What can I tell you about ADE 2014 that hasn’t already been said? Well, it was truly the most hectic, exhausting and busiest week I’ve had as a member of the press. From random meetings to arranged chats, Amsterdam buzzed with an energy for the whole week and now a month on, I can safely say I still feel as invigorated and inspired by everyone I met and everything I saw.
We captured over 30 video interviews from a range of artists including Drumcomplex and Roal Salemink at a busy bar, Matt Sassari and Da Fresh ahead of a massive gig, and a host of friends old and new telling us their ADE stories and experiences. Most of the interviews occurred naturally, we were in the right place at the right time. Others we couldn’t have done without the help of our camera crews’ intrepid guide Lars Roos and my friend and ClubNL promoter Juuriaan Pijpers. Their local knowledge and impressive contacts ensured Decoded Magazines’ first ADE was a memorable experience. Our film crew consisted of Manual music artists and professional film makers Amber Long and Robert Mason. Over the week we formed a close bond, and I can genuinely say they are two of the most wonderful people I have had the pleasure of meeting and calling friend. Darin Epsilon was also a delight to meet and chat with, I’ll never forget how animated and passionate he was when we discussed geeky production techniques on the edge of the dance floor as Hernan Cattaneo and Nick Warren began their set. One unique memory in a week of firsts.
My personal experience of ADE will differ from everyones simply because I actually spent no time in the conference halls. Filming began in earnest on the afternoon of the first day of conference; Sonny Wharton. A true professional, he allowed us to find a great location, did the interview and then spent the rest of the afternoon hanging out and chatting about music, life and the universe over beers and bitterballen. The weather for the whole week was really warm and the sunshine added a positive spin to proceedings; cafe culture never felt so good.
Over the next 6 days, our guerrilla camera crew walked, rode trams and took taxis the length and breadth of Amsterdam tracking down DJs, vocalists, producers and music industry insiders to give a real behind the scenes look at the business and the disparate parts which make such a glorious whole. Special mention should also go out to Joost Toast, for his hospitality at the Tom Hades meet and greet, and his professionalism during the filming of a reality series following one of his DJs – ANRI – living the dream.
As incredible as the days were, the nights were equally epic. Highlights for me being Hernan Cattaneo & Nick Warren back to back, and then following them up a week later to interview Hernan in the back of a promoters car for Decoded Radio. Watching Perspectives Label owner Darin Epsilon and Robin ‘Jaydee’ Albers work an savvy and up for it ClubNL at our official closing party in conjunction with Dutch DJ & Producer C-Jay from The Sessions at the infamous Club NL on the Sunday. A massive thank you to Darin Epsilon and Jaydee for making it a memorable night. Meeting and becoming friends with a truly international cast of music lovers and dance fans, and of course experiencing the highs and lows of a city with one of the most vibrant dance scenes in the world.
Across the city clubs, warehouses and bars bristled with a cosmopolitan blend of fansters, artists, singers, industry people and interested tourists. Venues as diverse as Roest, WesterUnie, ClubNL, Concertgebrow and many more were packed to the rafters all week and made every party the best it could be. Artists from all scenes were in attendance, mingling in the crowd; no VIP ropes here, and no matter which venue you were in the quality of the show and the attention to detail was second to none.
Amsterdam is a breathtakingly beautiful city. For those that call it home the canals and exquisite architecture are a daily indication of just how amazing city life can sometimes be. Even in the rain. The hotels chosen for the talks were incredible and the daily huddle of delegates outside them was a reminder of just how much passion there is for our music behind the scenes. These are the real heroes of dance music; the bookers, managers, PR agents and promoters. Without them the artists we love would never appear.
The Dutch are a wonderful people and Im personally greatly looking forward to next years ADE, so its with great sadness we hear that 3 people died during the festival, and our thoughts and deepest condolences go out to their families. For those attending next year, heres a few handy hints:-
1) Take a picture of the street you are staying in or the hotel sign. – My first night I spent an hour and a half drunkenly following my phones GPS map (upside down) trying to find my apartment
2) Learn some basic Dutch. Yes they speak English, but its polite. – And you never know, they might give you some free extras. We got a bottle of wine.
3) Spend at least a week before hand learning the layout of the city. You will get lost daily! – I got lost hourly on the first two days.
4) Plan what you want to see and make sure you have tickets. – Over 300 thousand people make the trip and the best shows sell out fast!
5) Expect to see famous people. Dont freak out! – I shook Todd Terry’s hand. Todd ‘The God’ Terry. He was hanging out with Marshall Jefferson and some other people I didn’t recognise. Across the street another film crew were interviewing Radio 1 DJ Dave Pearce and Trance legend John 00 Fleming. Then Marco Bailey and his gorgeous wife walked by. Surreal.
6) You will lose something, make sure you have a plan B! – For me it was my cash card. On day one. On my way TO conference. 3 days of frantic phone calls and waiting for Western Union later and I was back with a vengeance.
7) Take business cards if you plan to do business. – And expect to have a LOT given to you. The important thing to do then is to email everyone of them when home, politely thank them and begin the networking process. So much can be achieved that way from a simple introduction.
8) If you are taking time off from your job to go, take two weeks. – I was exhausted!
Until next year…