|Amsterdam Dance Event : Miami in the Fall
There are actually people who still regard Holland as Amsterdam or Amsterdam as Holland.
While Holland is a colloquial expression often used to refer to The Netherlands, which has Amsterdam as its capital, there is often a misconception about which territory is being discussed. In no other place is this confusion perhaps more apparent than in the world of dance music.
Geography and names aside, the relatively small country of Holland and its capital Amsterdam manage to play an important role in the world of dance music - so much so, that the capital has for the last ten years, hosted the Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE), Europe's main electronic and dance music conference.
Celebrating its tenth edition in 2005, the ADE aims to present a broad and diverse view of the electronic music scene and this year will include events featuring the likes of Ferry Corsten, Paul van Dyk, Derrick May, Dave Clarke, Josh Wink, Kevin Saunderson, Joris Voorn, John Acquaviva, Jacek Sienkiewicz, Martin Solveig, Seamus Haji, Jeff Bennet plus many more.
Given that two of the world's most popular DJs - Tiesto and Armin van Buuren - both signed their first international record deal at the Amsterdam Dance Event, it might be a smart idea to put on those wooden shoes and visit the Felix Meritis this October 27th 28th and 29th.
In the first part of two features on this year's Amsterdam Dance Event, we talked to Pieter van Adrichem, one of the people at Conamus - the organization behind the ADE - about what some people refer to as "Miami in the Fall".
"We co-operate with the clubs in the city, but ultimately give them a certain amount of freedom to come up with their own special program. "
What's your role in the organization of the Amsterdam Dance Event?
I am doing all the PR campaigns for the Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE) as a spokesman and also do a little bit of marketing on the side. My aim is to bring ADE to the attention of the public and let them know why this event is interesting and how they can profit from it.
I'm really motivated about music itself. I think it's very important that we have an event in Amsterdam that brings new talent and new developments to the fore and provides a platform for topics like these to be discussed.
I'm no expert on all the various types of music but what I think is one of the strongest things about the ADE, is that we've never arranged the night program ourselves. We co-operate with the clubs in the city, but ultimately give them a certain amount of freedom to come up with their own special program. That's the key to our success - the fact you can say to a promoter at Paradiso, "If you can put on a special night that you normally wouldn't do, then we'll be willing to put in some money as well".
We look at it like we are utilising all the expertise of those clubs for our event - over 30 promoters with their own knowledge and their own network of contacts! It's great to see people doing that for us and this ultimately leads to us coming up with an even bigger and broader program!
Was that how the Amsterdam Dance Event also started? Can you tell me something about the history of the ADE?
Yeah, although it was much smaller back then with just three venues: Melkweg, Paradiso and Escape, which at the time, were the biggest clubs in town.
The ADE started 10 years ago because a few people in the Dutch music industry felt that something was missing. You had the Winter Music Conference in Miami, but in Europe, where dance music is much more popular, there was simply nothing; no platform where the suits from the industry could come together. There were events organized for pop music but not necessarily for dance music.
The ADE just came from a great idea to organize an event with the city of Amsterdam as the background. Amsterdam is the ideal location as it's centrally located: between London, Berlin and Paris. It's easy to travel to Amsterdam from those places and furthermore, it has a great club scene.
That was how things were 10 years ago when we first started the ADE. Besides that a lot of good music was coming out of Amsterdam, so we decided to set up something; something which has actually now outgrown itself. The ADE has now become a platform for people from the music industry as well as a festival with a lot of up-and-coming acts, mainly from Europe.
What have been some memorable moments and highlights for you in the past 10 years?
Theo Parrish at Paradiso! He was extremely good! It wasn't garage, nor techno but somewhere in between. Yeah, I remember there was a very special vibe. Another year we had a Berlin night with Sascha Funke which was really, really good. I heard some pretty cool stuff there that night!
Armin van Buuren at one of his first ever shows was also another really good one. I think it was at Escape in 1998. Actually there are tons of memorable moments such as the smaller shows at the Amuse venue, Legowelt at Fantasio and of course Derrick May vs Francois K at Panama in 2003. That was probably the first time in the history of ADE that people couldn't get into a club because it was too packed!
Last year it was definitely Blackstrobe at 11 that did it for me!
"Cocoon from Germany is doing a special event showcasing their artists with Jacek Sienkiewicz, Pascal FEOS, Frank Lorber and Toni Rios among others".
Is the organisation of nights totally up to the individual organizers or do you give them some advice and tips as well? I imagine that you don't want organisers coming up with the exact same program as last year. Also, I'd think you have to address the latest musical trends and all that...
Each night is set up is by the organizations and promoters. We can't really just dictate to them what to do. What also happens is that people approach us like what happened with the Music Export Office in Denmark who really wanted to do something at the ADE. If there's a venue available we try to hook them up with the right people and make it work!
This year, Cocoon from Germany is doing a special event showcasing their artists with Jacek Sienkiewicz, Pascal FEOS, Frank Lorber and Toni Rios among others. In our opinion, Cocoon is a really serious partner because they're doing so many different things linked to the dance scene. Our idea was to give them a night where they could do exactly what they wanted.
Paul van Dyk is another good example of this because most of the time we approach artists and ask them if they're interested in doing something at ADE. This time around Paul asked us if he could get involved not as a DJ but as a contributor to the conference itself. As you might know he's one of the keynote speakers this year!
Eventually we were able to put Ferry Corsten together with Paul van Dyk which has resulted in an interesting night (Loud.Electronic.Ferocious) at Escape this year!
Do you expect that event to attract a little more attention than most or are you not allowed to say that? Like what happens in Miami, where there are always a handful of events that are the most talked about during the week of the conference
There are always going to be events with the bigger, more popular artists. So yeah, Paul van Dyk will definitely attract more people than a Danish showcase (laughs). However it's still interesting though.
Just like the Finnish showcase at DeSmet 2 years ago and the Berlin showcase the day after. Those guys from Berlin really packed that room!
The hype about Miami is that everything is outstanding, so Miami definitely lives up to the hype and knows how to keep it alive! But if you think a lot happens during the week in Miami I can assure you that there'll be more to do at the ADE this year!
There are a lot of clubs in Amsterdam that are not even part of the official program but are still doing something interesting in that week. Miami is America, and Miami is big but we definitely don't consider ourselves inferior. We have a few very special events and artists so we could go one for one with them any day!
Are there any special artists performing this year that were on your wish list and were booked way in advance?
We really wanted to do something with Paul van Dyk this year and as you already know, he's one of the keynote speakers this year. We're very happy to have him on one of the panels at this, the tenth edition. He's a person who's been involved in this scene for a long time. He's also someone who's continually been doing new stuff in music.
And the legendary Bob Moog, of course. Unfortunately he died on August 21 at the age of 71. That was really sad as we had been trying to get Bob Moog to the Amsterdam Dance Event for 2 years!
We're still busy finalizing the panels for the conference. To give you a sneak preview: we're going to do a panel about all online and mobile developments like concerts on your mobile phone, digital downloads - the future of the music industry!
Besides that we have other interesting topics such as the future of electronic music and what can we learn from the rock community? The rock community has so much more experience than the dance community if you look at live events. They both share the same ideas and production problems so we want to hook up those two groups of people. That's something that wouldn't have been possible years ago! Before you would never have seen the organizers of an event like Dance Valley at a festival like Pinkpop and vice versa.
"...if you think a lot happens during the week in Miami I can assure you that there'll be more to do at the ADE this year!"
You're also visited other (dance) music conferences abroad such as Popkomm (Germany), Midem (France), the WMC (USA), Sonar (Spain) and recently London Calling (UK). What's the main difference between these conferences and the ADE?
Popkomm and Midem are mainly about, and for, the music industry in general. Popkomm is more for the 'alternative guitar sound' while a conference like WMC in Miami is more focused on garage/house as well as those who are trying to start their career as a DJ. Sonar is more like a festival offering a lot of 'intelligent dance music' while we like to think of ourselves as a conference.
The Amsterdam Dance Event is for those who have been into this a bit longer, the professionals, a connoisseur-festival staging a lot more talent. It's similar to another event organized by Conamus called "Noorderslag". Although that's more of a 'guitar' festival it has a feel about similar to that of the ADE. It's also about talent and doing business.
ADE also has a very broad programme ranging from Dutch artists like Legowelt to DJ Jean. It has everything Holland has to offer (and beyond).
ADE is both a conference as well as a festival and nowadays people can also join the Live Dance Music Conference (LDMC) as well. Is this for live performing artists?
No, the Live Dance Music Conference is for the 'live presentation' of dance music. In the same way that ADE is like a platform for the record industry there also should be a platform for people in the live industry.
Whether the music performed comes from a record, a live band or a computer, that doesn't really matter. LDMC is for those people involved in bringing artists live to a stage. Think of organizations, promoters, artist managers, booking agencies involved in various dance events and clubs.
The live-thing is definitely having a comeback. The most exciting events are mostly those events where there is a DJ and a live performance.
Imagine: I am 18 years old and a brilliant producer. Why should I go to ADE and what should I do once I get there?
First, you have to register. Then once you're registered you will receive an access code to our database so you'll be able to see who's attending ADE this year. You can then contact them via our database to try and meet up with them.
Beforehand you should think carefully about what your goal at ADE is. Do you want a label deal? Do you want a distribution deal? Do you want to perform live in the future? So, do you want to talk to the people of Roskilde, Defected or Intergroove in Germany? They will all be there at the Felix Meritis so you should make the most of it!
If you're a starting producer or DJ you definitely should visit D3 on the Saturday! You will get the opportunity to join workshops from guys like Derrick May! There are several workshops about producing and playing music and all the issues you have to deal with as a beginner producer or DJ.
ADE and D3 (which stands for Dutch DJ Day and is held on the 3rd Day of the Amsterdam Dance Event) are in the same building. ADE is more for the professionals while D3 is for people who are at the beginning of their career. We combine these two events because we would like to see people crossing over between the two during the day!
The tenth edition of the Amsterdam Dance Event will take place on October 27th, 28th and 29th at Felix Meritis and selected venues in Amsterdam.
Published / Thursday, 06 October 2005