Review :: EMC 2012 Day 2
November 29th 2012
There mightn’t have been any Dutch comedy on the second day of EMC, but nobody was left underwhelmed. The many sessions brought collaboration rumours, questions about the ‘expiry date’ of female DJs, a production masterclass with Wax Motif, and some barely controlled tension between two of electronic music’s most respected figures. With the scene currently expanding and evolving at such a rapid rate, it’s no surprise that so many people were also discussing what it takes to become a successful electronic music artist in 2012 – within Australia and the wider world.
On this topic, triple j unearthed’s Dave Ruby Howe suggested that while 500 fans on Facebook and getting unearthed radio play will definitely get you a foot in the door, “triple j is not the only way to make it in Australia”. Triple j’s supposed dictatorship over the landscape of Australian music has been the topic of debate for many years now, but while people seem to enjoy complaining about it, there hasn’t been a great deal of effort to outline alternative ways to crack the industry. That all changed yesterday. Obviously gaining an audience is important, but once you’ve done that, EMI’s Vice President of A&R, Scott Horscroft, said that breaking away from your target market is vital in expanding your brand and exposing your music. More advice came from the manager of acts such as questionably talented but undoubtedly successful duo The Stafford Brothers. He talked about “[throwing] ten things at a wall and hoping that five stick – it’s all about getting a lot of projects happening in order to remain relevant”.
On the topic of the Stafford Brothers, somehow the one with the offensive mullet ended up on a panel with Diplo, Nina Kraviz, Tommy Trash, Marlo, and Jack Tregoning of inthemix. The reality TV ‘star’ claimed that his main reason for being involved in the music industry was that he “likes to party”. At lunch I met an unnamed man who told me that he’s a ghost producer for Timmy Trumpet and the Stafford Brothers, so let’s be honest, there’s probably not much more for Mr Stafford to do other than party. Though according to Diplo, “the fans don’t actually care [about ghost producing]”, so feathers were ruffled all around.
On the topic of high-tier DJs playing nothing but the Beatport top 100, Diplo said that “if you’re playing the same sets all the time, DJing just becomes a desk job”. Nina Kraviz agreed with him here, and later spoke about DJing being a balancing act between educating the crowd with new music and simply making people dance. Diplo was on board with this idea too, but that’s about as agreeable as the two DJ/producers got all day. Nina continually cut Diplo off as the discussion became increasingly heated, with the Russian lass presenting herself on the ’old school’ side of the debate. Diplo with his “I play Youtube rips … I don’t really give a shit” attitude didn’t exactly mesh with Nina’s take on things. Things got out of hand and Kraviz even started calling out Diplo on things that he hadn’t said. She pressed the point that DJs don’t have to be producers to be successful, and Diplo offered a confused response of “yeah, I just big upped Carl Cox”.
Some useful advice was garnered from the intense panel though. Marlo was honest and told the audience that oftentimes producing your own music is just good promo. If you want to DJ overseas, then you most likely have to produce. On signing producers, Diplo said “what matters is if an artist is genuine”.
One extremely genuine producer is the oft-discussed Flume. During the ‘How To Make It In Australia’ panel, Future Classic’s Nathan McLay mentioned what could be next for the fast-rising producer, saying “if Flume wants to do a track with Frank Ocean, then I’m going to make that happen”. Also on the topic of successful Australian electronic acts, Scott Horscroft suggested that Empire of the Sun’s new album is going to be more of the dream pop excellence we were treated to on their first album when he said “[Empire of the Sun] are not trying to reinvent the wheel”.
Phat Planet’s Myles Cooper reflected the thoughts of many in the room when he said “I’d like to see triple j expand their electronic music programming the way BBC have done with Radio 1 and Radio 1Xtra”. This would without a doubt help nourish the Australian electronic music scene in a massive way. However even in its current state, electronic music in Australia continues to expand and mature. There is no doubt that the community involved in the scene has gained countless ideas and bags of inspiration about after these couple of days at the Electronic Music Conference.