There's no reason why you can't teach yourself to produce these days. But what then? This is one of the questions that London Electronic Music Event addressed, with the other being how to achieve a professional production standard. After the success of last year's inaugural event, Sample Magic, a company with a broader scope than just samples, made the decision to carry on with it. The studio spaces of Rich Mix, at the top of Brick Lane, made for a modern and stimulating setting for some two hundred aspiring young people hoping to broaden their scope.
London Music Event was essentially a condensed all-around education for an electronic musician hoping to make a living from his or her art. The first half of the day was filled with talks, mostly technical. Some focused on tightening up specific areas (Creative Compression Techniques, EQ Masterclass), and others framed techniques in some kind of wider topic (House Grooves, Techno Grooves, Arrangement). The subjects were taught clearly, and included a healthy sprinkling of neat tricks and useful tools. There could have been more emphasis on developing artistic style and creativity, though. (And less on sidechain compression.) There was plenty on managing a career, from self-promotion and getting that first release, to monetization in the digital age, to legal aspects such as contracts and copyright. It all nicely straddled mainstream and underground, too. There was some talk of EDM, though the subject was received with ambivalence each time.
Two of the big draws were the interviews with Goldie and Rekids co-founders James Masters and Matt Edwards (AKA Radio Slave). There was a lot to take away from each. Goldie, as you'd expect, had tales to tell, which he did with the energy of a 12-year-old, though he also included the odd tip for us youngsters. James Masters and Radio Slave laid open a broad range of experience on running a record label, including how to get started, the activities involved, and the pitfalls. There were bountiful nuggets of industry insight, like the way !K7's pressing and distribution work for Ghostly was central to popularising Matthew Dear and his label in Europe.
Everyone was included; there was lots of time for Q&A in all the talks and lectures. The Networking 101 session was, in fact, simply guided discourse between delegates. Even outside of the talks, it was clear that the organisers had taken care to create a comfortable situation to chat and network—to build confidence for real-world situations. All of this resulted in a vibrant, fertile atmosphere: a space to learn, to throw around ideas, and to ultimately develop a positive mindset. As a wannabe musician, you spend a lot of time feeling like a music career is outside the realms of reality. By the end of the weekend, you felt like it wasn't.