Today is the opening day of the 2017 annual electronic music conference held at the iconic Brighton Dome. Returning for the fourth year in a row, the Brighton Music Conference hosts various seminars, debates, workshops and more. The conference runs throughout the Thursday and Friday of this week (27th — 28th), with a number of other sponsored events beforehand, in the evenings and post-conference. Music enthusiasts of all kinds will be able to gather extremely valuable information from the 2-day conference, with the opportunity to network with multiple industry professionals, artists and fellow attendees. Ticket information can be found here. Download their new app to stay up to date with everything BMC! Available for iOS and Android.
We got in touch with one of the organisers, Billy Mauseth, for a brief interview about the inspiration behind its launch, the challenges faced and the future of the conference.
How did the idea for BMC originally materialise — and what inspired the focus towards electronic music?
We decided to set up Brighton Music Conference as the UK didn’t have its own electronic music conference like ADE in Amsterdam, WMC Miami or IMS Ibiza. As the driving force in electronic music business, the UK was missing out on a home-grown music seminar because it always proved too difficult to stage one in London due to cost, size and too many other distractions to make it work on the day.
What are the main challenges faced with organising such a big event and how do you overcome them?
Coordinating the event with the larger DJs availability is always a challenge. Obviously the bigger the DJ the more likely they are to be on an aeroplane to a high paying gig, often booked over a year in advance. The event needs to be staged at a quieter time between winter and summer seasons, when the event doesn’t compete with festivals or the Ibiza season. To be honest, we are already working on 2018 now, speaking with DJs, discussing panel topics etc.
Have you faced any new challenges since launching the conference that you didn’t anticipate?
The refurbishment of the venue, The Dome, looked like it was going to cause a logistical headache. However, the venue really works for us so we decided to take our chances on the building being available to use.
What were the deciding factors that made you choose Brighton as the location?
Brighton is definitely the right place to host something special, as it has all the conference facilities, night time venues, music history and location to make it work.
I attended last year for the first time and thoroughly enjoyed the atmosphere. Especially the balance between seminars, debates, workshops and the ‘hands on’, networking nature of the exhibition hall.
How important is the balance between learning and ‘doing’ and was it something you were aiming for?
Although our target market is professional, we also focus on education with our Academy programme which covers all aspects of the business from record labels and distribution to music publishing, deejayjng, music production, press, club events and festivals.
We’re trying to engage our audience and each other in all elements of the electronic music business. The Professional conference includes talks, panels, networking, the Academy programme for students and people looking to learn about the industry, Toolroom Academy, Native Instruments’ Native Sessions with a number of DJ producers discussing their kit, the tech exhibition. We also have an ongoing music and art project at Constant Circles gallery and we have networking events and club nights.
What advice would you give to any aspiring music producers, event organisers, music journalists, service providers etc. when coming to BMC for the first time?
Networking at events like BMC is a good start to make face to face contacts. All networking is priceless, you’ve got to live it to be in it on the dance music scene. Use the BMC app with push notifications. Use the website or programme to make a plan for your days and maybe organise some meetings in advance? Otherwise grab people when they finish talking!
How do you decide who to approach about getting involved when setting up a new conference?
We are focusing on quality underground music of all genres as we’re about reinforcing the vibrancy of the scene for the next generations of producers and DJs.
What kind of things could we expect to be introduced at BMC in the future?
There is a natural momentum to an event like BMC. Partly organic growth but also linking up with like-minded partners to expand the remit, creating a natural progression. Everything is under review and change is important to keep the ideas fresh and also pioneering. It’s very easy to rest on your laurels, but we’re pushing to make a difference and that’s always more complicated as we’re constantly trying to refresh content and messaging. We feel we’ve come a long way since beginning 4 years ago and each year we move closer to our original vision for a UK competitor to ADE. Brighton is also beautiful in the Spring.
Thanks again for your time!
Thanks to the BMC organisers, we also managed to arrange a brief interview Chris Goss (Managing Director of Hospital Records), ahead of the labels highly anticipated Q&A at 13:30 tomorrow.
Firstly, thank you for your time and we’re very much looking forward to the Q&A on Friday, so we won’t keep you too long.
How, and when, did you first discover the Brighton Music Conference?
We knew the organisers, and liked the idea of a seaside get-together… and have taken part every year since.
The Q&A session will be a great way for attendees to pick your brains for knowledge and information, but what do you as a label hope to get out of the conference?
Like all good music conferences, it’s an opportunity to network, and catch-up with friends and colleagues from the South of England, along with the international folk that get involved. We have friends like Toolroom, Shogun Audio, and Critical that always take part, and will hopefully get a beer or two out of them.
It’s great that a label of your stature, with around 20 years of experience, can spare the time to get involved and share that experience and pass on your knowledge.
How important are events like the BMC in order to help educate and network with up and coming artists, labels and service providers?
Essential. This industry evolves at a breakneck pace, and all of us on every side need to be well-informed and fully aware of the twists and turns in technology, consumption, retail, audiences, tickets — you name it. You snooze, you lose.
Will people be able to speak to you personally before, or after, the Q&A?
Absolutely. I’ll be there with 4 members of our staff team, so hopefully we can all offer our own experience and perspective.
What is the best way to approach a label such as Hospital Records in order to try and get noticed, or even signed?
Same as it’s always been. Make great, original music, and have good manners.
What is the most important piece of advice you could give to an aspiring record label looking to launch in this ever-evolving era of electronic music?
See above…. But also; make sure you have something to say. Simply adding more content to the overwhelming out-pouring of noise is not enough.
Should up and coming labels focus on physical or digital format releases?
The landscape is now digital. That should be everyone’s priority, since that is where the daily challenge for listeners and monetisation is fought. That said, I will always want us to make vinyl records, as that was an essential factor in my and Tony’s passion for this business back in the late 80s and early 90s. I love making beautiful things, and hopefully that will always be a feature of what we do.
What can we expect from Hospital Records in the near future?
We just enjoyed one of our best ever shows, a sold-out Tobacco Dock this Easter, hosting the first drum & bass event on those premises. We’re now moving ahead at full steam towards our return to Finsbury Park in September, which I hope will build on the success of last year’s open-air debut.
In the meantime, we’re delivering brilliant new records this Spring & Summer from Nu:Logic, Hugh Hardie, Makoto, and Whiney. Plus there will be amazing music incoming from Keeno, Fred V & Grafix, Royalton, and S.P.Y’s ‘Alone In The Dark series. Our range of merchandise continues to blossom, and set standards for fresh ideas, whilst our broadcasting delivers a world-famous podcast, monthly Rinse show, and now a building Radio1 residency from Metrik.
Thank you for speaking to us and we wish the label the best for the future!