TF Archives

'Dance Buenos Aires, Dance' Day 1

Author: Ryan Gawn
Monday, February 14, 2005
South American Music Conference
Costa Salguero, Buenos Aires, Argentina
10th & 11th December 2004

Day One - Panels, networking and more panels

The first day of the 2 day conference was primarily educational, consisting of a series of panels covering themes such as DJ origins, digital distribution, promotion, radio and agencies. With 600 attendees, both foreigners and locals were enthusiastic and eager to learn - one speaker commented that there were 20 times as many people in the audience compared to a similar panel at the Miami conference.
One of the most interesting panels saw Canada's John Acquaviva, Germany's birthday boy Chris Liebing, and the UK's Omid 16B discussing the new technologies available to DJs with local DJs. After debating the merits of scratching technology such as Final Scratch, Acquaviva mentioned the democratization of the music, explaining that technology has made mixing a lot more accessible due to software and price reduction - an issue that has significantly affected local DJs. As Carlos Shaw mentioned, with the prices of technology dropping, and the increasing amount of good software available online, the hardware divide has disappeared in South America - now the divide is talent-related.
DJs also discussed use of the internet, the increasing lack of exposure given to B-sides (due to the increased use of mp3s), and the worthlessness of technology without an idea or inspiration. Omid 16B made a very strong impression on the locals, when he pointed out that for him, being a DJ was not just about money or fame. This conflicted with some local views which (in light of the economic situation in the country) see it as a money-making venture and business rather than a chance for artists to develop their work.

"What I was trying to do on the panel was to explain that part of their oppression is due to the fact that they believe it exists. If you're going to make your music based on that, you're never going to make good real individual music. You're always going to make music that somehow passes the pass mark to get you recognised. To really be something special, try to shake of all the negativity from the past, live in the present, and try and be creative with the present."

With the local Argentine ego at stake, some thought that South American DJs on the panel felt under pressure to prove themselves against the international heavyweights. For some, this was their first time on a panel, and the experience divide was evident at times.
Perhaps this would have been overcome by the presence or input of homegrown Hernan Cattaneo. The world reknowned #22 (DJ mag poll) DJ and producer was surprisingly not present at the conference, despite having played only a week earlier in the city with John Digweed. On the downside, some of the DJs were very obviously underprepared, and despite the panel being "technical", there were no demonstrations of use of technology nor related techniques.

Another highlight of the conference was the Festival & Party organization panel. This was made up of international promoters and organizers, with experience mainly from N.America. Event Producer Brad Roulier (The Church) provided a very detailed description of his work in Colorado offering hints and tips on expanding and developing the scene. Macedonian Viktor Mizo talked about his humble beginnings as party organizer in Pennsylvania to huge events in Manhattan, as well as how to put together a fluid and coherent lineup. Finally, the conference was treated to a presentation by organizers of the Detroit Music Conference, who shared insights and tips from one of the best conferences in the industry.

Despite the differing opinions and attitudes, the international and local DJs found the panels useful and interesting. The comments and questions from the crowd displayed their deep interest in the issues. Nevertheless, with the quantity and quality of information, it was quite tiring for many, and qu