The organizers are keen to whisper "RMC" in the same breath as its long established equivalents in Miami, Barcelona and Amsterdam, but are also sensible enough to suggest that the two year-old event is merely in its nascent stages. And rightly so. From the perspective of a European, English-speaking visitor, RMC was primarily geared towards domestic affairs, with seemingly little to entice the average festival-primed clubber to make, what would be in almost all cases, a long-haul journey.
After cruising around the stalls (DJ Mag, Pioneer, Beatport and Mixmag all had a presence here) of the roughly 200 x 50 meter space which housed the event, the first order of business was a discussion panel on the subject of the economic downturn in relation to the entertainment industry, for which I had been asked to speak. However, issues with the real time translations (the headset was intermittently picking up local radio signals) hampered my involvement in the talk, although from what I gathered, it was agreed that Brazil's party scene actually did rather well for itself during these turbulent past two years. Unfortunately, these types of organizational hiccups were an all too regular fixture during the conference's two day spell, leaving the wheels of scheduling, transport and general communication in need of a thorough grease for 2011.
London music production school Point Blank were a further European name at the event, represented here by lecturer Johnny Miller who ran through the basics of production using the ubiquitous Ableton Live package. A small yet appreciative crowd watched Miller provide a decent enough jumping off point for beginners by outlining the development of a rudimentary composition in the "minimal" style. Meanwhile back in the main room, what had been billed as a Q+A with Dutch trance megastar Armin Van Buuren prior to the event, was now in fact a session with Luciano including a screening of his La Ruta del Sol tour diary. DJ Mag's Joe Roberts led the discussion on, among other things, the South American scene with the Chilean born selector, who interestingly revealed that he had been bowled over by a super-knowledgeable and enthusiastic Peruvian crowd on his latest tour of South America.
The questions from the audience thankfully knocked him off script on a couple of occasions, particularly when pressed on what he will do when his DJing days are numbered. "That's the most difficult question for me to answer," he chuckled in response.
With the hearty cuisine of a local churrascaria establishment lining the stomach, and the mercury pushing towards the 40 degrees mark, day 2 got off to a somewhat sluggish start. What did become apparent while taking a gluttony combating stroll across the site was just how noisy RMC was. Terraced stands manned by over-enthusiastic local DJs competed ceaselessly for sonic supremacy, making for a sort of wasp's nest effect with kick drums. If you could block out all the confusion, though, the zeal of the locals was at times pretty infectious. Sao Paulo-based web radio station Drop Kick typified the gusto, broadcasting a live audio/video stream across the two days with a mixture of easygoing house music and interviews. Also on an A/V tip was Pioneer who in conjunction with the Sao Paulo venue D-Edge showcased their flagship multimedia mixer the SVM-1000 alongside their brand new CDJ-2000s. With a view to catching a 21.30 flight to Sao Paulo, the day's initial discussion panel—a talk on the blurring boundaries between the mainstream and the underground on the country's burgeoning DJ scene—looked an enticing way to round off the day, but the latest scheduling change shifted the lecture on the state of the independent music scene to its spot instead.
On the evidence of my admittedly brief visit, it seemed very much as though RMC has a great deal to offer all those involved in the Brazilian dance market. With a population of nearly 200 million and a land mass that makes it the fifth largest country in the world, having an annual focal point for the scene is an invaluable opportunity for the meeting of minds and potential business deals. Although the organizers would love for the event to be thought of terms of its more recognized European and US cousins, that dream may still be a fair few years away. And that's OK. The scene in Brazil is still very much in its adolescent state and undoubtedly needs time to consolidate its form and position among the international electronic music scene.