An often-cited issue within the music business is the lack of focus on the younger generation. While it’s true that pretty much everyone is on the hunt for dazzling new musicians, and there are lots of schemes for them, at the same time there aren’t many conferences created specifically for a younger demographic. Amsterdan Dance Event certainly has a lot of workshops created especially for newcomers to the industry and Brighton Music Conference has a series of panels geared towards them too, but there should be lots more. Take Note, a one-day conference held at Second Home in Brick Lane, east London, aimed to address this issue with an event designed to educate people who are new to the business or simply don’t know much about it. DLTM’s Marcus Barnes was invited to host a couple of panels at the event and spent the whole day there, taking in everything it had to offer…
One of the first things that the brains behind Take Note, Bianca Mayhew, told us was that she wanted to inject some fun into her conference. Her idea was to avoid putting on another industry conference with the same old jaded people talking about the same old topics. By assembling a line-up of people who are all part of the contemporary ‘scene’, rather than the usual conference staple, Bianca’s dream was achieved with a resounding success.
Upon walking into Second Home at around 10am, the conference room was already busy with at least three-quarters, if not more, of the seats in the room already occupied by eager young people ready for the first panel. Not bad going for a Saturday morning when there are ice-cold gales blasting through the streets of London. Not bad at all.
Carly Wilford, a friend of ours, was the main host throughout the day and she took charge of the first panel, which focused on seven different people who all discussed their back stories and their pathway into music. They included Mixmag editor Duncan Dick, A&R for Warner Music Jerome Porritt, Rudimental manager Greg Burnell (Stack House Management), music solicitor Halina Wielogorska (Clintons), booking agent Finlay Johnson (WME), SJM Concerts tour promoter Jack Dowling, festival promoter Mark Newton and PR company owner Melissa Maouris. It was nice, easy-going introduction to the day with lots of insight, some crucial pieces of advice (like a list of tips for interns, which Duncan read out from his notepad) and a generally nice, well-balanced presentation.
This balance and pleasant vibe was the pervading feeling throughout the whole day – in the conference room newbies and more established people gathered to hear a range of topics discussed by the peers and by people who have been involved in electronic music during the last decade. We reiterate this point about the contemporary nature of the line-up because it not only meant that the young crowd could connect more with those in front of them but it also gave an up-to-date perspective on the growth, evolution and spread of dance music and club culture. It felt fresh and exciting, like we were actually making a difference to the people in front of us and that we were all, pretty much, on the same page.
Outside the conference room, the intimate setting meant that a lot of the people in the crowd could approach those who’d appeared on the panels to ask their advice, pass on their music and exchange contact details. Meanwhile, in another room at Second Home, international music school Point Blank hosted a series of tutorials with Roni Size, Stefano Ritteri, DJ Yoda and Geddes among the artists who revealed the techniques and working processes behind their music.
As the day went on, the conference room remained busy for all of the panels, which covered topics such as the effect of EDM/commercial dance music on the business, maintaining a healthy work/life balance, entrepreneurs, understanding social media and the concept of ‘selling out’. All very insightful panels with a really impressive range of speakers, some sound advice and information, emotion and, overall, a overwhelming feeling of harmony and unity. Cheesy though it may sound, this was what really came through in the panels; the notion that we’re all in this together, that being a good person is crucial to making it in a business where there is still greater value on being personable and genuine than there is on hype.
An inspiring day, not only for DLTM but also, we hope, for all the young people who were keen enough to spend all day at Take Note absorbing everything that was shared with them. At one point Carly even led the entire room into a short meditation, a bold move, but everyone complied without a second thought. The kind of behaviour that is unheard of in any other music conference we’ve been to.
Special shouts go to Laura Jones for being so open about her eye condition, Ali Love for his hilariously candid appearance, Carly Wilford for being an absolute powerhouse presenter, Abi and Melissa at Maouris, and everyone else who was involved in speaking or working at Take Note especially Bianca Mayhew for conceiving the idea and making it work with basically no budget whatsoever.
A fantastic achievement and a day that left us with a warm, fuzzy feeling inside.