Amsterdam Dance Event: Big Numbers, Vast Perspectives & Morning Glee

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Amsterdam, Holland – According to organizers, the 18th annual Amsterdam Dance Event was a record-setting endeavor.

Held this past Oct. 16-20 at Amsterdam’s Felix Meritis Centre and the nearby Dylan Hotel, the conference portion of ADE drew more than 5,000 global delegates/industry professionals for its slate of seminars, keynotes and panels. Meanwhile, more than 300,000 fans/attendees hit the area’s music venues to see 2,156 artists perform. All those numbers represent new standards for the show, according to Remko Gorter, ADE’s Marketing & Communication Director.

The last two days of ADE saw DJ Times hitting a variety of conference programs and evening events. On Saturday’s keynote interview, DJ Shadow discussed his influential career, which included a landmark album (1996’s Endroducing…), his bit of controversy (being asked off the decks at a notorious 2012 show at Miami’s Mansion club) and his views on the evolution of the DJ.

DJ Shadow: "There are 2 kinds of DJs now..."

DJ Shadow: “There are 2 kinds of DJs now…”

“I grew up in the hip-hop world, not the rave scene,” Shadow asserted to a room of Euro DJs who most certainly experienced the opposite. “So, for us, it was about having secrets. It was about digging in crates, finding that record that nobody had, presenting the music differently—things like that. Turntablism was about DJs reasserting themselves back into hip-hop, which had begun to use DATs and dancers at gigs in the place of DJs, although DJing was at the very root of hip hop. But as the hip-hop-DJ scene kind of evaporated, you had to find your way in, and find a new audience.

“But right now, I see DJs basically in two camps. First, you have the DJ as demigod with the confetti and the CO2 cannons—and mostly commercial music. Then, you have the reaction to all that. You can call it more musically adventurous, underground, or whatever you want. I think bass music served that purpose for a minute. But to me, that’s where it is at the moment.”

Of the South Beach debacle, Shadow sort of shrugged his shoulders. “I’ve done all kinds of shows all over the world, playing 45s or using big production and everything in between,” he said. “But what I’ve learned is that once every seven or eight shows, there’s a night that just doesn’t hit. I used to worry and obsess about that, but you can’t control it. It might be the crowd that night. It might be you. It might be the venue. It might be the night of the week or the weather, anything—you can’t control it.

“That’s what happened in Miami. You just roll with it. I’m not trying to make the audience love me; I’m presenting music, if you get the difference. And I still like to confront the audience, like, ‘If you hated that, then check this one out!’

Onto Evening Events: On Friday at Panama’s “Full On” party, fans were treated to a rousing B2B set from Adrian Lux and Ferry Corsten, which had ascending melodies accentuated with crashing breakdowns and stuttering breakbeats—a little bit trance, a lot big-room progressive.

Over at Melkweg later that night, Dave Clarke, as he does, simply crushed it with a laser-filled set of techno—both futuristic and elemental. Once again, his main room went bananas. In the side room, “second-wave” Detroiter Kenny Larkin bombed the tighter confines with a set of rattling rousers, prime groovers and soulful tone poems. The messy Melkweggers responded with sustained early-morning glee.

Dank u, ADE! See you next year!