9 things we learnt at day one of EMC 2015

Today at Sydney’s ivy complex, the Electronic Music Conference kicked off for 2015.

Over 700 members of the local and international industry came together to talk about what make dance music tick, from the future of Australia’s festival scene to the impact of Sydney’s lockouts and how artists can take their careers to the next level. Carl Cox kicked the conference off with an engaging and often humorous keynote interview, Armin van Buuren had a seat on the panel about running your own label and local stars like Timmy Trumpet and Will Sparks were there to rub shoulders with fans.

EMC is a manic, inspiring must-do for anyone who’s devoted their life to electronic music, and it’s not over yet. The conference continues tomorrow with appearances from the likes of Gilles Peterson, Tkay Maidza and Ta-ku and on Wednesday night, the event will cap off with the biggest party of the year at EMCPlay (you can grab a cheap ticket to that here).  But before then, catch up with what went down on day one of EMC 2015 right here.

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#1 Carl Cox is the most passionate man in the biz

In a lively keynote interview to open EMC 2015, UK techno legend (and part-time Aussie) Carl Cox spun a rags-to-riches story of what it’s like to go from playing James Brown records for his tight-knit Barbadan family to becoming one of the most successful DJs in the world. “My record collection started from my dad’s,” he said. “My friends were going to McDonalds, I was going to buy 7-inch records.”

“I was just having a laugh, and sharing what I could, which was the love of music.” In 2015, he still puts an emphasis on the people and good times. “I genuinely want to reach out to people and see if they’re enjoying themselves,” he says of his trademark “Oh yes! Oh yes!” Of the impending end of his Space Residency, he says “All good things must come to an end,” and isn’t above dishing a little about the state of things in Ibiza. “In some ways the island has turned to shit,” he says, and teased its most well-publicised resident: “You’re never going to hear a six-hour set from Paris Hilton. It’s just not possible. For one thing she’d run out of foam.” Words: Jim Poe

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#2 Nightclubs have a PR issue

At the lockouts panel – which brought together representatives from industry bodies across Australia – the resounding sentiment was that the problem with nightclubs is perception. Removing the lockouts completely might not be possible, HQ Complex’s Daniel Michael cautioned, but with the right approach we should be able to scale back the legislation.

All agreed that we need to change the story the mainstream media tells about clubs, and Roar Projects head Simon Digby called for a national PR campaign heroing how nightclubs can be safe spaces that keep punters off the streets and under the watchful eye of security. “The only people who see late night venues are people who go to them,” HQ’s Michael said. “50-year-old mums in the suburbs don’t know what goes on in nightclubs, so we need to tell positive stories”. Words: Katie Cunningham

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#3 The secret to success? Never sleep

Timmy Trumpet works damn hard for his (now five-times-platinum, globe-touring) success – that was the theme his management and promo crew kept returning to on today’s Meet The Team panel. From the inauspicious beginnings of being kicked out of Sydney’s Conservatorium of Music for setting off a fire alarm, he’s been pushing hard for years, from 30+ date international tours to 5.30am radio interviews – and the word from his team is that 2016’s only going to get busier.

“Early 2016 there are two really big records we have Freaks expectations for,” Ministry of Sound’s Jeff Drake said. “The trick is not to chase a pop record, but to plan out the next big release.” As for how he does it? “Don’t sleep, just keep working,” Timmy laughed. Words: Nick Jarvis

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#4 “Festival” is a dirty word now

The days of packed one-day festivals might well be coming to an end, as niche multi-day events further out of the city start to gain momentum. Speaking about what makes Secret Garden such a well-loved event, Adam Lewis said that what a festival promoter should focus on is “creating an experience” and giving people “a place where they can go an express themselves”.

“I think festival, in the sense of meaning these big, inner-city one-day parties with 50,000
people, has become a bit of a dirty word. These days there is a rise of smaller niche events such as bush doofs that are deliberately avoiding calling themselves festivals,” Vice‘s Alice Kimberly agreed. What seems to be the common thread amongst this new breed of festivals is a focus on the whole experience – the time of year, the location, the decor – and how this intersects with the artist lineup, rather than simply being an afterthought to it. Words: Andrew Wowk

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