What do Michael Jackson, Madonna, (Pelé’s ex-beau) Xuxa, Lady Gaga and (Brazil’s most famous celebrity buttocks) Valeska Popuzada have in common? Nothing other than the fact they are all poptastic, as familiar household faces as any soap star, and as such fair game for the Bootie Rio crew to get hold of and, quite simply, mash right up.
Bootie Rio is the Brazilian arm of the international community of Bootie DJs, producers and promoters constantly in search of the ultimate combination of tracks, taking a famous song, ripping out the beats and adding an equally famous backing track. Then taking it to a club and watching the reaction on the dancefloor go from confusion, to intrigue, to – hopefully – absolute mayhem.
“Everybody who knows about mashups knows Bootie,” says the man behind Rio’s ever-growing parties Fabiano Moreira. “To begin with we didn’t know if people would get it, that it was only us that were into it. But we discovered we were far from alone. Quite the opposite.”
The movement landed on Brazilian soil thanks to an American friend of Moreira, back when he lived in San Francisco. Bootie parties started out there back in 2003 and have since spread to 19 different cities in five continents. For its part, Rio was the first of the Booties to cross the equator, with its monthly events back in 2012. Since then they have taken Bootie on the road to Porto Alegre, Belo Horizonte and, of course, São Paulo.
“Conventional DJs hated us. They thought we were bastardizing other people’s work and not being original,” says Fabiano, who was also criticised for throwing ‘themed’ parties even though its always very tongue in cheek. Stormtroopers giving out masks of everyone from David Bowie to Kiss and even a couple of fake police officers to keep an eye on the musical ‘thieving’.
“We’d get mugshots done of people and have them projected onto the walls of Fosfobox (Bootie Rio’s spiritual home), and even have people chained to the bars outside.”
Its popularity has been such that Fabiano now receives mashups from all over Brazil from bedroom producers hoping to get their track played by the resident DJs João Brasil and DJ Faroff. “There’s a lot of bad ones out there, though,” laments the man behind the craze, “but there is also some real genius. Without a doubt the scene in Brazil is growing thanks to our mixtapes and videoclips – some have had more than 250,000 hits.”
Bootie Rio is at Fosfobox on 5 April