Renato Ratier and his Black Belt
Renato Ratier is a man with a lot of strings to his bow. Far from being merely a DJ/producer of some renown, the Brazilian truly is a titan of the scene – especially so in his homeland, where he owns (and is a resident at), the globally renowned Sao Paulo nightclub, D-Edge. With the reputation of the latter increasing exponentially in recent times, Ratier has since set his sights slightly further afield recently, with D-Edge’s brand spanking new Rio alternative set to open at the start of 2014 – a year when all eyes will be on his home country thanks to their hosting of the World Cup.
You could be forgiven, then, for thinking Ratier might be too busy to concern himself with any other endeavours. Rather refreshingly, however, you’d be wrong. Business interests aside, the main man has recently just completed a tour of Europe, has become a resident at Brazil’s ‘Temple of Dance’, Warung, and even more impressively, has also found time to release his debut album on his own D-Edge imprint.
Black Belt is an impressive cast of eclectic tracks too, with some boasting dancefloor finesse and others that are quite clearly made for the home in mind. Indeed, to use an obvious cliche, it truly does take the listener on an impressive musical journey. And as we soon find out, it mirrors Ratier’s own hectic lifestyle in more ways than one too. We pulled up a chair with the multifaceted club/label/restaurant owner and musical fanatic recently to talk Brazil, the album and the collaborative process…
So…You’ve been playing in Europe a lot recently. How have you found the experience?
For sure, this year has been a tough one, but in a good way. We have been doing many things, with many projects. We have opened a studio in Sao Paulo that’s a 24 hour joint, which is almost complete. It’s grown so much just in the past few months alone. We’ve been working hard to finish that and it’ll be ready for December. At the same time, I’ve been over here in Ibiza touring the new album. So it’s all been very busy for me. I love playing over here, but sometimes it’s just too non stop! (laughs) The parties are crazy…people think they’re crazy in Brazil but I reckon they’re even more crazy over here!
How do the clubs here differ to those in Brazil?
You have more people over here in Europe, with a lot more going on. Pretty much every major city has events going on. Brazil is great, but it’s still growing you know?
And you have a new club opening in Rio, right?
What I’m going to do in Rio is have the music side of things, but also have a gallery and arts projects and try and get everyone involved from all sides of the creative spectrum. All of which is going to help develop the country. The music policy will be slightly different in Rio than in Sao Paulo, though. It’s more of a beach culture but that is good too. It’s not a competition between the two cities but something different altogether.
Do you consider yourself responsible for the dance music scene in Brazil in a way?
Well I feel a part of it you know? I mean, I’m one of the only promoters that works full time over there. This will be my 17th year in the business and 13 years of D.Edge and holding parties. I think, in Brazil, people know that and respect us. I also think people get inspired by my story. We are starting to get a lot of young producers, we have nearly 200 million people so we need to have more people involved you know? There aren’t many Brazilians playing festivals but we will get there. Also, there is the money side to it, it’s an expensive industry and some people just don’t have the funds.