Amsterdam Dance Event: DJ-Driven Seminars Shine

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ADE 14: More than 5,000 attended conference portion.
Amsterdam, Holland – This past October 15-19, the DJ and electronic-music worlds descended on The Netherlands for Amsterdam Dance Event. As usual, DJ Times was there to cover the conference and festival portions of the show. Additionally, DJ Times teamed with Facebook, shooting videos with some of the world’s top DJs. Check out our Facebook page, where we’ll be posting videos throughout the week.

According to organizers, ADE drew 5,200 conference visitors and 350,000 festival visitors for 400 events at 125 venues in and around Amsterdam. While the clubs and arenas filled up each evening, ADE delegates made it out to the Felix Meritis Centre and the nearby Dylan Hotel for the majority of the conference panel, seminar and Q&A sessions. Some highlights:

On the “How to Connect with Brands” session, moderated by Beatport’s Matt Adell, panelists explained how DJs have benefitted by working with various brands. However, entertainment attorney Ed Shapiro offered some guidance for DJs. “Don’t try to get sponsorships until you know who you are and what you stand for as an artist,” he cautioned. “Don’t just try to get a check because you may not be helping your own brand. These days, people can see through it. When you’re ready, work with a brand you believe in.”

During Dave Clarke’s Q&A with film-score legend Hans Zimmer, the four-time Grammy winner urged DJ/producer/artists to try to maintain one’s musical curiosity. “Remember,” he said, “electronic music isn’t based in blues or old American music. It’s our music and it’s ours to re-invent and make our own rules with. It’s a relatively new path and it’s wide open for you.”

Post Q&A: Laurent Garnier with Dave Haslam.
Moderated by U.K. journo Jonty Skrufff, ADE’s “Gamechangers” panel featured a quartet of heavy hitters: DJ legend Paul Oakenfold, multi-genre pioneer Jean-Michel Jarre, Native Instruments CEO Daniel Haver and groundbreaking producer Arthur Baker.

“You must have belief and work ethic when you’re trying to do something new, when you’re trying to convince other people about your musical beliefs—but it’s also about timing,” said Oakenfold. “Everyone knows the story about how I helped bring Acid House to the U.K., but the first time we tried that it was a failure! The time wasn’t right, but we were patient, we maintained our belief and eventually people began to understand this new music. But we had to re-introduce it when the U.K. club scene was ready for it.

“Even when I was the first DJ to play a big residency, people thought I was nuts, but I stuck to my beliefs and I knew that Vegas was going to be the next big thing—now look at it!”

Sensing opportunity and maintaining dedication were themes that N.I.’s Haver highlighted: “In starting the company [in 1996], I realized there was a chance that I could influence the music I like—electronic music—with studio products,” he recalled. “But really, I had no doubt about success. It was dead obvious. You just had to look at the rest of the industry to see that the computer was the future of music-making. Then as now, I believed in my convictions and I believed in shooting high.”

Music & Film: Hans Zimmer drops science.
Laurent Garnier’s Q&A with U.K. DJ/journalist Dave Haslam offered oodles of delicious tidbits from the legendary French DJ’s career. An amusing anecdote about the making of his most famous cut, “The Man With the Red Face,” revealed that the track’s title was taken from the exasperated expression worn by saxophonist Phillippe Nadaud just after he’d finished recording his famous part. During Nadaud’s solo in the studio, Garnier attempted to push him farther out musically by riding him with a string of expletives. When Nadaud finished blowing his sax for 15 straight minutes, he was livid from the abuse and bright red—a curious title for a classic track was born.

As for DJing, Garnier pushed the value of a residency. “A regular residency is vital for a DJ and for a city,” he said. “Why the Paris scene survived was because of the big nights and the residencies. Otherwise, the scene won’t grow from the inside or shine from the outside. It’s a luxury for a DJ to have, say, eight hours to play. You have to dig deeper—people don’t want to listen to the same thing every week. So, for me at the Rex club in Paris, I grew with the crowd and played long, varied sets. Traveling as a DJ can be lonely, but a residency is like having people over to your house.”

Garnier also discussed his longtime friendship with fellow Frenchman David Guetta, another former Rex resident. The two obviously went different directions musically—Garnier as an underground legend, Guetta as a chart-topping artist—but the two remain close and even rib each other about their chosen paths.

“David,” recalled Garnier, “is the same as he was when he was a DJ who played commercial hip-hop and dance—that’s always what he wanted to do! So, these days he’ll try to push me to bigger things and say to me, ‘Oh, Laurent, you can do so much more!’

“And I’ll say to him, ‘But David, you could do so much less!’”