HDE@ADE – Q-dance goes global
‘Representing the harder styles in dance music.’ Drop that slogan in the Netherlands, and everybody who knows about electronic music, knows that you’re talking about Q-dance. They’re one of the biggest and most respected players in the hard dance scene, known for their outrageous and mesmerizing productions, whether in sold-out football stadiums, at an abandoned air force base or full-scale weekenders –both in Holland and abroad. For the third year in a row, Q-dance brings its expertise to ADE.
Q-dance is one of the organziers of Hard Dance Event, a dedicated ADE sub-conference focused on the harder styles of dance music which will take place on Thursday 18 October. The previous two years, HDE took place at ID&T/Q-dance’s own HQ but this year it’s moving to the Melkweg, joining the buzzing, lively area around Leidseplein. We took a minute to sit down with Rogier Werver from Q-dance, who had just returned from another successful Austrialian edition of the Defqon.1 festival. An advantage of Australia is that you can literally throw a party in the middle of nowhere, with no complaining neighbours whatsoever.
‘Unfortunately, you have to deal with neighbours in Australia as well, ha ha. Our music carries pretty far, since there’s a lot of low-end in it. But we've got a fine and reasonably flexible permit over there. We also try to invest in the relationship with those neighbours. We invite them to the festival ground, a day prior to the event. We take them by the hand, and show them how much effort we put in to it, how we take precaution and think of safety etc. Most of the time that works really well.’
Q-dance has around since 2001, and quite successfully too. Why did it take so long for you to join ADE?
‘To be honest, we found it striking that the hard dance scene was ignored for such a long time. Hard dance is, certainly in the Netherlands, a serious and professional business. Q-dance events attract large crowds, I'm talking about football stadiums and large concert halls such as the Heineken Music Hall (ca. 5,500 capacity) and festivals with over 40,000 people. Up until three years ago nobody from our scene came to ADE. But we feel we can add something. We also want to show ourselves to the world, and bring the scene to a higher level, especially on the business-to-business side.’
Why? Do you feel the hard dance scene has to make progress in that area?
‘Until a few years ago, the hard dance scene was a lot less professional than it is now. For example, networking wasn’t part of the daily routine of hard dance DJs, also because there was no platform where they could meet - besides the dance floor. Three years ago we said you know what, we're going to do it ourselves, with the help of other players in the scene. That was a huge success, and last year was no different, the turnout was overwhelming. ADE saw the success as well, and we are glad to organize HDE in full conjunction with them this time. With the move to the city centre, we are now an integral part of ADE, and I hope the threshold for other scenes to come talk to us will be a little lower.’
How international is hard dance at the moment?
‘Hard dance is on the verge of becoming a global phenomena. The big names still come from the Netherlands, but Australia is very much on the rise, there is a lot of talent there and these guys are already playing all over the world, and I really mean from South Korea to Chile. There is also a lot going on in the U.S. at the moment’
In which countries, apart from the Netherlands, is Q-dance doing events?
‘Just over the border with Germany we do Q-Base, but that's mostly a Dutch festival. In Belgium we have an annual festival and we host a stage at Tomorrowland. This was our fourth time in Australia, and in Chile we host a stage at Mysteryland. There are plans for a Q-dance festival in Chile as well, because they love our sound over there, it has big potential. One of the highlights for us this year was going to America. We hosted a stage for 20,000 people at the Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas.’
How do you know if it is feasible to take a Q-dance party somewhere abroad?
‘There are several factors. First, we know that for our Dutch events we sell a substantial part of our ticket to foreign visitors form all over the world. Furthermore we closely monitor where our Facebook fans come from, that show some useful insights as well.’
Is it that simple? You go where your Facebook fans are?
‘Of course there is much more to it. Most important are our artists, they are our scouts and we send them out to investigate; they are our real indicators. When one of our artists comes back with enthusiastic stories – we had a packed house, the crowd was going crazy, they sang songs all along, etcetera – they are a reason for us to go over there and see what a country is like, and what the possibilities are like.’
How does a Dutch organization get in touch, and, more importantly, gain trust with, for example, the Australian authorities?
‘By working closely with local organizations, and people that have already proven themselves when it comes to hosting parties. It's not that we blindly go into every country where our sound is popular. It has to feel right, and we must be able to serve up the Q-dance plate. Partner organisations and local support are essential. It wouldn’t be wise to think that you can organize an event from your office in the Netherlands. Respecting and understanding different cultures and regulations are vital.’
HDE will take place at Melkweg on Thursday 18 October.
Check out the full program here.
Tickets are available here.