THROWBACK THURSDAY: How Our Lives Have Changed Since Amsterdam Dance Event

Posted by on November 14, 2013


 Just one short month after attending the Amsterdam Dance Event in the Netherlands, VMan and I bring you nothing but the best coverage of the event, including a first hand understanding of how the Dutch produce such great DJs and the aftermath of how our lives have changed since the festival. Expect to be ready to purchase a plane ticket to next year’s ADE upon completion.

Annnnnd go!


ADE was a music conference, festival, and playground that covered practically every base of anything related to electronic music that for 5 days and nights, took over the entire city of Amsterdam. Think SXSW-but in Europe. During the day, ADE hosted press releases, conferences, DJing and producing workshops and much more, split between two beautiful rented-out boutique hotels downtown for current, upcoming, and aspiring individuals in the music industry. But it wasn’t until the nighttime that they city really came alive. To give you an idea-

Festival attendees: 300,000
Conference attendees: 5,000
Playground attendees: 5,500
Clubs & venues: 115
Official Events: 300
Official Artists: 2156
Journalists & Media: 460
Speakers: 317
Nationalities: 75
Kilometers traveled by bike: 90,200
(We’re talking about the Netherlands here, I had to)


You would never know it was VMan and I’s first time meeting IRL judging by the fire in our shoes as we hit the town and set the weekend off right for our first night at the festival: we were like a lean, mean hustlin’ machine. Mostly VMan though, but he’s got a few years on me so I’m working on it. Anyways, after our brief introduction we made our way over to a small club called Bitterzoet to catch a DJ Snake x Netherlands natives, Yellow Claw. Y’all should know by now that DJ Snake is an FNT all-star and his set was even more turnt than what I had anticipated after catching his Tomorrowworld live stream. High energy, great hype, and a dynamic range of genres from drum & bass, trap, hip hop, and whatever else you could possible mix in there. It was wild. Yet Yellow Claw managed to step it up a notch, playing such a filthy set that an unstoppable mosh pit took over the dance floor. Thursday was only the first day, and yet it was already a contender for the best day.

But hustlin’ isn’t all fun and games. Friday morning started early with back to back meetings and conferences back at the ADE Pro headquarters, meeting with label reps and record representatives, and networking with every next bystander during those short few minutes in between. What I took away most from it – learning to sell your brand (or music) while attempting to establish a memorable, personal impression in under 10 minutes. Business can always be discussed over email at a later date, what you really had to do was show off what you had that would make the person on the other side of the table wanting more. Even opening up to people on an informal basis seemed to please others and ease the mood. But it’s important to know how to play both cards, and even more importantly, to know when.

After a long day’s work, ADE provided a plethora of potential adventures for festival goers. The biggest, however, might have been the Calvin Harris x Tiesto showcase at the Ziggo Dome. I’m not much of a big room house type of girl myself but… well, see for yourself.

VMan and I managed to scrounge up every last bit of energy we had for Saturday because boy were we going to need it. The ADE Pro headquarters were packed to the brim with industry folks networking on one floor, top DJs lecturing on the next, and youth from all around the world participating in workshops and creative sessions on the rest. All my wildest dreams came true that afternoon, however, when I made it just in the nick of time to steal a second row seat in the DJ Shadow lecture.

The 41-year-old American producer, who I consider to be one of the godfathers of electronic music, discussed his past and his roots in hip hop; his present career, including the production of the GTA 5 soundtrack; and the infamous incident at a Miami club of being “too future.”  Here are some of our favorite snippets from the talk, many of which touched a lot on the present issues within the music industry today.

 “I started DJing because I wanted to share the music that I felt was under appreciated.”

“You got the DJs on the big billboards, and then you have the underground. I think it should be that way. Not everything should be the same.”

“I understand when people get upset that you’re not still doing the same thing, but I can only explain over and over that I don’t know how to repeat myself.”

“The thing that excites me most about music right now, because I’m so beat, drum focused, I like hearing a track and hearing the labor and effort that went into a good sequence of drums… when I hear beats that trick my ear and make me stop and really think, ‘Wow I’ve never heard drums do that before,’ that’s what I like. That’s what I’m looking for is a track that invents a new language of rhythms.” 

That night, VMan and I hit the We Love Amsterdam showcase at Club Air to experience some of that underground and under appreciated music DJ Shadow talked about. The main room featured deep house selections from the likes of DJs such as Cajmere and Duke Dumont, along with the coolest crowd I think I’ve ever witnessed at a show. There were people of every age, every style, every type of dance move, you name it. The crowd was enjoying the music in a way that did not worship a big LED screen and C02 cannon set up, nor the celebrity status of the DJ in front of it, rather they were just all dancing and having a good time.

Our favorite discover of the night was the underground room at Air (fitting, right?), where Sean Brosnan of Needwant Records was dropping an eclectic mix of deep house and funk music in a blacklight lit room where it was literally impossible to stand still. UK artist Greg Wilson kept the energy going with his live mixing and groovy tunes. Dancing the night away to good vibes and even better jams was the best way to end the weekend.




Most heard songs of the weekend (according to ADE):
1) Green Velvet – Bigger Than Prince (The Martinez Brothers Remix) [Circus]
2) Knife Party – Lrad [Earstorm/big Beat Records]
3) Martin Garrix – Animals [Spinnin’ Records]
4) Showtek Feat. We Are Loud! & Sonny Wilson – Booyah [Spinnin’ Records]
5) Deorro – Yee [Revealed Recordings]
6) Technasia – I Am Somebody [Suara]
7) Dvbbs & Borgeous – Tsunami [Doorn Records]
8) John Christian – Flight 643 [Musical Freedom]
9) Makj & M35 – Revolution [Doorn Records]
10) Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike Vs. Sander Van Doorn – Project T (Martin Garrix Remix) [Spinnin’ Records]

What we actually remember hearing (worth sharing):
1) The unrealeased DJ Snake & Dillon Francis collab, “Get Low”
2) Benoit & Sergio – Shake Shake (my personal favorite from the weekend)
3) Eelke Kleijn – Ein Tag Am Strand
4) Martin Garrix – Animals
(which pretty much goes without saying b/c you hear it everywhere)



A lot. Which is why it’s taken so long to write this review.

First and for most, the music industry is huge, and I mean way bigger than you could imagine. There are so many parts to it, so many people working to keep this evolving and exponentially growing entity alive and on the right path. There are the upcoming producers giving birth to new sounds and genres, there are the veterans who have pioneered the way and are using their wisdom to educate the young, and then there’s the fan base, a group of people who just show up to hear the music and have a good time and while they may feel unaffiliated with the inner workings of the industry, in reality, they are pretty much the key to it’s survival.

Now, at the same time, there are a lot of people who are bringing the rest of us down and looking at the world of electronic music with dollar signs in their eyes. These are the guys that walk around the conference in a designer get-up with their iPad Mini, showing off a music video that looks like a sequence of Tumblr images played in slow-mo along to a progressive house beat with predictable drops and a generic female vocal. And I can’t even tell you how many of these guys I saw. I’d watch their clip and think, Seriously? This guy thinks this song is going to be it? There’s so much shit people who care about electronic music have been fighting to get rid of, you know, the drug stigma, the button pushers, the big hype, and here we were at one of the most forward thinking music festivals and conferences in Europe and this guy is trying to show me something that was hot about five years ago. This wasn’t about the music, this was a scam.

Being one of the youngest people, not to mention 1 out of an estimated 10 females at the day time conferences (I won’t even touch on that because that’s a whole other story), I became really frustrated with this. I was frustrated by the fact that people chuckled when they saw “STUDENT” written on my press pass. I was annoyed that virtually no one took advantage of the fact VMan and I were representing a blog, one of the most efficient ways (cost and traffic, speaking) to broadcast new music. I was bothered by the fact that I was approached by a camera crew from BPM TV who, after asking me about my favorite producers, stared blankly at me and proceeded to inquire about who I thought would rank in the DJ Mag Top 10, to which I stared blankly right back at them.

“Everyone wants to be the best at what they do… On the other hand, I think the list is a little bit silly. How can you compare the sound of Carl Cox to Sasha or Paul Oakenfold? You don’t compare The Beatles to The Rolling Stones, do you?”
-Armin van Buuren, on his sentiments regarding the DJ Mag Top 100

I guess what I’m trying to say is two things here. One, like I stated before, is that the electronic music industry is huge. And by that I mean bigger than Dutch house producers and any type of house producers, for that matter. There was a fair representation of artists from around Europe and South Africa, shockingly, but what’s coming out of the underground from places like Australia or the West Coast, the shit that I listen to and what we post on this blog, was not represented at all whatsoever. Which is fine, those places are pretty far from the Netherlands anyways. But when I offer someone my two cents about the type of “electronic music” and age group I stand for and get brushed aside is when I feel the need to challenge the authority of the people in this game who are in it for the money and not the music. Which leads me to my second point and that is, on a bit of a brighter note, the importance of the youth in the future of this music. ADE, without a doubt, provided top of the line technology and electronic gurus for their student workshops. Additionally, ADE sponsored events that were held at some of the sickest venues I’ve ever seen with some of the best technical and audio production. But why was there such a difference in the dynamic during the day then there was at night? Why were the people working behind the scenes of music distancing themselves from the people who enjoy it most? Music is an art; it is not sterile, it is not something that has a recipe for success (even though sometimes it kind of does), it is a living, breathing virtue, for some even a lifestyle. I hope that the people who will find the most reward are those who have the right intentions and open minds. Not those who limit both themselves and the genre, like creating a career trajectory just to land a single-digit spot in a magazine. How do they even define “DJ” anyway?!? 

ADE was an incredible, eye-opening experience. I love nothing more than exploring a new city and stumbling upon new music, especially when it’s live. But discovering these things that I would change about the industry only gave me so much more passion to actually get out there and do so. So thank you Amsterdam for your hospitality and opportunities. As for the rest of the world?

You better watch out cuz we’re coming for you next.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,