Last night saw the closing event of Sensoria 2010 rounding off a week of media events in Sheffield. As always there have been a multitude of events involving music and film ranging from screenings of ‘Raw Power’ and ‘Strummerville’ (amongst others) to the live showcase of Yorkshire’s unsigned talent at the O2 Academy. One of the high points of the Sensoria event however has become the Pro day, an event which allows those involved or interested in music to take a peek under the hood and see what makes the industry tick.
The beauty of this event is the fact that Sensoria came into existence at a time when the music industry was (and still is) in a state of flux. As a consequence the Pro sessions serve to document these untried and untested times. It doesn’t matter whether you are an established musician or someone who is just starting out, the uncertainty and the constant state of change has an effect on everyone to some degree.
This year’s Pro sessions were as engaging as ever and were only limited by the constraints of time. D Ramirez and Barry Gilbey presented an all too short offering on the state of the dance music industry in the shape of ‘Murder On The Dancefloor’, an advisory and in places cautionary tale which journeys through the world of club music. Ramirez is very much a veteran of dance music and while he has enjoyed a considerable degree of commercial and critical success he has experienced the downside of the industry (always be careful what you are signing). While it would be very easy to paint a doom and gloom picture of the music industry both Gilbey and Ramirez maintained a positive outlook as keen exponents of the tools available to musicians at the moment. The D.I.Y ethos remains the strongest and most consistent approach. Don’t wait for people to come to you, take your music to them (courtesy of services like Soundcloud, Reverbnation, Bandcamp).
There was also an in depth dissection of how festivals work with a panel of international representatives from SXSW, Sonar, In-Edit and Truck. The panel discussed the respective differences in their festivals and the right way for bands and artists to approach performing at such events. The general consensus being that slow and steady wins the race, getting a slot before you are ready can do as much harm as it can do good.
The Musician’s Union Masterclass with Paul Leonard Morgan was another highpoint. As one of the UK’s most sought after film composers he was on hand to give us an insight into his creative process showing us how he approaches a job and taking us through the various stages of mating the moving image to his material. Using examples from his documentary work and his material on shows like BBC’s Spooks this was a good introductory session that introduced us to the world of film composition.
Overall the Sensoria Pro maintained the high standard set in the previous years, keeping an eye on what is current in the industry as well as using topics to springboard discussion on where the world of music might be headed next.
Adding this day to a week of events that were diverse and full of interesting content made Sensoria 2010 once again a great success. I for one will be looking forward to seeing what Sensoria can bring to the table in 2011.
Also worthy of note during this event was the DVD launch of Eve Wood’s documentary film ‘The Beat Is The Law’ a look at the musical and political profile of Sheffield in Thatcher’s 1980’s Britain. Its an intriguing look at the city (whether you are from Sheffield or not) and represents an excellent snapshot of the time. Available to purchase from the link below.