Amsterdam Dance Event 2013
For the second time in 2013, I was invited to Amsterdam, this time to take part in the Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE) festival, as a speaker on a panel. After overcoming an initial problem with my accommodation (I have to praise the Air BnB customer service), I eventually settled into my hotel ready for the event.
My panel was about licensing music for video games, which was an interesting and topical subject to discuss. I was privileged to share the stage with Martin Hewett (Sony Music Licensing Manager), Kyle Hopkins (Microsoft Head of Music Supervision), Lewis James (Guerrilla Games Lead Sound Designer) and our moderator Matt Riley (Hospital Records). During part of the panel, trailers for upcoming games that used licensed music were played. I found the following discussions about what leads to particular musical choices just as interesting as I’m sure the audience did! Having a well-recognised piece used in a game (or promotional material associated with that game) can instantly bring recognition and therefore raise an artist’s profile. Though not related to games, the John Lewis Christmas advert music choice is becoming more important than getting the number one spot in the charts! As you’d expect, given their roles at Sony and Microsoft respectively, both Martin and Kyle had superb musical knowledge and passion and passed on great insight to all who attended.
Outside of my panel, there were some fantastic talks from musical greats such as Nile Rodgers, Giorgio Moroder, DJ Shadow, and the founder of MIDI and creator of the Prophet series of synths, Dave Smith. Watching Nile Rodgers playing ‘Get Lucky’ on his ‘Hit maker’ guitar and also having a synth chat with Dave Smith were particular highlights! When hearing these legends of music speak about their background, what struck me most is just how down to earth they are and ultimately how their passion for music has been a constant driver, as well as the fact that they simply have fun when composing.
I’d definitely recommend attending the Amsterdam Dance Event. You become immersed in the infectious enthusiasm for music, which personally served as a reminder for me as to why I enjoy composing. It’s also a great place for networking. On my final night, I happened to meet an American record producer in my hotel bar as I was having a nightcap, who then ‘forced’ me to join them for champagne and cheese. Tough life!
Amsterdam is a certainly a city I’m becoming fonder of each time I visit, though being with people who have a good knowledge of the place has been an obvious help! Generally it has a fantastic atmosphere – just be sure to look beyond the obvious tourist spots. I’d like to be able to suggest which are the best places to eat and drink at, but I simply followed those with greater knowledge through the maze of the city and usually ended up somewhere great!