If you so much as follow a handful of DJs on social media, by now your timelines are likely to be full of ADE hype and hearsay.
But what actually happens at Amsterdam Dance Event? We all know about the parties… But how about the daytime activities? UKF have dispatched me to Amsterdam to find out exactly what goes on at the annual mega-conference. This is how it went down on my first day (Wednesday)
05:10: Wake up! It’s time to head to the airport. I’m feeling surprisingly refreshed from only four hours of sleep – maybe it’s just excitement. In any case, I hope it’s enough to get me through the full day of interviews and events. I’ll try and sleep on the flight…
09:15: … Well, sleep was unsuccessful, but I feel much more prepared after outlining my schedule for the next 5 days. The organizational nerd in me can’t help it. And, trust me, this nerd is READY!
12:30: Arrived at the Felix Meritis hotel, the epicenter of all things ADE. The lobby is abuzz with attendees, and I observe that no matter where you are from in the world, black is the indicative color of anyone who works in the music industry. In the business lounge, I network with a few peers from Armada, grab a much-needed espresso and do some final prep for my interviews.
13:30: Off to the nearby Media Nanny headquarters for my first round of interviews! The Media Nanny handles PR for major names such as Martin Garrix, DVBBs and Oliver Heldens, all of whom are on my roster today.
13:45: First interview with Alex and Chris of DVBBS, two of the dance music’s boldest characters who are attending their first ADE
“[Our track] Tsunami blew up in the Netherlands first so we were coming over here for shows pretty often. By the time ADE rolled around we had already been in Amsterdam so much that we stepped out for a few years. But it’s cool because it’s now a first for us”
15:30: The Media Nanny is literally a press field day. We’re shuffled into a room upstairs to talk with Martin Garrix, who talks to us about what’s in store for him at ADE and some survival tips for the week. (Check out what he has to say in this feature)
I’ll be the first to admit that I didn’t buy into his hype when he first rose to fame, but I’m genuinely taken by his sincerity and humility. You may not appreciate his music, but you can certainly appreciate his character.
16:30: Oliver is running late for interviews, and we have to head to the Armada offices for the opening of their new club. No really; a club within the office. It’s a way for the Armada team to enjoy beats and drinks after work, and for artists to have a place to play when they’re in town. Sounds like a dream work environment to me! My friend and I take a silly picture in the photo booth to commemorate the event.
17:30: It’s time to meet Marta Martus, otherwise known as Juicy M. She’s a Ukrainian DJ who has recently been signed to Chased Management, the artist management arm within Armada. She shares her excitement about her upcoming tracks, and we have an open conversation about the realities of tour life and being a woman in a male-dominated industry. On the topic of whether female artists should hide their femininity, she says…
“I wear comfortable clothing like jeans and sneakers on the decks because I’m jumping around and that’s what I’m comfortable in. I’m just as comfortable wearing a swimsuit when it’s appropriate. The most important thing is to be professional. If you’re professional, play amazing music, write amazing music and have good taste, then if want to wear something sexy, no one can judge you.”
18:30: I don’t think I could be any happier with this day when Armada’s social media manager Nicole approaches me and says, “There was a mixup with our other interviwers and they can’t come to meet with Armin van Buuren and KhoMha. Would you like to do the interview?”
With mic in hand and cameras rolling, this feels like a whole other interview game. Roberto (KhoMha) shares his appreciation for being the first Latino to headline ASOT in Mexico last weekend, and Armin discusses the inspiration behind his new album, “Embrace,” which is all about embracing different cultures, genres, opinions and sounds into his own. While I couldn’t record this footage, the video will soon be shared on Armadamusic.com
21:00: After some delicious pasta we grab some Redbulls and head over to Undercurrent for Armada Captivating. While not in the typical event UKF may flock to, I’m excited to spend a night with longtime friends. In my opinion, we’d be remiss to not enjoy a party with a label and a genre so embedded in the ethos of Amsterdam, and influence on dance music today.
22:00-01:45: It’s a whole evening stacked with interviews with Armada artists RODG, Mark Sixma, Andrew Rayel and Sandro Silva. In between interviews, I get to enjoy bits of their sets and get my shuffle on. Even though I’m exhausted,I find it impossible to not feel elated being surrounded by such talented, happy and energetic people.
02:30: I finally arrive home and crash into bed. It’s been a long first day, but a rewarding one!