Kura is a portugese DJ who is ranked 42nd in our Top 100 Clubs poll, we sat down with him ahead of the Top 100 Clubs tour.
You have recently been awarded as Portugal’s best DJ. How does it feel to win this accolade?
It's very special for me to receive this award for the second year in a row; the support of the Portuguese fans has been incredible and gives me even more motivation to keep going
Rúben de Almeida Barbeiro is better known as KURA, Portuguese electro-house producer and DJ who is now a regular face in the Top 100 DJs list. 2019 has been a stellar year for KURA, whose career began in 2005 with his first DJ residency at Bauhaus in Lisbon. Since then, he’s steadily risen to a major level of success with his initial release, the bouncy electro earworm ‘Russian Guitar’ in 2007 immediately catapulting him into the big leagues.
A steady stream of innovative electro-house on labels like Armada, Cr2, Revealed, Ferry Corsten’s Flashover, and a clutch of minor classics on Spinnin’ Records have demonstrated why KURA is so popular. Spinnin’ has been the home to the majority of his releases this year, including the massive vocal track ‘Nothing Else Matters’ and his edgy, robots-fighting-in-space collab with Jimmy Clash, ‘My Crew’. Well known for pushing the envelope within his genre, KURA has spent 2019 hard at work in the studio: “I’ve been trying new genres in electronic music, exploring myself as a producer, but still delivering fresh and banging tunes to my fanbase. I have a lot prepared for the next year, it’s going to be different and shocking at the same time!”
Do you submit your DJ setlists to the relevant royalties collecting society?
“Actually I don’t.”
What more can we do to combat the mental health crisis in our scene?
“Being more open about it, having as many examples from the ‘big dawgs’ showing us this is a serious matter and it can hit anyone.”
Are you personally doing anything to improve the gender balance of line-ups?
“Personally no, because I’m not the one making the line-ups, but honestly I think it shouldn’t even be a talking subject, everything should be talent-based, never gender-based.”
What changes have you made this year to be more environmentally friendly?
“Well, this was the year that I drove less. Also, separating trash for recycling is a must among my family and I.”
What was your favourite toy when you were a kid?
“I had a huge collection of Dragon Ball Z toys, it actually brings back so many memories, of times with only joy and no responsibilities.”
What’s your guilty pleasure?
“Shake Shack. I try to eat as healthy as I can but don’t put me in front of a Shake Shack burger!”
Already the highest charted Portuguese DJ of all time, Kura has now been involved in the Top 100 DJs poll for an unprecedented four times, a sure sign that the big room and electro DJ is doing something very, very right.
Highlights have come thick and fast for the Spinnin’-affiliated spinner, with sold out shows across China, Tomorrowland, private jets to Ibiza and a spine-tingling 35,000 sitting down during a sold out show in his native Portugal. “I did a lot of preparation so I could have every weapon available to respond to the crowd,” says Kura, proudly. And those weapons don’t come much bigger than ‘Police’, his frenetic collaboration with long-time inspiration Hardwell and also Anthony B.
“This year I've been concentrating on bringing quality music, tracks that I know are going to work 100% on the dancefloor,” says Kura of his success. Prime among them has been ‘Bangalore’, a seismic slice of big room energy that channels Bollywood vibes during its monumental breakdown, while the newly released ‘Sedated’ shows a more subtle, emotional side to his production.
Words: ANDY BUCHAN
It's been business as usual for Kura (aka Rúben de Almeida Barbeiro) in 2015, having placed 42nd in last year's DJ Mag Top 100 DJs poll. Despite a slide in the rankings this year, the Portuguese electro-house producer has cemented his position as one of the most in-demand EDM producers in Europe with a raft of new tracks and collaborations.
2015 saw Kura release stadium-sized cuts, 'Oxygen' and 'Collide', on Dutch imprint Spinnin’ Records, collaborated with Dutch producer Tony Junior for a huge track ‘King Kong’, which is being released on Afrojack’s Wall Recordings this month, and he still found time to tour all over the world.
As well as a string of well-received productions, the DJ and producer has seen his output consistently supported by EDM’s leading lights — including David Guetta and Hardwell, who’ve supported his output throughout 2015.
Not only has last year’s No.1 DJ, Hardwell, been playing his tracks consistently during 2015, the Dutch producer recently revealed during a radio interview that the two producers have been collaborating in the studio. With his next release coming out on Afrojack's Wall Recordings, 2015 has seen Kura become one of Portugal’s biggest dance exports.
“This year has been intense, so much good stuff happening,” he tells DJ Mag. “Travelling the world, new collaborations, meeting new people... I can only remember of positive stuff, the shows keep getting bigger and bigger, and the support of the fans is insane!”