“I miss doing house stuff,” says Inês Borges Coutinho, laughing, a little frustrated. She’s not talking about music – thankfully, there’s lots of that. She literally misses being able to walk around her house.
A bad fall after a gig in December 2018 left the Lisbon-based DJ, better known as Violet, with a severely broken left leg. After what had been a landmark year, she was forced to cancel all upcoming shows, including an aspirational closing slot at Berghain’s Panorama Bar on her birthday. Complications with the healing process have meant that even now, at the time of our call in March 2019, she’s still waiting to get back on her feet and behind the decks.
Violet’s 2018 saw her excel as a touring DJ, whose sets of tough house, rhythmic techno and radiant breakbeat became the talk of the underground. Not only that, her label, Naive, released some of most vital sounds of the year, including Eris Drew & Octo Octa’s essential ‘Devotion’ EP. All the while, the sex and drug positive mina parties in Lisbon she co-runs with a collective of likeminded peers, and her role as Rádio Quântica co-founder have seen her becoming an increasingly crucial figure in the local scene and beyond, fighting along with her friends and peers for creative inclusivity and a progressive, welcoming environment for women, POC and LGBTQ+ artists.
Understandably then, she’s itching to get back to full capacity. During her Wednesday afternoon call with DJ Mag she is planning her first gig in three month’s for the coming Saturday at Amsterdam’s De School. A doctor will tell her tomorrow if she will be fit to stand for the occasion. There’s an instantly noticeable and defiant optimism in Coutinho’s voice, though, which suggests that there’s little a doctor could say that would stifle her ability to find positivity and potential in the midst of any challenge.
“If I can't walk I'll have to play on a wheelchair,” she shrugs. “But I'm keeping positive. If I have to sit down I'll sit down.”