(left to right) Buster, 93.1 fm Miami; Lainie Capicotto,
Aurelia Entertainment; Tiesto; Dade Aokoloff, founder
of Shadow Lounge, and Scott Henry, Buzzlife, DC.
THE NARAS PANEL: Jason Bentley; Geronimo, Sirius radio;
Steve Silk Hurley; Victor Calderone; Carmen Rizzo;
Michael Paoletta, Billboard magazine; in front...
unknown with Sasha.
Lee Cabrera in the VIP @ Crobar, during the
NARAS Grammy Award party
Hector Romero @ Crobar
Sasha @ Crobar
The need for "good songs", lack of radio airplay
stressed by industry insiders at annual meeting.
Words and photos by Carl Noone Jr.
On September 20th, 21st, and 22nd, a choice selection of disc jockeys,
company executives, radio programmers, publicists, artists and
converged on the Union Square Ballroom in New York City for a three-day
"meeting of the minds".
Topics ranging from "The Future of Digital Distribution" to "The
Facing the Industry Today" were discussed, sometimes heatedly, in
panels consisting of a wide-range of remarkably engaging speakers. By
Wednesday afternoon, most in attendance, including a shaky, teary-eyed
Tenaglia, were quick to admit their love and respect for the
guests on hand, such as the legendary producer Giorgio Moroder.
Other added special events were a Q and A session
with Paul van Dyk, a preview party for "Parade of
the Athletes" that included a sit-down conversation
with its creator, Tiesto, and an event-closing panel
called "The Pioneers of Electronic Music" that featured
remix technology inventor Tom Moulton who is credited
with over 3,000 remixes since the early 70's, "The
Godfather of House", Frankie Knuckles, who has been
DJing since 1971, and dance music's true living legend,
the aforementioned Italian-born Moroder.
Most remembered for his work as producer on virtually all of Donna
big hits, as well as being credited with performing and producing the
first all-digital recording with "E=MC2", longtime German resident
related stories to the crowd ranging from the long-rumored tale of
moaning and groaning floor-strewn studio session for "I Feel Love" to
collaborations with David Bowie ("Cat People (Putting Out Fire)") and
John. ("Don't Go Breaking My Heart (feat. RuPaul)) The latter brought
and cheers from the crowd as Moroder teased them with mention to a
"dirty talk" session between Sir Elton and the world-famous
the tapes of which he still owns.
Some newsworthy items surfaced during the informal yet educational
including news that Sasha has recently moved to the Big Apple,
home and studio from hurricane-riddled Florida. After completion of an
tour in November, he will return to New York to get settled in his new
quarters with plans to begin work on new material by January.
Not surprisingly, he has also begun work on the custom design and
of a heavy-duty metal-housed MIDI controller specialized for use with
brand new edition of LIVE4, software which he calls "highly intuitive"
"vital to the production of" his latest incredible hybrid, Involver.
plastic ones today feel too cheap, too unreliable to take on the road",
Tiesto, the world's number one DJ whose likeness appeared on the side
Coca-Cola can in Europe this past Spring, informed those in attendance
listening party portion of the event that he too has recently moved to
York City, adding his name to the long list of high-profile electronic
tastemakers that now call it home.
The lanky shining Dane was also lauded as becoming the first DJ to ever
perform during the opening or closing ceremonies of the Olympic Games
in Athens, he played a two-hour-plus set in front of an estimated 4.3
people watching (and listening) at home on television.
His latest full-length CD on Nettwerk, "Parade of the Athletes", is a
collection of incredibly mature sound structures that range from
electro-influenced Nu-Breaks to his signature uplifting Trance with a
Dance-Rock thrown in for good measure. Due out in October, a preview
it was overnight-shipped to the event just in time as Tiesto roamed the
to shake hands after fielding questions from Billboard Magazine's
friendly senior writer Michael Paoletta.
DJ Rap, who was last seen on U.S. television sets peddling Twix bars to
bass-heads, has recently teamed-up with clothing retailer Armani
cross-promote a new mixed compilation of House tracks, her first in the
She later performed an amazing opening set at the N.A.R.A.S. Grammy
party in front of the 4,000-capacity plus crowd at Crobar, easily
Earlier in the day, she again stressed to the crowd the need and desire as
a new label owner "for quality House and Break-beat
songs with good melodies and rhythm". Commenting on
the perceived downfall of the recording industry by
the use of the internet and technology, she raised
eyebrows (and pencils) by pointedly stating "you can't
crowd waiting for Sasha @ Crobar
On Tuesday, international DJ and dance industry icon Sasha was able to
interject a bit of humor during the N.A.R.A.S.-based panel discussion
included Matrix soundtrack producer Jason Bentley and Madonna
"No one likes to see a DJ fiddling with his mouse in the dark", he
garnering applause from the audience with his comedic take on the use
laptop-computer-based software in nightclubs today. "If it crashes, if
stops working for some reason, then what? That's why I still prefer to
my vinyl to CD-R and play them on the road", he added with a bit of
The Grammy Award-nominating organization recently added the "Best
Electronic/DJ Album" name to its long list of categories to be included
this coming November's ceremonies and included New York in a list of
parties to celebrate and promote its decision.
Singer/songwriter Amber, a re-emerging dancefloor mainstay who is
shed the "diva" title, has, after over two years of struggle and hard
finally decided to "go it alone" and recently set up shop on the
where she plans to release a nearly-completed full-length of original
Perhaps most influencing was the beautiful ebony singer/songwriter Joi
Cardwell who spoke about the ups and downs of recording contracts,
high-profile deals, and the expectations associated with such stressful
opportunities that are presented to artists. Quite possibly conveying
philosophy of the entire get-together was her reference to a book she
published years earlier after "being screwed over way too many times".
Simply stated, for artists and everyone associated with Dance music to
and become successful, they need to "Keep Your Eye On the Game, Not On
More importantly, she added, "Your value lies in
your songwriting; your song IS your business card
and should be treated as such." (Do I hear an "Amen"
to that, people??!!)
Even though answers were not directly offered to
the numerous questions raised, perhaps this was the
hidden intention of organizers from the beginning.
If not anything, the Billboard Dance Summit has created
a deluge of discussions, brainstorms, and inspirations
that can only help to improve the state of the struggling
Dance music economy in America today.
Without inundating its fanatical attendees with the
fog of party after party, as is the case with its
Florida counterpart, Winter Music Conference, this
centralized, more focused meeting has opened the doors
and minds of those willing to listen. Unfortunately,
we can only hope and look forward to the day when
panel members, like Atlantic Records COO Craig Kallman,
will stop running away empty-handed, after relating
the need for quality music, at opportunistic events
like this one.