“Dancing faces you towards Heaven, whichever direction you turn.” – Terri Guillemets
In memoriam. Maya Otto de Campos. November 29, 1971 – December 5, 2010
Born in Lisbon, Portugal, Maya’s adventure began in earnest in 1976, when her family decided to relocate to New York City, at the height of its wild-west era, when the streets were mean, and life (and living) was cheap enough to follow your heart’s fancy without sweating the rent.
Growing up as a child of the globe in an Upper East Side brownstone, life, in the words of her mother was “a constant party attended by artists from all over the world.” Her stepfather managed a disco called Hippopotamus and, later, another called Cachaza, before her clan departed for the Golden Shores of California.
As a DJ and artist in her own right, Maya took her first steps toward fate at the age of 16 in Palo Alto, California… It’s a romantic, business, stepping out your front door. You put one foot in front of the other, and next you know, you’ve gone’n got down with destiny. Maya’s first aural fascination, Jerry’s merry band of pranksters (known to most as The Grateful Dead) led her along a scarlet-fire path at the tender age of 16.
In time, she befriended a legendary band of bandits known as “The Cloud Factory.” In 1994, this collective of souls organizing raves in the Bay Area made Maya one of their brood, and she came to rest in the Gibson-esque environs of Oakland warehouse lofts. There she lived and worked (but really, then, what was the difference) with like-minded musicians such Sutekh, a seminal SF producer who went on to release tracks on labels such as M_Nus, Force, Inc, and Plug Research, to name a few (the last a ground-breaking collab with Move D).
During that era, Maya programmed 8-bit beats and blips at the famed video-game house Sega, crafting fantasy soundtracks to countless pixilated quests which were rivaled only by her own.
Bleeps notwithstanding, Maya was driven to perfect a higher state of consciousness. Having decided that refining her craft as a producer would take her to the next level, she enrolled at SF City College in courses on music theory, and coaxed her muse to the dance with instruction in yoga . Around this time, she also became vegan and combined this newfound activism with the party scene she adored, creating a party called Pro-Soy with the Cloud Factory crew. The Pro- Soy raves were legendary in the SF scene for their inclusive, positive vibe, free organic fruit, vegan propagandhi, and, of course, no shortage of techno.
Legend has it, these events were so well-attended that one night Maya had to refuse entry to the (already) iconic Chemical Brothers, on account of near fire-hazard crowd conditions . Lest she think herself damned by the gods of electronic dance, later that morning west coast lore holds that a rainbow shone over the skies of the San Francisco bay.
In 1999, Maya returned to Portugal to explore the European dance music landscape. She joined the DJ agency Heart and Soul and began playing clubs across Portugal including Locomia , Pacha, and Rocks. Europe welcomed her, with ever-more frequent gigs and more artistic recognition.
Maya soon became a dance floor favorite at Locomia, a picturesque indoor/outdoor space in the Algarve. This became her most consistent performance venue. Perhaps it was the similarities to Santa Cruz that helped Maya connect with the people and the location – gorgeous seaside cliffs with a club perched atop. She performed alongside artists such as Umek and Richie Hawtin, to name a few.
At that time, Maya launched her own imprint — Full Spectdrum, the name tweaked from the conventional spelling of the spectral range to invoke percussion.
Despite success, Portugal was bittersweet for Maya. The culture was sometimes less respecting toward nature’s creations than her experience in California had acclimated her to accept. By 2004, she had collected a wayward brood of cats and dogs, and with her brood in tow, Maya left Portugal with her sights on Berlin. But, in keeping with her gypsy nature, of course there came an unexpected detour to Rome, where she settled “by accident” as she used to say.
In 2008, in a chance meeting with another expat DJ, Anjalogica from London, the two decided to join forces and start their own monthly techno night called Clandestino at the Neo club. This night was explosive for a year and became an excellent platform to showcase her new productions.
In 2009, Maya seized an opportunity to buy some vintage analogue synths, including the Roland Juno which gave her productions a new dimension. This inspired her next creative wave, of which these tracks Black Nation Records now presents, are a part.
But then, of course, one night in Rome life and love had its own desire. Maya visited a derelict house near her own, checking in with a feral feline she and her landlady had been looking after that had recently went missing. Her search led her nearby, to the train tracks that led to Termini, a busy Roman station. Maya went looking, but found something she did not expect.
Good night, Maya, until the dawn. It was a good night spent dancing.
Finally, in her own words: “LOVE IS THE PURPOSE!!!” Enjoy.