“Who buys them? DJs do. There’s more than enough DJs out there to support a pretty substantial hit.” Indeed, Viera counts on Internet venues like Beatport — a site DJs rely on for new product. Selling chiefly to DJs would seem a precarious business model. But Viera disagrees: “Hey, in 2002–2003, turntables outsold guitars for the first time ever. DJ-mix academies are blossoming everywhere. People are buying these tracks at two dollars a pop. It’s value for the customer and profitable for me.” He has a point. In the late 1990s, 12-inch vinyl house singles sold for between $5.99 and $9.99, CDs for an average of $16.99. And if you wanted just one track from a CD, you had to buy it all. Today, at Beatport, you can buy a full-length CD or single tracks.
Escuro released several timely, if not groundbreaking, tracks that stepped right into last year’s house sound. Then came Deka’s “In the Darkness,” which took the season’s atmospheric, deep-beat style to a more intense, even melodic level. It became a Top 10 download. “Deka and I had a production team, so I already knew him. ‘In the Darkness’ is his first-ever published release. What’d I tell you about the new guys having just as much to say as the big boys?”
The success of “In the Darkness” has made Viera work that much faster. He’s signed another bag full of tracks that include two (“After Sun” and “View from the Window”) from Jero & Costa, DJs based in Salonika, Greece. It’s not Escuro’s first Jero & Costa track; that was “The Tribe,” with Boston’s own Craig Mitchell doing the vocals. Mitchell remains very much a member of Viera’s support team of DJ remixers, which also boasts Brazil’s FC Nond, who did a remix of “In the Darkness.” Another important part of the picture is MySpace; Viera maintains his own page there as well as one for Escuro. “It’s sort of like the old Satellite record-store community we used to have here in Boston, only bigger. It’s also a terrific way to audition my stuff. Go to my page, listen. You like? Go to Beatport, buy. How do you beat it?”
One way you beat that is to get your track played in Europe. “London! Hey, if I could get a track played on just one pirate station! It’s all a community there, thriving in small clubs and pubs, and they have been doing this since the late 1980s.”
Viera is staying local but going international: he has Deka, and he has Cytric, too, a track called “Sleeping,” in several remixes — Cytric (a/k/a David Costa) being one of the most famous of the Portuguese “tribal” DJs now playing in clubs all over the world. Viera is also starting a subsidiary label, Baixo (“deep” in Portuguese), to support the growing demand for a deep-house sound different from Escuro’s signature tribalism.
“You’d be amazed how many deep-house guys there are locally,” he says. “Deep house is so underground, it gets overlooked even by house fans, but it’s here, and I’m going to sell it.”