As we’ve previously mentioned, the International Music Summit (IMS) is a 3-day electronic dance music (EDM) conference that takes place in Ibiza. Spearheaded by Pete Tong, IMS made its Asia-Pacific debut on December 11th (Wednesday) at W Singapore − Sentosa Cove.
Featuring speakers and global acts including Steve Angello, Richie Hawtin, NERVO, and Damian Lazarus, we personally felt IMS Asia-Pacific was a huge success and we are truly honoured to have been part of it. Apart from hearing what the speakers had to say during panels, we also managed to catch up with organisers JC Anh and Frank Cotella, DJ duo, Australian sensations NERVO, and the legendary Pete Tong.
Our time at IMS Asia-Pacific was made even more epic as we sat down with Paul Oakenfold, one of the founding fathers of trance before the cocktail party. Here’s what went down:
Hey Paul, how are you? What are your thoughts about IMS being held in Singapore for the first time and what do you think the response has been like?
That is a very good question. Realistically, I should ask you that question. We partners felt that it was a great opportunity for IMS to come here, to support this part of the world in terms of electronic music, to share and get the local community involved. Not just Singapore, but the whole region. Hence, the wonderful lineup which we’ve been very lucky to have. And of course, Lincoln Cheng, we all love him and believe in what Zouk has done. So really, you should give us your opinion on what you think and how you feel? Was it a good start?
I thought it was great, a really good start to be honest.
I’m going to be interviewing you instead. This is how it works (laughs). No, I mean, truthfully, joking aside, we are looking for a reaction. We are planning to do it again. We’re looking at a 2-day event next year and we need the support of the local community, the industry and we need feedback.
Personally, I thought it was great. Did you have any expectations before bringing IMS here?
Well, I’ve been to this region many times. I was very lucky to do some incredible shows in this part of the world – from playing at the Great Wall of China many years back to being one of the first to come and support Zouk. For me, it’s always been an important part of what I do. I’ve been spending a lot of time working on my radio show, it’s in Singapore, I’ve been to many different countries in this part of the world and I see the change. I think what we’re going to see..we saw happened in Europe. We nailed the sleeping giant in America most recently and I think the next nail we’re looking at is this part of the world. So timing wise, IMS here was held at perfect timing. Hopefully, we can support the likes of you guys. Let’s try and find a local superstar DJ, a local producer who can go on and be part of the world community, rather than a local DJ. That’s important, very important, because for me, I’m all about that.
Touching in on the EDM industry in general for a bit, what do you think of the current EDM scene?
Well, I think we know where it is at the current moment – it’s commercial. The world has gone EDM. I agree with what Steve Angello said earlier on actually. Maybe we should just pause, take a step back, breathe and let’s all work together because we’re all part of this. If there is a downside to the community at the moment, it is that everyone’s out for themselves so I agree with Steve’s comments. Let’s try and work together more as a community and let’s support one another. In England we have a phrase, “the pie’s big enough for everyone” and it is. I do think that..out at this part of the world, we need to support young producers, we need to be aware of the music they’re making, we need to support the DJs, the promoters, and the club owners. If we do that, we will all enjoy the fruits of what comes with working hard and being part of the community, rather than try do things on your own.
And what do you think about upcoming/new DJs who put fame before the music?
That’s exactly the problem. The lane is very busy. There’s a tremendous amount of people who are in it for the fame, the money, and all the wrong things and a lot of them can’t deejay. The change came where you could be a good producer, but not necessarily a good DJ. Technology has made it very easy to deejay. Look, a true DJ comes with anything – experience, knowledge, understanding, deejaying. Understanding arrangement, structure, key, how to tell a story with your music, how to connect – these things come over time and a lot of practice goes into becoming a great DJ, and that, we unfortunately lack at the moment. There are a lot of DJs but I don’t know how many are going to be around in 10 years time. I think, a lot of people are in it possibly, as Steve said, for the wrong reasons.
Speaking of being a true DJ, as someone who’s been in the industry for a quite some time now, can you give us an example on an artiste who has created a genre around himself?
Yes, Skrillex. I think what Skrillex has done is great. I think he’s very interesting because his background is not electronic music. But I think because he’s very talented and he understands music, he has embraced his culture, developed his sound and people followed him for his passion and really, what he does. His live performances are really good so you know, I’m a fan of what he does and how he does it. He’s definitely someone who’s going to ride the way and will be around in years to come.
Lastly, looking back at 2014, what have been some of the most significant moments for the dance music industry?
Well, every week there’s a music festival somewhere in the world − that’s something new and possibly too many music festivals. I found that I’m going to the most remote places to perform, like Turks and Caicos in the Caribbean Islands. Unique and wonderful places that I am very lucky to get an opportunity to go to. That’s how far electronic music in our community has come. You get a chance to go to these places and share your passion, your belief, and your music so for me it’s wonderful and I’m very lucky to have that happen.
And that’s a wrap. Thanks so much Paul.
It was my pleasure. Thank you too!
It was nothing short of an absolute honour for us to have been able to sit down and chat with the legendary Paul Oakenfold.
Big thanks to IMS for everything and we look forward to being part of IMS again next year!