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The Tron-Like Club That's Kept Dance Music Kicking in Brazil For 15 Years

The best party in São Paulo turns 15 today

If you've got a trip to Brazil planned for this summer, then firstly, well done. You're already going to have a better time away than me (at best I'm hoping for North Wales). When you picture partying in Brazil, you're probably mentally walking straight into a carnivalesque tableau. There'd be dancing in the streets wearing a feathered mask, parading down the beach in a São Paulo-by-numbers scene straight from a World Cup 2014 ident.


Don't get me wrong, that sounds pretty fun, but you're missing a trick. Beaches are fun and all, but we've got them here and, anyway, no one really wants to be pissed by the seaside at night. You might as well go to the club. And that club might as well be the most important one in Brazil: D-Edge.

If we think we have it hard in the UK, with club closures hitting London with alarming regularity, then the situation in Brazil would definitely give us a little perspective. When I asked my colleagues at THUMP Brazil about D-Edge they were pretty proud of the fact that it's been open for more than five years. The Brazilian class divide is such that the majority of clubs only cater to the wealthiest members of society. Any club that cares about about who's on the bill more than who's on the guestlist is going to struggle, so it's pretty amazing that D-Edge is celebrating it's 15th birthday this weekend.

The club itself is a sight to behold. A Tron-like chamber of reflective black and bright neon strips, it's the sort of place that looks like the hospitality lounge on a starship. They've booked everyone from Sven Vath to Maceo Plex, Richie Hawtin to Henrik Schwarz. These names don't just come to club, they love it, singing its praises long after their sets.

A good deal of this success and longevity is down to Renato Ratier, the club's founder, owner and resident DJ. Thanks to the absence of clubs with a similar ethos, and his own focus and ingenuity, Ratier has risen to demi-god status within the Brazilian scene. Due to his constantly engaged and ever active presence as both a DJ and booker, D-Edge has become the beating heart of underground dance music in the country. We were lucky enough to grab a few words with the man himself ahead of the big celebration, to get his take on Brazil and his institution's enduring success.


THUMP: Hey Renato, happy 15th birthday! All these years later, do you remember your opening night?
Renato Ratier: Yes, of course. These special moments are always unforgettable. There was first the opening in Campo Grande, then the opening of D-EDGE in São Paulo and, at last, the opening of the club expansion (D-EDGE 2.0) in São Paulo. I remember all of them very clearly as they were very special to me and very intense.

Did you have any idea what the impact of the D-Edge would be?
Before opening the club I already threw small parties (1000 people) and big parties (up to 10,000 people), so I could sense the impact the club could cause. It's like when you build a machine, you know how it works and what it is capable of in the short term – it develops step-by-step.

What makes D-Edge such a loved, indestructible force in Brazil?
D-EDGE is classic and innovative. A modern concept, combining a sensorial approach with an esteem for quality music. That identity has the same effect on the public today than it did 15 years ago. We are also always searching, looking for ways to be ahead of the market, to set trends, not to follow them. D-EDGE was born with this DNA and, eventually, it served as a reference to other clubs in Brazil and the world.

15 years later, has dance music broken significantly more in Brazil?
São Paulo is the biggest market for electronic music. It has been growing a lot in the past few years, as the whole country has been. I see today a lot more young people getting into electronic music than before. Mainstream EDM has grown a lot in the past few years. I guess as the public gets more and more involved with the scene and the music, with time they will be able to see what is a product of entertainment and what is a piece of quality art.


What does Brazil need to keep growing in the right direction?
International support from the electronic music industry is fundamental. Locally it would be to look very carefully when choosing the right partners to grow.

Where did you discover your love of electronic music?
It was a very natural process for me. I listened to all kinds of music when I was young: Disco, Funk, Chicago House and Kraftwerk. As time passed I developed a stronger connection with electronic music. I always liked to dance as well. When I was little I actually gave break dance classes to my friends.

You founded the club, you own it, and you are a resident DJ - aren't you always knackered?
I don't sleep a lot! I have to pay attention to every business and I need to balance that with my personal life, so planning is essential.

It sounds like it. Do you ever have to make a choice between music and business?
Music always comes first. I'll never make a decision based on financial interests if music curatorship is put into jeopardy.

This anniversary also marks your 20th year in clubs. Do you still get the same excitement from the scene as when you started out?
When I'm playing, definitely. Other times, not so much but that only happens when I'm exhausted with the workload.

How much do you think you have changed as a DJ over that amount of time?
The key point is being more experienced when reading the dance floor, being able to navigate through several styles and being secure in what you're doing.

Can we expect more original music from you any time soon?
There are a few projects in the pipeline. An EP with Gui Boratto to be released by Kompakt, a track with Stimming to be released by D-EDGE Records, and my second full length album set for release in October.

We'd better let you crack on then!

D_Edge Celebrates 15 Years with a series of parties over the next few months. Head here for all the event listings.

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