"We're not just here to make money. We care deeply and — more than ever — we want to get back to how things were. But we can't just ignore what is going on. It's not right," Club Space resident DJ, Ms. Mada, tells New Times.
It was going to be a Miami Music Week unlike any other for the 11th Street nightclub. Space was planning an all-hands-on-deck week of 15-hour long shows and its inaugural pool party events.
And Ms. Mada — real name Rachel Tumada — was going to be in the thick of it, playing the beats that have earned her a well-regarded reputation.
We all know what happened next. The city went into lockdown, and the club has been closed ever since.
"The uncertainty is pretty ubiquitous, more so than ever," Tumada laments. "I just don't know."
Still, if there is anyone who can make an educated guess about Miami's clubbing future, it's Ms. Mada.
Born in the Philippines and brought up in Miami, Tumada has been a DJ for more than ten years — New Times named her "Best DJ" in our 2017 "Best of Miami" issue — and has performed in Colombia and Russia, as well as Miami's iconic clubs and festivals.
Moreover, she's a steadfast producer and plays a pivotal role in the behind-the-scenes duties of the club. A self-described jack of all trades and master of none, Tumada was involved in numerous aspects of the club's operation, including accounting, booking talent and working with artists, and helping Space co-owner David Linke with his in-house event series, Link Miami Rebels.
In other words, Tumada knew the closure wasn't going to amount to a monthlong holiday.
"I'm realistic," she admits. "The way things were going in my mind, OK, if we did these closures, at best, we would be open by August. Then [Miami] opened in May and look what happened. We don't even think October. So December is up in the air. Obviously, we were the first ones to close and we're going to be the last ones to open."
Tumada alluded to a galling conundrum. While the clubs lay in wait, some restaurants were hiring DJs and turning into ad-lib clubs.
"The restaurants that were allowed to open — and suddenly you're seeing someone DJ at a restaurant that turns into a nightclub — totally capitalizing on clubs closing. It's not fair," she says.
Britain was planning to bring back some open-air events before Prime Minister Boris Johnson rolled back reopening, yet London has reportedly seen a series of illegal raves.
Locally, during the initial plan to reopen Miami, there was talk of opening Space at 25 percent capacity — an idea that proved well-intentioned but logistically impossible, and one that would have contradicted the club's identity as an inclusive and safe environment.
"In the end, it wasn't right," Tumada says. "You can't expect people to social-distance inside such a social setting. We ended up not doing it because it didn't make sense. You can't police people so much."
She also admits the shutdown has her feeling more than a little uninspired.
"I've been staying at home — quarantining and making music every now and then," she says. "You would think with all this time at home, I would spend it working on music, but I can't force myself to do it if I'm not feeling it."
It's not all gloom, however — it can't be. In the past four months, Tumada has produced four tracks that she plans to save for Space's eventual reopening. She has also posted a mix to her SoundCloud, and she recently performed a three-hour livestream from the club's terrace.
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"It felt so good to be back," she declares. "I played some of my stuff, and I just played how I imagined playing in front of a crowd — like I was closing and the sun was already up."
When asked what she misses most about Club Space, Tumada doesn't miss a beat.
"I miss everything," she says. "I miss playing and feeling the crescendo of a track and then the drop. I forgot how that feels, and it sucks."
As for her prediction about the future of Miami's nightlife scene, "It could go either way — like the path of a hurricane," she says. "The clubs around Miami will open when it is time to open."