Electronic music in Australia is rapidly approaching the point where it no longer needs to sell itself to anyone. Bolstered by international point-scorers like Flume, Anna Lunoe, Motez and Wave Racer and backed up by a rock-solid collective of crews that spans from the multiple ARIA-winning Future Classic through to Astral People, Sweat It Out and Plastic Records, Australian beats are having their moment in the sun. But just in case it all goes south, the genre has found itself a fabulous champion in Dan Zilber. The former FBi Radio head honcho, who was just picked up by MTV Australia, is the head programmer for this year’s EMC Play, which sets the best in dance music free across Kings Cross for two nights of non-stop, mid-week boogieing.
EMC Play is the evening partner of Australia’s third Electronic Music Conference, which boasts speakers and delegates from some of the biggest festivals, management companies and acts on the planet, all of whom will converge on Sydney to swap stories and pick up tips to find out where the sound of the underground will be heading in the next 12 months. Inspired in part by Miami Winter Music Conference and ADE in Holland, it’s where you’ll hear from the brightest minds in one of the fastest-growing industries in music.
For those who prefer throwing shapes to taking notes, there’s Play, which allows punters to hit up a staggering fourteen parties thrown by everyone from Inthemix to Select Music across two nights for only 50 bucks. Zilber, who booked every last one of them, says it’s a testament to the strength of the local scene that he managed to get so many acts on the bill even though he couldn’t pay them a fee.
“I made a really long list of artists and agencies, promoters and started working my way through it,” he explains. “We want to build as many opportunities for those artists as possible. Dance music, even though it’s going really well, it’s still a reasonable niche scene. The artists and people in the scene really like to support each other and be a part of it. Once you start to get a few crews on board, nobody wants to be left out.”
Zilber is also particularly proud of being to host the events in Kings Cross, which has had a shocker year for trade in the wake of the lockout laws. “We wanted to do our part to shine a light on the difficulties that have been forced upon the area by legislation and bureaucracy,” he says. “There are great venues that are fighting to make the most of a difficult situation and we wanted to get behind them. [The Cross] still has an abundance of clubs it’s not all gloom and doom.”
EMC Play is exciting, but it can also be overwhelming for first-time attendees who aren’t sure how to get the most out of their two-day bender. Zilber advises making a lists of artists you want to see or crews you want to party with and bouncing around from there, because your ticket gets you into everything. “If you’re into the tougher, big room end of the spectrum, you might angle towards to Lucky or Koncrete showcase. If you like it a little bit more live or chin-stroking, you might check out Astral People or Select Music and Underctrl lineups. We’re trying to keep it fairly diverse.”
Dan’s Artists to Watch at EMC PLAY 2014
Sophisticated house music is well and truly on the comeback and this Melbourne teenager has an incredibly deft touch given he's only released a few tunes.
Kit Pop and Ta Ku from Perth have put their heads together and formed HWLS. The finely honed beats and bass of this impressive duo signal big things ahead on a worldwide stage.
LDRU and Yahtzel have built an impressive catalogue and fanbase as solo artists in their hometown of Sydney and beyond. Teamed up as Carmada, they're establishing themselves as main room dancefloor destroyers and are poised to go global.
EMC Play runs from Wednesday December 3 to Thursday December 4.
Buy tickets at electronicmusicconference.com