Brighton Music Conference
The first edition of a two-day conference geared towards electronic music fans and industry professionals was exhibited at the popular seaside haven; Brighton on April 11th and 12th. Its ethos being the founding of an event where there would be the chance to exchange and form new business, expand networks, educate industry enthusiasts and create a platform for opportunities. Both days consisted of conference talks, workshops and master classes as well as live interviews, demonstrations and showcases.
The conference descended upon the former stables which are today known as the Brighton Dome – a multi-platform art venue based at the heart one of the most cultural regions in the UK. With an eclectic mix of residents and tourists situated on the coast, it seems quite apt that it is known as England’s ‘city on the edge.’
The Brighton Dome itself was an inspired choice in granting both imminent and established artists in as well businesses the opportunity to facilitate growth. It centers itself around exploring and enhancing current creative endeavors by encouraging development. Despite the evident chaos, did exactly that. Sheer eagerness, anticipation and devotion reigned over the musical intersection.
A clear picture was painted of the necessary systems within the industry; what part they play and why they are significant; where the future of music is deemed to head and overall, what attributes are fundamental for success. From newcomers to amateurs as well as specialists to the electronic music scene, it was clear that they had evolved over the course of that one weekend.
Over the duration of the event there was plenty to see and do. The hustle, bustle and surrounding sound clashed from one stand of music-making to the next, projecting an intense but vibrant atmosphere. The chance to trial and test the equipment that was displayed, made it possible to walk away with an entirely new and complete sound-production that had been created on the spot. A detailed showcase for the launch of Roland’s new AIRA Instrument line was held by one of their DJ’s and producers. It captured a lot of interest, particularly with beginners and those wanting a fast-track approach to music production. Native Instruments also presented their innovative Traktor collection in the form of a workshop.
JAMM exhibited their anti piracy encoding system which renders un-mixable tracks through digital DJing software (like Traktor and Serato) by allowing labels and artists to share and upload promos without fear of piracy. Inflyte representatives were also showcasing their Android, Windows and iOS app that enables DJs to listen and react to promos offline through their mobile devices, whilst on a plane. Earcandi exhibited their custom ear moulding concept which allows anyone to create custom in-ear headphones and AN.I.MA, a photographic publishing brand, held a pre-launch for an intimate photographic book that featured 29 DJs (well known to the underground music scene) sharing photos from their private lives. This was a particularly interesting aspect, from both exhibitors as well as attendees point of view, as it was a representation of the lives of people heavily involved in music, through via visual media.
Various Ableton tutorials, question and answer sessions, seminars covering piracy, audio quality, how to get your music heard, how to get gigs, as well as how to set up a label, the importance of festivals and clubs, evolution of clubs and festivals, occupational health & safety, guidance on music contracts, were just a few examples of what was to offer. Label owners and representatives from Ajunabeats, Hospital Records, Toolroom Records, Hyperdub, Skint, Resident Advisor, Beatport, Spotify and DJ Mag were a small population of industry professionals who were involved and their blatant enthusiasm was evident. It was evident that visitors who had previous experience of producing music were using this as an opportunity to leave their own demos in the hope it would lead to future recognition.
State-of- the-art audio monitors described by Carl Cox as “the best monitors I have ever worked on,” have been designed by Funktion-One, and as you can well imagine, that hefty statement is enough to win over any audio enthusiast’s attention.
In a live interview with Eats Everything, Resident Advisor questioned him on how important making music is to be successful in the industry. “I only make music so I can DJ. I’m a DJ at heart and I wouldn’t make music if I didn’t have to. It’s not that I don’t like it, it’s just I’m a lazy bastard really!” He admitted that there is pressure to produce and if there wasn’t this pressure he would just play video games during the week and DJ at weekends.
Towards the end of the event it appeared much quieter and emptier than before. Despite tired exhibitors packing up and winding down, the event was upbeat in terms of both sound and morale right through until the very end. The final seminar of the event’s agenda focused on the journey to the top for a female DJ. Assuming the ethos of was to motivate and educate others, as well as acting as a filter for future talent, there was an empty void left to encourage others into the industry. Nevertheless it was still interesting to hear the story of a female’s journey to the top and the difficulties surrounding this.
Both days were followed by after parties in Brighton with DJ’s John 00 Flemming, Lisa lashes, Seamus Hajji, Paul Woolford, amongst the names performing and all of which seemed a success. The final party to close the event was held at a pop-up venue, Cloak with Berlin DJs Sebo K, and Ralf Kollmann showcasing their skills in the booth.
As an event purposely built for the music industry, it was centered on elements that would expectedly seem “behind the scenes” to straight-forwards electronic music fans. The more complex areas such legislation, education, business and marketing necessary for progression made worthwhile for anyone curious about working in music as well as current professionals who already make a living from it. Having an event of this kind demonstrates a demand for fanatics and it is refreshing to see that although the music business can be quite ruthless at times, it brought both sides of the opposing teams together, like a bridge that closed the divide between music for money and music for love.
Compared with the likes of ADE (Amsterdam Dance Event) and Miami Winter Music Conference, Brighton played a similar role but on a much smaller scale. This concept appears to be taking off and playing a significant role within the music business throughout the UK, particularly with electronic music being the fastest growing musical genre. Other shows such as London Electronic Music Event, which overlapped with the , have also been a success, with more events to be held of this kind. The BPM show is international event which will be held at the NEC in Birmingham from 13th-15th September. Being the seventh year running, its developing network has expanded to make it, potentially, the largest of its kind within the UK.
As a constantly growing, forward-moving industry it only makes sense to celebrate electronic music both as a business and a hobby. By exposing budding talent and general devotees, to those who know it best, we can only admire how these experienced professionals are recycling their knowledge, as well as investing their time into encouraging future success. From the people who see it, breathe it and feel it, in almost every aspect of their life, there could be no better way to embark on a journey to a destination of electronic sound.
Words: Rose Mason