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Clubbing In Brazil 2007 ::

Reported by Olly @ Trackitdown on October 22, 2007

Renowned Brazilian music journalist and DJ Camilo Rocha chatted to Skrufff this week about the state of play of his country’s club scene and reported that while psychedelic trance is thriving many other genres have recently struggled.

“Psychedelic trance can be found and heard in every major town of this country and is doing very well pretty much everywhere, though what’s interesting about this particular scene is that many of their parties have been incorporating house, techno and especially electro into their lineups recently with second dance floors more often that not,” said Camilo.

“However, techno of the harder variety (ie 140 BPMs upwards) has lost a lot of ground and is confined to small parties now while electro and minimal are massive, from the big psy-trance parties to hot clubs like Vegas and D-Edge and even elitist venues like Pacha and others of their ilk in the south.”

“House of the more traditional type is struggling too,” Camilo continued. “And drum & bass and breakbeat have practically been wiped off the map, although drum & bass still finds favor with clubbers from the working class areas in São Paulo. Paradoxically, the drum & bass tent at Skol Beats festival is still one of the busiest but that seems to be their one big moment of the year,” he said.

As well as writing for leading music portal (and Skrufff) Camilo runs a monthly club at Sao Paulo’s hottest club of the moment Vegas, which attracts a unusually mixed crowd of club kids, gays, transsexuals and regular clubbers.

“São Paulo needed a club like Vegas to build all these bridges between more underground types and mainstream crowds, gay and straight, weird and normal, seasoned clubbers and fresh faces,” said Camilo. “And with our specific night we have one room (Discology) where we have DJs that people know and like dropping classic tunes from the 70s, 80s and 90s and that makes it special and different. In the other room (quebrada) it is only new, cutting edge stuff. That formula alone ensures that we get a diverse, interesting and open-minded crowd,” he said.

Other clubs attracting similar mixes include notorious after-hours tranny spot A Loca and Bispo’s even trashier Thursday night weekly at Club Torre, though Camilo stressed Sao Paulo remains an edgy city outside on the streets.

“The more, let’s call it ‘alternative’, club scene is certainly very tolerant and Sao Paulo’s official policy is to be tolerant too, especially as the Gay Parade is the largest event of the year in terms of bringing in tourist money,” he explained, “The bars, restaurants and hotels love it.”

“And recent polls also suggest that general acceptance of homosexuality is more widespread but one should never think everything is safe here,” he advised. “Homophobia is still quite present, from its blander side, such as being made the object of jokes from macho types, to its sinister side, in the shape of homophobic attacks and killings, like some that happened recently in São Paulo's posh Jardins area.”

The Jardins area also featured in news reports last week when Austria Street residents called the cops after hearing gunshots, only to learn it was a false alarm, local newspaper Folha de São Paulo reported.

“The spray of bullets they heard came from the sound of carioca funk music played at a party which was taking place at a house nearby,” the newspapers reported, “No complaint was made at any police station.”

Carioca funk, or baile funk as its known in Europe, isn’t quite so cutting edge in Brazil as overseas, said Camilo, with some clubbers disliking its ghetto connotations and ultra-coarse discourse.

“Funk is controversial: it’s a bit of a love and hate thing. It certainly has passed its ‘trendy’ phase when it was embraced by a good number of tastemakers and now has been incorporated into the musical palette of clubs,” said Camilo.

“I think it also depends a lot on the type of funk, if its not too cheesy and too vocal it has more chances of being generally accepted.  Personally, I'm playing a mix of techno, electro and house, with dashes of disco and breaks, uplifting and groovy, not too noisy nor too fast,” he added, “I'm not, and never was, a DJ who gets stuck in a single style. I've played some hybrids of funk but, in general, I'm not particularly mad about it although I know there are some really good DJs and MCs out there such as Catra, Deise Tigrona and Sandrinho.

What marks Brazil out as such a special clubbing destination is its remarkable vibe, generated unquestionably by the genuine friendliness and forwardness of virtually everybody. While drugs like cannabis and cocaine are extremely cheap (coke costing around £2 a gram for standard stuff and top quality powder retailing at £12) most people favour drinking and dancing, meaning moodiness is usually absent as Brazilians indulge their national pastime of partying.

Recommended clubs include Club Vibe (Curitaba), A Loca (Sao Paulo), Vegas (Sao Paolo), D-Edge (Sao Paolo), Gloria (Sao Paulo), Bispo’s Debut at Club Torre (every Thursday, Sao Paulo) and Dama de Ferro (Rio de Janeiro). (Brazil’s top clubbing portal)

Jonty Skrufff (