The second instalment of the International Music Summit (IMS) Asia-Pacific event, the premier platform of thought leadership in electronic music, successfully wrapped up over the weekend at W Hotel Singapore.
This year, the summit saw an international panel of esteemed speakers coming together in distinct panels to spark thoughtful conversations, and tackle vital and current topics that impact the region.
The IMS Asia-Pacific 2015 line-up included industry players ranging from agents to promoters, to music journalists and managers, not forgetting artistes and personalities/leaders such as Armin van Buuren, Sharam (one half of the Grammy award-winning duo Deep Dish), and Kaskade.
IMS Asia-Pacific 2015 kicked off with 2 captivating “Bridging The Gap” keynotes, with Mark Lawrence of the Association for Electronic Music (AFEM) delivering a call to action to the industry to be a part of the positive change for the issue of drugs in electronic music.
This was followed by Murat Kilic (artiste and CEO of Reckless Republic and Spice in Australia) highlighting the devastating consequences a heavy-handed government can have on an entire region’s culture where he cited Sydney as an example to learn from.
Other key points from the captivating “Bridging The Gap” panels include:
Armin van Buuren
The 5-time world #1 DJ revealed that being #1 put him under a lot of pressure as expectations ran high, enough to send him to a personal coach because he “wasn’t Armin van Buuren anymore”, he was the world #1 DJ.
All in the same breath, he brought up the ongoing argument and fans’ opinions on his direction in music, saying, “I’ll tell you something from the heart – I do read all the criticism. I know exactly what’s going on.” Adding that although it is his need as an artiste to continuously reinvent himself, his heart is with trance.
Armin van Buuren also shared his views on the drug stigma being tied to electronic dance music festivals, especially his “A State of Trance” (ASOT) shows.
We as DJs should always stand up, help the promoters and tell the people to look after each other. If you want dance music to grow, stop taking the illegal shit and move on.
On a more fun note, he also addresses festivals “trends” aka social media kids where people are on their smartphones taking pictures/recording videos more than they are actually enjoying the festival. “Just enjoy the music, man..”
Artiste to Artiste: East Meets West
Getting the underground above ground and getting Asian talents the exposure that they deserve has proven to be a challenge.
In the “Artiste to Artiste: East Meets West” panel, some of our friends from the regional front came together to discuss what Asia’s electronic music scene needs in order to get itself up on the global stage.
First and foremost, on the idea of sexism in the industry. Bali-based artiste Scarlett Etienne described sexism to be an experience that is a choice for females. “You only experience sexism if you allow it to happen.”
As for the lack of Asian talents in the scene, Daze Agency’s DJ Tennis urged DJs and producers to first look into growing their local industry, noting that it is only by developing an organic community internally (therefore providing artistes with the support they need) that they will expand internationally.
Will that be enough for Asian talents make it on the global stage?
At the end of the day, the music speaks for itself. When you have talent, it shines through.
And, allow us to add, as long as the interest in becoming a part of the scene is not for all the wrong reasons e.g. money, fame.
Is there a future for electronic music in the Asia-Pacific region? American DJ/producer Kaskade took the stage at the end of the IMS Asia-Pacific 2015 day to discuss the powerful potential that Asia has.
As not just a DJ/producer who witnessed the EDM explosion in the US but also someone who has made frequent trips to Asia thanks to the EDM explosion on the Asian front, Kaskade said that Asia is “a place of opportunity” just waiting to be tapped by local and international professionals over the next few years.
He gushed, “It was all leading up to something and we’re going to get to see what that is.”
But unlike America, Asia is made out of very different regions with very different cultures and languages. Which, of course, then manifests into very different sensibilities and dynamics altogether despite being neighbours and Asia at heart.
A lot of Asia is a hybrid of what’s happening in America and Europe. They take from the two worlds and make it their own.
He took the liberty to share his views on drug usage in electronic music, knowing that often, he’s playing to crowds hyped up on illegal substances. Kaskade explained, “I just don’t feel like drugs need to be there to make it work. I enjoy this music sober, and I think it’s possible for many people to do the same.” and that music was enough as an escape for him.
For more pictures from IMS Asia-Pacific 2015 in Singapore, check out the gallery below:
On another note, don’t forget to check out our exclusive interview with Armin van Buuren where he talks about the year that was and the year that is to come :)