TLDR: ADE brings the best of the underground house industry together for the love of the music.
“The place where acquaintances become friends!”
– Jurriaan Pijpers (Chorris Invites/ClubNL)
This was my first ADE, an event which for any serious music fan is etched in blood onto their calendars. After weeks and weeks of planning and preparation, the day finally arrived. I’d packed my bags some 12 hours before I was due to leave, and yet, I felt the undeniable urge to just check once more! The taxi arrived in good time to transport me the 8 miles to Manchester airport, I got in and was greeted by one of the most upbeat and friendly drivers I’ve had the pleasure of talking to in ages – all good signs this week was going to be a success. We talked about my trip, Brits abroad and the weather, before too long we had made the airport.
Check in is normally quite a stressful process for me, but having been to Amsterdam numerous times this year from this airport, I had it all down. Everything was in my hold all, I only had my passport, phone and some money on me. I passed straight through security and had to actually wait for my bags to be scanned for once! Joining me for the short hop over to mainland Europe was Canadian DJ/Producer Dustin Nantais. We have a mutual friend in Manchester whom he was visiting, so we had become firm friends already. As we waited to be called to board he showed me some of the projects he was working on; that blew my mind. The level of detail and layering he attains is light years beyond my own productions, and served as a stark reminder to me just how much I have yet to learn. We land in Amsterdam around 3.30pm and after what seemed like an eternity to taxi to the terminal (nearly as long as the actual flight we joked on board!), we disembarked and made our way to the train station attached to the airport.
“Whether you’re a die-hard fan of the music or deep into the back-end of the industry, ADE is an absolute MUST.” – Tim Penner
Amsterdam is a breathtakingly beautiful city and for those that call it home the canals and exquisite architecture are a daily reminder of just how amazing city life can sometimes be. Even in the rain. As I said cheerio to Dustin I quickly jumped in a cab to head off to my accommodation for the week. I had found it on a hosting website called Airbnb where people advertise their flats as holiday apartments. My host, Fleur was a delight. During our initial chats she had told me all about her job in fashion retail, some details about the area and the flat. On meeting her, it was like meeting a long lost friend for the first time in ages, and in fact it was a precursor for many of the first meetings I would have all week. Social media and journalism being what they are, I’ve made many connections with people all across the globe through a shared love of music and a shared passion for pushing great underground artists, but alas, due to our busy schedules and locations, we rarely meet in person. ADE and other music conferences are a perfect remedy to that.
“ADE is the best industry event of the year. Its the best place to meet friends, colleagues as well as network for the future.” – Erik Petterson (Sonic Union/Lowbit Records)
After a boozy night with Decoded Magazine boss Damion Pell, Stripped Records Label head Norman Hines and our Canadian film crew Amber Long and Robert Mason, I headed over to Keizersgrachtwhere the majority of the conference was taking place. Now despite the massive, varied and frankly exciting programme of events planned out for the days, much of the real business takes place in the plethora of cafes and bars which litter the Jordaan area of Amsterdam. The nights were equally as epic and filled with as much promise as the days. The choice was exceptional, with Paul Van Dyk and Paul Oakenfold headlining Luminosity on the same night as Max Cooper showed us his 4D sound show, while over in Panama in the east of the city, Josh Wink and the Ovum crew took care of the official opening party and Pan Pot hosted a soiree at Chicago Social Club. Thursday didn’t slow up at all with a world premier – Dubfire:Live – Hybrid alongside On-U sound system, Dadub, Modular Pursuits and Carlo Lio. Awakenings had a Drumcode party if that wasn’t enough techno and for those who liked things a little stranger, there was Modeselektion.
Friday was all about John Digweed destroying Melkweg, somewhere Norman Hines delighted in telling us he’d played some 23 years before whilst a tour DJ with Britrockers Jesus Jones. Elsewhere, Sasha and Maceo Plex were playing in the world famous Het Concertgebrow to a sell out crowd and Dave Clarke brought his unmistakable sound to Amsterdam as well. Spoiled for choice doesn’t even come close! And surprisingly every venue was packed to the rafters every night. Amsterdam has an energy and vitality many large European cities lack and ADE brings that passion out in spades.
“For me it was 100% worth going to… Lots of friends meeting, doing great business and visiting amazing parties like Lost&Found at ClubNL and Sudbeat/Hope showcase at Panama.” – Joost Van Der Vleuten (Namatjira)
Our party on the Sunday night – the official closing party with The Sessions, a monthly party run by Christian ‘C-Jay’ Jansen was the pinnacle of my week. Headlining was Perspective Digital boss Darin Epsilon and Old School techno hero Robin ‘Jaydee’ Albers. Both DJs were on their ‘A’ game and really impressed an up-for-it and musically knowledgable crowd. Whats wonderful about Dutch crowds is the age range, from 18 year olds at their first rave to grandparents reliving their youth, its a magical thing to see a room full of people dancing together from such disparate lives.
“Business with mates. Music with soul mates.”
– Lauren Neko (Vocalist)
So that’s it, a whirlwind of sounds, shapes and people. That pretty much sums up my first ADE, a really exciting, stimulating and exhausting 5 days in the bowels of the music industries inner circle. The final words go to my new best friends Robert and Amber, with whom I spent the lions share of the week working on interviews, networking contacts and generally having a jolly good time!
“If you are looking for T & A, you are in the wrong place. ADE is fully about brains and braun, attracting the most novice to the most expert of music professionals from around the world. High caliber conversations, face to face meetings and a new level of equality and respect pretty much sums up our week and we are leaving inspired and empowered. When we are home in our own little worlds, it is easy to forget what a global family we are part of, but for ADE we are all brought together, and reminded of what a powerful force the Electronic Music Industry is and what an honour it is to be a part of it all in some way, shape or form.” – Amber Long & Robert Mason (Manual Music/Stripped Recordings)
Get a taste of Amsterdam’s local underground sound: