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Why ADE Could Well Be Called IDE This Year

There’s a striking presence of electronic music fans from India at the Amsterdam Dance Event 2015. We spoke to techno producer Arjun Vagale about this surge, his plans at ADE and more

Ambika Muttoo Oct 13, 2015
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Arjun Vagale

“India is one of the fastest-growing dance music markets in the world, and everyone from agents to club owners to artists want to make their presence felt at ADE,” says Arjun Vagale.

The Amsterdam Dance Event is one of the most important dates in the music industry’s calendar. It’s the epicenter of a whirlwind of important meetings, conferences, panel discussions, showcases and some truly memorable parties. Put all those elements together over a span of four days, and the networking time clocked in becomes both profitable and valuable. India’s always had a small, but solid presence at ADE every year [this writer was on a panel about the growing scene in the subcontinent four years ago.] This time around, though, we noticed a juggernaut of Facebook statuses confirming plane tickets to Amsterdam were booked and event tickets bought. So large is our presence at the event this year that it should be called IDE, thus suggest the jokes being passed around. Choosing to investigate this phenomenon, we dialed technocrat Arjun Vagale, who has been a long-standing visitor to the festival, to shed some light on the matter.

Half the sub-continent seems to be heading to ADE. Why do you think so many of us are congregating this year?

To be honest, most are going to party [laughs]! There are over 2,000 artists performing at 120 different venues around the city. But yes, there is a larger-than-ever Indian posse at ADE. It also has to do with the fact that India is one of the fastest-growing dance music markets in the world, and everyone from agents to club owners to artists want to make their presence felt.

At ADE, parties are held even inside train stations. Photo Ambika Muttoo

Youve been going to ADE for years now. What’s on your program this year and why is it an essential visit on the music industry’s calendar?

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There are many music conferences around the world, and until about eight to ten years ago,  WMC [Winter Music Conference] in Miami was the most important one, but ADE has now become the essential conference for the music “business”. Every year, tons of promoters, booking agents, festival organisers, club owners, label reps et al, visit Amsterdam for a week of networking, which naturally culminates in some serious parties. There are also many workshops and panels that discuss the state of the industry at the moment, and where it’s heading. To put it simply, if you are in the business, ADE is a must.

My program, like most years, is to meet with label owners and my agents to strategise for the upcoming year. It’s also a chance for me to meet all my DJ and producer friends, as we talk all year around via e-mail, though rarely, get to just hang out. This is vital for me, as many interesting collaboration ideas start right here. Since I’m also representing UnMute [Vagale’s artist management and booking agency], we have a bunch of agency meetings, as well as networking with bodies such as AFEM that we are part of.

Can you tell us about what showcases/people or panels youre looking forward to in particular and any meetings you have set up that you can reveal?

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There are a ton of interesting panels and I’m most looking forward to the Sound Lab Modular Market. Put me in a room with synthesisers and I’m a happy man. But on a more serious side, there is work to be done — we do have a bunch of meetings lined up for the agency, and I’m sure the entire UnMute team will be attending most workshops. It’s my fifth or sixth visit to ADE, so I’m focused on the networking part. Though I just might attend a few parties too!

The year’s almost ending, so plans post ADE leading up to the New Year?

Right after ADE, I’ll play two gigs in Germany, and then fly straight back for RESET. We just finished two showcases and are gearing up for the big one on Halloween in Hyderabad. Festival season is also around the corner, so it’s going to be a busy few months, with gigs all over the country and a few in S.E. Asia.

The Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE) is being held between October 14th-18th in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

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