“Since Patagonica was founded in 2008, we have adapted to new challenges,” she tells Metropolis. “Our first year, we fundraised to support the international campaign by Peace Boat and the National Committee to protect the flora and fauna of Chile. During our second tour, we found ourselves in the country during one of the largest earthquakes in Chile’s history, and quickly refocused to support the affected people.”
McGlone recently formed the Patagonica Collective, which brings artists and activists together to campaign for the UNESCO listing of Patagonia. “In Chile, our Patagonica DJ Contest has spread to various regions,” she explains, “holding local DJ contests in three major cities before deciding the final artist at the National Contest held in the capital, Santiago.”
Contacted in Chile before he heads to Japan to help choose the local champion, the winner of last year’s contest Marcos Latrach says it’s natural for him to combine music and environmental work.
“Between 1990 and 1994 I had a radio program called Mundo Ecológico,” he relates. “We promoted environmental awareness, accompanied by literature and good music. Patagonica in a way continues the work we did, because we can reach more people to say, ‘Hey, listen, this is our world and we have to take care of it.’”
Latrach was exposed to music at a very early age by his cousin—who sang with some of Latin America’s top bands. Electronic sounds came later in the ’90s, but Latrach has been DJing since his teens. “My first parties were at friends’ houses in the small city where I lived in the sixth region of Chile,” he recalls, “and at one disco where they let me play until midnight. I was only 14 years old and didn’t have permission to be out late.”
A course in DJing introduced Latrach to the technical side of the craft, and by 17 he had his first residency at a club called Ad-hoc. Moving to Santiago to study production, he turned on to techno at the capital’s clubs and hasn’t looked back.
“The common denominator is the music and a natural inspiration—I wonder if it’s a product of the political processes we lived through in Chile,” he says about the Santiago’s experience of repression. “A great amount of artistic expressions were generated, and by necessity the expressions were slanted. I also believe that our music is enriched by our origins in the native cultures that once lived here and unfortunately were devastated.”
In Tokyo, where Latrach will guest DJ at the event to decide the Japanese Patagonica contest winner, punters can look forward to a hypnotic blend of minimal and tech-house, juiced with Latin percussion and melodies.
“This opportunity touches me in a special way, because music has given me this experience,” Latrach concludes. “I hope to be with special people and a culture unknown to me—to show what I do and feel. I want to share magical days filled with dancing, positive energy and musical journeys.”