Amsterdam Dance Event 2018 was a decision in the spur of the moment. I decided to pump my credit card last minute (6 weeks before, -ish), and book an expensive hotel and expensive flight. It’s ADE after all, and all the people who mean something in the music industry are going to be there. Many things were the same as last year, so if you’ve never been to Amsterdam Dance Event, feel free to read this series, first.
This year, Katia has joined me on this adventure – actually going on an even bigger adventure herself. I understand, that some people might have had some hard feelings when I was telling them all the time: “Don’t count on me and don’t rely on me, if I decide to go, it will be on extremely short notice, go on your own if you want to”, and suddenly I’m turning up in Amsterdam with this cute Russian lady. The true story is, Katy plain told me she’s going with me, and while I did not believe one can get EU visas and everything sorted for ADE 3 weeks before the start, she did. On her own, with next to zero involvement from me. All I asked is, that she comes prepared to DJ.
Landing in Amsterdam
Before last year’s Amsterdam Dance Event, I took a bus to ‘Dam (the beauty of going on short notice) and back. And I swore I’ll never do it again. Even tho my flight ticket was pricier than my usual bookings, it didn’t ensure an on-time flight, which made Katia wait for me for 3 hours. She hates waiting.
Once in Amsterdam, everything went pretty much smooth, except for me being the usual idiot in public transportation.
Since we bought a day ticket, it wasn’t really that bad – and tram line #2 is considered a tourist attraction after all. We missed our stop, twice. Then we probably missed the right turn, and also the hotel entrance passing by as it would be just another building entrance. For some reason, signs in Amsterdam tend to be always placed over your head.
We also managed to grab our passes at the Centraal Station info point, which was in a different location than last year and was closed quite early together with the other shops in the passage.
After checking in at our hotel, packing out vodka, and me having coffee (I run on coffee during Amsterdam Dance Event), we went for quick sightseeing and food. I always take my special people to the best fries on Damrak called Mannekenpiss or something like that. You’ll easily spot it by a huge queue of tourists. I ask Katia to not allow me to enter Primark at all costs (haha, guess what…) and we go for a beer to another special place of mine: this pub next to the Pizzeria La Zoccola. Why is it special you ask? They were not open because of technical issues in their kitchen – and they still served us beer.
Business, but not so much business
One of the most important aspects of Amsterdam Dance Event is meeting people. Few days before ADE, Kevisen a.k.a. Cattaree reached out to me and I was super impressed with his music. So we had a nice chat about mostly music, the scene in Dubai, and how it works to grow as an artist from Mauritius. I’m sorry for his friend tho, who did not have many opportunities to jump into our conversation, as he’s not a musician. I always am, when this happens.
Together with Katia, we wrapped off the day by a nice romantic stroll down Red Light District. I got to bed reasonably early.
Conference day 1 – Wednesday
After grabbing goodie bags, I smuggled Katia into a meeting with Steffan from Sendmate, the ultimate killer of e-mails (not just) for musicians. I’m planning to see if it does! It’s a mailing list for Messenger if you feel like trying out.
After that, it was a quick rush (with an even quicker photobomb of Ferry Corsten – because that’s what I do at Amsterdam Dance Event, stupid shit to (mostly) embarrass my friends 😀 ) to the Creativity Keynote with the biggest takeaway: do 2 hours of cardio to induce creativity.
I was not much into going to hear the panel about The other family – how to live as a touring artist/manager together with having a family – but it was karma that made me come over. It was very nice and the key takeaway is: if your partner is not fully on board with your career, then it’s not going to work. You already know, that one thing I do during panels is grabbing the mic and asking questions like there’s no tomorrow. I was curious how Ferry balances his time with the family when he needs to be in the studio. Apparently, he does have specific times when he works in the studio unless he’s on a tight deadline.
Yann Pissenem provided an insight on how he’s running Hi and Ushuaia Ibiza. Basically, we all saw that: he’s got a serious pack of batteries, a very high tolerance for pain, and huuuuge amount of passion. I loved that and would sure as hell want to work with him. This would seriously be the highlight of Amsterdam Dance Event if there wouldn’t be…
… the Paul van Dyk Keynote. This is a childhood hero of mine. If you ask my mom, the only electronic musician she would know would be him, because I kept on rambling over and over about his music ever since I was 12.
The keynote was pure emotion. Of course, Paul’s life ever since the accident at ASOT is twisted and turned. There were not so many people in the room. But I’m sure everybody believed every emotional stuttering, every tear, and even the F-bomb when talking about nobody from ALDA ever calling him and asking how he is…
This keynote had an extensive Q&A, ranging from fan wishes and appreciation, through spiritual stuff, into questions like “are samples cheating?” (Yep, it’s 2018 and we still have monkeys asking this, duh). I took the opportunity to ask about Paul’s pre-show preparation. This consists of sleeping till 30 minutes before the show, while his tour manager does all security and gear preparations.
I am a party pooper
After that, we went for a pizza and tiramisu at the famous La Zoccola, followed by a not-so-short walk to the Rijksmuseum (where we took that epic picture). While Katy was buzzing from all the impressions, she fell asleep first, leaving it to me to wake us up for the party. Yeah, about that… All the food made me fall asleep (so we kinda missed the Melodic Deep party, blame is on me).
Conference Day 2 – Thursday
It was actually good to get some quality sleep, Thursday was pure hell in my calendar. So what’s the best way to start a hard day? The Red Bull Business Lounge, where I did a couple of meetings. The one that I was looking forward the most was actually outside of ADE organization.
Joey Suki, ex-DJ and awesome music producer, was hosting a Lunch & Learn session under his ArtistCoaching brand. Joey is the nicest person ever to talk to, and he knows his stuff real good. He’s exactly the type of person I learn from. It was a small session of about 15 people. We talked about and most importantly solved a lot of problems. We also had great food 😀
The greatest takeaway were brainworms. And an ultimate realization, that I need to build Dark Beauty with my label kids. As an artist on the front line. We either need to convince the underground we’re worthy. Or create our own alternate underground together. After I played gigs at locations most DJs only dream of, it sure makes sense. But I needed to hear it from people that have already done it and have a wide perspective to compare to.
De Brakke Grond
…was our next stop. It’s heaven for tech geeks and we both had fun with all the toys. I eventually ended up staying for a while with the small UNO Synth, grabbing the attention of one brand rep. Thanks, Mark, you did well. I already ordered.
Today was Katia’s day. She’s a big big San Holo fan, so we couldn’t miss his keynote about getting from bedroom to big room. Both Sander and Nathan Duvall were giving a lot of funny but true lifehacks for producers. Most notably “listen to a lot of bad music”. So, I decided to go to San Holo’s show later tonight, but not just yet.
After two days of failing to hit a club (duh), we started early today. FYM x Sudbeat x Soundgarden was an amazing event, in an even more amazing venue – Thuishaven. Oh, it was so refreshing to vibe with Hernan Cattaneo, Luke Warren, Blond:Ish, Atish, Audiofly, Marcelo Vasami and all the other amazing acts. The people were comprised of mostly the older generation, like me and upwards. This always means the floor is laid-back, with a lot of positive energy, and a lot of smiles. This daytime event finished at 23:00, so we had plenty of time to replenish and make our way to Melkweg.
A night with Bitbird
After a short stop at the hotel and McDonald’s, it wasn’t a long way to get to Melkweg. We basically only wanted to see San Holo, despite the fact Monstercat also hosted an event in the hall next door (with Noisia, we saw a bit).
It was a teen audience, so I basically just came for the music. San Holo played a 1-hour mix of his most known tracks, the audience was ecstatic. Tracks like Light and We Rise got under my skin as well already. The bad thing about this kind of parties is, that young guys tend to hunt for young pussy here. They don’t care much that they kinda are disrupting your intimate zone.
Ultimately, I was happy to head home, it was a very eventful day.
Want to be the change you want to see in the music industry? You are coming to the ADE Hackathon. The brightest minds in the scene, reunited. Ok, not so much, only a couple from last year attended.
I got the opportunity to mentor my own team. This was one of the major goals for Dark Beauty this year. We built a carpooling platform for ravers. It’s simple, it takes you home or whatever you call home (like afterparty). Best thing? You already paid with your festival ticket, so no hassle at all. 2 clicks, a message from the driver waiting for you outside, and you’re on your way.
We didn’t win, because crazy frogs from France came up with planting trees in Minecraft. You see them growing at the festival. It is an extremely amazing idea, having in mind the generation of ravers that are growing up now.
We also DJ-ed for quite some time back2back with Katia, on a stage under the DGTL logo. And it definitely didn’t go unnoticed. After seeing us play, I got a couple of contacts. They are going to (possibly) help me do the Dark Beauty label night next year.
Speaking of which, I’m probably going to take a break from ADEHack…or not 🙂
The cherry on top – Guy J
Unfortunately, Katy needed to go to the airport almost instantly after the 24 hours of hacking have been over. But she sure looked pretty inspired, which always makes me happy.
I needed to sleep for 3 hours so I could at least get my way to Lost&Found boat party. No need to say it was amazing, but it truly was. More events like this in my life, with people who are able to enjoy a party in such a positive mood, would surely be appreciated. I even met a few of people from the front row from 2017, unfortunately not everyone 🙁 . It was a cherry on top of this year’s Amsterdam Dance Event.
Big plans for next year
Martin wants to go in style for Amsterdam Dance Event 2019 and I’m sure I’d love to join. On the other hand, the kids want a houseboat. This is indeed an insanely good setting for studio/party/networking time.
I’m also preparing a label night, which will probably turn out to be an afterparty. It’s definitely not certain it will happen. But I have a plan, and that’s what the label kids always love to hear. They know they usually work out. It’s already quite late to work with venues, but I have a handful I’m going to work with, Soon™.