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Innovation and inspiration - day two at IMS Ibiza 2018

The conference at Hard Rock Hotel once again highlighted the progressive and forward-thinking nature of electronic music.

If there were a theme flowing throughout the panels and keynote interviews from day two of the International Music Summit (IMS) 2018, it would have to be innovation. More specifically, the day gave an exposé on some of the individuals and collectives driving the scene forward.

Day two was a reminder of the magical magnetic qualities of Ibiza, the place where the global electronic music industry settles for close to six months of the year. During this week in particular, a concentration of visionaries and leading figureheads appear on the island.

Not only artists and promoters but also professionals from all corners of the industry show up, covering a multitude of roles. We have those involved with health, event production, licensing music and even representatives from the dance floor itself. Diverse and inspiring.

The day underlined how – even in these increasingly corporate times – the beauty and wonder of our tiny island in the middle of the Mediterranean has the ability to inspire and connect us. The spirit of Ibiza lives on.

Health, Culture & Society

Fiona Measham talked in detail about her pioneering drug-testing service, In the Loop. With an increasing presence at UK festivals, the initiative is slowly improving the relationship between promoters, police forces and licensing authorities, as well as making reactional users take a more conscious approach.

Elsewhere, IMS' own Ben Turner and Blaise James launched Remedy State, a retreat aimed specifically at those working within the music industry. The retreat featured doctors, counsellors, dietitians, PTs, masseuses and lots more.

Both Ben and Blaise spoke of their own uplifting experiences, including some very deep conversations. Some attendees merely wanted to unwind before the madness of opening week. Others genuinely wanted to be healed. All left feeling a little more enlighted and fulfilled.

Ben said it best when he stated that the implementation of Remedy State and the nature of the talks at the conference were indicative of how far we've come as an industry. Ten years ago we were discussing the validity of the DJ Mag Top 100 DJ poll. Nowadays, we're tackling issues such as sexual harassment, gender inequality and mental health head-on.

Bradley Gunn Raver: love life and rave

Bradley was an especially interesting case study because of his lack of financial stake. His involvement was born out of pure passion and a desire for social acceptance.

The Asperger's syndrome sufferer has become a cult dance floor figure, touring the length and breadth of the UK and beyond, visiting club nights and festivals. A viral sensation who stays completely sober, he is now writing his own music and even become a featured vocalist on his own track.

Through his much-publicised exploits, Bradley has grown in confidence, acquired a legion of followers and inspired others with his condition to venture outside their comfort zone. Bradley is endearingly unique. Like most people here, he has turned his passion into a career.

The down-to-earth global record label

When we spoke to label boss Mark Knight before IMS, he spoke proudly about being approachable and contactable. The image Toolroom projected during the panels only reinforced this message.

Here are guys whose door is always open and phones never set to divert. While DJs at the top can often appear inaccessible, maybe even egotistical, Mark and his A&R team pride themselves on being the polar opposite.

They "orientate around a family." You need only look at their nucleus of artists. Throughout their 15-year existence, they have added to their roster whilst maintaining continuity. Each of the representatives of Toolroom's unflagging ethos. Almost an oxymoron, the label is global yet at the same time humble and inter-personal.

By replicating the sport's model of nurturing their own talent through an in-house academy, Toolroom ensure that they always have an eye on tomorrow. Even though they did confess to missing several opportunities to sign a young Tim Bergling, they are after the new breed, the next wave of talent. This practice makes them highly self-sufficient.

Team No Fear – the rise and rise of Black Coffee

Owing to his much-talked-about exploits at DC10, last year Black Coffee found himself installed as the first weekly incumbent at Hï Ibiza. In fact, the offer of a residency was on the table before the Matutes Group even had an artist impression of what the venue would look like.

Although it may appear that Black Coffee came out of nowhere, it couldn't be further from the truth. As Nick DeCosemo of Mixmag eloquently put it, he's “the 19-year overnight success story.

UK booking agent David Levy talks about his drive, focus and work ethic. It's fair to say that Black Coffee has come a long way since being threatened by record labels for copyright infringement in his homeland. Today he's having his productions sampled by Drake and getting in the studio with Puffy.

Black Coffee's may be a self-made man, but his journey has not been made alone. It's been a group effort from almost the very beginning.

It was refreshing to see how his team worked in synergy behind the scenes to create the end product. Black Coffee the DJ is the - admittedly charismatic - face of a group effort, but even Hï Ibiza CEO Yann Pissenem plays a hands-on role.

Black Coffee's entourage pushed home the importance of collaboration. As much as this scene is highly competitive and sometimes ruthless, the most special things happen when innovators from different disciplines pull together in a shared vision.

Is the Black Coffee backstory captivating? Absolutely. But far from being just an overcoming the odds fairy tale, it's an example of dedication, persistence and, above all else, teamwork.

Black Coffee says it better than anyone else: “I don't like the word ‘competition.'”

With the island a melting pot of creatives, it is inevitable that relationships will be forged and kindred spirits bond. If you want to network, IMS is the place to be.

If there's one other message we take away from day two, it is one of personal development. That we are all in control of our destiny. Invest in yourself. You never know where it may take you.

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