I arrived in Amsterdam at 2pm local time on Wednesday the 21st of October, I had to rush to get from the plane to my hostel before 4 o'clock or else I lost my bed. My damn credit card didn't even have enough on it to cover one night. That Access Virus cleaned me out. What can ya do?
So I get a shower and make my way down to the Felix Meritis to register and then onto the Dylan Hotel for a drinks reception courtesy of Pioneer and my first meeting of the event with ELSD creative. I was actually shocked at how organised these guys were. They had a binder full of print outs for each person they were meeting. I felt pretty inadequate with my RTE business cards!! I drank there for a while and caught up with a familiar face or two and met lots of new people which was cool. Caught up with the guys from Process recordings for a bit, they had a wicked release recently with Abe Duque and the Dark Prince himself, Blake Baxter (check it out btw). Cool heads. That was really funny.
I went back to my hostel then with every intention of going out that night but I got wasted. The hostel was just too much fun. I had a busy three days and nights ahead of me anyway so I wasn't too worried.
I woke up Thursday and got down to the Felix for a busy day of panels. Some really interesting stuff on at that time. First up was the "Do DJs need Managers" panel hosted by James Bullock from Elite Management and included panelists such as Dave Clarke, Arash Shirazi (Bullitt), Bjorn Schipper (Bousie Lawyers) and Mason. I caught up with James and Arash after the panel to discuss. Then I made my way to the "DJ Industry" panel hosted by Eamonn Ford and featured Nick Warren, Olga Heijins (Unmanageable Artists), Martje Kremers (Decked Out) and Martin Gontad (Creamfields BA). I interviewed Nick Warren and Eamonn after the panel. The panel was a positive discussion about the modern DJ and what she/he needs to do to make it.
Then I met up with a trusty Irish woman for a drink at the bar ;) and got introduced to Dutch producer Patch Park who is doing some cool stuff with the crew from White Noise. I interviewed him and he some interesting music with him. I then interviewed James Nidecker and Roderick Fox from Strom Recordings; another Dutch label. James runs the label and Roderick is one of his producers. Chatted with James before on the phone and it was good to catch up. He's working hard with the label and pushing out a lot of new Dutch talent.
From there I hit the artist debate featuring DJ Bone, Henrik Schwarz, Chris Liebing, Joris Voorn and Armin Van Burin. This was one of the most anticipated panels for me. It was like waiting for a fight after school. Bone and Van Burin sitting side by side. All was good natured in the end and the panel went pretty well. Topics covered were the modern DJ, Digital, business end stuff, Independant vs Major labels. After that I hit the bar again and then had a good chat with DJ Bone. I admire what this dude stands up for. God knows somebody has to step up for the art-form of the DJ which is sadly becoming a novelty or an idealistic view of days gone by. Far from it. As Bone argued, most guys on a laptop couldn't do what he does with three turntables. Which is a fair point. It is also important to mention that Bone caught Josh Wink the night before and enjoyed his set which was on a laptop. If every laptop DJ could play like that, it wouldn't be so bad. But the laptop allows people to become DJs who wouldn't have otherwise cut it. In this sense talent is being bypassed. This is the word according to Bone. Keep an eye out for Subject Detroit in the next few months. Lots of releases on the way....
Thursday night then I caught some of the SuperRauw & Decked Out party at the Melkweg which featured Boys Noize (Boys Noize Records, DE), Dj Mehdi (Ed Banger Records, FR), Brodinski (Turbo Recordings, FR), Jamaica (Unsunned, FR) live, Joost van Bellen (Rauw, NL), VJ : 00KAAP (Rauw, NL). I left there to catch the Freerange party but sadly I got to the venue too late. It was full. It was too late at that stage to check the Innervisions party. I got back to the hostel and played chess with a dude that couldn't speak English. I think he was Argentinian. Great game. I lost!
Friday, now Friday was a big day. This day was all about the 4 Years of Ceoltronic Birthday Show: A Day with Minus. That broadcasts on the 3rd of December. I got up, watched the Richie Hawtin Slices documentary on my laptop and burnt some CD demos.
I made my way to the Dylan Hotel and there I was at 3pm standing in at Richie Hawtin's panel at the conference. He hosted a panel on the direction of electronic music from a legal sense, a technology sense, a DJ sense and his overall view on the direction of real time interaction between artists and their audience during a performance. He is looking at the idea of integrating artists who are in their studio at home into a live show in real time. Probably not possible at the moment but these are the kind of ideas Richie thinks about.
From there I made my way to the GSUS store. This is a clothes shop but on this day it played host to Magda, Ambivalent and Richie Hawtin. The place was seriously rammed. Getting in the door itself was a mission. But I got in and it was rockin. GSUS could have been mistaken for a sauna that day. I caught up with Magda briefly before her set. The place was seriously crazy. The crowd was quite young which is good to see. God knows a number of dance clubs in Ireland have struggled to attract a younger audience on a regular basis.
After that I had to go for a shower. That place was roasting! I made my way down to the Melkweg where there was a preview screening of the "Making Contakt" DVD. This was a behind the scenes look at the production behind the hugely successful Minus Contakt tour last year. Ups, downs, good gigs, bad gigs, it was all in there. I must say I really enjoyed it. Getting a look at a production of that scale was really informative. Richie and Ali Demirel (Visual Artist) answered questions after then screening. Before that though I caught up with Richie to chat about his involvement in the ADE that year and of course the Contakt tour. I was lucky enough to have caught the Contakt show in Amsterdam last year and I have to say it was the best electronic music showcase I have ever seen. Turns out it was also one of their best shows of the tour if not the best so I was seriously lucky.
From the Melkweg I strolled down to the Metro at Grand Central and made my way out to the Powerzone. Taxi would have cost an absolute fortune! Once I arrived, I got my press passes and learned that I was one of four people with the privilege. On the night, Richie, Magda, Ambivalent, Barem, Hobo and JPLS played. I caught up with Ambivalent and Barem as well as Ali Demirel. I'm a massive fan of his work, a true artist. From then on in the show was a real pleasure. Music was great, DJing was great, beer was great. Cool crew of people I have to say. The gig finished and I was lucky enough to get a lift close to Central. Life saver. I was talking to a woman that turned out to be a wrestler and I'm pretty sure she had intentions of raping me! She was kinda pushing me and shit. I bailed on that situation :)
I got back to the Hostel to find a few people still up. Winded down with a beer and hit the hay. I set 5 alarms to make sure I got up on Saturday. Another big day ahead. I got up, got my compulsory Irish breakfast and made it down to the Felix for an auld audience with Peter Hook. The interviewer covered everything from Joy Division up to his recently published book "How not to run a nightclub" based on the seminal Hacienda club. That was cool despite the interviewers best efforts. I thought he was brutal and was devoid of any personality. The manner in which he approached Ian's suicide had to be seen to be believed. Like a lump hammer. An absolute disgrace. I was lucky enough to catch Peter after this for a quick chat about his book and the ADE.
After that, another eagerly anticipated panel with Mike Banks (UR) and Carl Craig (Planet E). It was another really good panel despite the same interviewers best efforts. Having this guy talk to Mike Banks is like sending a tabloid journalist to speak with Nelson Mandela. Another atrociously bad interview on his part but luckily it was all about Mike and Carl. They talked about Detroit, their respective careers and where Detroit is at the minute. Mike got a bizarre question from the audience had to be said but it was more than well handled. After this I caught up with Dave Clarke just before his Demolition panel with Stacey Pullen et al
Derrick May was hosting a room upstairs at the same time so I had to check that out. Was initially scheduled for the Friday, which was out for me due to the Minus parties, but luckily for me, it was moved to Saturday. Derrick hosted a very relaxed room with Eddy De Clerc (The guy that brought House and Techno to Holland) and an unbelievably talented photographer whose name escapes me now. He has this wealth of outstanding photography, a huge collection over the course of his life, and it is important to mention that he still isn't happy with what he's got for his first book. An outstanding talent. Find of the conference for me. His work was on a slide show throughout the chat. There were pictures of Juan and Derrick way back. This guy has quite a collection. The discussion itself was quite broad ranging from the Detroit days to electronic music in the Netherlands during this period. Eddy was the guy that brought Derrick over from Detroit initially and Derrick ended up living in Amsterdam for a couple of years.
I have to say this was the perfect end to the day conference. A very relaxed and laid back panel. Members of the audience included Mike Banks, DJ Bone, John Acquaviva and Cornelius. I interviewed Cornelius after this and I have to say it was great to hear somebody being so upbeat about Detroit and what is coming out of there at the moment. A nice contrast from some of the doom a gloom talk you tend to hear on the airwaves.
After everything calmed down, a few of us went for food and a drink or two in a really nice Chinese restaurant near Grand Central. I got a text then at 10 pm giving me the all clear to sit in on Dennis Ruyers radio show, live from a radio studio at the Powerzone nightclub. Dennis runs the "Dance Department" on Hollands national broadcaster and his Podcasts have received numerous awards and attracts thousands of downloads. The Powerzone was host to the Cocoon party that night and Dennis had all the Cocoon guys there. When I arrived Karotte was DJing and the studio was packed. Then Sven arrived and after a while he and Karotte did an interview with Dennis. The interview was very relaxed and good natured and I have to say, Dennis looked like he was really enjoying himself throughout the show. I caught up with Dennis after his show for a quick interview. After that I had a listen to some upcoming Dutch DJs in the back room who I have to say were really good. The future is bright for Amsterdam. Then I caught Sven and Karotte's sets in the main room. Sven's set was great, Karotte was cool but a bit flat after him I felt.
As the night rolled on, my eyes got heavy and I made a move towards my bed by about 6 am. No juice left for the Cocoon after party. I think I squeezed enough in anyway. Once I got back to the hostel I had a beer and crashed out. I was flying out on the Sunday for a change. Usually I stay on the Sunday to hang out with some friends but they weren't in Amsterdam this year. A friend of mine picked up tickets for the Warped Records night in The Button Factory in Dublin which was great. Perfect way to round off a perfect trip.
Podcast Link to my ADE feature on Ceoltronic Radio: http://ping.fm/jhhk1
Part two of my ADE coverage goes out on the 3rd of December from 22-24:00 GMT on www.rte.ie/Pulse celebrating 4 years of Ceoltronic Radio. "A Day with Minus"