Interview: Richard Zilma (ADE)

Hot Press caught with Richard Zilma of Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE) at this years 20th edition.

Where did the ADE concept come from?
ADE began its life as a small B2B conference, mainly focusing on labels and publishers who came over to license tracks. It provided a unique opportunity for the Dutch industry to connect and do business with the global music scene. Over the years ADE has grown and developed beyond this initial idea into what it is today – a global platform serving the entire electronic music scene.

How has it grown or changed over the past 20 years?
I’ve been with ADE since the very beginning and over the last 20 years the event has changed phenomenally. We started with 120 artists and about 500 delegates and in 1996 and the event now showcases 2200 artists as well as welcoming 5500 conference delegates and over 365,000 festival visitors from all over the world.

What challenges have you faced growing the festival/conference over the years?
To be honest it is never easy but we work with an international team all year round to plan and develop the program. We are very critical of one another, we keep each other sharp so only the best ideas survive.

What are your personal ADE highlights?
Over the last few years we have really focused on developing the ADE Playground concept, the free daytime program that takes place in venues across the city, and I’m really excited about this year. Some of the highlights include ADE MusicTalks, a series of artist Q&As with Jeff Mills, Henrik Schwarz, Skrillex and Kenny Dope, ADE Films – a programme of music-focused documentaries and films, tech demos and workshops from the likes of Ableton, Roland, Sonus and Pioneer and numbers art and photography exhibitions.

This year we’re also launching ADE Soundlab at ADE Playground, which is more focused more on sound synthesis and audiovisual art. It features top artists and leading sound pioneers like Dave Smith, Joris Voorn, Machinedrum, Moog, Roland and Ableton, as well as a new live show and visual concept from Detroit Swindle.

What next for ADE?
Let’s just say that it is a very interesting time for the event and the wider electronic music scene at the moment. It’s great to see that this music has been embraced by so many people around the globe. As for the future? We are patient and like to develop things slowly to create the best recipe. We will certainly continue to stay up front and throw the best event possible.

Originally published in Hot Press Magazine, October 2015