This February, the city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, hosted the 2016 Rio Music Conference, the most important meeting of dance minds in South America to date. The event brought to Rio some of the world’s best dance music makers and movers to share their knowledge. Also, RMC featured local and international DJs for the closing event called Rio Music Carnival, as well as label bosses, PR people and industry talents who discussed important topics in panels, workshops and events.  See our highlights here and how as Rio Music Carnival here.

We talked to Claudio da Rocha Miranda Filho, co-founder and executive director of RMC. He is a big driving force on the Brazilian scene and has done a lot to take it to the next level.

Can you tell us about your role at the conference this year? As an executive director, my role is to lead the operation and the event’s decisions. Around 25 people work to put the conference on every year.

How did you decide on the panels and venues and headliners? How do you balance a local interest with an international appeal? This year RMC will move to new area, Porto Maravilha at Praça Mauá, the renewed downtown centre and its outstanding venues MAR and Museu do Amanhã. At MAR, it has six simultaneous rooms and at Museu do Amanhã, a huge auditorium for 400 persons. We try to have a good balance sorting different interest areas such as technology, market, artistic, trends, technical workshops, speed networking and also balance these with regional and international interests. At the end of the day, it’s a puzzle that we love to play every year.

What is the state of the Brazilian economy right now and how does that effect the scene and the conference? Will it put people off? Brazil is facing a terrible economic crisis. Our currency, Real, is completely undervalued in comparison with the Dollar or Euro. From the internal market perspective, people have less money inside their pockets to waste in clubs and festivals. That doesn’t mean that people won’t go out anymore, but the will make some choices. As a festival promoter or club owner, you should rethink your strategy and product. The already established brands are getting even better, but it’s harder than ever to start something from zero. Of course the market won’t have the same power to book top international DJs with their super high fees. But, this means opportunities for local talents, and this is already happening. Several national DJs are headlining clubs and festivals, names like Alok, Vintage Culture, Gui Boratto, Elekphantz, Chemical Surf, Gabe, Dashdot and many others had their local careers – and fees – increased massively because of the crisis (and their incontestable talent, for sure). One point is true: we’re cheaper than ever. It’s a good chance for people from abroad to come and visit Brazil.

Can you give us some local Brazilian acts who you top for big things in 2016? Pedro Zopelar, Volkoder, Anna, Chemical Surf, Dashdot, Gabe, Nepal, Vintage Culture…

Why the electronic market and media are so interest in Brazil right now? Numbers says that Brazil is the second major market in the Electronic Music from the globe, there’s a sort of business to be done and spaces to be occupied down here in South America. Besides that, talents, new artists and a very special flavor coming up from our new local electronic music. Smart people will be those who could read this crisis as a real opportunity to start something unique and valuable.

Photos by Eduardo Llerena