Get Behind the Inaugural Scottish Electronic Music Conference

Here are 20 good reasons why you should...

Words: Stu Todd & Lesley Wright

Scotland has a long love affair with dance music so it’s about bloody time the proud nation – finally – has an electronic music conference to call its own. The first Scottish Electronic Music Conference takes place on Friday 17 and Saturday 18 July, at Edinburgh Corn Exchange.

 

The brainchild of Co-founder and Managing Director Derek McNee, the Scottish Electronic Music Conference is aimed at everyone – from beginners to seasoned professionals within the industry. The two-day conference, in association with Void, has a full programme packed with talks, workshops, seminars and product showcases, with other leading brands like Beatport, Denon, Defected and Point Blank Music School also heavily involved.

 

Naturally, there’ll be a few of the best Scots in the business involved, with Graeme Park, Derek Martin and Simon McGrath from Terminal V, the Sub Club’s Mike Grieve, Harvey McKay and Illyus & Barrientos all signed up to share their wisdom, and there will be a series of after-dark parties too. iamCru is also delighted to give this one our full backing.

“We want to do this at the top end of the scale, to try and create the kind of conference you would find overseas,” says McNee, who is also founder and label boss at Digital:Groove Records. “There’s so much interest in electronic music in Scotland, and a lot of huge events here. There’s a market in Scotland to nurture the talent we have and get a lot more of them to the forefront of the industry.”

Find out more about the Scottish Electronic Music Conference and ticket prices here.

Yep, it’s fair to say that Scottish faces and places have made a huge impact on the scene over the decades. Here are 20 reasons why Scotland the Brave became Scotland the Rave…

7. The Sub Club

Opening in 1987, ‘The Subby’ is the longest-running underground club in the world and Mike Grieve and his team have been at the forefront of the Scottish music scene ever since. Many top artists have descended those stairs at 22 Jamaica Street, Glasgow, but most noteworthy is perhaps Primal Scream who played their first gig there.

1. Annie Lennox

Scotswoman Annie Lennox and The Eurhythmics were one of the first success stories of the ’80s electronic music boom. Moving away from the tried and tested formula of ’70s rock, their inclusion of drum machines and synthesizers resulted in tracks such as Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This), which climbed to No.2 in the UK charts and hit the top spot on the US Billboard Hot 100. With a slew of remixes turned in over the years, the track has never been too far from the dancefloor.

2. David Byrne 

This Scottish born artist’s mark on music in general is indelible. Byrne is perhaps not first and foremost known for electronic music but his work with Talking Heads was the precursor to many advancements and ideals in electronic music.

3. The Shamen

Fronted by Mr C, The Shamen were instrumental in dance music crossing over to pop mainstream in the ’90s. With chart-bothering releases such as Move Any Mountain (1991) and the controversial Ebeneezer Goode (1992) the band were able to join the dots between the acid house movement and the Top 40 charts.

4. Boards of Canada 

The Edinburgh pairing of brothers Michael Sandison and Marcus Eoin, also known as Boards of Canada, is often seen as the benchmark in ambient and leftfield electronica. Signed to Autechre’s Skam imprint and later Warp, the duo’s work quickly rose to cult status thanks in large to their debut album Music Has The Right To Children, released in 1998.

5. Mylo

Back in 2004, Isle of Skye native Myles Macinnes exploded on to the electronic music scene with his album Destroy Rock & Roll, released on the Breastfed label. This propelled Mylo from house clubs into the UK charts. His biggest hit to date is his reworking of his own Drop The Pressure track, which he fused with samples from Miami Sound Machine’s Dr Beat to produce Doctor Pressure.

6. Calvin Harris

Following first singles Acceptable in the ’80s and The Girls, Calvin Harris released his debut album, I Created Disco, in June 2007. Since then his success has traced a high arcing curve that has seen the Scotsman elevated to superstar status, becoming the first EDM posterboy along the way. Having worked with music’s biggest artists, like Kylie Minogue and Rihanna, in 2014 award-winning Harris became the first British solo artist to reach 1 billion streams on Spotify. While we’ve never been massive fans of his music – or his main stage EDM festival DJ sets – we must confess to liking the old school techno vibes of his new Love Regenerator project. Give CP-1 a listen.

8. Ricky Magowan

Promoter Ricky Magowan’s Streetrave and Colours events have introduced electronic music to generations of Scottish clubbers. Streetrave launched in 1989 and early parties at the likes of Ayr Pavilion, Prestwick Airport (Eurodance) and Ayr Ice Rink are the stuff of legend, while sister brand Colours celebrates its 25 anniversary this year. From intimate club events to huge capacity raves, Ricky and his crew have delivered the lot, adding Colours Classical, with the Scottish Festival Orchestra, to their arsenal of unmissable gigs in recent years. The next Streetrave All-Dayer is on Saturday 25 July, at SWG3, in Glasgow, with tickets shifting before a single DJ has been announced.

9. Terminal V

Very much a meeting of minds, Terminal V festival is the brainchild of Derek Martin (Musika and Progression) and Simon McGrath (Xplicit). Launched in 2017, the twice-annual event has grown to become one of Scotland’s biggest electronic festivals, attracting 20,000 music fiends to hear dozens of cutting-edge DJs playing over five main stages. The festival’s unrivalled booking policy matched with its jaw-dropping stage production makes it a must for any Scottish raver, with Richie Hawtin claiming: “Terminal V reminded me why Edinburgh is a pure techno city. Incredible!” Billed as ‘New Horizon 2020’, the next festival takes place on Saturday 11 April, in the warehouse complex of the Royal Highland Centre, near Edinburgh Airport. Find the line-up and ticket info here.

10. Slam

Put simply, Slam DJs Stuart McMillan and Orde Meikle are considered national treasures in Scotland. Firstly, for their club nights Joy and Pressure, later for co-founding Soma Quality Recordings and, of course, the Slam Tent at T in the Park. The duo’s track Positive Education (1993) is a bona fide techno classic.

11. Soma Quality Recordings

Co-founded by Glenn Gibbons, Jim Muotune, Dave Clarke, Stuart McMillan and Orde Meikle, Soma Recordings is home to Slam, Deepchord, Clouds, Gary Beck, Rebekah and Ilario Alicante. 

The likes of Alex Smoke, Silicone Soul and Ewan Pearson have also previously released on the label. The Glasgow imprint is famously the first label to release Daft Punk’s hit Da Funk

12. T in the Park

The now defunct festival was seen as a rite of passage for Scottish music lovers. Running from 1994 to 2016, first at Strathclyde Park, Hamilton, then at Balado, Kinross-shire, and finally at Strathallan Castle, Auchterarder, T in the Park broke new boundaries for large scale music events and played host to electronic music’s biggest names. The Slam tent was always carnage of the best kind, with the likes of Richie Hawtin, Nina Kraviz, Guy Gerber, Daniel Avery, Jeff Mills, Chris Leibing and Marcel Dettmann amongst the talent joining the Slam boys behind the decks during its last year. Gone but never forgotten.

13. Rezerection

While Rezerection was originally started in England by Paul Ludford, its raves north of the border – in particular ‘The Event’ in 1993 and the ‘The Event II’ in 1994, held at Ingliston Showground, near Edinburgh – had a massive impact on Scotland’s musical landscape. Artists such as Carl Cox, Laurent Garnier and Lenny Dee all performed.

14. Tom Wilson

Through his committed involvement in the Scottish rave scene, his long-running radio show ‘Steppin’ Out’ on Radio Forth and his performances at events such as Fantazia and Rezerection, Tom Wilson was a true Scottish icon. His illustrious career ran from 1972 until his untimely death in 2004 but his contribution to Scotland’s music scene is everlasting.

15. Optimo

The pairing of DJs Twitch and Jonnie Wilkes as Optimo (pictured) has been instrumental in helping the Scottish club scene not take itself too seriously. Their club night of the same name is legendary in Glasgow and beyond where they mix up techno, electro, rock and any other genre they damn well please.

16. Rubadub Records

This Glasgow record store is just as pivotal to Scotland’s scene today as the day it opened in 1992. Located on Howard Street, in the city centre, here you’ll find an 

expertly curated selection of electronic music and more, as well as a range of DJ kit, and staff who’re more than happy to chat to you about techno.

17. Underground Solu’shn

The Edinburgh counterpart to Rubadub, Underground Solu’shn opened in 1995 and has helped vinyl heads bolster their collection ever since. If you’re in the capital, you’ll find the store on Cockburn Street.

18. Jackmaster

Having recently returned after a period of self-exile, Glaswegian DJ Jackmaster undeniably put Scotland on the map for a number of reasons. Named ‘Breakthrough DJ’ in DJ Magazine’s Best of British Awards in 2010 and later ‘Best DJ’ in 2014, his unpredictable sets that mash up house, garage, techno, disco, pop and more have won him legions of fans worldwide. His skills behind the decks as well as his ear for a tune have also meant his Numbers record label has also flourished.

19. Rhumba

It’s the crowd that makes the party and Rhumba club’s loyal fans – both in Perth and 

Dundee – sure know how to have it. The club credits the Rhumba faithful with holding the club together over nearing 30 years in the game and through many changes of venues and cities. In fact, the club put it pretty succinctly when, on its 21st anniversary, it described its crowd as “the intricate silk stitching that stopped the arse falling out of the sparkling dancing trousers”.

 20. Irvine Welsh

There’s little doubt that Irvine Welsh’s books were influenced by Acid House. Welsh and the Scottish music scene are intrinsically linked and both are better for it.

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