Safe's Diego Martinelli on the State of Dance Music: "This EDM Thing, It's Atrocious"
During Winter Music Conference and Miami Music Week, there will be no shortage of big names taking over nightclubs and getting the crowds moving at Ultra Music Festival. Still, there are some people who don't want to listen to Avicii's "Wake Me Up" on repeat.
That's why, since 2007, Safe has been bringing the kind of dance music acts that aren't so interested in chasing Billboard Hot 100 dreams to Miami. You might call it underground, but acts like Joy Orbison, Optimo, James Holden, Ben UFO, Paul Woolford, Roman Flugel, and Ron Morelli aren't exactly unknowns. They don't exactly fit the EDM label -- despite EDM standing for electronic dance music, a catchall term for anything popular that goes bleep-bloop. Instead, they are pioneering new sounds in techno, house, electro, and more.
If that sounds like more your speed, Safe, along with Toronto-based promoters Embrace, have a weeklong lineup that you'll love. Go to these parties if you want to hear the music that everyone will be dancing to three years from now.
We here at Crossfade spoke to Safe founder Diego Martinelli about what sets his parties apart, the state of Miami's dance music scene, and whether or not WMC has remained true to its original mission.
See also: WMC and MMW 2014's 20 Best Parties
Crossfade: Safe has been providing Miami's go-to parties for underground music for years. Are you surprised by the success you've had?
Diego Martinelli: We're pleasantly surprised at the simple fact that people respond to the work, and this enables Safe as a night to continue evolving.
Other aspects are also surprising, like meeting kids that are barely in college and they're into obscurer works, labels, and acts. I get emails often enough from really clued-up niche electronic music junkies with praise, questions, and suggestions. It's a very nice thing. We feel very fortunate we've made it this far and the future keeps us quite excited.
You are partnering up with Toronto's Embrace again this year. How did that partnership start up? And has it been beneficial to Safe?
Adam Gill, who owns and runs Embrace, and I met in 2002, and we became good friends. We decided to start doing shows together in 2005, so this marks the tenth year of us collaborating. We are drastically different as organizers and in our personal nature, but our differences have been complimentary to one another. We found a great synergy shortly after becoming friends, and we're fortunate to have enjoyed much success together doing all kinds of events.
Safe is doing parties everywhere on either side of the causeway this year -- Trade, Electric Pickle, Cafeina, Ice Palace. Why not just stick to one venue?
Settings and the way they each feel are important to the work. In my opinion, Trade is the runaway best big room for dance music in all of Miami, while the Pickle continues to be the best intimate space. Both of their sound systems, also, are currently second to none when they are tuned. Cafeina and Ice Palace West provide two of the best outdoor party experiences available in Miami. One thing is for sure, people love their techno outdoors. I know I do.
What do you think sets the Safe parties apart from the rest of the WMC offerings?
We take pride in producing tightly executed shows that turn into great music experiences for people. We get the system sounding great and get the atmosphere feeling right, that's it. We don't get concerned with trying to be different.
See also: WMC and MMW 2014: A 282-Party Guide