Australian dance panel: The state of the scene
Tue 5th Jun, 2012 Features 8414 viewsin
Last week, we published an excerpt from the Australian dance scene panel at the International Music Summit in Ibiza, which covered the changing fortunes of festivals here. Now, as a few of you requested, we’ve got the complete transcript of the 40 minute discussion, which touched on the state of Australian radio, the club climate, whether local artists need to seek international success, and more.
inthemix: My name’s Tim Duggan, I’m the Content Director for inthemix, which is Australia’s biggest dance music community. We have an esteemed panel today, so to start off we’ll get people to introduce themselves.
Jon Hanlon: My name is Jon Hanlon from Konkrete Agency, we’re a small, boutique domestic agency. We also represent Laidback Luke, Nicky Romero and a few others for the Australian territory. We work closely with Stereosonic, Onelove and others. I’m looking forward to this panel. It’s going to be extremely interesting.
Bev Malcolm: Hi, I’m Bev, I’m dance A&R for EMI Australia and also I work with Stereosonic. We’re the ‘all over the place’ people at this end of the panel.
Grant Smillie: I have Neon Records and a national radio program, agency and run a couple of clubs. I’ve worked with all these guys in a number of ways.
Kaz James: I’m Kaz James, a DJ/producer from Bodyrockers.
Wade Cawood: I’m Wade, I look after Pulseradio and Finely Tuned and I don’t work for Stereosonic.
Matt Nugent: I work for the Onelove record label doing A&R and licensing. We’re an independent label that started from a club night. It spawned a compilation series and we also have a joint venture with Sony Australia. I’m a DJ as well.
inthemix: Australia’s at a fascinating place in dance music at the moment. For a country of only 20 million people, it certainly punches over its weight. It’s the sixth largest music market in the world, and for the past few years, there’s been an over-saturation of festivals, which is surely of interest to the rest of the world. There’s been an adjustment over the year, where the strong ones have survived, and others haven’t. Richie, what’s your take on the health of the Australian festival market right now?
Richie McNeill, Stereosonic: There are a lot of festivals in Australia. Compared to other countries, we’ve had a strong festival climate over the last 20 years. I think it’s got a lot to do with the fact that our summer season is long – from October/November to March/April. I guess every Tom, Dick and Harry has come here from overseas to try to do festivals – some have succeeded, some haven’t. Australia’s probably very different from other countries because a lot of festivals overseas like Electric Daisy Carnival or Glastonbury are just one weekend.
Our festivals are more like a travelling circus – five festivals in two weekends. Competition is really healthy. We try to look at the end product and the individual punter who comes to the festival: how can we make it easy for them on the day? The ones who cut corners and do shitty production, or the line-up isn’t so strong, or the price is too much, won’t survive.