DJ Spotlight: Brazil’s Dance Striker Renato Ratier

He owns Brazil’s two biggest Superclubs – both of which rank among the worlds top. He’s generally credited with putting Brazil on the world stage for electronic music, and he’s also been DJing his venues and internationally for almost 20 years. We met with Renato Ratier, the man who doesn’t sleep shortly before his set at Ushuaia Tower.

VIBE: You’re the founder of superclubs D-Edge and Warung, and of D-Edge Records in Brazil. How did it all start?
Renato Ratier: It all started, because it wasn’t working. There’s a lot of underground music in Brazil. We were running a lot of underground parties but for it to really work on a big scale we had to have dedicated venues. So the clubs were born. It’s not been easy, but it’s improving. Now we have other, international DJs aware, they want to come here and play, We’re part of the universe.

Tell us about the Brazilian electronic music community.
Brazil has always had such diversity of music, Samba, Funky, Bossa. There are different scenes, in part because from the North to the South there are very different cultures generally. So, electronic music started off, and works better in the South. But now we have some Northern contacts- we’ve got promoters in Manous that are doing electronic parties there. They do parties boat on the Amazon river and there’s also a club up north called Sub Club. It’s amazing, the idea that we have partners, nightclubs in the middle of the Amazon – it’s nice to see people now following our, The South’s, way.

Brazil seems to have managed to sidestep the whole Imported-EDM thing….
Yeah, we’ve been working hard for that. We deal in massive line-ups, our clubs are great – Warung is right on the beach, big soundsystem, amazing girls. As a result, Brazilian people are perhaps more open minded to electronic music, they’ve been introduced slowly. As it turns out, it’s the reverse to the norm, we’re an emerging country that’s exporting it’s sound, rather than importing it. Clubs like Sankeys, venues in Berlin are inspired by our clubs. It all comes back to venues I think. Our sound, our lights, that’s what’s got us going. You go to D-Edge, you’re going to lose complete track of time!

You’re a club owner and a DJ that’s a rare one. How do you think it’s affected you musically?
It’s good because I can see things from both sides. If you’re a DJ, you’re passionate, you see everything in one specific way. But when you’re an owner, you see those same things – dancefloors, lights differently. Also in my position I’ve been able to play with different artists, Todd Terje, Lindstrom, the Desolat guys, two to three days a week every week for almost 14 years, so I’ve gained a very wide understanding of the whole industry. But then the workload is massive. To play, then the next day to be in the office. Working 10am to midnight, then going out to play again, being able to just switch off and play, it’s pretty difficult.

What led you into production?
I started producing about six years ago. It took a while as I needed to build a studio. I can’t just use my laptop. I got into it because production is work, is hard, but it’s also therapeutic, it’s my time away from the office, which is also why I had to take the time to build a space for that purpose.

What effect do you think the World Cup will bring to Brazil’s nightlife?
I don’t think it’s going to make any difference to Brazilian underground clubbing and club culture. Because it’s a European summer, it’s going to be about what people see on the TV. I’m thinking of doing my push on D-Edge after the World Cup – otherwise the flights and the hotels will just be a nightmare. I‘m very disappointed by the government’s handling of the World Cup. This is the worst corruption I’ve ever seen. Stadiums costing 2 billion dollars to build cost 9 billion instead. Brazilians are on strike everywhere because promised roads weren’t built. I might just run away – I could live here in Ibiza!

You’ve certainly been coming here long enough! What’s changed the most in Ibiza over the years?
You know, every year someone says “Ibiza’s changed! ” Saying that, this year does certainly feel like underground music is coming through. I feel a lot of the venues have been shaken up. This happened before a couple of years ago underground came in, Loco Dice, that crowd, but I think ultimately that got too much. Now it feels like the underground movement here has got a more ‘back to roots’ feel. Saying that, it was good they tried first time round, because that set the tone for this wave – it’s all been progress.

Do you take cues from Ibiza when you’re looking at growing electronic music’s presence in Brazil?
I like the island, but there does need to be a new place in the world to develop this kind of sound. There’s just too much competition on this island – and with this much competition, things don’t get done. That’s why Croatia’s so cool – because people just went out there and did it.

So where do you wanna be in five years time?
Just alive! With the kind of hours I do, alive will be impressive enough!

Renato Ratier is an Expert as part of the new Emerging Ibiza Platform.

Words: Ally Byers