The lifeblood of electronic music is the richness of its creative talent. Electronic music is driven forward by the inventiveness of a community of creative individuals who forge the development of new sounds and seek out fresh perspectives. Sonos, the smart speaker and home audio specialist, cares deeply about music's past and present, and has the utmost respect for the artists who are shaping its future. That’s why it launched Sonos Studio in 2012: to enable deeper connections between music makers and their audience, a place where artists can experiment and share ideas and where music lovers can connect with the music they love through unique listening experiences. This year, Amsterdam's Mayer Manor will open up all three of its floors to provide a stunning setting for the return of Sonos Studio to ADE. DJBroadcast spoke to Sonos Studio’s European culture lead, Tom Lodge and the three artists that will share their thoughts and music during the Originators theme on the first day of the programme: Osunlade, DJ Vadim and Derrick May.
Sonos Studio is, first and foremost, about the listening, as we discovered in conversation with Lodge. "Our audio teams are obsessed with creating listening experiences that adapt perfectly to the home," he says, "to make it possible to hear music exactly as it was intended to be heard. Sonos Studio is an extension of this; a playground where artists and music lovers can share this obsession, connect and listen to music in an intimate environment." Sonos Studio comprises of two permanent spaces, one in Los Angeles and one in London, alongside a global network of temporary spaces and collaborations that meet at the intersection of music, art and technology. "Each Sonos Studio is unique because they have all have been created in collaboration with and for the creative community in that city," explained Lodge.
With a three-day programme of listening parties, performances, screenings and conversations, Sonos Studio Amsterdam will once again amplify both the art and the science of music and creativity, right in the heart of Amsterdam. Sonos Studio will create a literal meeting point between artists that matter and the listeners who love them, with space for collaboration and cutting-edge music innovation. Set in one of the city's most striking locations, Sonos Studio Amsterdam boasts an unmissable lineup including Derrick May, DJ Vadim, Chris Liebing, DVS1, Jackmaster, Seth Troxler, Black Coffee, Tom Trago and Young Marco.
Sonos Studio Amsterdam will kick off on Thursday 15th October with a two-pronged tribute that will pay homage to true originators. In an intimate setting, Osunlade, DJ Vadim and Derrick May; three legendary artists, producers, DJs and record label heads each in their own right, will be the focus of a series of talks and listening sessions. Deep house maestro Osunlade imbues all of his productions with an earthy, humanistic feel, and a vein of Afromystic spirituality is apparent throughout his programming, lyrics, and remixes. In his own words, Osunlade characterises his work to be 'honest, organic, vulnerable, and soulful'. His 2011 megahit "Envision" took him to the top of the charts, reflecting his belief that producing is at the very core of his creativity. "Creating from your own source," he says, "is the most rewarding."
DJ Vadim's restless musical spirit has made him one of the world's most respected bass driven beat makers, and his initial frustration at not landing a record label deal drove him to establish his soon-to-be-cult imprint Jazz Fudge in 1995. "I started my own label simply to release my own records," says Vadim. "I had no dream to run a label and I knew nothing about setting a record label up or signing other people. It just came from a desire to release and realise my own music. I tried sending it to other labels but they all turned me down, but I never gave up and continued."
"My ethos is ‘just do it”, says Vadim, "Don't talk about it, ponder over it, procrastinate. Get it out there."
There's not much that hasn't already been said about the programme's third originator, Derrick May. As one of the game-changing trio Belleville Three, he is credited alongside Juan Atkins and Kevin Saunderson with creating the machine music we now know as techno. "When I first began making music it was an expression of my life," May recalls, "my life as a young man in Detroit believing in what most would call fantasies or silly dreams. I never had any expectations. I still don’t!" Later on the techno pioneer conceived his own record label. “I wanted to gain full control of the creative process. By having complete freedom from start to finish, I was able to present music in its most authentic form. I continue having the label because it gives me the opportunity to seek out the best and new emerging talent. When I discover something that gets under my skin, I am the facilitator of their exposure. Why should true talent have to convince record labels to sign them when I can directly get them out of the race gates and have them produce music that stays true to their own vision. I had full freedom with mine, and look at where it took me. They should have the same opportunity as I had.”
Following this special afternoon programme and continuing in the spirit of innovation, Thursday night's programme boasts a roll call of the artists featured in Sonos' acclaimed Resident Advisor Origins film series: Chris Liebing, DVS1, Jackmaster, Eats Everything, Black Coffee and Bambounou will hit the decks to articulate their individual musical journeys.
Friday 16th October is all about the Amsterdam sound of Tom Trago and his essential imprint Voyage Direct, that's been sending out transmissions from the underground since 2006. Tom and his label mates will be holding court in the afternoon, deep diving into their influences and individual development, and commenting on the rise of a new generation of producers. The takeover won't stop until the early hours as Tom and his crew - Elias Mazian, Aardvarck, Awanto3, William Kouam Djoko, Interstellar Funk, Maxi Mill and San Proper - plan to shake Mayer Manor with back-to-back performances that will showcase their past, present and future sound.
The final day of Sonos Studio ADE, Saturday 17th October, will hand the reins over to super curators Pause and Mixcloud. Presenting the most sought-after sounds with diggers of all stripes, Pause will look deep into the art of music discovery with a panel discussion of special guest explorers including Seth Troxler, Jameszoo, Marcus Worgull and DJ Solar. The evening’s closing party promises to be an immersive trip of sonic treasures, with hometown hero Young Marco going head-to-head with Chee Shimizu from Tokyo for a unique ambient set, with cult visual artist Heleen Blanken who will continue the story on the walls of Mayer Manor.
For updates and how to RSVP, check out the Facebook event https://www.facebook.com/events/1641466586141710/