Saturday saw the official opening of the conference at the Miami Beach Convention Center, a truly big place. Unfortunately, this year the confernce with its panels and showcase is separated from the poolside. As a result, neither at the Convention Center nor at poolside much was going on. Even so the conference might be running slower than last year (many labels and producers, DJs or remixers didn't show up at all), this definitely had an impact on how things started. After hanging around with vocalist Josef (he's the voice behind the 95 North classic "Sun goddess") and meeting some of the finest underground house producers like Jovonn or singers like Kim Beachum, I went with some friends to the "3rd Annual Miami Beach meets Detroit BBQ" to get something to eat. After that, I went back to the hotel to fresh up before going to the Soulshine party "Soulful Sessions" at Surface Lounge where Master Kev and David Tobon from YellOrange where working the crowd with a nice selection of fresh tunes before Louis Benedetti took over and throwed in some classic house and disco tunes. Around 2.15 in the morning, the legendary Tony Humphries was taking over the booth to rock the crowd. Meanwhile, YellOrange started giving out their WMC promos to a few lucky ones (my thanks go to Kris Flowers for hooking me up), a triple pack of hot tunes including "America at war (freedom) produced by DJ Pope featuring the voices of Una and Josef. I planned to go over to the "SF: Saturday Funktion" party held by Transport Records and Moulton Studios, but I got stock at the Soulshine party and was talking to lots of people. Sorry to my friends at Moulton Studios.
After getting only a few hours of sleep, I got up and went to the Convention Center to check my email at the cyber cafe. I met Josef there and after talking about the music business and it ups and downs, we went to the customer appreciation party from Satellite Records that took place poolside at the Riande Hotel from noon to 8pm to enjoy the great weather and relax. After talking to my old friend Jemal Countess I went over to the official poolside. There was more going on than the day before, but things were still running slow compared to last year. After meeting a few people there, Josef and I decided that it was time to get something to eat so we left. While walking around and trying to find a good place to eat, we met Big Moses and talked there for a minute. He joined us and after a few minutes of walking we met a whole bunch of people, among them Randolph Paul who presented his upcoming release "This means that" the day before at the "3rd Annual Miami Beach meets Detroit BBQ". Yet again, after talking with the people we just met, we got on the way to get some food. We finally managed to find a good restaurant and got our well deserved meal after walking around for some time. It then was time to go to Nikki Beach for a whole bunch of live performances. Carolyn Byrd presented the show that featured artists like Ron Carroll, Darryl D'Bonneau, Dina Vass and Georgie Porgie who performed his No. 1 Billboard smach "Life goes on". Not to forget the legendary Barbara Tucker. We went back to the Riande hotel and catched up with the Trent'N'Boyz and Jersey Maestros. With not many people at the pool left around 7pm, some brand new and unsigned material got played (and some CD copies changed hand). It was then time to get back to the hotel to relax and fresh up for the night. I first went to the "Underground Collective Recordings" party to meet old friends like Phil D. from Dancetracks/Underground Collective Recordings and Dino & Terry who were supporting DJ Deep from Paris/France who was spinning at the party. Watch out for Dino & Terry as they relaunch their Crash imprint soon with two slamming new productions. They've also just completed some hot remixes for Martin Solveig and The Rurals. Surprisingly, Nature Love and the people behing Nuyoshi Records stepped up to me. I reviewed their song "Krazy" a couple of weeks ago from CD. They were down in Miami to promote this release. Shortly before midnight, I was leaving and heading to the "Large Music in Miami" party that took place at club Rain. After talking to a whole bunch of people, it was time to leave around 2.30 to finally get some sleep so I would be ready for the next day.
Monday was the day for the Masters at Work party held at the Opium Garden, a nice outdoor club with a big soundsystem. The party started at 2pm so I had time before to go to the Convention Center and poolside to check what is going on, but as the day before it was literally dead. So all left to do was waiting for the Masters at Work party to finally open around 3pm. It was a sunny day (and it was really hot) when I came to the club where there were already two big lines before the club - one for the guest list, one for all other people. People had to wait in the burning sun - some for more than two hours - before they could get in and pay $35.-- what is probably the hightest price for a party at this years conference. It was hard to get in touch with 'Little' Louie Vega to give him a record from a german friend of mine, but I finally managed to do it. Louie was kind enough to give me a ticket for the bag with the goodies. Unfortunately, I've got bad luck and one of three records was missing. Like every year there is a mixed CD which showcases Masters at Work stuff that is coming out in the next couple of month. Among the vinyl, there is a sampler with short edits (around 2:30 each) of upcoming releases on their label. Most remarkable about the party was a seven (!) year old boy who was doing his thing on the turntables and got everybodys darling in a minute. Tony Touch was later dropping some dope hip hop tunes before Louie took over to rock the club with some classic tunes. Around 7pm I was leaving to met Aou from Step Ahead Records and give him an exclusive mix-CD that soon is going to be up at the Khaimar website in their 'Lounce' section. After getting something to eat I decided not to go to any party that night because I definitely needed some rest.
Tuesday I did the usual procedure: go to the Convention Center to check my emails and then get a double-espresso to get awake. I went over to the poolside where I was hanging around in the lobby after finding out that the pool is dead. I then went over to the Clevelander for the "Soul Heaen/SoundMen on Wax" party. Bobby & Steve were rockin' the house before the live performance of Darryl D'Bonneau, Barbara Tucker and Juliet Roberts. I went back to the hotel before it started raining and prepared myself for the "Magic Sessions". I wanted to go to the "Wave" party as well but I didn't because I was running out of time and wanted to be at the "Magic Sessions" right at the opening. "Magic Sessions" opended up shortly after 9pm with Tony Humphries tearing it apart until midnight. Tedd Patterson took over the booth, but after half an hour I had to leave because he was playing really hard and just instrumental tracks that had absolutely no soul. Over in the Lounge Aldo played sort of electronic house. After leaving the party I spoke to some friends of mine and they commentated it being "Tragic Sessions Part 2" (for the record: last year was called "Tragic Sessions 1" because it wasn't that soulful as expected). I didn't go back to check 'Little' Louie Vega later because of the many people waiting outside.
The last day off the conference was like the ones before: nothing going at the Conference Center and the official poolside. I went to the pool at the National Hotel to meet with a friend. Right when I wanted to leave, a producer and DJ bumped into me and we started discussing the fact that shortly after you give out promotional copies of your record, and it doesn't matter wether it is vinyl or CD, the tracks start being traded as MP3 files or CD copies. Somehow people start getting the tracks even when there are only a few copies for the big DJs around. Later that day I back to the hotel to rest for a minute before I went out for the "House Labels Uinited" party to check out Deep Swing, Eddie Amador and Adrian Champion. Later I went to the "YellOrange Party" to check out Tony Humphries doing his thing. Since there was no engery left in my body and I was just sleepwalking, I was leaving around 3am to head back to the hotel.
This years Conference is getting dissed by lots of people from around the world. Everybody feels bad because they paid lots of money for the badge but still had to pay for most of the parties. And in contrast to last year, there was no central place where people could meet. The people were spread over several different places like the poolsides of various hotels. Many of those people won't register for the conference next year anymore. Overall, I still had lots of fun and did meet many people and made new friends, but there was no need to have a badge to do that. Most people set up meetings before the conference or did simply meet at one of the many partys going on.
The records of the conference for me are "The Light" by Michelle Weeks, "Tomorrow is another day" by Jasper Street Company and the "Said I wasn't going to tell nobody" by S3 & The Truth. There was much more great music played, but these three are among those getting the biggest response.
I got lots of good music - just check my three WMC Mixes - but since I couldn't get everything (I guess only the real big DJs might get mostly everything) here is a list of other tunes to look out for:
- Francois K "Awakening" (Wave Records)
- Martin Solveig Double-Album (Mixture Records)
- Los Amigos Invisibles 12" (MAW Records)
- Jasper Street Company "Tomorrow is another day"
- Tom & Joyce "Queixume" (MAW Remixes)(Yellow Records)
- Shaun Escofferey "Days like this" (Basement Boys Remix)
- Markus Enochson featuring E-Man "The Road"
- Carolyn Harding "Dream a dream" (NextMoov Records)
- Blaze "Spiritually speaking" (Album including "Do you remember house")(Slip'N'Slide Records)
- India "Backfired" (Joey Negro Remix)(MAW Records)
- Arnold Jarvis (12" on both KIF Records and BlackVinyl Records)
- two new 12" on Bassclef Recordss
- Voice of Freedom featuring Godon Chambers "Don't give up" (Silk Entertainment Records)
- Africanism "Viel ou la" (Yellow Records)
- Fusion Groove Orchestra "Dreams" (Spen & Karizma Remix)(Curious Records)
Not all of them may have been given away in Miami, but at least people were talking about these tunes.