Sometimes it really happens (shock!), I don’t need to travel far out of town to join in for a music festival. It’s kind of surreal for me just to be able to get to the venue in nearly 20 minutes: while the most festivals are happening spread all over the country, this time everything was concentrated in the middle of my hometown Zurich. And as I could see during these two days, the M4Music certainly is one of the most influencing festivals in this part of the country.
Leaned on the concept of Sónar, the M4Music Festival is the perfect meeting point for professionals of the industry, a platform for emerging artists with the Demotape Clinic and a concert venue for uprising and established artists. It’s surely much more compact than the Spanish event and not as deeply focused on electronic music – taking place at Schiffbau and Exil, two venues right next to another, it was quite easy to hop between the shows without losing an extreme amount of time.
M4Music is might less electronic in terms of DJing, but great acts with such a background weren’t missing. Len Sander was on the absolute top of my list and saved on my player since a long long time. The band, which had homeplay during the festival, gives to pop a mysterious, dark touch, that is lifted up again by the absolute pure voice of singer Blanka. I see them taking over the upcoming summer festivals because they can satisfy easily the ears of deep beats lovers as those who have more a faible for melodies that stick in for ages. After the polarizing work “Phantom Garden”, Len Sander’s EP “Saltlick” will be out on May 20th, 2016, the first single “Another Man” taken out of it is already avalaible.
Other remarkable artists in these terms were Ingrid Lukas, who took us audience on a magical journey made of LED lights and thoughtful dancer performances – we forgot somehow that we were only in a tight dark music club for a moment. And of course there was IOKOI & ARIA, who set up with amazing visuals and showed up (creepy?) covering her face up with a neutral mask. Her tracks reminded me of scary movies I might shouldn’t have been watching as a kid, so despite the show for the eye, her sound wasn’t exactly my type of thing. Thanks god tastes are different, right? Last but not least, there was an overwhelming art project displayed on Saturday night: the Berlin based artist Nik Nowak rebuilt an old tank into a 4000 Watt sound system that would have been able to make the building crash if a wee bit louder. His performance “Propaganda” has been accompained by visual Mappings all over the “instrument”, which gave us the vibe to be landed on a totally different planet.
M4Music booked remarkable artists to end both festival nights with a bang too, obviously. On Friday I had the pleasure to see live for the third time the British garage rockers The Vaccines, after joining their gigs at Coachella and Le Bataclan. No other band of this genre after Blur was able to make it on my playlist: I remember exactly the moment where I heard my first Vaccines tracks. It was praised as one of the shortest songs ever composed on TV, and it was mindblowing. I’m talking about the superfamous “Wrecking Bar (Ra Ra Ra)”. The sound of this band will lead you quite much to these things: party hard, drink beer and make out. They know how to shake out the rocker in you even if you aren’t – there was beer flying across all over the venue, so you get the idea.
The enigmatic ensemble Kadebostany, coming from the “European Republic Kadebostan” according to them, was one of Saturday’s most awaited acts. This is not an understatement, because they’re mixing up the pop music scene with an unique combination of beats, live instruments and vocals making their music free of any definition or style direction. The voice of lead singer Amina is a crossover between Adele and Amy Winehouse, especially when it hits low tones, and it’s so beautiful that it’s almost scary.
Tons of sleep wasn’t the case during these festival days: M4Music offers loads of activities that start at noon already. Praise to the Swiss Mixer Brunch by Swiss Music Export, where professionals were able to wake up, network and connect at the same time – coffee has never felt so good! In between all the workshops, I attended two very interesting Panel Talks. The first was about the impact that streaming platforms like Spotify have on labels and artists. The discussion was very attention catching, even if the artist’s side of the story hasn’t been fully exposed as I was hoping. This could have been a topic to bring up to the people of Spotify, if they wouldn’t have been cancelling their talk (booo for that, Spotify!).
The second talk I attended was “Hug Cares About Music” – a relaxed round of 4 people, including Swiss artists like Seven and Dodo, playing their favourite vinyl record, analyzing and explaining why that track basically changed their life or even had an impact on their career. It was nice hear the opinion out because I could totally relate to what was happening on that stage. I try to get out a song’s background all the time and spread the informations out to my friends, especially when there’s a crazy story behind it.
M4Music is worth a visit because it’s one of the rare events I attended where music really matters. It’s not only an attending of shows, but also an exchange of opinions and concerns about such a powerful tool, which makes all our lives sweeter. The next M4Music festival will be held in Zurich and Lausanne from March 30th to April 1st, 2016. Click here for more infos.
A huge thank you to M4Music for having me for the first time, I can’t wait for next year!