ADE 2017 was one of the finest editions of the Amsterdam dance conference. It was impossible to be present at everything, as at all times the city was buzzing with events, talks, workshops and art shows. We did our best to make as many of them as possible, however and present the first in our series of highlights from the week.
The Canadian techno legend may be a permanent fixture in most of the world’s superclubs. But at dance music conference events he is known to appear for free at pop up parties. Wednesday evening at ADE got off to a flying start as he pulled off another one, this time appearing in what looked like a flower stall in Nieuwmarkt square.
If Batman decided to put a club in his basement, it would probably look like Shelter. One of the city’s best new clubs, the venue is nestled in the basement of the Toren and invited Seth Troxler and his Play It, Say It label to open proceedings for what would be a stacked week of lineups. Heartthrob was in full swing when we arrived rocking the club with party banger ‘Deep In’ before Seth settled in for a masterful set of house and disco, making way for house legend Harry Romero’s closing set.
The Dutch do big room electronic music better than anyone else in the world. Case in point: Amsterdam’s famous old gas repository that is now home to some of the world’s best raves. The venue hosted seven of the biggest ADE week shows over five days including Ben Klock’s Photon Party, or Adam Beyer’s Drumcode session. Standout guests included Jeff Mills closing Len Faki’s party and Joseph Capriati invited Jamie Jones to make his long awaited debut. But the real star of the show was the production. When the Gashouder's circular lighting rig was in full force it looked like the entire room was being beamed onto another planet and the sound system was easily one of the week’s finest.
Amsterdam is famous for having some of the best venues in the world and the Toren (or tower in english) is up there, quite literally, with the best. The former Shell Tower behind Centraal Station is home to one of the city’s flashest restaurants, a boutique hotel and offices. It boasts one of the city’s best clubs, Shelter, in its basement and is owned by Duncan Stutterheim, the former boss of festival brand, ID&T.
But the pick of the action was to be had on its top floors as various crews held memorable parties. Eats Everything and Seth Troxler’s management company Grade held their annual ADE dinner party for industry elites and Maceo Plex, Jackmaster and Optimo held some of the week’s best afterhours sessions on the 16th floor with one of the city’s best views laying in front of them.
“The best thing that’s happened to me in my career are the people I’ve met along the way,” said a trademark baseball cap clad Tiga confidently into a microphone at ADE’s De Brakke Grond venue on Thursday. “They’re from Ghent and i’m from Montreal and if it wasn’t for music, I never would have met them.”
When Friends Collide was one of ADE’s most fascinating talks. The chance to hear from the horse’s mouths about one of dance music’s most interesting friendships betweenTiga and Soulwax that lead to some of the most pivotal records of the early 2000s.
The story of how they met sounded almost like a metaphor for the marriage of dance music, rock and electro that defined the era. “Dave and I came from a band but we would end up getting booked at dance festivals,” explained Soulwax’s Stefan Van Leuven. “For a moment these two worlds lived together.”
Tiga on the other hand came from a techno background. “Our productions began as an excuse to hangout,” explained Soulwax’s David Dewaele. As the talk progressed, the discussed how disagreements often lead to their best work. “The best music comes from the conflict of where maybe you don’t have identical tastes. You find that common area. We argue about lots of things. I don’t like guitars, they like guitars,” said Tiga.
“It’s still computer guy versus guitars,” added Van Leuven.
Along the way, the three described jamming with legendary U2 producer Flood and how Soulwax inspired Tiga to play live. “You meet people along the way who change you and challenge you,” said Tiga. “I started spending a lot of time with them and LCD Soundsystem, [for whom] the expectation of what a performance is, is very high and you start to question some of the DJing stuff. They pressured me to go live and after a decade I listened to them.”
They also touched on their own ideas about artistic authenticity (“staying in touch with trends is irrelevant”). Surprise admission of the talk? All three admitted to not preparing before their DJ gigs. “I can dress up my preparation as a romantic thing but sometimes I think I’m just lazy, added Tiga.
Check out our favourite moment from ADE, in part one of our series: Underworld at the Rijkmuseum.