Argentina Dance Music Conference: December 2004
Author: Jonty Skrufff
Tuesday, January 11, 2005"The South American Music Conference will unite international prestigious producers, artists, musicians and other professionals. It is a unique opportunity to be part of one of the most important events in the worldwide electronic scene in a city that truly never sleeps."
Reading the advance literature for South America's first ever dance conference, it's clear organisers are as ambitious as they're enthusiastic, both qualities shared by most, if not all of the DJs booked to appear at the Buenos Aires conference. And headlining the conference's main event, a 4 room 25,000 capacity rave in a conference centre on the edge of downtown Buenos Aires, are mainstream icons Pete Tong, Ferry Corsten and Richie Hawtin backed by regional stars like Diego Rok and Anderson Noise, plus a host of others. All have been coerced with five star hotels and first class air travel (save for the economy class media) plus the promise of four days of sun during the height of Argentina's summer, just 16 hours away from Europe's bleak mid winter.
Argentina: Chris Liebing
"I've never been to Argentina before, I've been to Brazil and Colombia; those are the only two countries I've visited in South America but it feels different here from the other countries, there's a different vibe."
Sitting on a sun-lounger by the pool of his luxury hotel, German techno producer Chris Liebing admits he's relaxed as he polishes his tan and contemplates the night ahead. The day before he's been speaking on a panel alongside his great mate Christian Smith, while tonight he's up against the likes of John Acquaviva, Derrick May, and Misstress Barbara on the decks, not that he's too fussed about his peers.
"I'll get there a couple of hours before, watch the crowd and the other DJs then basically try to do my best with my own music," he explains. "I always bring my own mixer and two laptops, one for Final Scratch and another for Ableton Live which I use for my sound effects."
Less dependent on technical trickery is English DJ Justin Robertson, who's brought out several bags of vinyl (including two in his hand luggage). Justin's one of the more eclectic DJs on the bill though unlike Chris Liebing, has played here before.
Argentina: Justin Robertson
I've been here six or seven times before, playing at Pacha then I was also over here for the Creamfields Festival then the Chemical Brothers' tour about a month ago. I stayed in this hotel then too."
Usually associated with Manchester, though nowadays living in West London, Justin's already something of a local hero, though he admits he's brought a wide range of music, just in case.
"I've always had catholic tastes, there are a broad spectrum of styles I'm interested in, but what you'd call it, I don't know," he laughs.
"Jacking house, acidy-things, electro-house, whatever that is, I don't know. I'm not really sure myself what it is in a record that inspires me but there's usually a little thread of something, somewhere. There's a rawness or an energy; I like energetic, dynamic records."
Spinning that evening, his thread sounds distinctly hard, as he ditches the eclectic stuff for tried and tested crowd-pleasing bangers. Justin's spinning in the "tech-house' room, though distinctions tonight seem superfluous; harder music appears to be the order of the night, which also poses problems further down the hall, for the likes of Danny Rampling, Bad Boy Bill and Smokin Jo in the house room, not that she's overly concerned.
Argentina: Smokin Jo
"I was last here in March with Tiesto when I did a big tour with Heineken, the last gig we did was an outdoor party for 15,000 people which was fantastic, amazing."
Saturday night's rave opens at 4pm even if it's not until midnight that the hall really begins filling up. Kicking off the internationals is Danny Rampling, who, going on at 7pm, has to contend with extremely sparse crowds and teething problems.