different things, different types of sound, whether that be the baseline, the synth, vocal melodies, or the lyrics. I try to pay attention to all of those things and have them tell a story.”
A self-described oversharer, Lil’QT isn’t afraid of “telling sordid things to people,” and makes his shows into something fun and political. “That’s political in the Greek sense of the word, the public thing,” he tells us. He is “openly queer” and tells us “I talk about my sexuality, my desires, and my views. Just being absolutely honest with the audience.” Again, this pulls the audience and performer together into a shared experience, “we are all gathered and I feel like I try to open my performance as much as I can for people to identify with some aspects. I think I make it political without being focused on that.”
Trying to interact on a small scale, and in a more intimate way, isn’t common on Lisbon’s music scene, but we may start seeing more of it. Lil’QT tells us that he has always had very positive feedback from his performances and that “there is a place and space to make things happen now, and I think that people will naturally be more inclined to be curious about it.”
He voices what many of us have felt when he says that “people are trying to make Lisbon the new Berlin, or make Lisbon the new Barcelona. Lisbon is the new Lisbon, and Lisbon is the old Lisbon, and there is a lot of history and a lot of things to draw from here that we aren’t doing because we are trying to make the next Berghain out of a warehouse in Lisbon. I think that’s reductive.” Lisbon is complex, and the people and performers of the city equally so. Lil’QT is one performer driving new and exciting music on a very personal level in the city, which is something to be admired and enjoyed. So head down to Damas this Saturday from 22h30 to 4h to get a little taste of true Lisbon culture.