You may or may not already know that I am a bit of a newbie in electronic music. I am still bad with some terms and I struggle having a conversation about techno and house (but who doesn’t, he). So when most of my Dutch classmates went crazy about the news that our class got the opportunity to work at ADE, I felt like some of my “normal” (strange choice of words) friends probably feel when I start bragging about artists I listen to. So what the hell is ADE?!
For all similar clueless kids, let me save you a few precious seconds of your life by copy-pasting the Wikipedia (god bless!) explanation right here: “The Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE) is a five-day electronic music conference and festival held annually in mid-October. The event is organized by The Amsterdam Dance Event Foundation and offers a full program of daytime conferences at ADE Pro, ADE Tech, HDE, ADE University, ADE Next, ADE Beamlab and ADE Green, alongside the nighttime ADE Festival which features 450 events and 2,200 artists over five days in 115 clubs and venues. The shows attract over 350,000 people from all over the world to the city, making Amsterdam one of the busiest clubbing cities in the world.” This text obviously hasn’t been updated lately, because the programme expanded for 2016, but if Wiki and I manage to get you excited about this mega festival, they have a very appealing and interesting website where you can get all the information.
When I say “got the opportunity to work at ADE”, I obviously mean volunteering. I have been doing that at different festivals since the beginning of 2015 when I volunteered at the Slovenian music climax called MENT Ljubljana. It was my first showcase festival and I totally fell in love with it. Hard. On the floor. With my face down. But oh, how we love the pain… I don’t exaggerate when I say MENT hyped me about the music business.
ADE is totally different, though. The scale of the festivals cannot be compared, but this didn’t make working at ADE any less personal. My shifts at the registration desk were scheduled towards the end of the festival – Friday, Saturday – so I can imagine our little desk at Melkweg Expo was a bit more laid down when I was there. The team was cheerful, positive, friendly and fun, work itself was pretty easy, but oh-my-god, dinner at Eat at Jo’s was the best part of my shifts (apologies to my co-workers, they were great, but I bet they would agree with me on this one).
Always doing business with pleasure
Because I was working and I didn’t want to show up wasted, I didn’t visit that many parties (to be honest, this is just an excuse for not really knowing what to attend in the first place, because most of the parties included names I have never heard of or they were simply too expensive). However, I was extremely looking forward to ADE Live – a two-day showcase programme at Melkweg, Paradiso and Sugar Factory, where visitors and industry professionals could explore the new live electronic acts. Unfortunately, I could only attend the first day in Melkweg and Sugar Factory, but luckily for me, Thursday’s programme presented one of my favourite bands – Montreal’s electronic-rock miracle Suuns. I have been slaved by their latest record Hold/Still and this was my first time seeing them. Damnnn, son, these guys rip your face off with their live performance! I honestly left my soul under that stage and my back muscles hurt in the most beautiful way for a few days after the show.
My whole night kind of spinned around the Suuns show, so I unfortunately missed some of the acts. I will have to wait for another opportunity to see Fakear (although I heard his show was dope) and I just didn’t feel like going to see anything else after I sweated my life out at Suuns, so Rufus and SG Lewis fell out of the plan, too.
Apart from that, this night seemed to be devoted to duos. Short, but powerful set of the Dutch electronic pair CUT_ made quite an impression on me. With the right balance of the underground vibe and catchy pop melodies (oh, considering the fact that they signed a record deal with [PIAS]), I have a feeling these two have a potential for going far.
Charismatic British cousins Ozeki also honoured us with a memorable performance. Minimalist electronic arrangements, stirred up vocals and edgy attitude made me become an instant fan and I am looking forward to seeing them again at Eurosonic Noorderslag in January 2017.
Slovenian upper neighbours HVOB provided some captivating, hypnotic vocals and impressed with their unique sound. I am pretty new to experiencing this kind of music live (can I call it club music?), but this Vienna-based duo, accompanied by a drummer, made dancing to it seem very natural.
ZES was already under my liked Facebook pages. I came across some of his tracks on Spotify a few months ago. His artistic name means “six” in Dutch, but this live performance definitely deserves much more than that. ADE got it right – his creations maneuver between atmospheric futuristic beats, forward thinking sounds and innovative compositions. I am pretty sure almost everyone in the room was affected by his breath-taking talent.
Working in crystal catles
The second day of working… pardon me, volunteering was even more chill than the first one. I have met some amazing people during my shifts (a special shoutout to Marieke, Timo and of course our lovely coordinator Dennis). At the end, I also got to see “the new” Crystal Catles where you cannot even tell that Alice is now Edith. The show was still freaky, though, so fans remained satisfied.
Nevertheless, being a part of this ADE circus was fun! I am used to volunteering and I see a great value in it, so there is really nothing to complain about. Volunteers are one of the crucial elements of every event, no matter the scale of it. Sometimes you get treated better, sometimes a bit worse, but I believe it is all for the experience and growth. Sure, it is a great way to get free entrances to festivals when you are a broke student, but it can also be your kick-off spot for the bigger and better things in the future. I still might be a noob in (not)knowing electronic music, but all these opportunities made me move further from that level when it comes to working in the music industry.