London can be a daunting place without a group of friends around you as a security blanket. So for those who weren’t born in the city, it can be quite the task finding your feet in the rat race, alone. What many city dwellers take for granted, is the connections they already have – whether it’s a distant friend, cousin or auntie, it’s an advantage over those who have none.
For DJ, radio host and designer, Mafalda, this was the case when she moved to London from Portugal five years ago after watching Sadar Bahat’s set at Corsica Studios, a venue she’s loved ever since. On finding her people, she mentions “The thing with London is, I didn’t have friends here when I moved, I ended up meeting everyone through music either in parties or record shops.”
And that is perhaps the beauty of London. Amongst a population of eight million, there is someone for everyone – common interests are what gel individuals together, and whether you hang out at a nightclub, or a book club is entirely up to you. Having since become a regular DJ on Red Bull Radio known for her tropical jazz, soul and R&B mixes, as well as co-founding the reissue label Melodies International and playing sets for Boiler Room, Field Day and Dekmantel, Mafalda is living proof that in London you really can arrive on your own and find your feet.
My name is Mafalda. I’m 31 years old. I’m a DJ, radio host, designer and I do a bunch of music stuff. I fell in love with London five years ago at Corsica Studios, it was at an Eglo Dance, and that night made me want to move here. And I did, very quickly after that.
I arrived in the Summer of 2014, a few months before Plastic People closed, and that was my first special place. By the time it closed I had met Sam and then started helping him out with what was going to be Melodies International. Also in 2015 I started working at Cosmos Records in Hackney Road, it’s a Records Shop run by Lizzie, Derek and Flo, and it’s also a very special place to me. Not only because it’s one of my favourite shops in town – it had just opened at the time. But also, and mainly, because of all the music I got to discover there and the interesting people I got to meet and hear their stories. It was also through Cosmos that I met my good friend John Coxon, who runs the Treader label.
The thing with London is, I didn’t have friends here when I moved, I ended up meeting everyone through music either like in parties or record shops. So everyone is either a musician or has a record label or works in a record shop or produces, you know. That is quite wonderful. It is what it is. I know I feel like I live in a bubble, but it’s a magical music bubble and I quite enjoy it. I think that’s part of why I like this city so much. I get asked often when I travel why I like London so much, and I can’t understand why it might be hard for some people to believe it’s a magical place, and then it is polluted and that shouldn’t be an excuse to pollute even more. And it is overpopulated… exactly! Because it is the best city in the world.