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Music

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Bryan Chapman
Bryan Chapman

We first came across Bryan Chapman earlier this year through his Ekanta Vasa EP released on his own label Monotony. The music and the titles he used resonated with us, it had meaning, substance and felt as though it was linked to a higher purpose. Through the wonder of social media we got in touch with Bryan and found out he also channels his creative energy into creating abstract photographs, some of which are displayed within this article. We spoke with Bryan about the past year, asking him the same set of questions we’ve asked everyone this issue and he’s also taken time to record a very special mix for us, full of songs that inspired him as a youngster. So click play on the embed below, immerse yourself in Bryan’s amazing photographs and read all about his 2017 experiences…

Firstly, tell us about the concept behind your art please.
The appeal of nature to me is simply: “Nature is the truest form of creation and its beautifully sobering that mankind isn’t natures architect”. Edward Witten conjectured about the existence a unified version of superstring theory which he called ‘M Theory’. M Theory would require 11 dimensions be needed to fully comprehend the entirety of our universe from beginning to middle and its end.

What the universe would look like and how it would be viewed in 7 dimensions more than we currently have is something that no one can fully comprehend or ever start to and is an impossibly massive idea to ponder. But to think on an question knowing full well there is no answer is massively appealing to me. In that thought there are no boundaries or limitations and this is where creative freedom can be like setting a wild horse free to run endlessly forever and the results can be hugely intriguing to explore. This is where I came up with the concept of trying to create art that would show what nature would look like when viewed from a higher dimension. My vision for these pieces (all original nature photos in origin) are not what nature would look like from 11 dimensions but merely 1 dimension up from where we currently exist, how would nature as we currently view it look like if viewed by a four dimensional being living in five dimensions?…

2017 has been another crazy year on planet Earth, what have been some of your own personal highlights?
As an artist it’s been a year of growth for sure, launching my own label and writing music only for the purpose of self-release has given me a level of creative freedom that I’ve never had before. All boundaries and restrictions evaporated when I removed the pressure of ever needing to get those tracks signed.

Another highlight was Vice wrote an article about my art which was pretty special. I’m on the Vice website most days and have been following them for years, so to have a publication as massive and respected as them want to write about my art was crazy.

Bryan's photography
Bryan’s photography
Bryan's photography
Bryan’s photography

Which news stories (positive or negative) have really impacted on your life this year?
There are very few places I check for news: Vice, The Verge and phys.org being the main ones, so it’s mostly tech and science orientated. Vice always throws in some mad stuff too, they have a good balance. What Elon Musk is doing is intriguing. Using his skills and wealth to try and encourage humanity to live fully sustainably and think about living beyond this planet stands out. Plus anything that highlights inequality across the board is much needed.

Have you discovered any new countries, town or cities? If so, tell us about where you went please.
North Wales, driving with a view from maybe 20 miles away with the sun breaking through the clouds and hitting Snowdonia was like something out of Lord of the Rings. A truly beautiful part of the world with a huge amount of it still relatively untouched by mankind. The nature there is something else, it’s the perfect place for some downtime.

Bryan's photography
Bryan’s photography
Bryan's photography
Bryan’s photography

Did you start the year with any clear goals? If so, what were they and have you managed to achieve them?
My only goal for 2017 was to launch my label, Monotony. That happened in April and the only plan for the label at its launch was a concept that bound the first four releases together. The first three are out and the fourth is due early 2018. The support and feedback has been phenomenal so far, from having Luke Slater and Blawan playing tracks to Mixmag reviewing the releases, running the label has been a joy.

What have you learned this year: a) About yourself? B) About the world/life in general?
Space and moments of nothingness. As a person and an artist I’ve learnt the importance of silence, living a mindful existence has become key to an inner calmness. Finding a way to take this knowledge and put this into my music and art has had a big effect. Musically it has helped my sound become (for the lack of a better word) fuller. In using silence and letting frequencies enter that space even momentarily, new possibilities arise.

As for the world, there have been so many negative events happen this year, the positive aspect has been how resilient we are as a species and the compassion, unity and genuine desire to help each other in the aftermath of such bad times. It gives hope.

Bryan's photography
Bryan’s photography
Bryan's photography
Bryan’s photography

Would you call 2017 a good or a bad year, and why?
Good, for sure. As I said earlier 2017 has been a massive year of growth. Being creative without boundaries and restrictions has had such a liberating effect on me as an artist, it’s filtered into real life as well. Living with true freedom and waking up to that reality, not much beats that.

Now that 2017 is almost over, what are your plans up until the end of the year?
I’ve just finished the fourth EP for Monotony which will be out early next year. I started writing my debut album a while ago so the rest of the year will be filled with me writing and finishing the album. It has started to consume everything, so I’ve just gone with it and let it consume.

Finally, can you recommend an album or a musician or a visual artist you’ve discovered this year?
Sarah Davachi – All My Circles Run. The first time I heard that album I was lost for words, ‘for voice’ had an effect on me  that I’ve never experienced before (and still does), not just from music but from anything. Spellbinding.

Bryan's photography
Bryan’s photography
Bryan's photography
Bryan’s photography

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Bilbao, a sweet little city
Bilbao, a sweet little city

We didn’t know much about Bilbao before we went there, but we found it to be a quaint little place with a lot to offer, especially its huge festival Bilbao BBK which takes place every July way up in the hills above the city. DLTM were also really impressed with the Guggenheim Museum with its awe-inspiring architecture and artwork, including some absolutely stunning outdoor pieces.

Spending a weekend there was definitely one of our 2017 highlights, (mostly) great weather, good company and a real all-round experience of the city from an all-day-long bike tour, to the art and raving into the early hours at Bilbao BBK. Here are a few postcards from the time we spent there…

The stunning Guggenheim Museum
The stunning Guggenheim Museum
Jessy Lanza on stage at Bilbao BBK
Jessy Lanza on stage at Bilbao BBK
Street art in San Francisco, a part of town that's currently being gentrified
Street art in San Francisco, a part of town that’s currently being gentrified
The streets of San Francisco
The streets of San Francisco
The city's football stadium is juxtaposed with residential buildings in this shot
The city’s football stadium is juxtaposed with residential buildings in this shot
One of the many amazing exhibits at the Guggenheim
One of the many amazing exhibits at the Guggenheim
A troupe of odd figures at the museum shop
A troupe of odd figures at the museum shop
Art on the streets as one of the city's neighbourhoods is gentrified
Art on the streets as one of the city’s neighbourhoods is gentrified
The Killers had a huge audience during their show
The Killers had a huge audience during their show
An imposing set of immersive sculptures inside the Guggenheim
An imposing set of immersive sculptures inside the Guggenheim
A cloudy view across part of Bilbao
A cloudy view across part of Bilbao
Bobby Gillespie of Primal Scream keeps spirits high during a downpour
Bobby Gillespie of Primal Scream keeps spirits high during a downpour
More art, this one by world-famous artist Aryz
More art, this one by world-famous artist Aryz
Deep in the forest rave area at Bilbao BBK
Deep in the forest rave area at Bilbao BBK
'Puppy' by Jeff Koons at the Guggenheim Museum
‘Puppy’ by Jeff Koons at the Guggenheim Museum

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© Beth Crockatt - featured in Don't Lose The Magic Photo Issue
© Beth Crockatt

Beth Crockatt is a stalwart of music and events photography. She’s been around for a few years, making a living by documenting an industry she loves and adores. Beth’s has a knack of catching good times as they happen, transferring the energy of an unforgettable night into her images with panache.

Name? Beth Crockatt.

Age? 33.

From/Location? I’m a bit of nomad but currently live in London.

How long have you considered yourself a photographer? Working in clubs and the music industry since I was 15 and regularly for various publications for the past 10 years.

Camera of choice? Nikon D4.

Specialist area of expertise? Portraits, PR and badly lit places…

Inspirations? Martin Parr and David LaChapelle.

Tell me a little bit about your selection of photos? I have been lucky enough to travel around the world to attend some amazing parties and experience once in a lifetime moments, which I am forever grateful for. This said, as a photojournalist no matter how beautiful (and sometimes bizarre) the situations I was thrown into were, I always seemed to come back to the close up images – the personal shots of people just lost and dancing rather than the destination, the main booking, or whatever. Club events look right until you get down to the bare bones of the night and the people, and I have tried to reflect that in my selection here.

Where can our readers see more of your work? www.bethcrockatt.com

Click the images for high resolution…

© Beth Crockatt - featured in Don't Lose The Magic Photo Issue
© Beth Crockatt
© Beth Crockatt - featured in Don't Lose The Magic Photo Issue
© Beth Crockatt
© Beth Crockatt - featured in Don't Lose The Magic Photo Issue
© Beth Crockatt
© Beth Crockatt - featured in Don't Lose The Magic Photo Issue
© Beth Crockatt
© Beth Crockatt - featured in Don't Lose The Magic Photo Issue
© Beth Crockatt
© Beth Crockatt - featured in Don't Lose The Magic Photo Issue
© Beth Crockatt
© Beth Crockatt - featured in Don't Lose The Magic Photo Issue
© Beth Crockatt
© Beth Crockatt - featured in Don't Lose The Magic Photo Issue
© Beth Crockatt
© Beth Crockatt - featured in Don't Lose The Magic Photo Issue
© Beth Crockatt
© Beth Crockatt - featured in Don't Lose The Magic Photo Issue
© Beth Crockatt

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Graffiti writer Khans in action in north London
Graffiti writer Khans in action in north London

Graffiti writer Khans became famous in the late nineties. Known for his activity on tube trains in London, he was widely respected, for his funky styles. As someone who came to the UK from a foreign nation at the age of 7, he found music helped him to integrate into life in the capital and music has never left him since those very early days. Often putting quotes from songs next to his pieces is a sure sign of how much influence music has on his life, so we thought he’d be the perfect candidate to bring together our love for both art and music. He’s also prepared us a special Spotify playlist of some of his favourite pieces of music, so make sure you flick that on while you read all about what he’s got to say below…

Beginnings…

“‘Pass The Dutchie’ was the first tune that I remember getting into. Fresh off a plane and straight in to a unfamilar cultural environment, I was absorbing all the new sights, sounds and language aged 7. I only realised the context of the lyrics when I revisited the tune years later, that’s the eighties for you. “Me listen to the drummer, me say listen to the bass, give me little music make me wind up me waist…”

Top Of The Pops and all of that stuff was new to me. I was listening to everything and anything at first, all the eighties stuff from Madonna to Culture Club, Wham, Spandau Ballet. Hip hop crept in and has been part of my musical vocabulary since. I’m not even a die hard hip hop head, but ever since my schoolfriend DJ Mark Ruston started plying us with copies of all the ‘Electro Sounds’ albums, I was hooked with the whole Hip Hop thing (graffiti being the thing that really got me). ‘DWYCK’ is just one of many nineties hip hop tunes that are classic – stripped back beats and bass, killer rhymes and flow. ‘I Gotcha Opin’ is another fine tune that for me hasn’t aged. Their debut album ‘Enta Da Stage’ (alongside ’36 Chambers’) was on contstant loop on my Aiwa back then. The original version was all hard, aggressive spittin rhymes, then when I picked up the remix on import they just flipped it on its head with the half singing, half rapping style, the laid back horn and strings. Quality.”

Respect to the olders

“Older brothers and sisters were really important back then, they were a big musical influence in the ‘burbs because they were already out there getting into things, they were mods, they were casuals, they were into football, anything new really and that influenced us. Hip hop was starting to get big, there were all these electro compilation tapes with a mix of early hip hop and all that kind of stuff around ’86. Lots of tapes got copied and circulated at school with a curious mix of electro, hip hop, early house and eighties pop. The Walkman had just come out and I would be blasting all the music out through my headphones. I picked Soul II Soul ‘Keep on Movin” as its is just a timeless positive track and reminds me of the whole era around the late eighties and early nineties, when London was just doing its own thing music, street fashion wise.

Electro Sounds compilations introduced Khans to hip hop in the mid-eighties
Electro Sounds compilations introduced Khans to hip hop in the mid-eighties

That led on to ’88 when acid house came in, all the guys and girls I knew started going out raving. Older brothers and sisters were already into raving, and we followed them into the warehouses and clubs in and around London. That music filtered through with lots of tapes as well. My big thing was early house, Ten City and a lot of that kind of stuff, which was intertwined with guitar music and some elements of hip hop when I got into skating. My tastes were always quite diverse in a way I guess, never fully focused on just one kind of music.

Fast forward to my hardcore raving days and later the whole jungle/DnB scene, riding around London in a battered Golf Mk1 GTI, listening to Rush FM then later locked in to Kool FM. Fun times, lots of good tunes throughout that period but I picked ‘DJs Take Control’ (over ‘Music’ LTJ Bukem) as it just reminds me of my first rave – Telepathy at the Michael Sobell Centre. It’s a classic hardcore tune and still makes me bop about.”

Nineties gold

“In the nineties it felt really eclectic, the people making the music, especially DnB, seemed to come from a multitude of different backgrounds, musically and socially. We’d be out during the week as well as weekends, there was so much good music; RnB, hip hop, early garage, New York deep house – it was a good time musically speaking.

Todd Terry, Kenny Dope and DJ Pierre pose with a piece painted for Strictly Rhythm by Serve FBA
Todd Terry, Kenny Dope and DJ Pierre pose with a piece painted for Strictly Rhythm by Serve FBA

I’d be at university listening to Strictly Rhythm, while doing outlines and ignoring my coursework. Just chilling! I was still going out a lot, hitting clubs a lot more than proper raves. A couple of my favorite house tunes are thrown in the mix on this playlist. ‘Don’t Lose the Magic’ just touches me, lyrics ring true in so many ways and ‘Deep Inside’ because I’m a massive Masters At Work fan. A couple of old tunes got thrown into the list because so many tunes just sample older joints and then you naturally start listening to the originals. That’s when I got into eighties grooves, seventies disco, funk and all of that. When I worked in Tower Records Camden town, lots of Mastercuts albums followed me home and enhanced my musical education. The Raw Silk tune was a memorable one. I first heard the lyrics sampled on an obscure 12″, always wondered where it was sampled from, then heard the original and I was smitten. Same with ‘Don’t Joke With a Hungry Man’, quality title, quality funk. Last but not least – you can never put together a playlist without a Tony Bennett tune thrown in somewhere!

I started raving a bit later, so around 17/18, when hardcore was coming through. It was exciting, not only because of the music itself but the whole culture around it – the pirate stations, going to people’s houses listening to vinyl, going to Unity Records, Blackmarket and picking up the latest tunes, raving solid. That led into drum’n’bass. Hardcore started to drop off because a lot of people thought it was getting too dark – some people got into house, some went into jungle, happy hardcore, just anything that was a bit different. We were going to Roller Express, Labyrinth, some random place on Mondays down in a basement on Tottenham Court Road, so many spots back then.”

Graffiti and becoming part of London’s underbelly

“With the graffiti quotes, I guess music just fed into what I was doing, so if I was feeling a tune it made sense to quote it next to a piece. It charts my musical tastes and it’s also a way of communicating with other writers who are into that music; if you know where the quote comes from.. you know, if you don’t, you don’t. It was a thing for all the other music heads out there. I guess some of the quotes were tied in with the piece, too.

Khans infamous panel: "Just 4 U London... London.. London"
Khans infamous panel: “Just 4 U London… London.. London”

Since I came to England in the early eighties I could see straight away that there were these subcultures; it was an interesting time, London was at the epicentre of so many things – fashion crossed over into the streets, music and everything around it was influencing so many aspects of business and London influenced the world. People were really receptive to new things, there was a buzz around everything, especially in those hardcore days. The UK was doing its own thing and the US had no idea what was going on, most people from Europe didn’t understand what it was all about; breakbeat, drum’n’bass – it was London, pure London. Look at it now, it’s taken over the world.

When I first came to London music helped to break down barriers. There was so much going on at school, music made it easier to connect with people. I was absorbing everything straight away, the hip hop fashions, laced in with that was all the popular culture as well; pop music and all of that. I guess being into the ‘cooler’ stuff; graffiti, skating, it gave me a particular outlook that aligned with me with others of the same viewpoint.

I think, having Asian parents, they wanted me to get into all the classical kind of stuff but they didn’t really realise what I was getting into. It’s not like I was blasting it out night and day, I had music playing on my headphones most of the time. I remember them getting pissed one night because I’d stayed up really late listening to Tim Westwood, or someone like that, on the radio. They obviously would have preferred that I didn’t listen to that kind of music but what can you do? That’s the thing, in London music is all around you, it’s almost impossible to avoid it, you’ve got access to it and no one can really stop you.”

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Wild Sirenda AKA Lizz and Guinevere LaRouge
Wild Sirenda AKA Lizz and Guinevere LaRouge

A couple of years ago DLTM met Wild Sirenda at Burning Man. We were members of the same camp and, as often happens at Burning Man, bonded straight away. Though the time we had together was relatively short-lived, we stayed in touch, and kept the bond strong. We eventually learned that married couple Lizz LaRouge and Guinevere had started to operate as a musical duo, with Lizz on the decks and Guinevere singing, freestyle, to channel positive vibes onto the dance floors they perform to. In London they held sacred cacao ceremonies, where music, dance and the heart-opening potion intertwined to create a blissful, yet energised atmosphere of expression and joy. DLTM sat down for a chat with the married couple to find out more about how they got together and what drives the all-conquering emperesses of love they call Wild Sirenda… plus they recorded a wonderful mix for us, which you can listen to below.

NB: This mix is not 100% representative of a Wild Sirenda performance, which involves Guinevere singing and filling their listeners with positivity through spoken word.

Wild Sirenda are shining brightly
Wild Sirenda are shining brightly

“I discovered my own journey of healing through dance. I was living in London and I’d been ill for quite some time, about a year. I had chronic fatigue syndrome and I decided to put myself on a trip to Thailand to be with myself, and to learn yoga.. though I ended up doing very little of that!” Guinevere tells us. In Thailand she discovered cacao ceremonies, and a way to be free of the stresses that had weighed her down in London. The medium of dance, experienced in a sober environment, allowed her to go deep into herself, connect with who she was and enter a zone of deep inner healing. “I got in touch with who I am, who I wanted to be and released a lot of emotional stuff as well,” she explains. Recognising that Guinevere had such a strong connection with dance and music, her cacao teacher took her on as an apprentice. During that time, she also had visions that she would one day be using her voice to heal, before she’d ever met her wife, Lizz.

“I’d been DJing in Australia, pretty full-on – like Thursday through to Sunday. I got to a point where I ended up railroading my life; taking all the wrong sorts of drugs to stay awake and be ‘the DJ’. I ended up in hospital and had kidney infection, appendicitis, a bladder infection, two ovarian cysts half burst, all at the same time,” Lizz explains to DLTM how she ended up in Thailand, and how an unhealthy DJ lifestyle led to an almighty wake up call. “When I was hospital all of the people I thought were my friends from the club scene, even my girlfriend of a year, failed to come and visit me. I was in there for two weeks and had a total awakening, I realised, ‘I am nobody’. The person I thought I’d been all these years, this ‘DJ’ character, was no one. I took myself to New Zealand and came to the realisation that there was so much more out there and that was the start of a three-year journey into self-discovery that led me to the same place in Thailand Guinevere went to”. (The Sanctuary on Koh Phangan).

Guinevere and Lizz rock The Drop at Secret Garden Party
Guinevere and Lizz rock The Drop at Secret Garden Party

Lizz cut herself off from music and DJing during that three-year period, and it wasn’t until she reached Thailand that she rediscovered music and immersed herself in its healing capabilities, inspired by some of the classes she attended while she was there and, later, Guinevere’s improvised singing. “I met Guinevere and she used to sing in my ear. Once she started singing in my ear I was like, ‘Oh my God, we can do this! This can be a platform to help people be conscious and to share our message'” Lizz beams. “We’d be on the dance floor and these poems and songs would come to me from my own healing experience. It was like I was channeling,” Guinevere adds.

What happened next was pivotal to their musical relationship. Some friends who run a micro-festival in Thailand gave the couple a platform to put on their very first performance, “They said they were having an all-girl DJ night, so we said we had this act…” Lizz explains, as Guinevere chips in, “…the act had never rehearsed, never been discussed fully.”

“We landed in Bangkok and we went to a DJ store, I wanted to have the lightest equipment, so our first gig involved me playing on Traktor for the iPad and Guinevere using iRig, a device which allowed her to change the tone of her voice through her iPhone!” Lizz laughs.

The couple inspire love, liberation and self-healing with their performances
The couple inspire love, liberation and self-healing with a performance at the Garden Festival

“The first time we ever went from me singing in Lizz’s ear, to performing as Wild Sirenda, was a total leap of faith where she hadn’t DJ’d in three years, and I had never sung like that before, with a DJ, improvised, in front of anyone. We had this gig at five in the morning until seven, so we’d been up all night partying and dancing,” Guinevere smiles as she reminisces about that first gig. “Having not done it ever before, we ended up with this incredible moment where not knowing what we were going to do was actually one of the fundamental things which has defined us and it was incredible because everything was totally organic, from the heart and in the moment. Everything I sang was a message channeled through me – the people on the dance floor were crying tears of joy.”

“When we finished everyone was like, ‘You guys have really got to keep on doing that’, so that was the birthplace of everything that we’re doing now,” Lizz states.

As Wild Sirenda, Lizz and Guinevere create spaces in which people can release, become empowered through music and dance and set themselves on a pathway to heal. With their performances and cacao ceremonies they encourage self-healing, “I often see it at Guinevere’s cacao ceremonies; people feel almost indebted to her for being the healer in that space. Guinevere always quickly reminds them, ‘No, no, no I just created the space, you used the space to go inside yourself. It’s quite interesting how people will quickly give the accolade to the person holding the space, as if they are the one that did the magic, but actually it’s them,” says Lizz.

Cacao has been used for ceremonial purposes in south America for a long time, going back to ancient civilisations. It’s use today it’s still relatively new to most, but, like so many holistic practices, is becoming more and more popular. “Cacao can be used in many different ways, but I like to use it with dance. I combine it with the five elements dance; earth, water, fire, air and ether. We start by sitting in a circle, ingesting the cacao, going into one’s self and setting your intention as to what you want to achieve that day or night,” Guinevere explains to us. “I think it’s important to focus on these two things; What do you want to let go of? And what do you want to call in? This gives people a really strong connection to their core desires.”

The balance in Guinevere and Lizz's energies helps to attract an equally balanced dance floor
The balance in Guinevere and Lizz’s energies helps to attract an equally balanced dance floor

Beginning by allowing everyone to share their core desires starts the evening off in an empowering manner. From there everybody is guided in a ‘free dance’ by Guinevere, exploring the five elements and using their time to journey inwards in what is often a profound and potent experience for all involved.

“In order to create the space I have to get out of my own way,” Lizz says as she describes performing as Wild Sirenda. “Disassociating with the role of ‘DJ’, I just want to get out of the way and let the music come through, playing the music that feels right. I take people on a journey, either through the chakras, going upwards from the Root Chakra. Or more elemental, in a similar manner to the cacao ceremonies. I keep Wild Sirenda grounded,” she adds.

“Lizz is my connection point to the Earth, so I can do what I do, which is soar. When I open my mouth (during a performance) I never know what’s going to come out. The same way that Lizz allows herself to channel music, I let myself be a vessel for message. My voice is free and somehow, some way, a song comes, fully, with a potent message. My body dances in a way that is an expressive force, it’s a transmission, a vibration,” says Guinevere, full of passion as she describes her role in the partnership.

Wild Sirenda in full flow
Wild Sirenda in full flow

It’s a partnership that is growing in stature, and has led to them being booked for Love International, the new festival in Croatia, run by some of the team who put on the legendary Garden Festival. They are also due back at Secret Garden Party, where they picked up a last-minute stand-in gig on The Drop stage in July 2015, the mighty Glastonbury and were also brought in to kick things off at Morning Gloryville earlier this month, where they helped awaken a dance floor full of bleary-eyed sober ravers.

As a duo they strike the perfect balance; fire and water, masculine and feminine, which helps to connect with their audience, male or female. “It’s amazing because of the masculine and feminine energy – I’m quite masculine and Guin is super feminine – but we’re both women, it allows people, especially the men, to really connect. I don’t know what it is, but for some reason that balance between allows the most feminine women and the most masculine men to both relate to the two of us,” says Lizz. Guinevere tells us that they often find that the last people standing will be butch men, standing on the dance floor with their hands on their hearts, crying. Their combined enthusiasm for performing and sharing music, song and dance spliced with their duality as people, seems to be a great recipe for giving way to self-liberation through self-expression.

We conclude our conversation with the inspiring twosome by asking them about the importance of music in their lives. For both women it has clearly been fundamental to their growth and to their current way of life. “Music is the most fundamental part of my healing journey. When I’m not feeling good, I go dancing and I feel alive. When I’m feeling amazing, I go dancing and I feel even better,” Lizz says excitedly.

“I’ve realised now that, throughout my whole life, my musical choices have been the vibration I’ve needed in order to reconnect me to myself. When I was a kid, it was some cheesy pop song, but it was what I needed in those moments. Music is the elixir of life for me,” Guinevere adds.

Credits: Main image – Amanda Mattsson, sunset image – Andrei Jewell, Garden Festival image – Sasha Charoensub.

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Fast Forward conference at Muziekgebouw in Amsterdam
Chris Carey opens the very first Fast Forward conference in Amsterdam

After the Take Note conference in London last year we hoped there would be more youth-focused, dynamic conferences making an appearance in the music industry occupying that space that has been neglected for quite some time. Lo and behold, not long after Take Note we were fortunate enough to get an invite to Fast Forward – a brand new event set up by Brits, but taking place in the Dutch capital, Amsterdam. So off we went to get stuck in to Fast Forward…

Fast Forward and Take Note definitely seem to hold similar values, placing their focus on young people, the future of our industry and giving those who are new to the business, or perhaps from a younger demographic at least, a chance to network with likeminded people of a similar age. Tickets were made cheaper for those who were under 35 and the capacity was limited to just 120 people which meant it was nice and cosy and intimate, great for getting to know people and making solid contacts.

Fast Forward conference at Muziekgebouw in Amsterdam
One of the superb spaces inside Muziekgebouw that was used for Fast Forward
'The Future of Making Money in Music' panel with Chris Carey, Rowan Brand, Ruth Clarke, Roxanne de Bastion, and Tim Miles at Fast Forward in Amsterdam
One of the panels we enjoyed most was ‘The Future of Making Money in Music’ with Chris Carey, Ruth Clarke, Tim Miles, Roxanne de Bastion and Rowan Brand

The event took place at the fantastic Muziekgebouw building about a 10-minute walk from Centraal station, perfect. The impressive building houses a concert hall and several conference rooms, and Fast Forward utilised the space to great effect, spreading out across three floors. Over the course of two days we were sat attentively through a number of highly engaging discussions and presentations. It must be said that one of the biggest takeaways from Fast Forward was the amount of information relating to the future of the music industry.

Predictions about the impact of new technology came through in almost every chat, and particularly concerning how the hell the industry is going to sustain any kind of consistency as far as its economic outlay goes. We also loved the ‘Fast 15’ presentations, where individuals were given 15 minutes to deliver information on an array of enlightening topics. In doing so, it meant that audience members were given easy-to-digest info in a short space of time, therefore keeping them engaged and avoiding the old ‘numb bum fidget’ that is prevalent at most conferences.

Fast Forward conference at Muziekgebouw in Amsterdam
Benji Rogers turned in a scintillating presentation on a possible revenue stream for the future called Blockchain

It was a very insightful conference, full of friendly faces and surprisingly well organised considering it was their first and that it had, apparently, all been put together in just four months. Impressive stuff. DLTM particular enjoyed Sammy Andrews’ appearances, laden with expletives but also very engaging, optimistic (if the industry wakes up to some of the solutions she’s suggested) and confident. She was one of many powerhouse women who appeared at the event – another positive aspect of Fast Forward, the sheer number of strong, inspiring women who were selected to appear. As highlighted by Take Note’s shining example, the music business is a bit of an old boy’s club (like most of the world’s industries really) and so having a large female contingent at Fast Forward was a step in the right direction for sure.

For us, particular standout panels and presentations included ‘Future of Making Money in Music’ (with Chris Carey moderating, Rowan Brand, Ruth Clarke, Roxanne de Bastion, and Tim Miles), ‘The New Generation of Content Creators’ (by Ben Bowler), ‘Convergence and the Future of the Music Industry’ (by Sammy Andrews), ‘Legal POV: Need to Know for a Digital Market’ (by Halina Wielogorska), the fascinating ‘Building with Blockchain’ (by Benji Rogers) and ‘The Future of the Music Industry'(with Chris Carey moderating, Sammy Andrews, Craig Fletcher, and Catherine Lückhoff).

Fast Forward conference at Muziekgebouw in Amsterdam
Clintons entertainment solicitor Halina Wielogorska hosts one of her two ‘Fast 15’ presentations

Outside of the conference, organised networking events were also a roaring success owning mainly to the capped attendance numbers. The Delirium Cafe on Thursday and De Bekeerde Suster on Friday both played host to pretty much everyone who’d been at the conference, meaning there was no awkwardness, no trying to avoid eye contact or fiddling with your phone trying to look busy while hoping to see someone familiar walk by. It was an altogether more welcoming, nourishing atmosphere at the Fast Forward networking dos and the same can be said for the entire event.

“I was delighted with the quality of the speakers, the insight they gave. There were a lot of people speaking for the first time or stepping up into different roles for the first time and I think everyone delivered to a high standard. I learned a lot myself,” Chris Carey, Founder of Fast Forward, told DLTM. “Gaming was probably the most striking aspect of it. The way in which it monetises itself, the music business can learn a lot from that industry.”

“We’ll be back in Amsterdam again, everyone said they had a good time there. It was a good place to start. The idea is to keep it small again, to keep that community and encourage an environment where everyone speaks to each other,” he says.

Good vibes filtered down from the organisers themselves, and the content was refreshingly original. Congratulations to everyone involved.

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