What happens when you get the biggest names in the electronic music scene together in the same room? Things get turned up. Last year, the International Music Summit brought the best of the industry to W Hotels around the globe to talk business, get educated, and party hard. Big names like Chuck D of Public Enemy, Kaskade, and Quincy Jones all gathered in the name of music. We caught up with Ben Turner, the director of IMS, to get all the juicy details before the Summit returns this April.
W: Why did you feel it was important to put together an International Music Summit? What was your favorite part about the 2015 event?
Ben Turner: Electronic music culture is a powerful way of living – it changes people’s lives. Behind this global movement are thought-leaders and influencers who are pushing the boundaries of music, technology, and visuals and they deserve a platform that focuses on such intelligent thinking. IMS is designed to inspire, educate, and stimulate an industry but also to awaken the outside world to its positive life-changing benefits. Chuck D from Public Enemy with techno DJ Seth Troxler – it kind of says everything about the level of debate and conversation we like to support – from politics to racism to the power of music.
W: With so many DJs and producers together in one place we can imagine it can get a bit turned up. Any behind the scenes moments between noteworthy guests?
BT: Pete Tong and myself always wanted to have the same kind of power and impact the New Music Seminar in New York had in the late 80s. There was always controversy and techno legend Derrick May walked out of one talk and I remember reading about it in Melody Maker as a teenager. Well, it happened to us at the first IMS Engage at W Hollywood when the manager of Diplo and the manager of DJ BL3ND had a fight mid-session with punches and chairs being thrown. Perhaps not showing the best side of our genre but it showed the passion about music and created worldwide headlines!
W: What do you think the future holds for electronic music? How would you like to see the scene or industry change?
BT: No more fighting, please! The industry is growing up – it had to. It’s now a huge global business worth over 6 billion dollars a year according to our own IMS Business Report. I created an industry trade body titled AFEM: The Association for Electronic Music, which enables the leader’s of our genre to speak with one voice on key issues. A united industry in any walk of life can make change and improve an entire sector’s future.
W: What are you looking forward to at the next summit in May?
Ben Turner: The flagship event is IMS Ibiza at the end of May and we have some incredible speakers – probably our strongest yet in terms of the Ibiza summit. The delegation grows every year and it feels we’re becoming a key pillar to the annual calendar. My highlight is always Dalt Vila – a concert in the castle and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
W: At the moment, what album can you not stop listening to?
Ben Turner: Floating Points by Elaenia.