Finding yourself on a dance floor for a night while Gabriel Belmudes DJs reminds me of making a new friend when you’re traveling. You might meet this person in the kitchen of the hostel, or on the street as you stare blankly at the map on your phone and they offer to help you find your way. You are immediately excited by their energy. You went from feeling uncertain and lost to suddenly feeling safe, and say “Yes” without hesitation when they ask you to join them for another song. You instantly share a connection, and your jetlag evaporates as you laugh at the way they pronounce your name. In a flash it’s four a.m., and your face hurts from smiling, and your legs are tired from dancing, but you feel so alive, trusting the unshakable feeling that anything is possible and your adventures are just beginning.
From the moment that Gabriel starts to play, his warmth leads you out of the cold. His years of enjoying the music as a dancer in Brazil allow you to feel that he is with you at your level, experiencing the vibe with you, present and connected throughout his entire set. He is your new friend on your journey, introducing music from the jungle, the desert, and the deepest burrows of the underground, but always bringing you home to the rhythm and your heart.
His sets are diverse and unpredictable, yet always vibrant and expansive. They seem to be a reflection of the people and places he has met along his path, the spirit of his country, and the love for his wife and their cat.
We speak on the phone during a peaceful chapter of his life. He is in Toronto where he lives now and has devoted time to his studio where he is currently producing music. He is fine-tuning his output, setting an intention to play fewer shows and saving his energy for the parties, venues, and crowds that truly inspire him. If the comments on his Soundcloud sets are any indication of how well his creative output has been received, then his strategy seems to be working, and he seems to speak to us all over the world.
“I’m not trying to capture what I’m feeling in that moment; I’m always trying to recapture a feeling that I had years and years ago.”
Gabriel has begun to secretly introduce his own productions into his sets, hiding them amongst his curated tracks. He’s been encouraged, believing that he’s on the right path, as listeners are using exclamation points and prayer hand emoji’s when pleading for IDs on the tracks that happen to be his own. But he’s not telling, in hopes of receiving the most honest feedback from listeners.
“I’m not trying to capture what I’m feeling in that moment; I’m always trying to recapture a feeling that I had years and years ago. It was New Years, and I was in a jungle rave in Brazil. It was morning, and I remember it like it was yesterday.” Gabriel’s voice has grown excited and his Brazilian accent gets thicker, “D-Nox and Beckers were playing this music, and I was looking into the jungle behind them and there were birds and monkey sounds and the music that he was playing touched me. I felt like I was in the Madagascar movie. I kept that feeling with me forever. I’m trying to do music that I always picture a jungle, tribal rave. I want that sexy, dancy mood and that’s how I want my music to sound. I’m not trying to capture the nuances of my daily routine, at this moment I want this sexy, groovy dance floor music that is Brazil.”
Gabriel appears to be combating the Toronto winter beat by beat, using the percussive energy of his home country as a weapon against the cold. He’s saving his energy by spending time with his wife and his cat, and redirecting his once scattered “Yes to everything” spirit to be more intentional, centered, and aligned.
“Everyone is unique, and everyone has their different path and different timing for things to happen. Some will explode in a year and others it will take thirty years.” Gabriel speaks about his career in music. “You have to be patient and focus on your own journey.”
Hearing this is so encouraging, in a world where tiny scrolling squares dangle all we are “missing” in front of our faces constantly. It’s challenging to trust your own path, instead of measuring yourself against your peers who are all peeking at different times. Last week I found myself wondering why I wasn’t at a party on the beach in Croatia, but a moment before I saw the photo, I never wanted to be there and was completely content with where I was.
Gabriel’s focus on his craft and his ability to set a clear intention has given himself the ability to build a unique sound, centering him amidst his family, friends, and dance floors around the world.
“This set is really that brazil jungle groove but it’s my most progressive set so far.”
Listen to the set of the month by Gabriel:
Listen to the conversation between Dersu and Gabriel:
April 6th in Montreal TBA
May 11th in New York at The Gardens of Babylon
May 18th in Toronto at Velvet Underground
Check his upcoming releases this summer on Sol Selectas.