Featured image by Elousia Georgiou

Pussy Stamina has been one of the longest standing contributors to Pretend so we’re giving her a space in which to share a little insight into her world, these are her thoughts on Inner City Electronic 2020.

Before I dive into this, I want to mention that I attended Inner City last year and the contrast between Inner City 2019 & 2020 was drastic.

During the day was an abundance of talks, which made it hard to chose what to see. Maddi (who wrote The Complete Guide to Inner City Electronic) and I decided to split up and feedback on separate events to get the most out of the forthcoming opportunities. All of this year’s talks bounced between three sites within Leeds College of Music (The DJ Studio, The Venue and Room 219). Last year, all the conferences were held in The Wardrobe on behalf of Music:Leeds, from what I recall this year’s panels were a lot more informative than 2019’s.

I kicked things off by going to an Ableton masterclass with producer and DJ Bonar Bradberry where he taught us how to give our tracks an edge by warping them into a different time signature, reinforcing volume and making personal re-edits of existing tracks.

After this, Music:Leeds hosted a “working in music” talk with guests; Emma Zillman (From The Fields), Dave Harvey (Love International), Ben Hindle (DJ Mag), Georgina Metcalfe (RA). We were disappointed to find out that 3/4 of the panellists had gone through a conventional route of studying music at university and progressing naturally into the music industry- unlike the majority of audience members who want to know how to make their side hustle a full-time commitment.

According to the professionals; the primary way to make it in the industry is “don’t be a dick”. Furthermore, a tip for bands wanting to get booked- Don’t waste your time blindly emailing promoters…Festival organisers book acts based on the fan base, more often than not, fans demand a certain band to play.

At 3 pm we joined a group debate hosted by DJMAG on “The Future of Clubbing” with panellists; Laura Jones (Visionquest), aalice (Meat Free), Mandy and Friends (Love is Flesh / Equaliser) where they talked about safe spaces, transparency and being inclusionary. If you are not aware, one of the things Leeds is famous for is it’s welcoming LGBT+ scene which is demonstrated within local events. The guests made us realise that no two person’s needs are the same (artist or audience member). If you put on events, take it further by stimulating all six senses- make it more of an experience than just audio, which you can listen to at home. I thought it was interesting how Flesh in Tension had devised a wristband system for events, where if you wanted to stick with your friends you’d wear a red wristband and if you wanted to meet new people you’d wear green.

Following this talk was a debate on “The Importance of Sound” with Mr Scruff, Tom Smith (Cosmic Slop), Ryan Shaw (MasterSounds) and Mark Iration (Iration Steppas). They were discussing how the sound system we on which we consume new music- controls the perception of how we listen. They brushed over how to make your own sound system and initiating events to try out your creation.

Photo by Jody Hartley

The final lessons of empowerment we had for the day; “The Impact of Visuals” with Weirdcore (Aphex Twin / Radiohead / MIA). He was clearly very talented but he used over-complicated language which proved hard to digest. They discussed the future of visual VR interaction, where they predicted that in the near future visuals will be 3D and you won’t need psychical glasses.I got to experience “Mastering the Mixtape” with Back to Basics’ Tristan de Cunha who is the most charismatic, engaging man- he was the highlight of my day.

He told the story of how he made some mixtapes he was deeply proud of and managed to get them in the right place at the right time. Consequently, getting him multiple residencies and gigs.He preached to always rehearse a mix before you put it on the internet forever. It’s important to find a theme as well as, the correct audience to listen. I left his talk full of inspiration.The headline acts were hosted in The Refectory in the Leeds University Student’s Union, which felt wrong. Last year’s festival saw many more local music venue’s included in the electro-talent showcase, for example, The Wardrobe and The Brudenell, which were nowhere to be seen on this years line up.

Earlier in the day, Maddi caught Orbitals talk with Resident Advisor. They leaked that they’re gonna be closing dance stage at Glastonbury this year and that they’d be playing a track tonight they’ve not played since their first gig 30 years ago. Orbital wore LED embellished space helmets, performing adjacent to their homemade analogue modular synth board.

Or:la is probably my favourite contemporary DJ, she always comes through with tricksy beats and fresh remix’s.

Underwhleming – Photo by Jody Hartley

However, the moment we all had been waiting for was Peggy Gou. Not only did she not play any of her songs, but the mix was so repetitive and generic the audience members were either brainlessly two-stepping or yawning. Myself and everyone I was with was very disappointed by this underwhelming performance

Overall I felt like there was a lot more happening on Inner City 2019’s programme. I wonder why they had fewer venues included in the line-up? Why it was in March and not June?

Regardless of all this, I learnt a lot, met a lot of influential people and found some new bangers and for that I am grateful.

By Pussy Stamina (AKA Francesca Henderson-Cox)

Pussy Stamina Diaries

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